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Rebuilding relief

After a stroke, muscle strength can be rebuilt through gaming. However, those affected by brain injuries need long-term support to find their way back into their social lives. Personal experience led English twins to develop an app which helps people start their neurorehabilitation journey, while relieving the burden on family members providing care. Our brain is flexible, and certain...

Regenerating rhythm

Anomalies in data network traffic can be heard as disharmony. In healthy people respiration and heartbeat are in harmony. A Welsh biotech startup is seeking to restore this natural symmetry in the event of heart failure. Their new device imitates and recognises the body’s signals and uses the respiratory cycle to control patients’ cardiac rhythm. In pre-clinical trials, their...

Sounds good

Office noise can be soothing and silence liberating. Now, thanks to a New York startup’s new app, users can search for venues according to internal noise levels. Meaning our ears can be protected from undue strain or harm. Places are graded in four categories with anything under 70 decibels designated ‘quiet’ and anything over 81 as ‘very loud’. Data...

Healthy connection

Period poverty should be a thing of the past. For 84% of South Africans, however, going to the doctor’s is too expensive. Cue a Johannesburg-based startup whose new app offers affordable assistance from an online network of medical, psychological and nursing personnel. First, a virtual assistant records users’ medical history and symptoms, data which is saved and made accessible...

Good message

Voluntary services provided by company teams are increasing. Now, thanks to a London startup, Brits can get support for mental health challenges using a text-message service. Anyone experiencing anxiety, depression or suicidal thoughts can send a one-word request for help. Usually within 5 minutes, trained volunteers offer a virtual shoulder. Sensitive questioning, reassuring answers, links to more information and...

Programmed perception

A placenta gene provides information on potential autism. Now, a research team from Northwestern University has discovered a different gene that is crucial to our ability to hear. Outer hair cells in the ear amplify sound for the inner hair cells. These, in turn, transmit vibrations to the nerves, enabling us to perceive sound. Age or medical treatment causes...

Powerful breakthrough

Vibrations could help us learn, while sound waves stimulate bone cell growth. Now, a research team from Michigan University has developed a strong, microsecond-length ultrasound to combat tumours of the liver. The targeted sound wave creates, accurate to the millimetre, microbubbles within the affected tissue. Through their expansion the bubbles destroy cancer cells before collapsing. In lab tests, up...

Stable connection

Dopamine makes us happy. A deficiency can lead to Parkinson’s. Molecule pairs and nasal spray should, in future, spur production of the hormone. Now, working with experts and patients, an advertising firm’s international team has developed a free app that counteracts the tremors that are typical of the disease. As a first step, surfing the internet on iPads will...

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