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Summer First Aid Tips

Walking home last night, I witnessed a variety of Independence Day near-mishaps, as cars drove past twinkling buckets of fire, children made their first explosions, and hardcore fireworks dudes lit up the night. The National Safety Council declares Independence Day the most dangerous holiday, so I figured I'd share some first aid links to help you cope with this summer's injuries.

First up: 10 Useless or Even Dangerous First Aid Myths reports on what not to do to treat a snakebite, jellyfish sting, or shin splints. Next, the Mayo Clinic gives you first aid info for burns, likely to be a popular link as Americans use up their leftover stores of fireworks in the coming weeks. The University of Maine brings us First Aid for Bee and Insect Stings, also a summer favorite. If you're getting crafty with the table saw, consult first aid for an accidentally amputated finger. (You may also need How to Stop Mild Bleeding During First Aid or the page on severe bleeding.)

But not all injuries are traumatic incidents in the field. I could have used this a few years ago after an impromptu walking tour of Los Angeles: first aid for blisters (again from the Mayo Clinic). To improve your finger health, here's a video on how to treat a hangnail. Here are five steps to stop a nosebleed (see also the slightly amazing Nosebleed Center). For the clean-shaven among us: How to Remove an Ingrown Hair (also: How to Prevent Razor Burn).

So, did you sustain any injuries on the Fourth? Did you immediately consult Google, as I do? Okay, we're all on the same page here.

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Medicine
New Cancer-Fighting Nanobots Can Track Down Tumors and Cut Off Their Blood Supply
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Scientists have developed a new way to cut off the blood flow to cancerous tumors, causing them to eventually shrivel up and die. As Business Insider reports, the new treatment uses a design inspired by origami to infiltrate crucial blood vessels while leaving the rest of the body unharmed.

A team of molecular chemists from Arizona State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences describe their method in the journal Nature Biotechnology. First, they constructed robots that are 1000 times smaller than a human hair from strands of DNA. These tiny devices contain enzymes called thrombin that encourage blood clotting, and they're rolled up tightly enough to keep the substance contained.

Next, researchers injected the robots into the bloodstreams of mice and small pigs sick with different types of cancer. The DNA sought the tumor in the body while leaving healthy cells alone. The robot knew when it reached the tumor and responded by unfurling and releasing the thrombin into the blood vessel that fed it. A clot started to form, eventually blocking off the tumor's blood supply and causing the cancerous tissues to die.

The treatment has been tested on dozen of animals with breast, lung, skin, and ovarian cancers. In mice, the average life expectancy doubled, and in three of the skin cancer cases tumors regressed completely.

Researchers are optimistic about the therapy's effectiveness on cancers throughout the body. There's not much variation between the blood vessels that supply tumors, whether they're in an ovary in or a prostate. So if triggering a blood clot causes one type of tumor to waste away, the same method holds promise for other cancers.

But before the scientists think too far ahead, they'll need to test the treatments on human patients. Nanobots have been an appealing cancer-fighting option to researchers for years. If effective, the machines can target cancer at the microscopic level without causing harm to healthy cells. But if something goes wrong, the bots could end up attacking the wrong tissue and leave the patient worse off. Study co-author Hao Yan believes this latest method may be the one that gets it right. He said in a statement, "I think we are much closer to real, practical medical applications of the technology."

[h/t Business Insider]

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New Peanut Allergy Patch Could Be Coming to Pharmacies This Year
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About 6 million people in the U.S. and Europe have severe peanut allergies, including more than 2 million children. Now, French biotechnology company DBV Technologies SA has secured an FDA review for its peanut allergy patch, Bloomberg reports.

If approved, the company aims to start selling the Viaskin patch to children afflicted with peanut allergies in the second half of 2018. The FDA's decision comes in spite of the patch's disappointing study results last year, which found the product to be less effective than DBV hoped (though it did receive high marks for safety). The FDA has also granted Viaskin breakthrough-therapy and fast-track designations, which means a faster review process.

DBV's potentially life-saving product is a small disc that is placed on the arm or between the shoulder blades. It works like a vaccine, exposing the wearer's immune system to micro-doses of peanut protein to increase tolerance. It's intended to reduce the chances of having a severe allergic reaction to accidental exposure.

The patch might have competition: Aimmune Therapeutics Inc., which specializes in food allergy treatments, and the drug company Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. are working together to develop a cure for peanut allergies.

[h/t Bloomberg]

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