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Phys.org internet news portal provides the latest news on science including: Physics, Nanotechnology, Life Sciences, Space Science, Earth Science, Environment, Health and Medicine.

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    (Phys.org) —Mechanical Engineering Professor Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng has a simple office demonstration of how shape-memory polymers work. He takes the material, which is formed into a compact flower bud, drops the bud in a cup of warm water, and voila: A daisy slowly blooms.

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    (Phys.org) —Genome sequencing-technology company, Illumina, based in San Diego has announced (at the annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference) that its new machine, called the HiSeq X Ten is able to sequence whole human genomes in assembly line fashion at a pace of $1000 each. If the company's claims pan out, the machine will mark a major milestone in medical research technology.

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    The debut of cyborgs who are part human and part machine may be a long way off, but researchers say they now may be getting closer. In a study published in ACS' journal Nano Letters, they report development of a coating that makes nanoelectronics much more stable in conditions mimicking those in the human body. The advance could also aid in the development of very small implanted medical devices for monitoring health and disease.

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    A new study into how the world's highest flying bird, the bar-headed goose, is able to survive at extreme altitudes may have future implications for low oxygen medical conditions in humans.

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    The creators of a unique kit containing anatomical body parts produced by 3D printing say it will revolutionise medical education and training, especially in countries where cadaver use is problematical.

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    In medical research, animal-based experiments have thus far been a necessary evil. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a highly promising alternative, however: They are developing a mini-organism inside a chip. This way, complex metabolic processes within the human body can be analyzed realistically.

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    Researchers at The University of Queensland are a step closer to designing a seamlessly-integrated and more affordable image sensor that would recognise colours much like the human eye does.

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    A unique kit containing anatomical body parts produced by 3D printing is now available for medical students to use worldwide.

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    Given the aging of the population and the low birthrate both in Japan and elsewhere, healthcare professionals are in short supply and unevenly distributed, giving rise to a need for alternatives to humans for performing simple tasks. Although increasing numbers of medical institutions have introduced electronic medical records, a variety of issues remain unresolved, such as the inconvenience of data recording and the high costs associated with data input.

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    Every cell in the human body has to be a particular size in order to function correctly. The research group led by Markus Hengstschläger of the Institute for Medical Genetics at the Medical University of Vienna has now discovered a new mechanism that regulates cell size.

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    Sperm that don't swim well rank high among the main causes of infertility. To give these cells a boost, women trying to conceive can turn to artificial insemination or other assisted reproduction techniques, but success can be elusive. In an attempt to improve these odds, scientists have developed motorized "spermbots" that can deliver poor swimmers—that are otherwise healthy—to an egg. Their report appears in ACS' journal Nano Letters.

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    Since 2010 scientists have known that people of Eurasian origin have inherited anywhere from 1 to 4 percent of their DNA from Neanderthals.

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    Just as improved diet and medical care have resulted in increased life expectancy in humans, advances in nutrition and veterinary care have increased the life span of pet cats. The result is a growing population of ageing cats; in the USA, for example, it is estimated that 20% of pet cats are 11 years of age or older.

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    First-year medical students at the University of British Columbia will begin using a state-of-the-art touch-screen table that displays detailed images of internal anatomy that can be rotated, enlarged and even sliced open.

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    MIT researchers have developed a technique for recovering visual information from light that has scattered because of interactions with the environment—such as passing through human tissue.

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    The extracellular matrix (ECM) regulates all important cell functions and is an interesting biomaterial for scientists. Fraunhofer has developed an ECM that contains artificial chemical groups which supports natural cell behaviour outside the body. It can be applied as a stable coating on implants or be used in cell culture dishes.

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    A team of researchers from the University of Freiburg has developed a system inspired by biology that can detect several antibiotics in human blood or other fluids at the same time. This biosensor system could be used for medical diagnostics in the future, especially for point-of-care testing in doctors' practices, on house calls and in pharmacies, as well as in environmental and food safety testing. The researchers focused their study on the antibiotics tetracycline and streptogramin in human blood.

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    Microbiologists at Trinity College Dublin have discovered a new way to prevent bacteria from growing on medical devices such as hip replacements or heart valves implanted in the human body. The discovery is a step towards developing new preventive strategies that could have a direct impact on the recovery of patients in the immediate aftermath of a surgical operation.

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    Researchers from UCLA and the University of Connecticut have designed a new biofriendly energy storage system called a biological supercapacitor, which operates using charged particles, or ions, from fluids in the human body. The device is harmless to the body's biological systems, and it could lead to longer-lasting cardiac pacemakers and other implantable medical devices.

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