In a major study conducted at 20 centers in the United States and Europe, a bioartificial liver developed by researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center reduced mortality significantly among patients suffering from acute liver failure, the dramatic loss of liver function that can cause death in days or even hours. Study results are published in the May issue of Annals of Surgery.
This is the first large-scale, prospective, randomized, multi-center trial examining the effectiveness of any artificial liver support. Currently, standard treatment consists of intensive, supportive care intended to keep patients alive long enough that the liver might recover spontaneously or a donor organ will become available for transplantation.
Acute liver failure is diagnosed when a massive loss of hepatic cells causes severe liver dysfunction and life-threatening complications within six months of the onset of symptoms. When this dysfunction occurs within the first eight weeks after onset, liver failure is termed "fulminant." When it occurs in the period between eight weeks and six months, it is "subfulminant" (or late-onset). In either case, few patients survive the resulting fluid buildup in the brain, catastrophic bacterial infections, multi-organ failure, blood-clotting abnormalities, respiratory problems, kidney failure or other potential complications. It is estimated, in fact, that up to 80 percent of patients will die unless they receive a liver transplant.
Sandra Van | Van Communications
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The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.
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Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.
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After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.
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