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Michigan Man Finds Kidney Donor on Facebook

Jeff Kurze is a 35-year-old man from Michigan who suffers from chronic interstitial nephritis -- a condition that led to kidney failure and forced him to go through dialysis treatments three times per day. Kurze was in dire need of a kidney transplant, but his doctors told him it would likely be three to five years before he could find a donor. With their desperation mounting, Kurze and hi...

Laser Implants May One Day Restore Hearing to the Deaf

Scientists at the University of Utah led by researcher Richard Rabbitt, have found a way to stimulate inner ear cells with infrared laser light. Using low-powered optical signals, the researchers triggered the inner ear hair cells of an oyster toadfish to send signals to its brain, raising the possibility of using the technology to restore hearing to the deaf. Rabbitt believes the cells release...

New Endoscopic Camera Is Disposable, Remarkably Tiny

Researchers in Germany have developed a new endoscopic camera that's cheap enough to be thrown away after each use, and small enough to see eye-to-eye with a grain of rice. Designed at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, the prototype's camera is just one cubic millimeter in size, and features a resolution of 62,500 pixels. But researchers say it's still stro...

We Welcome You, Robotic Pharmacist

I, for one, welcome our robot overlords -- especially when they're the ones dispensing meds. UCSF Medical Center's new robotic pharmacist is a massive drug-dispensing machine that removes the "human-error" variable from the sometimes-tedious task of measuring and packaging doses. According to UCSF, the robotic pharmacist hasn't messed up once in 350,000 dispensations. All hail the robots!...

Touched By a Robot, Not Exactly Thrilled

Artificial intelligence may have made leaps and bounds in recent years, but roboticists still have a long way to go in mapping and replicating the type of emotional intelligence that informs much of human interaction. It's no easy task. The trick is that even while scientists make progress on one front (take the emotionally mature Nexi), human interactions are so complex that even small issues ...

Robotic Snake Slithers in for Surgery Through a Hole in Your Chest

Having a snake burrow its way through your chest doesn't sound like a terribly enjoyable experience, but that's exactly what the Cardio Arm is designed to do to patients undergoing heart surgery. Created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the Cardio Arm is a snake-like robot capable of entering a patient's chest through a three-quarter inch incision in the solar plexus. The snake and...

Drug-Makers Shifting Focus to Mobile Apps

The next great frontier in health care lies not in little blue pills but in information technology, and it seems that big pharmaceutical companies are finally recognizing it. According to a report from Ernst & Young, companies like Merck & Co. and Novartis AG have increased spending on creating mobile apps and educational websites by 78-percent. In 2010, drug companies began 97 new informa...

Artificial Retina Allows Some Blind Patients to See Text, Shapes

An artificial retina designed to help some blind people regain their sight has already paid dividends for a few patients. Developed by the U.S. company Second Sight, the Argus II is an implant that can be surgically inserted into a patient's eye. A small camera attached to the patient's glasses captures images, and transmits them to a small wireless computer. The computer processes the images, ...

Laser Wand Scans Molecules for Melanoma Within Seconds

Detecting potential skin cancer cells is an inexact process that depends on a doctor identifying a suspicious mole before waiting a few weeks for the biopsy results to come back from a lab. But according to Technology Review, scientists at the British Columbia Cancer Agency (BBCA) have developed a handheld wand that could help doctors instantly identify melanoma by scanning the molecular makeup of...

People Use the Internet to Check Symptoms, Making Doctors Mad

Today in Things You Didn't Already Know: turns out, you cannot actually treat disease with the Internet! Not even large doses of it! Despite that fact that almost everyone consumes massives quantities of Internet on a daily basis, it is not necessarily good for your health. Fox News even talked to some upside-down doctors in Australia, and they confirmed that the World Wide Web is no substitute...

New Smartphone App Determines Probability of Successful In-Vitro Fertilization

British researchers have developed a new formula capable of predicting any couple's chances of having a baby through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) with up to 99-percent accuracy. Devised by researchers at the Universities of Glasgow and Bristol, the calculator is already available online, and will soon be available as an app for iPhone and Android. According to research leader Scott Nelson, a va...

Cody the Robot Nurse Gives Sponge Baths, Probably Still Cringes

Scientists persistently pursue the development of effective robotic caretakers, and the Georgia Institute of Technology just significantly upgraded the capabilities of such service-bots. The Georgia Tech engineers reportedly utilized a "Segway omnidirectional mobile base, two anthropomorphic arms with seven degrees of freedom and wrists equipped with 6-axis force/torque sensors" to create Cody the...

Electroshock Your Way to Better Math Skills

One thing this writer was never particularly good at was math, which is why he turned to blogging and away from a career as an electrical engineer. But researchers at the University of Oxford believe that mild electrical stimulation of the brain can actually improve math skills, for up to six months at time, without any negative side effects. Roi Cohen Kadosh, a researcher on the project, told Liv...

New Retinal Chip Temporarily Restores Vision for Blind Man

Researchers at University Eye Clinic in Tübingen, Germany have begun testing a new retinal implant designed to restore sight to the blind. Previous experiments like this have employed external cameras, but the new device uses the patient's eye itself to help collect and process visual data. A small chip is implanted in the rear of the eye, where it converts light into electronic impulses. The...

Scientists Show Off Device That Prints Jello-Like Skin Grafts

Earlier this year, Invetech and Organovo embarked on a joint plan to "print" living tissue (quite different from the more frivolous 3-D printing exploits of other developers). Then, in April, the U.S. Army and Wake Forest University's Institute for Regenerative Medicine started talking up a skin-printing system that laser-maps a wounded area, and -- using two "print heads" -- layers the injury wi...