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September 2005
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November 2005

Bone marrow stem cells may heal hearts even years after heart attacks

Bone marrow stem cells may heal hearts even years after heart attacks

Preliminary trial offers encouragement for definitive tests of cardiac regeneration technique

(BETHESDA, MD) – Left ventricular function and exercise capacity increased, while the area of heart muscle damage shrank, in 18 patients given infusions of their own bone marrow stem cells up to eight years after a heart attack, according to a new study in the Nov. 1, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

"This new therapy is able to treat until now irreversible heart complaints and function disturbances in patients with chronic coronary artery disease after myocardial infarction, even many years after heart attack. Therefore there is hope for this large amount of patients with previous myocardial infarction and non-treatable complaints," said Bodo E. Strauer, M.D. from the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, Germany.

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Robots May Allow Surgery in Space

Robots May Allow Surgery in Space

By CHUCK BROWN
The Associated Press
Thursday, October 27, 2005; 7:16 AM

OMAHA, Neb. -- Small robots designed by University of Nebraska researchers may allow doctors on Earth to help perform surgery on patients in space.

The tiny, wheeled robots, which are about 3 inches tall and as wide as a lipstick case, can be slipped into small incisions and computer-controlled by surgeons in different locations.

"We think this is going to replace open surgery," Dr. Dmitry Oleynikov said at a Wednesday news conference. Oleynikov is a specialist in minimally invasive and computer-assisted surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.

Full story.


Neurognostics Receives Special 510(k) Clearance to Enhance Its MindState™ fDAD™

Neurognostics Receives Special 510(k) Clearance to Enhance Its MindState™ fDAD™

Milwaukee, WI, October 26, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a Wisconsin company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, announced today that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Special 510(k) approval for market clearance of MindState™ fDAD™. Originally, MindState™ fDAD™ received 510(k) clearance in February 2005 as an fMRI data acquisition device. The Special 510(k) allows Neurognostics to enhance fDAD™ by providing a library of stimulation paradigms, data collection protocols and image processing services, collectively known as MindState™ fDPD™, and marketing it for clinical use. With this clearance, the Company will be able to provide off-site fMRI data processing services to its customers.

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Study Sheds Light on Stem Cell, Cancer Signaling Mechanism

Study Sheds Light on Stem Cell, Cancer Signaling Mechanism

UCSF scientists have illuminated a key step in a signaling pathway that helps orchestrate embryonic development.

The finding, they say, could lead to insights into the development of stem cells, as well as birth defects and cancers, and thus fuel therapeutic strategies.

The study, reported in Nature (Oct. 13, 2005), focuses on the Hedgehog family of signaling molecules, which play a central role in directing development of the early embryo’s growth and spatial plan, as well as its later organ and limb development. Defects in Hedgehog signaling are a significant cause of some birth defects and cancers.

Secreted from one cell, a Hedgehog signal shoots to the surface receptor of a second cell, and then, in a rapid-fire succession of biochemical reactions, relays a message into the cell’s nucleus. There, it issues an instruction, prompting the cell to divide, or specialize into a particular cell type, or migrate to help form another part of the embryo, and so on. This transaction, known as signal transduction, is a ceaseless activity of embryonic development.

Full story.


Purdue's gold nanorods brighten future for medical imaging

Purdue's gold nanorods brighten future for medical imaging

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Researchers at Purdue University have taken a step toward developing a new type of ultra-sensitive medical imaging technique that works by shining a laser through the skin to detect tiny gold nanorods injected into the bloodstream.

In tests with mice, the nanorods yielded images nearly 60 times brighter than conventional fluorescent dyes, including rhodamine, commonly used for a wide range of biological imaging to study the inner workings of cells and molecules.

Full story.


Ethical debate undeterred by new research

Ethical debate undeterred by new research
Studies show embryos remain intact, but critics are unswayed
Carl T. Hall, Chronicle Staff Writer

Monday, October 24, 2005

Most scientists would like nothing better than to tone down some of the controversy surrounding human embryonic stem cell research. But some of their latest efforts in that direction appear to be having the opposite effect.

New laboratory results were reported last week showing how it might be possible to generate embryonic stem cells without destroying any embryos. But the reaction made it clear there's no end in sight to the stem cell debate.

Leading bioethics experts, including David Magnus at Stanford University and Arthur Kaplan at the University of Pennsylvania, promptly blasted the latest exercise as "scientific pandering" aimed at critics who are unlikely ever to be satisfied.

"When you look at the ethics it's not clear there's any advance here at all," Magnus said during an interview. "There's not going to be any technology that everybody accepts."

Full story.


New Rules On Internet Wiretapping Challenged

New Rules On Internet Wiretapping Challenged
Redesign Costs Are Cited

By Arshad Mohammed
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; Page D01

New federal wiretapping rules that would make it easier for law enforcement to monitor e-mails and Internet-based phone calls were challenged by privacy, high-tech and telecommunications groups in federal court yesterday.

The groups argued that the rules would force broadband Internet service providers, including universities and libraries, to pay for redesigning their networks to make them more accessible to court-ordered wiretaps.

Full story.


Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans

By YURI KAGEYAMA
The Associated Press
Wednesday, October 26, 2005; 7:28 AM

ATSUGI, Japan -- We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots.

But manipulating humans?

Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was.

Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car.

Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind.

I can envision it being added to militaries' arsenals of so-called "non-lethal" weapons.

A special headset was placed on my cranium by my hosts during a recent demonstration at an NTT research center. It sent a very low voltage electric current from the back of my ears through my head _ either from left to right or right to left, depending on which way the joystick on a remote-control was moved.

I found the experience unnerving and exhausting: I sought to step straight ahead but kept careening from side to side. Those alternating currents literally threw me off.

The technology is called galvanic vestibular stimulation _ essentially, electricity messes with the delicate nerves inside the ear that help maintain balance.

Full story.


Neurognostics Receives Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Award

Neurognostics Receives Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Award

Milwaukee, WI, October 24, 2005 – Neurognostics, Inc., a Wisconsin company specializing in functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) products and services, was honored with a Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Award for Outstanding Achievements.

The award was presented by Wisconsin Small Business Innovation Consortium (WiSBIC) during its 19th annual Awards Banquet. WiSBIC was created to help technology-based and other innovative small businesses in securing research and development funding, commercializing their products, and growing and expanding their business.

Cathy Elsinger, Ph.D., Neurognostics’ Director of Research and Clinical Operations, accepted the award on behalf of Neurognostics. “We are grateful to be presented this award,” said Dr. Elsinger. “It is nice to see that the state of Wisconsin recognizes the achievements of small businesses and supports them during the crucial early stages of their development.”

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Small-Time Inventors Take on Congress

Small-Time Inventors Take on Congress

By ERICA WERNER
Associated Press Writer

October 21, 2005, 7:23 PM EDT

WASHINGTON -- In the world of small-time inventors, George Margolin, 75, of Newport Beach, Calif., is a resounding success. He has patented a syringe that prevents unwanted needle-pricks, a folding keyboard that was licensed by Hewlett Packard and 25 other devices from the practical to the arcane.

Now Margolin fears his ability to create is threatened by legislation he says would yank patent protections from little guys like him in favor of big corporations like Microsoft.

Full story.