Elana device for intracranial artery bypass gets FDA nod: Performing an artery bypass in the brain typically requires shutting off blood flow, potentially leading to a stroke. Based on a technology developed at UMC Utrecht in the Netherlands, Elana (also out of Utrecht) just received FDA humanitarian use device approval for its commercialized product called Elana (excimer-laser-assisted non-occlusive anastamosis) surgical kit, a tool that allows neurosurgeons to reroute blood flow around an aneurysm or a tumor without stopping the flow of blood.
RatCAP: Miniature wearable PET scanner for rats: Researchers from the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University have developed a wearable, portable PET scanner for rats. The system makes it possible to simultaneously study brain function and behavior in fully awake, moving animals. The device and its validation are described in an article in the April 2011 issue of Nature Methods.
Microrobot roams freely through the eye: New Scientist has a short but interesting video on an intraocular microrobot under development by the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems of ETH Zurich. The robot is so small that it can be injected through a needle into the vitreous humour. After injection, motion is electro-magnetically controlled by an external system. One of the potential applications is retinal drug delivery, for example to treat macular degeneration. The robot could locally deliver the drug to affected areas of the retina. Prolonged treatment could be accomplished either by delivering a biodegradable capsule or just by leaving the robot in place where it can remain for several months. After finishing its duties, it can be removed by using a magnetic needle. Testing has been performed on cadaver pig eyes, with live animals to follow soon.
Bessel beams cut through living cells for astonishing 3D movies: Scientists at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus have developed a new microscopy technique that uses light to virtually slice through living cell samples. Known as Bessel beam plane illumination microscopy, the technique currently produces slices less than 0.5 μm at a rate of over 200 per second. The high rate of slicing allows for movies to be made of the inner workings of living cells.