1. Tracking patient adherence through urine testsHealthcare professionals are urged to give patients regular urine tests to ensure they are taking medication as it will encourage greater compliance.
Researchers from the University of Manchester identified one third of 238 patients with high blood pressure were not taking their medications on a regular basis to lower their blood pressure.
However, after a urine test, more than 80% either took their medication correctly, or improved their adherence. This led to an average drop in blood pressure by 20 – 30mmHg between the urine test and the final clinic visit.
Thus, the researchers are urging that regular screening of patients to track patient adherence can bring big cost savings to the healthcare system.
2. Seeing through the human body with a camera
Kev Dhaliwal, a professor at the University of Edinburgh, has developed a camera that can “see” through the human body. The medical device is expected to help doctors track medical equipment such as endoscopes during internal exams.
It works by detecting sources of light in the body, allowing the medical professionals to see the location of the equipment, such as an endoscope’s illuminated end.
The camera is also able to detect individual light photons and record the time it takes for light to pass through the body, allowing scientists to identify the exact location of illuminated equipment.
Unlike typical light-bouncing technology, the camera can successfully track pointed light through 20cm of tissue. It is still in its early stages, but the development is hoped to shape the future of robotic surgery, according to researchers.
3. Aggressive brain cancer can be treated with Zika virusThe Zika virus can selectively infect and eliminate hard-to-treat cancerous cells in adult brains, according to a collaborated research from the Washington University School of Medicine and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine.
Injections of modified “tamer” Zika virus in mice brains shrank aggressive tumours in fully grown mice, and left other brain cells unscathed. The treatment also appeared to work on human cell samples in the lab.
Human trials are still a long way off; but experts believe the Zika virus could be potentially injected into the brain during surgery to remove life-threatening tumours.
4. Oestrogen patch increases libido in menopausal women
Lack of libido in women experiencing early menopause – an often unreported effect of menopause – can be addressed with an oestrogen patch, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine suggest.
The team tracked changes in sexual function for a group of 670 women who entered menopause within the past three years. The women ranged in age from 42 to 58 and were either treated with a placebo, a supplemental oestrogen by pill or oestrogen delivered via skin patch. They then completed questionnaires about their sexual function, including any issues with desire, satisfaction and pain. If they scored below a certain threshold, they were classified as having low sexual function.
Results showed the women who received oestrogen therapy through their skin experienced moderate improvement in their sexual function compared to women in the placebo group. The method of delivery mattered as women on the oestrogen patch benefitted compared to those on pills.
The patch resulted in less dryness and sex-related pain compared to women in the placebo group. However, researchers acknowledge that their findings are limited as most of the women involved were white women with more education than the general population.
5. Hair loss linked to metabolismHair loss is now linked to metabolism, according to research from University of California, Los Angeles. The study finds that the metabolism in the stem cells embedded in hair follicles is different from surrounding cells. When scientists altered the metabolic pathway in mice stem cells, they could either halt or proliferate hair growth.
The researchers are now testing a duo of drugs that targets an enzyme called lactate dehydrogenase – that could be responsible for some forms of hair loss – to try and prompt hair to grow.
The research is still in preclinical stages, but the researchers hope to raise enough funds to move this to human testing. MIMS
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