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Bio-optics breakthroughs: Highlights of medical and bioscience research at Frontiers in Optics 2009
Date:9/29/2009

ng diode (LED) illuminates the baby's airway and a camera at the end helps medical professionals to maneuver the tube and to teach others how to do the procedure.

The group has successfully tested a prototype on a mannequin and is working to create a second version suitable for testing in clinical trials. (Paper FthP3, "Design and Prototype Fabrication of a Neonatal Video Laryngoscope" is at 2:15 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15).

MICROFINE SURGERY WITH POWERFUL LASER PULSES

Targeting living cells with laser pulses has been a powerful technique in biology for a number of years. Lasers can punch holes in cell membranes or cut one part of a cell off from another, revealing how the various pieces of a cell function. In recent years, neurobiologists have begun embracing precise laser nanosurgery as a way of revealing the function of individual neurons. Short but powerful laser pulses can deposit considerable energy onto a tiny spot, cleanly cutting a nerve cell without cooking the surrounding tissue. By severing the branches of nerve fibers in creatures like worms or mice, scientists can determine what parts of the body those nerves control.

At the Frontiers in Optics conference, Eric Mazur of Harvard University will describe how laser nanosurgery works, based on his own studies of the worm-like nematode C. elegans. One nematode in particular has a genetic mutation that renders it unable to coordinate its movement. It can wiggle, but it cannot easily move forward or backward. Mazur and his colleagues have shown that they can restore normal motion to this creature by cutting a single neuron. (Paper FWA1, "Nanosurgery with Femtosecond Lasers" is at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12).

DIGITAL CAMERA SEES A SHARPER MIND

Try as you might, you can never hold perfectly still -- your body will twitch and jerk with movements nearly invisible to the eye. And if you're a patient in a hospital or the subject of a research study, this squirm
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Contact: Angela Stark
astark@osa.org
202-416-1443
Optical Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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