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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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Video: Tiny Container Could Make Blood Tests Less Painful
24 April 2012 7:00 pm
Good news for people who hate big needles: Researchers have invented a device that could allow diagnostics to be performed with just a single drop of blood. The apparatus is a container a few millimeters wide that consists of a conductive base covered with an elastic layer of polydimethylsiloxane or PDMS, a silicone compound. When liquid is dripped on the PDMS, the layer wraps around the ensuing droplet thanks to its surface tension—the same force that causes water to curl upward at the sides of a glass. In this configuration, the droplet cannot escape. To release it, the researchers simply insert a thin electrode: Together with the conductive base, the electrode creates an electric field which forces the PDMS layer to unwrap (as seen above). The researchers believe that their container, which is described in a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society A, could enable blood tests to be performed with a single drop of blood, because it would enable droplets to be transported without evaporating or becoming contaminated. That would reduce patient discomfort, and possibly save time. What's more, the researchers think their container could deliver minute quantities of drugs to diseased cells, thereby avoiding having to administer potentially harmful drugs to the entire body.
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