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Electronics that keep working even when repeatedly stretched and flexed have improved significantly in the last few years to the point that now they're finally being introduced into real wearable medical devices. At Northwestern University, John Rogers, the scientist responsible for many achievements in the field of flexible electronics (see flashbacks below), has developed new sensors that stick directly to the skin on the throat and measure vibrations produced by the vocal chords. They are also able to help assess how patients swallow and aid in identifying unusual speech characteristics...
A number of diseases are treated using light therapy. These include acne, actinic keratosis, jaundice, Paget's disease, and psoriasis. Modern light blankets use arrays of LEDs to produce illumination, but light emitted by LEDs can be quite weak compared to light produced by a laser. Photodynamic therapy light lamps, on the other hand, can create painful therapy sessions because of their indiscriminate and intense light. Texinov Medical Textiles, a company based outside of Lyon, France, with help from the European health consortium PHOS-ISTOS, has announced developing a knitted soft fabric called FLUXMEDICARE that...
Google has been tinkering in the field of medicine over the last few years, including developing a prototype electronic contact lens. The company's latest health project involves detecting cardiovascular conditions by analyzing the vasculature of the retina. The researchers built a deep learning system that processed data from two datasets containing thousands of patients, each of which included images of a patient's retina along with various risk factors and health conditions such smoking and high blood pressure. The system found correlations between various parameters measured within the retinal images and...
Scientists at the University of Tokyo have developed an elastic display that can be affixed to the skin to display the waveform of an electrocardiogram, or other health parameters, detected by a skin sensor. When combined with a communication module, the system can transmit the data to a smartphone and the cloud, allowing doctors to monitor patients remotely. Wearable sensors that can record a variety of patient vitals, and then transmit these data to the cloud, are becoming more common. While it is important that health data are transmitted to...
The da Vinci surgical robotic systems from Intuitive Surgical have become extremely popular among physicians and patients, though there are some controversies surrounding costs of procedures and complications. The system is so inspiring that Amin Akhshi, an industrial product designer, has imagined a future da Vinci system. Akhshi's design provides easy access to the patient thanks to a single pole that holds the instruments in suspension. The instruments move in and out of the patient in a new way and there are a bunch of other changes and design ideas...
Arterys, a San Francisco, California firm, won FDA clearance for its Arterys Oncology AI suite. The cleared software aids in finding lesions within CT images of the lungs (Lung AI) and in both CT and MRI when assessing the liver (Liver AI). It uses artificial intelligence methods to segment lesions and nodules, and in evaluations versus certified radiologists it performed as well as them. The online software, accessible using a browser, allows a radiologist to measure and track the progress of tumors and suspected tumors. Because it doesn't require any...
Optogenetics is a powerful method developed over the past few years that lets scientists use light to activate specific genetically modified neurons within the brain. This technology still has a lot of time left in the lab before it can help to address human diseases, but that reality may be a bit closer thanks to a team of Japanese scientists. One major limitation of optogenetics is that it requires the use of light in the green to blue color range, but the brain mercilessly scatters light in this frequency range....
Today's batteries are full of limitations that make it a challenge to use them inside the body to power medical devices. They are rigid and are typically made of toxic materials, are difficult to recharge once implanted, and have a lifetime that requires replacement. Researchers at the University of Fribourg, University of Michigan, and University of California San Diego have teamed up to develop an electric eel-inspired power source that would remain inside the body, completely alleviating the need to use batteries. In an electric eel, special cells called electrocytes are...
Edwards Lifesciences won European approval to introduce its brand new CENTERA transcatheter aortic valve prosthesis. The self-expanding stent comes attached to the delivery instrument, a major improvement over other valves that have to be squeezed, inserted, and attached to the catheter before they can be used. Moreover, a motor-powered handle helps with releasing the valve once it is positioned. It can be repositioned and removed, if necessary, the same way it came in. The implant is indicated for severe, symptomatic aortic stenosis patients for whom open-heart surgery would not be...
Taking pills can be easy to forget and factors such as unpleasant side effects can significantly contribute to missed doses. This is especially true for serious diseases with complicated and prolonged regimens, often leading to decreased patient adherence at a time when staying on a drug regimen is especially important. AdhereTech currently helps patients around the world with its adherence programs. The company’s smart pill bottle and underlying software detect compliance with medications, alerts patients when they miss a dose, and can directly notify the patients’ specialty pharmacy if it...
Researchers at the Harvard Wyss Institute have developed a way to effectively culture donor intestinal cells in an organ-on-a-chip device. The technique opens the door to developing personalized medicines for intestinal conditions. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="422"] A series of confocal microscopy sections taken through the intestinal epithelial and vascular channels of the primary Small Intestine-on-a-Chip visualizes first the surface of epithelial villi-like structures (in red) and nuclei (in blue) of small intestinal epithelial cells in the intestinal channel, and then cell-cell contacts (in green) of intestinal endothelial cells in the...

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