Tissue engineering is no quick fix for kidney disease, but early intervention can help

Kidney disease often lacks symptoms until it is at an advanced stage.

by Frieda Klotz Recent advances in kidney research have yielded dramatic headlines touting scientists’ ability to grow kidneys in the lab. But some experts worry that hype about tissue engineering is excessively raising patients’ hopes. In 2013, US scientists announced that they had grown kidneys that could process urine in rats. The announcement was hailed as potentially … Read more

Memory-jogging robot to keep people sharp in ‘smart’ retirement homes

Sensors placed throughout a retirement home helped the ENRICHME robot to keep track of the movements and activities of residents taking part in the project’s trial.

A robot that reminds older people where they have put things and helps them exercise has been used by residents in three retirement homes in a trial to combat cognitive decline in later age. Almost a fifth of the European population are over 65 years old, but while quality of life for this age bracket is … Read more

How do we make snap decisions?

Decision-making is part of daily life but in many situations, from deciding whether to hit the snooze button on your alarm or reacting to an intruder, choices are made very quickly. Now we’re getting new insight into how these snap decisions are made. Professor Karin Roelofs, a psychology researcher at Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, … Read more

New tests identify contaminated drinking water in minutes, not weeks

Legionella cells can be detected with a home-printer-size testing machine. Image credit - CDC/ Dr. Barry S. Fields

Speedy, affordable water tests that can be used in on location and even run continuously will help scientists identify disease-causing bacteria in under an hour and potentially reduce the spread of common illnesses such as diarrhoea, which kills an estimated 842,000 people every year. Hundreds of millions of samples are tested each year to detect harmful bacteria … Read more

Family’s grief sparks a quest for better bladder cancer cures

Millions of lives are lost to cancer due to late detection so scientists are working on better ways of diagnosing the disease.

‘Invasive and uncomfortable’ prodedures for detecting if someone has bladder cancer could be replaced by urine tests that not only screen for the presence of the disease but also help doctors choose the right course of treatment for a particular patient. ‘Our lives literally came to a stop when my mother was diagnosed with cancer,’ said … Read more