Neuro-stimulating Headband Relieves Migraines
If you’re one of the 37 million of Americans who suffer from migraines you’ll be interested to hear about the Cefaly headband. Recently approved by the FDA, this external device uses neurostimulation to reduce the frequency of debilitating headaches. The device works by sending a mild electric current to stimulate the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is the one responsible for transmitting information about facial sensations to the brainstem, and has been previously liked to chronic headaches. Migraine sufferers wear the Cefaly for 20 minutes each day, while going about their daily routine. Users described feeling a mild but not unpleasant tingling sensation. Trials show that users experienced fewer headaches within just on month of using the headband, though there is no indication that the headband can relieve a migraine that is already in progress. The Cefaly could prove beneficial for migraine sufferers who are unable to take prescription medications to prevent or treat severe headaches.
Genetically Engineered T Cells May Combat HIV
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are attempting to genetically modify a portion of HIV–positive T cells so that they will include a rare HIV-resistant mutation of the CCR5 gene. As the HIV virus replicated in the human body, it destroys T cells by implementing the CCR5 protein. The initial clinical trial showed that in patients who received a single copy of the mutated gene, the virus spreads more slowly. In patients who have the mutated genes on both chromosomes rarely become infected even when they are exposed to infection. The trial outcome shows that it is possible to safely engineer a patient’s own T cells to imitate a natural resistance to HIV. Once the genetically engineered cells are infused into the body, they have the potential to hold off HIV without the use of drugs.
Medical Labs of the Future on Fiber Optics
We are all familiar with the optical fibers that transverse the globe that make the Internet possible, but fiber optic cables are useful for more than just carrying data. Researchers are coming closer and closer to designing a new range of chemical sensors to develop a miniature laboratory on a fiber. The fibers could be threaded into blood vessels to allow real-time monitoring. The system would be able to analyze chemical signatures by measuring the reflection of light from the cable’s surface. This could make lab testing much less expensive and less of a hassle for the patient.