Wednesday September 19, 2018

Researchers Develop Novel Device to Improve Diagnosis of Dizziness

In this technology, detailed in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised

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Dizziness
Novel device to improve diagnosis of dizziness.
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Researchers have developed a new vibrating device using bone conduction technology, that can identify the causes of dizziness.

Half of older adults over 65 years suffer from dizziness and problems with balance. However, the current tests to identify the causes of such problems are painful and can risk hearing damage.

The novel type of vibrating device, developed by researchers from the Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test.

According to Bo Hakansson, Professor at Chalmers, the vibrating device is small and compact in size, and optimised to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 hertz (Hz).

But in bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear, in the same way as when sound waves normally go through the ear canal, the eardrum and the middle ear.

Dizziness
Dizziness. Pixabay

In this technology, detailed in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised.

“The new vibrating device provides a maximum sound level of 75 decibels. The test can be performed at 40 decibels lower than today’s method using air conducted sounds through headphones,” said Karl-Johan Freden Jansson, postdoctoral researcher at Chalmers.

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“This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage,” Jansson added.

The benefits also include safer testing for children, and that patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear can be diagnosed for the origin of their dizziness, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Cancer
Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)