Research

When scientific curiosity paves the way for improved healthcare: Read more about promising studies and trials that lead to more effective drugs, procedures as well as medical guidelines.

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Preeclampsia

Novel biomarker discovery could help mother and baby

The discovery of two novel biomarkers, called FKBPL and CD44, has the potential to change the way preeclampsia is managed according to research published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and…

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COVID-19

‘Mini-Brains’ suggest SARS-CoV-2 can infect brain cells

Scientists have found that organoids (tiny tissue cultures made from human cells that simulate whole organs) known as “mini-brains” can be infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19.

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Light or severe progression

The dangerous dual role of the immune system in COVID-19

Infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 follows a highly variable course: some of those infected do not even notice it, while others become so seriously ill that their lives are placed at…

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Smart surface

Artificial skin heals wounds and makes robots sweat

Imagine a dressing that releases antibiotics on demand and absorbs excessive wound exudate at the same time. Researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) hope to achieve just that, by…

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Coronavirus and gender

Why COVID-19 hits men harder than women

When infected by the new coronavirus, women may mount a more potent adaptive immune response than do men, a new study suggests. By comparison, the male immune response appears to progress less…

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Lesion segregation

Explaining the extreme complexity of mutations in tumor genomes

Scientists from the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) and the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh have been studying the evolution of tumors following chemical damage. They discovered that the…

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The math behind corona

Predicting the future of the Covid-19 pandemic with data

Mathematical models can help shed light on the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic, according to Spanish mathematician Juan Luis Fernández Martínez, who predicted Spain could have between 90,000 and 160,000 infected patients. The next trend in epidemic data science will be to issue prediction models that focus on early detection.

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Infrared imaging

New imaging method to detect and monitor liver disease

It’s currently difficult to screen for certain liver diseases and to monitor these conditions once they’re discovered. A team led by investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the…

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Soaking up SARS-CoV-2

Nanosponges could intercept coronavirus infection

Nanoparticles cloaked in human lung cell membranes and human immune cell membranes can attract and neutralize the SARS-CoV-2 virus in cell culture, causing the virus to lose its ability to hijack…

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Immune system

Tuberculosis vaccine also makes less susceptible to other infections

A tuberculosis vaccine developed 100 years ago also makes vaccinated persons less susceptible to other infections. While this effect has been recognized for a long time, it is not known what causes…

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Organic lungs, synthetic muscles

Biohybrid model re-creates respiration mechanics

Benchtop tools for studying the respiratory system misrepresent the interdependence between the diaphragm, abdomen and lungs. Meanwhile, computational models often hide the mechanisms in a black box…

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Innovative textiles

Researchers develop face mask that takes out SARS-CoV-2

Researchers from Freie Universität Berlin at the Institute for Animal and Environmental Hygiene and the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University are collaborating on the topic of…

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Protective equipment

Face masks could shrink the 'R' number and prevent a second COVID-19 wave

Population-wide use of facemasks keeps the coronavirus ‘reproduction number’ under 1.0, and prevents further waves of the virus when combined with lockdowns, a modelling study led by the…

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Neurodegeneration

Alzheimer research: Noise-inducing neurons shut down memories

Neurons that are responsible for new experiences interfere with the signals of neurons that contain memories and thereby disturb the recall of memories – at least in mice. The research group of…

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Aerosol study

Singing in times of COVID-19: more space to the front than to the side

How high is the risk that aerosol transmission during choral singing could cause infection with the coronavirus? After occurrences of infection among choirs in the USA and Germany, Bavarian…

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NET-like

Clues to COVID-19 complications come from inflammatory response

An overactive defense response may lead to increased blood clotting, disease severity, and death from COVID-19. A phenomenon called NETosi is part of an immune response that becomes increasingly…

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30 years after reunification, health disparities still exist

Germany: reunited but still divided (in healthcare)

East Germany has many more hospitalisations for heart failure compared to West Germany despite a nationwide healthcare system, according to research presented today on HFA Discoveries, a scientific…

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Immune system overreaction

Sepsis can cause long-term damage in the brain

Infections can trigger a particularly strong immune reaction of the body (termed sepsis). In such a sepsis the immune system reacts so strongly that not only the pathogens but also tissues and organs are damaged. In a study with mice, researchers from the Technische Universität Braunschweig were able to show that sepsis can have long-term effects on the brain and learning behaviour even after…

