New kidney stone treatment moves and breaks them with minimal pain

A new kidney stone treatment uses ultrasound to move and break up renal calculi without sedation. [Photo courtesy of University of Washington]

A new kidney stone treatment uses ultrasound to reposition and break up renal calculi in patients with minimal pain, no surgery and no anesthesia.

University of Washington researchers are using ultrasound propulsion to move kidney stones for easier passage from the kidney through the ureter to the bladder. They also have burst wave lithotripsy to break them into smaller pieces.

Doctors often advise kidney stone patients to let the stones pass naturally, a process that can mean weeks of intermittent, intense pain.

Even then, some stones are too large to pass. Health providers then turn to extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy to break them up. It’s a painful procedure that requires sedation and can cause damage to the kidney.

It’s also pos…

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Could your smart speaker monitor your heart rate?

Lead author Anran Wang sits with the smart speaker prototype (white box in foreground) the team used for the study. (Image by Mark Stone, University of Washington)

Hey Alexa, how’s my heart rate?

Researchers at the University of Washington say they’ve devised a way to enable smart speakers to work as contact-free heart-rate monitors.

Their proof-of-concept uses algorithms that transform the smart speaker into a short-range active sonar system and measure heart rate and inter-beat intervals (R-R intervals) for both regular and irregular rhythms, according to a study published in Nature Communications Biology.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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New research suggests neutralizing antibodies could help against COVID-19

This transmission electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that causes COVID-19 – isolated from a patient in the U.S. The protrusions visible on the outside are the spike proteins that the virus particles use to fuse with and gain entry to host cells. [Image courtesy of NIAID]

New findings from an international research team suggest that neutralizing antibodies could have a use as a preventative treatment or as a post-exposure therapy against COVID-19.

Their latest findings, which drew on data gathered from Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Advanced Light Source (ALS) — suggest that antibodies derived from SARS survivors could potently block entry of SARS-CoV-2 and other closely related coronaviruses into host cells. The scientists, who recently published their work in Nature, noted that the most promising candidate antibody is already on an accelerated development path toward clin…

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