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Archive for the ‘blood’ Category

Saliva with biomarkers – non invasive technique for detecting diseases

Posted by evolvingwheel on December 7, 2007

I have been stumbling upon this concept on and off and finally decided to post it. I have come across two articles. One is a post on Popular Science website and the other a research paper from nearly 3 years back. The Pop Sc. article talks about the potential of detecting diseases from human saliva.

Earlier, saliva was ignored due to a very low number of analytes present in it. But with the new human saliva proteomic project and new biomarkers being discovered, spit is realistically being considered as a non-invasive point-of-care diagnostic platform. I am all for it. Just think how easy it would be – just spit and detect the marker. No need to even show up at the clinic. Mail the specimen if time allows. Stress capability of saliva to withstand temperature and pressure is better than blood. Read the Pop Sci article [here]. doctor_000.jpg

Now the paper from 2005. It is a research article co-athored by scientists from several institutions in CA. The paper talks about MEMS diagnostic chip using saliva. Gives an overview of mico-electro mechanical system / nano-electro mechanical system (MEMS/NEMS) sensors to oral fluids for diagnostic purposes. Please read the article [here]. As a proponent of cheap diagnostics that can be used for social innovation in underserved communities, I am highly interested in learning more about the potential of MEMS chips. I will cover more soon. 

Another good link: http://www.tastechip.com/saliva/saliva_diagnostics_research.html

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A new test to diagnose heart failures better

Posted by evolvingwheel on November 29, 2007

With a special interest for remote healthcare and innovative diagnostics, this news couldn’t go past me. A group of researchers at the University of Leeds have come up with a new technique that helps to identify the difference between a heart attack potential and a chest pain due to other causes. Currently, when a patient lands up in the Er with chest pain, the physician administers a troponin test which can detect and evaluate heart injury and separate it from other chest pains. The test looks for troponin protein in the blood, which is generated when heart cells have died. However this test is not comprehensive and can give both false negatives and false positives. The predictor looks for the protein and only isolates between a scenario of real heart damage and a case of chest pain with no death of heart cells yet. It misses the spectrum in between.

A new test has been developed by the team that looks for a heart-type fatty acid-binding protein (H-FABP) which is released into the circulation following heart injury (myocardial ischemia). According to Alistair Hall, Professor of Clinical Cardiology at Leeds “The H-FABP test is a major advance on what we had before. It appears to be able to detect milder and earlier degrees of heart injury than do current tests which detect heart cell death.

The uniqueness of the test lies in its ability to identify patients whose chest pains are an indication that they are susceptible to heart attack in the following weeks or months. The aspect of prevention makes this test a winner. It not only saves lives, but also saves money and unnecessary services. I will look forward to the eventual commercialization of such a test with an affordable price proposition. And then if such a test can be made portable and easy to administer at the point of care, i.e., homes.

Read the article [here].

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Nanotube radio – world’s smallest: Can it be tied up to MEMS?

Posted by evolvingwheel on November 12, 2007

I love technologyreview.com. Whenever I visit after a while, I always find something enthralling. Something that just pokes my mind and ends up creating a boundless array of imaginative possibilities. This time I came across the article on world’s smallest radio – a carbon nanotube that is able to receive radio-frequency and play the song sent over the carrier wave.

Innovative engineering feat resides in the simplest perspective. When a complicated scientific phenomenon, in this case a radio, is condensed in a nanoscale dimension, the magic is worth watching. Even if there is no immediate commercial prospect of the invention, the concept itself is path-breaking. One of the coolest aspect of the research is the way the radio receives the signal. In conventional radios the antenna receives the electromagnetic signal. Over here the radio starts responding when the frequency of the carrier wave matches the resonating frequency of the carbon nanotube. You can find the detail in the link [here]. nanoradio-timeline-sizes.jpg

I was also reading about the possible applications. One of them worth talking about is the packaging of this radio with MEMS (microelectromechanicalsensors). MEMSare supposed to be injected into the bloodstream and the sensors will record data – blood sugar level, cancer markers, blood pathogens, etc. Once this radio is configured to transmit data, a whole new world will open up (may be already in the process of opening up). MEMS will play an enormous role in preventive diagnostics and this tiny radio can remotely send information to a receiver outside the body. I have to do some more research in biological MEMS now!

Posted in biotech, blood, Communication, Innovation, micron, nanotechnology | Leave a Comment »

Should we be worried? Banked blood loses potency fast!

Posted by evolvingwheel on October 17, 2007

This news is up in the channels – about banked blood losing its ability to deliver oxygen to tissues after transfusion. Result: patients receiving tranfusions are more prone to strokes, heart attacks, and often even deaths. The cited reason is the loss of nitric oxide from blood after the RBC leaves the body. Nitric oxide is the oxygen carrier. Dr. Jonathan Stamler, a Duke researcher, has found that ability of the blood cells to deliver oxygen drops pretty fast after the blood has been removed from the source body. Stamler has also noted that if nitric oxide is added back, the banked blood regains this ability. Read the article [here].

I have several questions about this research:

  1. What kind of manifestations are seen when banked blood is first introduced to the receiver’s body and to what degree do these manifestations get debilitating with time?
  2. Did the receiving patient has any pre-disposition to any disease that got triggered for some other reason and henceforth produced a negative impact on the heart?
  3. Will a small transfusion for a relatively smaller wound produce a long-term negative impact in the receiver’s body?
  4. Bottom Line – Should I be worried? 

There is a WSJ blog that talks about this finding and exhanges some nice views.

Another group at Duke, led by Timothy McMahon, MD, PhD, found that red blood cells in banked blood lost some of their flexibility in storage. That process happened more slowly than SNO-Hb loss in banked blood. According to McMohan, replenishing SNO-Hb may enable RBC to stay flexible to carry oxygen to the tissues.

A relevant article on artificial blood posted earlier: Oxycyte™ – Just another invention or a better substitute for blood?

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