Cost-Effective Smartphone Multimodal Microscope

Researchers from Sweden and the United States have demonstrated how a smartphone-based microscope could deliver molecular diagnostic data directly to the healthcare provider, eliminating the need to send samples to outsourced laboratories — or, in the researchers’ words, take data “from the point of care to the point-of-expertise.”

To read more about their findings, published in Nature Communications, see Targeted DNA sequencing and in situ mutation analysis using mobile phone microscopy.

Teaching Computers to Understand Structured Narratives

Researchers at UCLA have built a computation model that enables computers to understand structured narratives within the flow of posts on the internet. The researchers applied this model to examine 2 million posts from two parenting sites. The results found that a large number of parents were not only going online to talk about vaccines, their distrust of institutions requiring them, or the perceived health risks of vaccinations, but seeking out ways to acquire vaccination exemptions for their children. Their findings could have real implications for those working in the public health field to educate parents about vaccinations. You can read more about their finding on the UCLA Newsroom site.

3D-Printed Bones

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a hyperelastic biomaterial that can be quickly 3D printed in an endless variety of shapes and sizes, perfect for molding it to different body parts. The material is composed mostly of hydroxyapatite — a mineral form of calcium found in human teeth and bones — which was mixed with one of two polymers used in medicine and tissue engineering. Initial tests included bone grafts built with the material and implanted into mice, rats and one macaque that became integrated into tissue and stimulated bone growth without adverse effects.