A research team has successfully used magnets implanted behind a person’s eyes to treat nystagmus, a condition characterised by involuntary eye movements. The case study, published in Ophthalmology and led by UCL and University of Oxford academics, described the implantation of a newly developed set of magnets in the socket beneath each eye of one patient with nystagmus. It’s the first description of a successful use of an oculomotor prosthesis, or an implant that controls eye movement.“Our study opens a new field of using magnetic implants to optimise the movement of body parts,” said Dr Parashkev Nachev (UCL Institute of Neurology), the lead author ofRead More →

Using health records, Stanford researchers developed an algorithm for scoring the risk of a stroke patient experiencing a heart condition known as atrial fibrillation, a major risk factor for a second stroke. One stroke is dangerous, and a second, even more so. One important risk factor for that perilous second stroke is an irregular heart beat called atrial fibrillation. If doctors could identify the stroke patients who are most likely to experience atrial fibrillation, they could start treatments that would help prevent a second stroke. But which stroke patients are at risk for the condition has been hard to predict without costly 24/7 monitoring forRead More →

Throughout our evolution, viruses have continually infected humans just as they do today. Some early viruses became integrated into our genome and are now known as human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs). Over millions of years, they became inert due to mutations or major deletions in their genetic code. Today, one of the most studied HERV families is the HERV-K family, which has been active since the evolutionary split of humans and chimpanzees with some members perhaps actively infecting humans within the past couple hundred thousand years. HERVs have become a target for HIV researchers because studies have shown that T-cells produce an immune response against HERVsRead More →

Religious participation is linked to lower suicide rates in many parts of the world, including the United States and Russia, but does not protect against the risk of suicide in sections of Europe and Asia, finds new research by a Michigan State University scholar. In Catholic-dominant Western and Southern Europe, residents appear to be placing less importance on God and religion and have less confidence in religious institutions. In East Asia, traditional faiths such as Buddhism and Confucianism focus on individual spirituality rather than collective spirituality, which entails social support and moral guidance. “Secularization and the individual pursuit of spirituality are two important factors thatRead More →

Long-term exposure to a noisy environment, particularly at night, is linked to infertility in men, according to a study in Environmental Pollution. The researchers found that exposure above the WHO night noise level (55 dB – equivalent to the noise of a suburban street) is linked to a significant increase in infertility. The scientists behind the study, from Seoul National University in the Republic of Korea, say it is important to consider noise when assessing environmental conditions that contribute to infertility. Noise can be annoying – it breaks your concentration and disrupts your sleep. But noise has also been linked to health problems, such asRead More →

A molecular test can pinpoint which patients will have a very low risk of death from breast cancer even 20 years after diagnosis and tumor removal, according to a new clinical study led by UC San Francisco in collaboration with colleagues in Sweden. As a result, “ultralow” risk patients could be treated less aggressively and overtreatment avoided, leading to fewer toxic effects. “This is an important step forward for personalizing care for women with breast cancer,” said lead author Laura J. Esserman, MD, MBA, a breast cancer specialist and surgeon with UC Health. “We can now test small node-negative breast cancers, and if they areRead More →

Despite the potentially severe consequences of illness and even death, only about 40 percent of adults in the United States receive flu shots each year; however, researchers believe a new self-administered, painless vaccine skin patch containing microscopic needles could significantly increase the number of people who get vaccinated. A phase I clinical trial conducted by Emory University in collaboration with researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology has found that influenza vaccination using Band-Aid-like patches with dissolvable microneedles was safe and well-tolerated by study participants, was just as effective in generating immunity against influenza, and was strongly preferred by study participants over vaccination with aRead More →

A lack of sleep doesn’t just leave you cranky and spoiling for a fight. Researchers at The Ohio State University Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research say it also puts you at risk for stress-related inflammation. This type of inflammation is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and other diseases. “We know sleep problems are also linked with inflammation and many of the same chronic illnesses. So we were interested to see how sleep related to inflammation among married couples, and whether one partner’s sleep affected the other’s inflammation,” said Stephanie Wilson, lead researcher on the study. Results of the study were publishedRead More →

Scientists from The University of Texas at Austin took an important step toward safer gene-editing cures for life-threatening disorders, from cancer to HIV to Huntington’s disease, by developing a technique that can spot editing mistakes a popular tool known as CRISPR makes to an individual’s genome. The research appears today in the journal Cell. Scientists already use the gene-editing tool called CRISPR to edit the genetic code of nearly any organism. CRISPR-based gene editing will have an enormous impact on human health. More than a dozen clinical trials employing CRISPR on human cells are reportedly already underway, but the approach is imperfect. In theory, gene-editingRead More →

When it comes to the fat in your diet, the line between good and bad just got blurrier. Liberal consumption of so-called good fats – like those found in olive oil and avocados – may lead to fatty liver disease, a risk factor for metabolic disorders like type 2 diabetes and hypertension, according to a new study by scientists at UC San Francisco. The findings, in mice, surprised even the researchers, who were expecting saturated fat – popularly known as the worse kind – to cause more fat buildup in livers. “The belief in the field for quite some time has been that saturated fatRead More →