Acetylcysteine (C5H9NO3S) is a drug with the notable property of being used to treat a variety of ailments. Paracetamol overdose is a particularly important use, but it also is used to treat bronchitis, chemotherapy side effects, HIV and also has found a use as a psychiatric treatment. It is known for being quite safe with side affects such as vomiting and redness of the skin being quite manageable. The most serious side effect is that 5% percent of people experience an anaphylactic shock that may require immediate treatment when they take acetylcysteine. However it is none of these purely medical concerns that are relevant for today’s paper. Instead the focus is on another property this drug possesses. A physical antimicrobial mechanism which has been reported as being effective at disrupting bacterial adhesion, hampering of their polysaccharide production and ultimately breaks up biofilms.
The main problem with radiation therapy is known is almost everybody. The there is an undeniable danger associated with high energy anything, whether it be waves or particles, entering out bodies. But, as tumours grow bigger and more aggressive it becomes more necessary to use more powerful beams. So this is the main concern of traditional radiotherapy: “how do we target these protons so that they don’t do more damage to the person then the cancer would?” This is where the concept of minibeam radiation therapy came from.
There are many aspects of humans that makes our species unique among animals. Our intelligence is clear but from that stems our language and empathy. We also have acute mechanical abilities, our standing upright and our incredible stamina are also unique aspects of being human. But most of all, of course, is our opposable thumbs. They grant us the ability to perform such delicate manipulation that so many tasks, such as the typing I’m doing right now, become simple when really it’s a whole more complicated than we ever really think about. It is unsurprising, therefore, that people who have suffered spinal cord damage report that restoration of arm and hand functions is what they desire most. Important for spinal damage, and even more so for amputation, the brain-computer interface so that the control of a robotic replacement can be optimised is essential.
Ultrasound refers to any sound which is of higher frequency than the human ear can hear. I don’t feel confident in this statement but I think most people will have heard of ultrasound with respect to its scanning potential of foetuses. A very useful application as you certainly wouldn’t want to use X-rays to determine the health of the baby lest that health be very short. Ultrasound also has many more applications beyond just sensing as being able to deliver mechanical energy to specific parts of the body is incredible useful. I have covered one of these used before in this post which describes a study on the effects of ultrasound targeted at the blood brain barrier. Today’s work is on a very similar subject.
Psoriasis is skin disease resulting in red itchy patches tainted with silvery scaling. It’s an autoimmune disease caused by the body actually producing too many skin cells too fast. Normally it takes a month for a skin cell to die and be replaced, but for people with psoriasis the process only takes a few days. Exactly how the overacting of the immune system leads to this effect is unknown. A variety of events have been known to trigger latent psoriasis such as skin damage, certain medication or an infection. Generally believed to be a genetic disease there is no cure but instead a series of treatments designed to reduce the effects.
It is estimated that at least one tenth of the population have some form of needle phobia. That is the arrant fear of injections and the associated hypodermic syringes to the point where it seriously hampers medical procedures. There have even been reported cases of people actually dying of fright (more accurately drop in blood pressure) as the physiological result of their fear. One solution which may help, though not particularly designed with this problem in mind, is the microneedle.
Diseases such as emphysema, bronchitis and severe asthma can be described together as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). As people grow older they are much more likely to suffer from one of these diseases and much more likely to assume the symptoms are just a sign of getting older. It is said that 30 million people in the USA currently have it and it is predicted that COPD will be the third highest cause of death by 2020. It is believed that air pollution can be a aggravating feature of the disease and considering that 3 billion people world wide are exposed to biomass smoke, the smoke produced by burning any living thing, as compared to the 1 billion tobacco smokers in the world, it is very possible biosmoke actually leads to more cases of COPD.