Face Mask Sensor to Detect COVID-19

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Our breath holds a multitude of biomarkers, including potentially those indicating the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Those infected with the virus are prone to exhale proteases, enzymes that speed up the breakdown of proteins, related to the new virus. This has led researchers at University of California, San Diego to work on developing a wearable sensor that can be attached to masks to detect the presence of these proteases and therefore the COVID-19 virus.

“In many ways, masks are the perfect ‘wearable’ sensor for our current world,” said Jesse Jokerst, professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego, who is the lead researcher of this project, in a press release...

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Artificial Attachments for Immune Cells Help Kill Tumors

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Though immune cells have the capabilities to kill cancer cells, they’re often thwarted by cancer’s ability to evade detection. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University have now developed engineered natural killer cells that have a much better ability to find and kill cancerous cells.

“We explored a novel method to engineer natural killer cells,” said Yong Wang, professor of biomedical engineering and one of the developers of the new approach, in the announcement. “This technique significantly improved the recognition and killing of target cancer cells.”

Wang and team developed molecular add-ons for white blood cells called polyvalent antibody mimics (PAMs). These PAMs are structured from DNA to produce a scaffold that features multiple branches...

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Smart Ring Monitors Body Temperature, May Spot COVID Fever Early

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A team of researchers, including those at the University of California, San Francisco and University of California, San Diego, has tested the potential of a smart ring, that can collect health data, including temperature and heart rate, to detect fever associated with COVID-19. In a proof-of-concept study, the researchers showed that the ring, developed by a Finnish startup called Oura, could detect fevers before patients began to experience symptoms, suggesting that the technology could function as an early warning system for COVID-19.

Identifying COVID-19 infections early and implementing quarantine immediately could help to limit the spread of the virus and allow patients to receive care early...

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“VRx”: A Medgadget Book Interview with Author Dr. Brennan Spiegel

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In the recently released science-fiction novel Ready Player Two, protagonist Wade Watts spends the majority of the book inside a virtual reality universe called the “OASIS”. Though the OASIS is merely a simulation consisting of computer-generated imagery, immersive sound, and gesture-based interaction, it has a profound impact on reality. It’s a place where one loses the sense of time, both physical and emotional pain is identified and eased, and users can confront and overcome their deepest longings and fears.

The OASIS may be fictional, but some of its seemingly therapeutic effects are factual, backed by decades of research and thousands of scientific studies. In his recently released book, VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine, Dr...

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Rapid Identification of Antibiotic-Resistant Infections: Interview with Jong Lee, CEO at Day Zero Diagnostics

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Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern, with some predictions suggesting that routine surgery could be unacceptably risky in a future where many antibiotics have become obsolete. Part of the problem lies in the time it takes clinicians to diagnose an antibiotic-resistant infection. Current techniques involve lab technicians culturing a bacterial sample until it can be analyzed for drug resistance. The whole process takes days, and by the time the test provides an answer, a patient could be dead from sepsis.

To address this, clinicians typically administer broad-spectrum antibiotics in an effort to bring an infection under control. However, this does not always work if the bacteria present are resistant, and can result in further drug resistance...

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Earwax Sampling Device for Easy Cortisol Measurement

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Researchers at University College London and King’s College London have developed a device that allows for easy earwax sampling, with the goal that the wax could be a convenient and reliable way to measure cortisol levels. The device can be used by a patient at home to obtain a sample of earwax and is less invasive and unpleasant than existing methods, such as syringing.

Cortisol levels change in patients with conditions such as depression, Addison’s disease, and Cushing syndrome, and so measuring someone’s cortisol levels could be useful in diagnosing and monitoring these diseases. However, cortisol levels are difficult to reliably measure in the blood as they can fluctuate a great deal...

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Stryker Unveils Wireless Hospital Bed with Smart Monitoring Features

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Stryker has announced a new completely wireless hospital bed that sports a number of smart patient monitoring features. The ProCuity, which is actually a series of beds that have somewhat varying capabilities, was developed to minimize patient falls, help clinicians to efficiently monitor those that are bedridden, and to maintain connectivity when the bed is on the move.

ProCuity beds include Stryker’s Secure Connect technology that provides a wireless way to connect to nurse call systems. When connected, the beds will stream parameters such as bed configuration, including the position of side rails, exit alarms, and movement to hospital information systems so that important events can be noticed and recorded.

Patients get the benefit of a USB port and cradle, built into the bedside, so...

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