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Pea-sized pill delivers insulin shot from inside the stomach

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Scientists figured out how to hide a shot inside a pea-sized pill — creating a swallowable gadget, inspired by a tortoise shell, that can inject medicines like insulin from inside the stomach.

Patients usually prefer oral treatment, and comply with it better, but many compounds, including insulin for diabetes, can’t survive the harsh trip through the digestive system.

The new invention, reported by a Massachusetts Institute of Technology-led research team, has been tested only in animals so far. But if it pans out, it might offer a work-around to make not just insulin but a variety of usually injected medicines a little easier to take.

 

“It’s like a miniaturized rocket launcher” for insulin, said Willem Mulder of Mount Sinai’s Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, who wasn’t involved in the new research.

Carrie Lemay says having a diabetes alert dog, trained to detect and alert her to low blood sugar, will help give her peace of mind. Lemay and five other people with Type 1 diabetes met their new canine companions this week in Oakville, Ontario.

Scientists have spent decades trying to develop oral insulin and replace at least some of the daily shots that many people with diabetes require. Attempts include ways to protect insulin from digestive breakdown and then help it be absorbed through the intestine into the bloodstream. So far none has reached the market, although some closely watched candidates are being tested.

An ingestible injection could bypass the hazards of that journey — letting insulin absorb through the wall of the stomach, said Dr. Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist at Boston’s Brigham & Women’s Hospital and a senior author of the study.

“The way this works is it travels down the esophagus in seconds, it’s in the stomach within a few minutes, and then you get the drug,” said Traverso, who worked with a team from the lab of MIT inventor Robert Langer and insulin maker Novo Nordisk.

The first challenge: How to make sure the device lands where it can poke into the right spot, even if someone’s moving around. Researchers looked to nature for ideas.

A certain tortoise, the leopard tortoise from Africa, can right itself if flipped onto its back thanks to the steep curve of its shell. Researchers crafted a miniature capsule with a similar shape and a weighted bottom, so that once it reaches the stomach it automatically rolls in the right direction to latch on, Traverso explained.

Next the team designed a micro-injector, like a needle only made of dried insulin compressed into a sharp point. To power it, researchers bound a tiny spring to a hardened sugar disk.

Stomach acid gradually dissolves the sugar until the spring pops, shooting the insulin into the stomach wall.

In pigs, the ingestible injection lowered blood sugar to levels comparable to standard shots, according to the study published Thursday in the journal Science.
Once the insulin was absorbed, the capsule, made of stainless steel and a biodegradable material, floated free and was excreted.

“It’s a very clever idea, that is meant to solve a very long-standing problem,” said University of Pittsburgh chemical engineering chairman Steven Little, who also wasn’t part of the research. Because the gadget passes through, “the only thing administered to the body is this little injector.”

One hurdle: It works on an empty stomach, with nothing to get in the way of the device latching on. Traverso said that means it might one day replace morning insulin shots but not post-meal doses.

If poking into the stomach wall sounds worrisome, Traverso said gastroenterologists have long used bigger needles to deliver medicines during certain gastric procedures and their patients fare well. The stomach muscle is thick enough not to worry about a micro-injection piercing all the way through, and the animal studies found no side effects. But Traverso said more research is needed to see how the stomach handles daily micro-injections over many months.

Additional animal studies are under way, and Traverso hopes human testing can begin within three years.


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Bose Frames AR Audio Sunglasses Launched in India, Priced at Rs. 21,900

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Over a year after originally showcasing its audio AR sunglasses, Bose is bringing them to the Indian market. The company on Thursday announced that the sunglasses, which are simply known as Bose Frames, will go on sale beginning next week in the country alongside Bose Frames Lens Collection. The Bose Frames combine three functionalities into one device – premium sunglasses, wireless headphones, and audio AR features. The Bose Frames are the company’s first product to be based on the company’s AR platform.

The Bose Frames carry a price tag of Rs. 21,900 and will be offered in two universal styles – the larger Alto and the smaller Rondo. The Bose Frames Lens Collection of non-polarised and polarised lenses will retail at Rs. 1,990 and Rs. 2,990, respectively. The sales open June 20 via select resellers and Bose stores in the country.

