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NewSplash Archive – July 2017

Issue 29 – 7/25
Stay tuned for an exciting announcement from Ultra Clean Systems. While you are enjoying your latest issue of NewSplash, forward it to friends or colleages and have them sign up to receive it weekly in their inbox.

Neural stem cells guided by electric fields in rat brain
Professor Min Zhao at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine’s Institute for Regenerative Cures studies how electrical fields can guide wound healing. Damaged tissues create weak electrical fields, and Professor Zhao’s research has shown that these electric fields can attract cells into the wounds to heal them.

Newly discovered genetic variation may help identify high-risk flu patients
A newly discovered inherited genetic variation may help identify patients who are at risk for severe, potentially fatal influenza infections. The gene variant has also been linked to a mechanism that explains the elevated risk and provides clues about the broader antiviral immune response.

Medical device coating kills bacteria
Researchers in Saudi Arabia have developed a nanoparticle coating that can be used to give the surfaces of medical devices antibacterial properties. The coating consists of gold nanoclusters and lysozyme enzymes, an antibacterial agent, fused into a polymer matrix.

Manitoba Wildlife Federation to launch CWD awareness campaign
As chronic wasting disease (CWD) continues to spread and emerge as a dangerous and dire disease, the Manitoba Wildlife Federation is preparing to launch an awareness campaign to educate the public on this disease. CWD is not caused by bacteria or a virus, but by prions (misshapen proteins) that are folded incorrectly.

Breathable, wearable electronic sensor allows for long-term health monitoring
Scientists in Japan have developed a hypoallergenic electronic sensor that can be worn on the skin continuously for a week for long-term health monitoring. The elastic electrode is constructed of breathable nanoscale meshes and is so light and thin that users forget they have it on.

Transporting reprocessed devices
Nancy Chobin, RN, AAS, ACSP, CSPM, CFER, recently answered a question about transporting and protecting reprocessed medical devices.


Issue 28 – 7/18
Virtual reality system assists surgeons and informs patients
Physicians and residents at Stanford Medicine are using a new software system that combines imaging from MRIs, CT scans, and angiograms to create a three-dimensional model that they can view and manipulate, similar to a virtual reality game. The virtual reality system helps train residents, assists surgeons with upcoming operations, and educates patients.

Toxic nanoparticles coated with antibiotics safely kill drug-resistant bacteria
Brazilian scientists may have found a practical way of killing resistant bacteria by targeting them with toxic silver-silica nanoparticles coated with an antibiotic. The antibiotics don’t have the full strength to eliminate resistant bacteria, so the researchers used ampicillin as a mechanism to deliver the killer nanoparticles to the pathogens.

Researchers building electrode array for brain-computer interfaces
A research team at Columbia University are using the latest in silicon electronics to create an implanted brain-interface device that would transform the way artificial systems enhance brain functions. The current offering of implanted electrode devices is crude and there are few electrodes, but this new system will result in a less-invasive, revolutionary implant that greatly improves brain-machine interfaces, including direct interfaces to the auditory cortex and visual cortex.

Scientists kill cancer cells with light
Researchers from the Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences at Kyoto University have developed a method for killing cancer by transferring genes into cells then activating them with light. The scientists coated the surface of gold nanorods, which produce heat when exposed to a near-infrared laser, with lipids.

C. diff infection rates are falling
A preliminary look at 2011 to 2014 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infections Program suggests the rate of new Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections is falling. New guidelines on antibiotic use and more rigorous cleaning standards in healthcare facilities are credited for improving infection rates.

Robot raises millions of sterile mosquitoes for release to combat disease
The life sciences arm of Alphabet, Verily, has built a large robot that can raise one million mosquitoes a week, which it has used to produce infertile male insects. The insects are infected with Wolbachia, a naturally occurring bacteria that infects many types of insects.



Issue 27 – 7/11
Personalized melanoma vaccines prove safe and effective in human clinical trials
Scientists have developed two melanoma cancer vaccines personalized to the patient that have been shown to be safe and effective in human trials. In the first study, a vaccine was developed for patients who had been treated with surgery but received no additional treatment.

Study compares economics of low-temperature sterilization vs. steam
The American Journal of Infection Control recently published an economic analysis comparing low-temperature sterilization of medical instruments to steam sterilization. For the analysis, researchers used low-temperature sterilization to reprocess rigid and semirigid endoscopes.

Scientists develop smart bandage
Scientists have developed a bandage that provides nursing staff with relevant data about the condition of a wound. The bandage has sensors incorporated into the base material that glow with a different intensity if the pH level of the wound changes, allowing nursing staff to monitor the wound without needlessly changing the dressing and irritating the wound or exposing it to bacteria that increases the risk of infection.

Antigravity treadmills get patients running after knee surgeryDr. Karen Hambly at the University of Kent, an international expert on knee rehabilitation, works with clients who have been given the okay to return to sporting activities following surgery, but may have concerns about transitioning from patient to athlete again. When people run, the load on their knee joints can be up to five times greater than walking.

Researchers develop device to rapidly detect sepsis from drop of blood
A team of researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and the Carle Foundation Hospital, also in Urbana, developed a small, portable device to aid clinicians in the early detection of sepsis, according to research published in Nature Communications.

Researchers develop yeast-based tool for worldwide pathogen detection
Researchers at Columbia University have developed a revolutionary, inexpensive, and easy-to-use tool to detect pathogens in everything from human health to agriculture to water. Using store-bought baker’s yeast, they have created an extremely low-cost, low-maintenance, onsite dipstick test that will aid in the surveillance and early detection of fungal pathogens responsible for disease, agricultural damage, and food spoilage worldwide.


Issue 26 – 7/4
Barometric sensor to detect presence of disease biomarkers
Researchers from Jinan University in Guangzhou, China, and Washington State University have developed a barometric sensor that measures pressure changes induced by the production of oxygen that will test for the presence of biomarkers. The team demonstrated how the sensor can be used to detect thrombin, a blood-clotting enzyme, and carcinoembryonic antigen, a protein related to a number of cancers.

Handheld probe detects multiple cancers in real time
Scientists in Montreal, Canada, have invented a hand-held, intraoperative probe that reliably detects multiple types of tumor cells. The research team has perfected the invention and designed an intraoperative probe that uses Raman spectroscopy technology to interpret the chemical composition of the tissue examined.

2014 Ebola virus exhibit opens at CDC museum
The David J. Sencer CDC Museum, in association with the Smithsonian Institution, presents an exhibit of the historic 2014–16 Ebola epidemic entitled “Ebola: People + Public Health + Political Will.” The exhibit chronicles the virus beginnings in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone and follows its evolution into a health and humanitarian crisis.

Prototype wearable sensor measures glucose, cortisol, and interleukin-6 from sweat
Researchers at University of Texas at Dallas have created a wrist-worn sensor that continuously and accurately monitors glucose, cortisol, and interleukin-6 in sweat for up to a week, potentially revolutionizing diabetes management. The sensor relies on room temperature ionic liquid (RTIL), a special gel that is applied between the skin and the sensor, which helps preserve the sweat for more consistent measurement.

Researchers develop microneedle patch for flu vaccination
A team of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have demonstrated that an influenza vaccine can produce robust immune responses and be administered safely via an experimental patch of dissolving needles. With further development, this patch could eliminate the discomfort of an injection and the inconvenience of visiting a clinic.