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New mechanism discovered

UPR: Stress raises cancer cells' chemo resistance

Resistance of cancer cells against therapeutic agents is a major cause of treatment failure, especially in recurrent diseases. An international team around the biochemists Robert Ahrends from the University of Vienna and Jan Medenbach from the University of Regensburg identified a novel mechanism of chemoresistance which has now been published in "Nature Communications". It is driven by…

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Bone cement research

Developing self-healing bone replacements

Our body is able to treat many injuries and wounds all by itself. Self-healing powers repair skin abrasions and enable bones to grow back together. However, doctors often have to lend a helping hand to repair bones after a fracture or due to a defect. Increasingly, bone replacement materials are being used, which partially or completely restore the form and function of the bone at the site of the…

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Inspired by insects

Improving the efficiency of antibacterial surfaces

Resistance to antibiotics has become a serious public health problem. Hospital infections, prostheses or surgical implants that become infected and do not respond to treatment are a real challenge to the research community, which has been seeking alternatives for effectively eliminating these bacteria for years. In 2012 the researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering of the…

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Increased risk for severe infections

Up in smoke: Smoking increases SARS-CoV-2 receptors in the lung

New research suggests that cigarette smoke spurs the lungs to make more ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2), the protein that the coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 grabs and uses to enter human cells. The findings, reported in the journal Developmental Cell, may explain why smokers appear to be particularly vulnerable to severe infections. The analysis also indicates that the change is…

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Antithrombotic approach

A new way to detect blood clots

Biomedical engineering researchers at Texas A&M University designed a medical device that mimics blood vessels to design and monitor drugs for patients with clotting disorders. This approach could be especially beneficial for pediatric patients. Unlike what a biology textbook may show, blood vessels are not straight cylinders. They are tortuous, meaning they have complex curves, spirals and…

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Glioma grading

AI enhances brain tumour diagnosis

A new machine learning approach classifies a common type of brain tumour into low or high grades with almost 98% accuracy, researchers report in the journal IEEE Access. Scientists in India and Japan, including from Kyoto University’s Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS), developed the method to help clinicians choose the most effective treatment strategy for individual…

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Teixobactin against superbugs

Researchers find 'resistance resistant' antibiotic

University of Melbourne researchers are finding ways to beat dangerous superbugs with ‘resistance resistant’ antibiotics, and it could help in the fight against coronavirus (COVID-19) complications. As bacteria evolve, they develop strategies that undermine antibiotics and morph into ‘superbugs’ that can resist most available treatments and cause potentially lethal infections. The…

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Lack of ventilation increases risk

Experts explore COVID-19 airborne transmission

Preventing airborne transmission of COVID-19 should be the next front of the battle against the virus, argue experts from the University of Surrey. In a study published by the City and Environment Interaction journal, scientists from Surrey’s Global Centre for Clean Air Research (GCARE), together with partners from Australia’s Queensland University and Technology, argue that the lack of…

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Immunology

COVID-19 study reveals universally effective antibodies

The first round of results from an immunological study of 149 people who have recovered from COVID-19 show that although the amount of antibodies they generated varies widely, most individuals had generated at least some that were intrinsically capable of neutralizing the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Antibodies vary widely in their efficacy. While many may latch on to the virus, only some are truly…

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Microbiome study

Do microscope eyepieces pose an infection risk?

Light microscope for viewing microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi are commonly found in scientific laboratories. A research team from Furtwangen University, the University of Tübingen and Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH, Aalen, examined more closely their role as potential vectors of infectious pathogens. „Very little was known about this until now," explains the head of the…

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Implications for lockdown policies

Cruise ship study hints at many ‘silent’ COVID-19 infections

The prevalence of ‘silent’ symptomless COVID-19 infection may be much higher than thought, reveals a study charting the enforced isolation of cruise ship passengers during the current pandemic, and published online in the journal Thorax. More than eight out of 10 of passengers and crew who tested positive for the infection had no symptoms. This has implications for the easing of lockdown…

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Sex bias

Is pain research turning a blind eye on women?