The Bose Frames are essentially a pair of sunglasses that pack a tiny Bose audio system in the temples. This audio system effectively turns them into a wireless pair of headphones. The Bose Frames also include a microphone and multi-function button on the right temple for power and pairing, Siri and Google Assistant, calls and commands, or to pause and skip songs.

 

“With a proprietary open-ear design, they [Bose Frames] take micro-acoustics, voice control, and personal audio to an entirely new level, so users can stream music and information, take and make calls, and access virtual assistants from — while keeping playlists, entertainment, and conversations private,” Bose said in a statement.

Like many wearable devices, the Bose Frames act as a companion device to your smartphone and need the same for processing the information and connecting to the Web.

As we mentioned earlier, the Bose Frames will be released in two designs – Alto and Rondo. Alto is square and angled, whereas Rondo is round and smaller. Both can block up to 99 percent of UVA/UVB rays and weigh just 45 grams. The lenses can be easily popped out and replaced.

Apart from the audio capabilities, the Frames are also compatible with Bose’s AR platform. The Bose Frames don’t include any visual AR capabilities, but they can provide audio AR input to enhance your experience.

“[Bose Frames] knows where you are and what you’re facing using a 9-axis head motion sensor and the GPS from your iOS or Android device — and automatically adds a layer of audio through Bose AR apps, connecting that place and time to endless possibilities for travel, learning, entertainment, gaming, and more,” Bose explained.

Bose AR apps can be downloaded using Bose Connect app and are only available for iOS right now. Android apps are being developed, according to the company’s website.

The company claims that onboard battery can last up to 3.5 hours for playback and up to 12 hours on standby. It can be fully recharged in less than two hours.

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Novel device can quickly detect strokes

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Scientists have developed a device that can monitor blood flow and help quickly diagnose and treat strokes.

A stroke, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, occurs due to poor blood flow to the brain — a condition known as cerebral ischemia.

Its diagnosis must be done within the first few hours for treatment to be effective, researchers said.

 

The hybrid device, developed by researchers at the China Academy of Engineering Physics and Army Medical University in China, relies on a combination of to light measuring techniques which could diagnose cerebral ischemia non-invasively and faster than the techniques used currently.

“We can measure blood volume, blood oxygenation and blood flow using suitable near-infrared techniques,” said Liguo Zhu, from China Academy of Engineering Physics.

Zhu said that “near-infrared light penetrates one to three centimetres and allows researchers to probe under the skin.”

The working of the instrument relies on the combination of the near-infrared diffuse optical spectroscopy, which analyses the light scattered from the tissues to calculate the amount of oxygen and blood within an area, and the diffuse correlation spectroscopy, which analyses fluctuation in the tissue-scattered lights to measure blood flow.

“Both techniques share the same detectors, which decreases the number of detectors compared to other instruments,” said Zhu.

“The team’s device can record a comprehensive profile of a body part’s hemodynamics, or blood circulation. Devices should measure as many ‘hemodynamic parameters’ as necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis, as ‘the hemodynamics of stroke is complex’,” said Hua Feng, from Army Medical University.

Another advantage of the device is that it is cheap and compact, which would make more accessible to the people, and hence, help treatment, diagnosis and chances of stroke, researchers said.

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Parineeti ‘still learning’ to play badminton

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Actress Parineeti Chopra has not started shooting for ‘Saina’ yet and says she is still learning how to play badminton.

Parineeti on Thursday said that the shooting for the biopic will commence in October.

“Hi everyone, we have not started the shoot of ‘Saina’ yet. I am still learning how to play Badminton! We will start in October once I get better at it! Four months to go,” she tweeted.

 

Parineeti had replaced actress Shraddha Kapoor in the Saina Nehwal biopic, which is being directed by Amole Gupte.

She will next be seen in ‘Jabariya Jodi’ along with actor Sidharth Malhotra. The film is scheduled for release on August 2. Directed by Prashant Singh, ‘Jabariya Jodi’ is based on ‘Pakadwa Vivah’ (forced marriage), which was once rampant in Bihar.

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