As we begin September, we bring you news of an inventive new “pen and ink” method of drawing wearable sensors on the skin, a cheap and effective - but fully functional - way of monitoring patients to check a variety of health indicators. There’s also news on the use of EMR’s to build a portrait of COVID-19, the ending of wild polio in Africa, and research updates on IBD, depression, autism, and hepatitis B.
New Pen-and-Ink Method Draws Health Sensors Directly on Skin
A handful of stencils and three pens sound like materials for a child’s art project. But researchers have now used these tools to draw functional heart monitors directly on human skin. Wearable sensor technology, which helps doctors check a variety of health indicators, has in recent years advanced from bulky devices to flexible patches that stick to people like temporary tattoos. These prefabricated sensors can be expensive, however. They also tend to follow skin contours imperfectly, making them sensitive to the wearer’s motion. Researchers say a new drawn-on-skin electronics system offers a solution to both problems.
Portrait of a Virus
Using medical records of COVID-19 patients from 96 hospitals in five countries, researchers have created an agile tool for rapid disease insights. Data yielded intriguing, albeit preliminary, clinical clues about how the disease presents, evolves, and affects different organ systems across different categories of coronavirus patients. As data collection grows and more institutions begin to contribute such information, the utility of the platform will evolve accordingly and could help shape pandemic response.
Ending Wild Polio in Africa
This week, and four years after the last case was discovered in Nigeria, the Africa Regional Certification Commission officially certified the WHO Africa Region (AFR) free of wild polio (WPV). The Gates Foundation have worked intensively in Nigeria and other countries in Africa as part of their polio eradication initiative, connecting with communities to build primary health care structures, and administering vaccines.
Gene Expression Maps Reveal Origins of Brain Changes from Autism Mutations
A new study pinpoints genes and cell types that may account for the atypical brain structure in people with genetic conditions related to autism. The work offers insight into how the brain develops differently in people with these conditions and identifies new potential therapeutic targets.
Nearly 40% of Post-Menopausal Women Could Have Depressive Symptoms
Depression among post-menopausal women is an important health problem that needs to be studied further. Recently researchers in Turkey conducted a 15- to 20-minute interview with study participants to determine sociodemographic, medical, personal, and menopausal information. Participants’ depressive symptom and anxiety levels were assessed using the Beck Depression Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Among the cohort, 41% reported experiencing depressive symptoms.
Long Delays for Diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease
A new study has found one in ten people with inflammatory bowel disease visited their doctor with symptoms five years before receiving a diagnosis - some patients even experienced gastrointestinal symptoms up to 10 years before they were diagnosed. The condition is diagnosed through a variety of blood and stool tests, as well as examinations, the delayed diagnosis may be due to the symptoms being mistaken for other conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome and haemorrhoids.
BM32 Vaccine Against Pollen Allergy Could be Potential Treatment for Hepatitis B
Chronic hepatitis B infections represent a global health problem that could hitherto only be treated by chemotherapy. A team of researchers from MedUni Vienna's Center for Pathophysiology, Infectiology and Immunology has now demonstrated that a protein contained in the BM32 vaccine against grass pollen allergy induces antibodies that prevent the hepatitis B virus from docking onto liver cells.