Naked Eye Test for Early Detection

Scientists have developed a prototype ultra-sensitive sensor that can enable doctors to detect the earliest stages of diseases and viruses with their naked eyes, according to research published on Oct. 28 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. The research team, from Imperial College London, report that their visual sensor technology has 10 times the sensitivity than the current gold standard methods for measuring biomarkers. These can forewarn the onset of diseases like prostate cancer and infection by viruses like HIV. The sensor could ostensibly benefit countries where sophisticated detection equipment is scarce and paves the way way for cheaper and simpler detection and treatments for patients. To perform the study, the team tested the effectiveness of the sensor by detecting a biomarker called p24 in blood samples, which indicates HIV infection. Professor Molly Stevens, from the Departments of Materials and Bioengineering at Imperial College London, says: "It is vital that patients get perio...

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Eyesight to the Blind: Microchip Technology Restores Degenerative Vision

Utilizing a series of tiny cells, surgically inserted beneath the retina and functioning like microscopic solar panels, scientists at the Stanford University School of Medicine are on the trail to creating a system that will one day restore sight to those who've lost vision due to degenerative eye disease. The retinal prosthesis implements a specially designed pair of goggles, equipped with a tiny camera and a pocket PC which processes a visual data stream. The output images are displayed in a liquid crystal micro-display embedded in the goggles, not unlike video goggles used in video games. However, unlike regular video goggles, the images are beamed from the liquid crystal display via laser pulses of near-infrared light to a photovoltaic silicon chip (one third the width of a strand of human hair) planted beneath the retina. The currents from the photo-diodes on the chip trigger signals in the retina which are in turn kicked to the brain, enabling the patient to experience vision. "It works like...

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