Wednesday, 26 November 2014

'Semipermeable' nature of graphene could revolutionise fuel cells

"Researchers have discovered that graphene allows positively charged hydrogen atoms or protons to pass through it despite being completely impermeable to all other gases, including hydrogen itself.


The breakthrough raises the prospect of extracting hydrogen fuel from air and burning it as a carbon-free source of energy in a fuel cell to produce electricity and water with no damaging waste products."

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Classic NHS style dictaphone - gift for a blind friend.

Remember these? My friend says the newer ones just don't have the same easy-to-feel mechanism. Must say I agree.

Geriatrics in NZ: Like the UK 20 years ago - but way ahead in other areas.

Geriatric medicine in New Zealand: the doctors - a blog by Vicky Henstridge on the British Geriatrics Society website.

"[I]s Geriatrics in New Zealand like that in the UK 20 years ago? In terms of starting from a blank sheet and developing more acute services, then definitely Yes, there is huge scope and these are exciting times. In terms of looking at healthy aging across society, health and social care then I would humbly suggest that New Zealand is years ahead of the UK."

How processed baby food became king

The Atlantic has a story "How Canned Baby Food Became King" which as an interview with author Amy Bentley.

"Food consumption is a significant and complex social activity—and what a society chooses to feed its children reveals much about its tastes and ideas regarding health. In this groundbreaking historical work, Amy Bentley explores how the invention of commercial baby food shaped American notions of infancy and influenced the evolution of parental and pediatric care.

Until the late nineteenth century, infants were almost exclusively fed breast milk. But over the course of a few short decades, Americans began feeding their babies formula and solid foods, frequently as early as a few weeks after birth."

“Baby-food manufacturers are doing what they should be doing which is trying to increase their sales, right?” asks food historian Amy Bentley, an associate professor of food studies at New York University. “They're writing recipes that use baby food as an ingredient and sending them to women's page editors all over the country. It's seen as a novelty and an interesting convenience.”

Dialysis protocol for patients with Ebola

"Dialysis can be successfully and safely performed in a patient with Ebola virus disease, physicians at Emory University School of Medicine report.

A patient with Ebola virus disease who required renal replacement therapy and respiratory support was recently treated at Emory University Hospital and later recovered and was discharged. Providing hemodialysis was previously thought to be too risky because it involves large needles or catheters and potential contact with infectious blood."

The full paper is published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Connor MJ, Kraft C, Mehta AK, Varkey JB, Lyon GM, Crozier I, Ströher U, Ribner BS, Franch HA. Successful Delivery of RRT in Ebola Virus Disease. JASN 2014 Nov;ASN.2014111057. Available from:

The US Is Stockpiling Ebola Survivors’ Plasma to Treat Future Patients

The US Is Stockpiling Ebola Survivors’ Plasma to Treat Future Patients.

"Emory University Hospital will begin stockpiling blood plasma from Ebola survivors, treated with a pathogen inactivation system that’s never been used before in the United States, the company that developed the technology announced on Friday. So far, the US has had some amazing success in curing Ebola, possibly thanks to experimental plasma treatments. Drawn from survivors, the stuff comes enriched in antibodies that could help to fight off the disease—but it also has the potential to carry other diseases, like malaria, that are common in west Africa where Ebola is raging. The new system will kill off any extra contaminants that may be lurking in this potentially live-saving serum."

Modeling pain in vitro using nociceptor neurons reprogrammed from fibroblasts

'Pain in a dish': Scientists create living model of human nerve cells.

"Harvard University researchers said they have generated the human nerve cells that normally send painful stimuli to the brain by reprogramming ordinary skin cells experimentally so that they develop into fully mature, adult pain neurons.

The result is “pain in a dish”, which they believe could be used to discover new kinds of analgesics and other forms of pain relief, as well as helping to find out why some people are more prone to feeling chronic pain than others."

Wainger BJ, Buttermore ED, Oliveira JT, Mellin C, Lee S, Saber WA, Wang AJ, Ichida JK, Chiu IM, Barrett L, Huebner EA, Bilgin C, Tsujimoto N, Brenneis C, Kapur K, Rubin LL, Eggan K, Woolf CJ. Modeling pain in vitro using nociceptor neurons reprogrammed from fibroblasts. Nat Neurosci 2014 Nov;advance online publication Available from: