Tech

Circulating tumor cells, which play a crucial role in cancer metastasis, have been known to science for more than 100 years, and researchers have long endeavored to track and capture them. Now, a UCLA research team has developed an innovative device based on Velcro-like nanoscale technology to efficiently identify and "grab" these circulating tumor cells, or CTCs, in the blood.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Cardiologists may soon be able to place sensitive electronics inside their patients' hearts with minimal invasiveness, enabling more sophisticated and efficient diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias.

A team of materials scientists, mechanical and electrical engineers, and physicians has successfully integrated stretchable electronics technology with standard endocardial balloon catheters. Led by John A. Rogers, the Lee J. Flory-Founder Chair in Engineering at Illinois, the team published its work in the March 6 online edition of Nature Materials.

Troy, N.Y. – Steel walls are no match for Tristan Lawry. The doctoral student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has developed and demonstrated an innovative new system that uses ultrasound to simultaneously transmit large quantities of data and power wirelessly through thick metal walls, like the hulls of ships and submarines.

Producers and feed companies add fat to swine diets to increase energy, but recent research from the University of Illinois suggests that measurements currently used for fat digestibility need to be updated.

"It's critical that we gain a better understanding of the energy value of fat," said Hans H. Stein, U of I professor in the Department of Animal Sciences. "If we don't know the true energy value of fat, we can't determine if it's economical to add to the diet."

PHILADELPHIA – It has been thought that the quality of the physician-patient relationship is integral to positive outcomes but until now, data to confirm such beliefs has been hard to find. Through a landmark study, a research team from Jefferson Medical College (JMC) of Thomas Jefferson University has been able to quantify a relationship between physicians' empathy and their patients' positive clinical outcomes, suggesting that a physician's empathy is an important factor associated with clinical competence. The study is available in the March 2011 issue of Academic Medicine.

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 7, 2011 – For those of us living the frenetic modern lifestyle, sitting in one place for a long period might seem like a vacation. But for those who are retired, it can lead to health complications.

Patricia Burbank, professor of nursing at the University of Rhode Island, realized that there is a need to get older adults moving.

The actual idea was inspired by Burbank's own aunt, a 97-year-old woman living on her own.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – America's 75 million aging adults soon will face decisions about where and how to live as they age. Current options for long-term care, including nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, are costly and require seniors to move from place to place. University of Missouri researchers have found that a new strategy for long-term care called Aging in Place is less expensive and provides better health outcomes.

TORONTO, ON., March 7, 2011—Screening every woman who comes to a health care centre does increase the number who acknowledge they have been abused by their partners, a new study confirms.

The study, led by Patricia O'Campo, director of the Centre for Inner City Research at St. Michael's Hospital, represents a major reversal of thinking about the value of universal screening programs for domestic abuse or intimate partner violence.

New York / Heidelberg, 7 March 2011A new study published in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering shows that a MEMS thermal sensor deployed by an angiogram catheter can detect the earliest stages of atherosclerosis. The MEMS thermal sensor used convective heat transfer to detect pre-atherosclerotic regions of arteries that otherwise showed no clinical signs of atherosclerosis.

The main aim of this study, carried out in collaboration with the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) and Stanford University (both in the US) is to characterize some aspects of gastropod (snails and slugs) locomotion to basically respond to one question: To what extent do they depend on the physical properties of their mucus to propel themselves forward? This question is fundamental when applying the studied mechanism to the construction of biomimetic robots.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Experiments by Brown University psychologists have produced positive evidence that people often think about positive evidence the wrong way — if it is weak. Defying logic, people given weak evidence can regard predictions supported by that evidence as less likely than if they aren't given the evidence at all.

When people communicate, the way they move has as much to do with what they're saying as the words that come out of their mouths. But what about when robots communicate with people? How can robots use non-verbal communication to interact more naturally with humans? Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology found that when robots move in a more human-like fashion, with one movement leading into the next, that people can not only better recognize what the robot is doing, but they can also better mimic it themselves.

RICHLAND, Wash. – Future batteries used by the energy grid to store power from the wind and sun must be reliable, durable and safe, but affordability is really the key to widespread deployment, according to a new report published online March 4 in the journal Chemical Reviews. The report is one of the most comprehensive reviews of electrochemical energy storage to date.

Increased export of Brazilian beef indirectly leads to deforestation in the Amazon. New research from Chalmers and SIK that was recently published in Environmental Science & Technology shows that impact on the climate is much greater than current estimates indicate. The researchers are now demanding that indirect effect on land be included when determining a product's carbon footprint.