Diagnostic imaging equipment has improved the resolution of its results and reduced the radiation patients receive, but the main advance has been in contrast agents. Using dye- or nano-antibody-‘decorated’ nanoparticles that circulate in the blood vessels, the scientific community is working to detect cancer and metastasis early and see if the treatment works.
Although there are techniques to analyze what happens in the brain while executing some activity, a new method based on ultrasound solves the problems of the previous ones: it is portable, has a better resolution and can be used in movement. A European team of researchers has validated its effectiveness in active and anesthetized rodents.
The neuroscientist Gustavo Deco jokes: "Basically, we do not know anything about the brain. This Argentine doctor, a triple doctor in Physics, Computing and Psychology, hopes that the joined efforts of all disciplines reveal the secrets of the most complex organ. He is currently researching the circuitous network of connections that are activated when we do something as apparently simple as distinguishing objects with our sight.
A novel way to count white blood cells without a blood test, simply by applying a small device on the fingertip, is being developed by a team of young bioengineers. The technology, that combines an optical sensor with algorithms, has already three prototypes on the go and is specially designed to be used on chemotherapy patients, who could know their immune system levels in real time. It could also serve to detect serious infections.