Females process pain differently, but search for pain medication still based on hypotheses drawn from work in males, a study from Canada finds. It is increasingly clear that male and female humans and rodents process pain in different ways. And that there are important differences in the underlying mechanisms involved at genetic, molecular, cellular, and physiological levels. Despite this fact,…

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Profiling the coronavirus

Risk factors for severe and fatal COVID-19 cases identified

Age, male sex, obesity, and underlying illness have emerged as risk factors for severe and fatal cases of COVID-19 in the UK, according to the largest cohort study to date published by The BMJ. As the largest prospective observational study reported worldwide to date, it provides a comprehensive picture of the characteristics of patients hospitalised in the UK with COVID-19 and their outcomes.…

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Robotic innovation

Micro robot rolls deep into the body

A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems (MPI-IS) in Stuttgart invented a tiny microrobot that resembles a white blood cell travelling through the circulatory system. It has the shape, the size and the moving capabilities of leukocytes and could perhaps be well on its way – in a rolling motion of course – to revolutionize the minimally invasive treatment of…

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Hemolysis monitoring

Measuring blood damage in real-time

Scientists at the University of Delaware and Princeton University have developed a method to monitor blood damage in real-time. “Our goal was to find a method that could detect red blood cell damage without the need for lab sample testing,” said Tyler Van Buren, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering with expertise in fluid dynamics. The researchers recently reported their technique…

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Canine vs. coronavirus

Trained dogs can detect COVID-19 with their nose

The extremely sensitive olfactory sense of dogs might prove to become a groundbreaking new tool in the fight against the COVID-19. Trained medical scent detection dogs have previously worked with identifying different types of cancers. Researchers at the veterinary and human medicine faculties at the University of Helsinki have now joined forces to identify COVID-19 infected individuals using…

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Deadly mechanism uncovered

Inside COVID-19's 'cytokine storm'

Leading immunologists in Japan are proposing a possible molecular mechanism that causes massive release of proinflammatory cytokines, or a cytokine storm, leading to the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in COVID-19 patients. Their suggestions, published in the journal Immunity, are based on recent findings that explain how SARS-CoV-2 enters human cells.

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Biomimetic sight assistance

"Artificial eye" prototype shows great promise

Researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are developing an artificial eye with capabilities close to its human model. The research team published their work on the biomimetic eye in the journal Nature. “Watching sci-fi series such as Star Trek and I, Robot, I thought about making a…

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Lesion differentiation

AI successfully identifies different types of brain injuries

Researchers have developed an AI algorithm that can detect and identify different types of brain injuries. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London, have clinically validated and tested the AI on large sets of CT scans and found that it was successfully able to detect, segment, quantify and differentiate different types of brain lesions. Their results,…

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Changes in cells caused by coronavirus

Potential targets for COVID-19 therapy discovered

A team of biochemists and virologists at Goethe University and the Frankfurt University Hospital were able to observe how human cells change upon infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19 in people. The scientists tested a series of compounds in laboratory models and found some which slowed down or stopped virus reproduction. These results now enable the search for an active substance…

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Frac­tures of the hu­meral shaft

Surgical patients recover faster

A finnish study compared functional bracing, the non-operative treatment of humeral shaft fractures, with surgical treatment of similar fractures in adult patients. In the study, patient recovery was monitored for a year.

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Coronavirus vaccine research

'Immune memory' of blood stem cells could help fight COVID-19

Blood stem cells have a surprising ability. In addition to ensuring the continuous renewal of blood cells, they keep track of past infections so that faster and more effective immune responses can be triggered in the future. This is according to a new study co-led by Inserm researcher Sandrine Sarrazin and CNRS researcher Michael Sieweke at the Center of Immunology Marseille-Luminy…

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Coronavirus misinformation

Experts find COVID-19 fake news in 1 of 4 most popular YouTube videos

More than one in four of the most viewed COVID-19 videos on YouTube in spoken English contains misleading or inaccurate information, reveals the first study of its kind, published online in BMJ Global Health. Public health misinformation on COVID-19 is reaching far more people than in previous pandemics and has considerable potential for harm, warn the researchers. While good quality accurate…

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Cell division

Researchers find protein that helps cancer cells to survive

In a new study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen have discovered two important functions of a protein called RTEL1 during cell division. The researchers hope that the new knowledge will help to find new cancer treatments. One of the body's most important processes is cell division, which occurs throughout life. Normal cells only have a limited number of divisions, while in cancer…

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