Oscars so Abled? The Overwhelming Frequency of Non-disabled Actors Portraying Disabled Characters

Ever since Dustin Hoffman won the Oscar for Best Actor playing Rain Man, half of Best Actor Oscars have been won by men playing characters with significant disability. The 2018 Academy Awards have recently graced our screens; including Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar-winning performance last year in The Theory of Everything as motor neurone disease (MND) sufferer […]

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The Potential of Creative Media to Address Adolescent Mental Health Issues Associated with the Coming of Age

As a social construct, coming of age occurs throughout adolescence, marking a young person’s transition from child to adult and hence achieving self-actualisation and self-realisation. The search for self-actualisation and self-realisation is conducted blindly; we find ourselves as adolescents suffering an incomprehensible series of apparently random preferences, revulsions, divagations and evasions. At the time we […]

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Eel-inspired batteries could power pacemakers for a lifetime

A soft, ‘fleshy’, electric eel-inspired battery could be key for the development of future medical implants. Currently, this power source is able to produce 110 volts (about the same amount of power provided by wall sockets), but researchers are working on increasing this capacity considerably. Anirvan Guha’s team from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland […]

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Fat cells may be critical to wound healing

Researchers from the University of Bristol explored a potential function of adipocytes regarding wound healing. These ‘fat cells’ have several functions in various tissues beyond energy storage. These include metabolism regulation, growth, and immunity. By using live imaging of fat cells in a fruit fly termed Drosophilia (the equivalent of vertebrate adipocytes), scientists looked into […]

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Superionic water ice: A ‘new’ form of matter?

A new form of water, named superionic ice, was created by scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The substance, which is simultaneously solid and liquid, consists of a rigid lattice of oxygen atoms through which positively charged hydrogen ions move. It was formed by compressing water between two diamonds and then using […]

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Love or Drugs? The parallels between social attachment and drug addiction

When it began, I felt euphoric with every encounter. Everything was a new, exciting and different pleasure. Each detail was entangled with this pleasure: touch, times, places, smells. Everything was a reminder. I spent my time pursuing the next rendezvous; everything else became stale, unexciting and tedious in comparison. Craving. It was indispensable. However, gradually […]

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Is there really a thin line between love and hate? Scientists explore the age old question

The line between love and hate is often described as painfully thin. This is a peculiar concept given the two polar opposite definitions of the words one can find in any dictionary. It seems logical to me that the similarity may arise from the fact that love and hate are so often felt for the […]

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Major mental illnesses share gene activity

Despite mental illness affecting one out of every six adults, the underlying knowledge about most neuropsychiatric disorders remains unclear. For a long time now, scientists have been aware that genes influence mental illness. In 2013, the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium discovered that people with autism, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder ‘frequently share certain […]

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New fuel cell could transform renewable power

Fuel cells are a greener alternative to gas-powered engines because the way they produce electricity does not require burning up the fuel that powers them. However, given that they are expensive to produce, they are not very commercially-attractive. A team of researchers created a fuel cell that can run at a midrange temperature and is […]

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Brain ‘Pacemaker’ for Alzheimer’s

Teams of researchers from the Wexner Medical Centre (Ohio State University), have implanted a pacemaker-like device in the skull of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. They claim this could slow the decline in decision-making and problem-solving skills that are characteristic of the ailment. A deep-brain-stimulation (DBS) device was implanted in the frontal lobe (in the ventral […]

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‘Liquid biopsy’ used for early detection of cancer

A team of researchers from John Hopkins University has achieved a major step towards one of the most desired goals in cancer research: a blood test for early tumour detection. Early detection, key to reducing cancer-derived mortality, allows localised cancers to be surgically excised before they metastasise. CancerSEEK, described as a ‘liquid biopsy’, tests and […]

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Money for something: the importance of cost, benefit and evidence regarding expensive drugs on the NHS

Following yet another winter crisis in the NHS, it’s hard not to wonder about the distribution of resources in our healthcare system. One component of this is the provision of expensive drugs for various disorders. It is particularly interesting that there are disparities in their usage that sometimes may not match individual benefit; provision in […]

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Wearable electronic skin used to control virtual objects

Researchers have developed a flexible ‘e-skin’ that is capable of tracking small movements and therefore endow users with novel means of manipulating physical or virtual objects. The artificial skin consists of two film layers that cover a tiny magnetic field sensor, and is 3.5 micrometers thick altogether. Photographs of the entire 2D sensor are shown […]

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Illustration - Robotic system implanted in short bowel syndrome (A) and long-gap oesophageal atresia (B).

Implanted programmable robots help regenerate tissue from the inside of the body

Until recently, placing robots within the human body to aid in biological function restoration or enhancement seemed to be a figment of the imagination. However, a group of researchers have successfully tested devices that induce tissue regeneration. A Boston Children’s Hospital team created a robotic implant that offers a less invasive treatment for diseases affecting […]

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