Hospitals are dangerous places. About 2 million patients a year acquire new infections in them, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A major cause is bacterial contamination of urinary catheters, breathing tubes and implants-a situation made more difficult by the fact that some bacteria form tough antibiotic-resistant films on such devices. University of Texas Health Science Center biomaterials researcher H. Ralph Rawls is developing a nontoxic polymer coating that slowly dissolves in bodily fluids. The coating could be applied to almost any object doctors put into the body. As the polymer dissolves layer by layer, it frees surface-attaching bacteria; this process prevents the formation of a bacterial film and makes the germs susceptible to therapeutic drugs and the immune system. The longer the expected contact between the instrument and the body, the thicker the polymer coating. This summer, Rawls plans to add another function to the polymer by incorporating drugs that encourage tissue repair; he hopes the material will be available clinically in three to five years.
The gene-edited pig heart given to a dying patient was infected with a pig virus
The first transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart into a human may have ended prematurely because of a well-known—and avoidable—risk.
Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging
The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.
Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI
One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.
The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images
Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.
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