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News Headlines

Blood test could predict risk of Alzheimer''s disease

Date: 11-Mar-2014

Source: Georgetown University School of Medicine

Scientists have developed a blood test that they say could lead to an early diagnosis of Alzheimer''s disease and other forms of dementia in elderly people long before the symptoms of the disease begin to manifest themselves.

A team led by Dr. Howard Federoff of the Georgetown University School of Medicine has developed a test based on measuring the levels of ten fatty chemicals -- commonly called lipids -- in the blood. As membranes of the brain cells affected by Alzheimer''s begin to break down, the levels of the lipids decrease.

Hospital antibiotic use can put patients at risk, study says

Date: 11-Mar-2014

Source: Washington Post--Centers for disease control and prevention

Doctors in some hospitals prescribe up to three times as many antibiotics as doctors at other hospitals, putting patients at greater risk for deadly superbug infections, according to a federal study released Tuesday

In addition, about one-third of the time, prescriptions to treat urinary tract infections and prescriptions for the drug vancomycin were given without proper testing or evaluation, or prescribed for too long, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the past year, CDC officials have been raising the alarm about health threats from antibiotic resistance. Last fall, the CDC warned that the nation faces “potentially catastrophic consequences” if it doesn’t act quickly to combat the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant infections, which kill an estimated 23,000 Americans each year.

President Obama’s budget for the 2015 fiscal year proposes an additional $30 million for CDC initiatives to combat the growing crisis surrounding antibiotic resistance.

Kidney failure: Nanofiber mesh ''a cheap, wearable alternative to dialysis

Date: 11-Mar-2014

Source: Journal Biomaterials Science

The main role of the kidney is to filter waste products from the blood before converting them into urine. But this process ceases for individuals who have kidney failure, causing waste to build up in their blood. Now, researchers have created a Nano fiber mesh that they say could be a wearable and cheaper alternative to kidney dialysis.

Kidney dialysis is the most common treatment for patients with kidney failure. It involves the use of machines, either at home or in the hospital, that help filter waste product toxins from a patient''s blood, in replacement of normal kidney function

But the research team - from the International Center for Materials Nano architectonics (MANA) of the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan - says that because these machines require electricity and careful maintenance, they are not widely available in poorer countries.

In addition, they note that in the aftermath of natural disasters in these countries - such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011 - many patients who require dialysis often have to go without treatment until normal hospital services are resumed.

With this in mind, the investigators set out to develop a cheaper way of removing toxins in the blood of patients with kidney failure. This resulted in the creation of a Nano fiber mesh.

For their creation, the researchers first combined a blood-compatible primary matrix polymer made from polyethylene-co-vinyl alcohol (EVOH), and a variety of zeolites - aluminosilicate minerals made up of aluminum, silicon and oxygen.

Zeolites have micro porous structures that can absorb waste products from the blood.

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