Archive for August 28th, 2012

Page 1 of 3123

Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box

Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box

FutureMed: Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box

“We are trying to reshape electronics to advance the quality of life,” said David Icke, CEO of MC10 at a special FutureMed-organized event on the evening of February 10. Icke explained that his company was working to free “electronics from the tyranny of rigid wafers,” enabling them to interface with soft tissue.

While the exponential pace of development has enabled phenomenal gains in computing power, modern electronics are typically rigid and packaged into boxy devices. It is certainly true that the mobile paradigm has changed how (and how often) we interact with electronic devices, but Icke predicts that further changes are on the horizon and that the next big trend will be conformable electronics.

MC10 is working to hasten that transformation. “We are trying to take electronics out of the proverbial box and interface them with the body,” he said at the event. “Flexible electronics have been around for a long time but not at the microelectronics level with the performance you need to really enable a new world of wearable devices and medical devices,” Icke explained. MC10 is working to enable that new world by developing electronics that stretch and expand with the body. The technology can be used on the body, and even inside of the body.

slider img 4 FutureMed: Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box The basic principle that enables electronics to flex starts with the observation that if you make something thin, you can start to make it flexible. “If you compare a two-by-four with a tissue paper, they are the same fundamental material,” Icke said. Silicon is the same way. “If you have a wafer in a semiconductor fab, it is very thick so it doesn’t break, but it is rigid and brittle.” But, if made thin enough, the material becomes somewhat flexible.

The technology that MC10 is working on is composed of thin nanoribbons of silicon that are arranged in accordion-like in waves. The resulting material can stretch and conform to the contours of the human body—like Spandex or Nylon.

The flexible electronics could be used for a range of applications from optimizing the performance of, say, an athlete or soldier, to monitoring safety and preventing injury, Icke said.

MC10 is now working on using the technology in low-cost paper diagnostics in a partnership with the Gates Foundation and Diagnostics for All. The diagnostic components can be printed with a standard ink-jet printer and include integrated electronics.

slider img 3 FutureMed: Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box Other applications of the technology are what Icke described as “epidermal electronics” and “interventional circuits”. Examples of the latter could include smart stents and multifunctional optoelectronic catheters that can measure atrial fibrillation, Icke said.

The technology’s application for skin-based electronics got a good deal of attention when it was picked up by the press last year. These electronics, which are about five microns thick, can be applied like an artificial tattoo. “The modulus is matched to the skin, so when you squeeze it, it moves right along with the skin,” Icke said.

“We are trying to reshape electronics to advance the quality of life,” said David Icke, CEO of MC10 at a special FutureMed-organized event on the evening of February 10. Icke explained that his company was working to free “electronics from the tyranny of rigid wafers,” enabling them to interface with soft tissue.

While the exponential pace of development has enabled phenomenal gains in computing power, modern electronics are typically rigid and packaged into boxy devices. It is certainly true that the mobile paradigm has changed how (and how often) we interact with electronic devices, but Icke predicts that further changes are on the horizon and that the next big trend will be conformable electronics.

MC10 is working to hasten that transformation. “We are trying to take electronics out of the proverbial box and interface them with the body,” he said at the event. “Flexible electronics have been around for a long time but not at the microelectronics level with the performance you need to really enable a new world of wearable devices and medical devices,” Icke explained. MC10 is working to enable that new world by developing electronics that stretch and expand with the body. The technology can be used on the body, and even inside of the body.

slider img 4 FutureMed: Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box The basic principle that enables electronics to flex starts with the observation that if you make something thin, you can start to make it flexible. “If you compare a two-by-four with a tissue paper, they are the same fundamental material,” Icke said. Silicon is the same way. “If you have a wafer in a semiconductor fab, it is very thick so it doesn’t break, but it is rigid and brittle.” But, if made thin enough, the material becomes somewhat flexible.

The technology that MC10 is working on is composed of thin nanoribbons of silicon that are arranged in accordion-like in waves. The resulting material can stretch and conform to the contours of the human body—like Spandex or Nylon.

The flexible electronics could be used for a range of applications from optimizing the performance of, say, an athlete or soldier, to monitoring safety and preventing injury, Icke said.

MC10 is now working on using the technology in low-cost paper diagnostics in a partnership with the Gates Foundation and Diagnostics for All. The diagnostic components can be printed with a standard ink-jet printer and include integrated electronics.

slider img 3 FutureMed: Taking Electronics Out of the Proverbial Box Other applications of the technology are what Icke described as “epidermal electronics” and “interventional circuits”. Examples of the latter could include smart stents and multifunctional optoelectronic catheters that can measure atrial fibrillation, Icke said.

The technology’s application for skin-based electronics got a good deal of attention when it was picked up by the press last year. These electronics, which are about five microns thick, can be applied like an artificial tattoo. “The modulus is matched to the skin, so when you squeeze it, it moves right along with the skin,” Icke said.

MC10 is a company we’ve been curiously following that’s making waves with their flexible electronics technology that may revolutionize the capabilities of medical implants. We had a chance to visit the company labs and speak with the scientists working on flexible electronics.

Source : http://www./futuremed-taking-electronics-out-of-the-proverbial-box.html

Full story

Now Even Sutures Are Becoming Electronic

Now Even Sutures Are Becoming Electronic

Now Even Sutures Are Becoming Electronic

Surgical sutures are mindless threads no more. Researchers have now coated them with sensors that could monitor wounds and speed up healing.

The electronic sutures, which contain ultrathin silicon sensors integrated on polymer or silk strips, can be threaded through needles, and in animal tests researchers were able to lace them through skin, pull them tight, and knot them without degrading the devices.

The sutures can precisely measure temperature—elevated temperatures indicate infection—and deliver heat to a wound site, which is known to aid healing. And John Rogers, professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and inventor of the smart sutures, imagines that they could also be laden with devices that provide electrical stimulation to heal wounds. “Ultimately, the most value would be when you can release drugs from them in a programmed way,” he says. The researchers could do that by coating the electronic threads with drug-infused polymers, which would release the chemicals when triggered by heat or an electrical pulse.

Advertisement

The smart sutures, reported online in the journal Small, rely on silicon-based devices that flex and stretch. Rogers and his colleagues make the devices with silicon membranes and gold electrodes and wires that are just a few hundred nanometers thick and patterned in a serpentine shape. The technology, which they have also used in inflatable catheters and medical tattoos (see “Stick-On Electronic Tattoos”), is being commercialized by MC10, a Cambridge, Massachusetts–based startup Rogers cofounded (see “Making Stretchable Electronics”).

The researchers first use chemicals to slice off an ultrathin film of silicon from a silicon wafer. With a rubber stamp, they lift off and transfer the nanomembranes to polymer or silk strips. Then they deposit metal electrodes and wires on top and encapsulate the entire device in an epoxy coating.

They have built two types of temperature sensors on the sutures. One is a silicon diode that shifts its current output with temperature; the other, a platinum nanomembrane resistor, changes its resistance with temperature. The micro-heaters, meanwhile, are simply gold filaments that heat up when current passes through them.

All the materials used in the devices are safe for use in the body, and the biggest challenge was to make the sutures flexible, Rogers says. Silicon is brittle, so making the nanomembranes as thin as possible and laying them out in a winding pattern was key for elasticity. Placing the silicon halfway between the top epoxy and bottom polymer surfaces of the suture is also crucial. “When you bend the entire construct, the top surface is in tension and the bottom is in compression, but at midpoint the strains are very small,” he says.

The researchers have tested the sutures’ mechanical flexibility and toughness on incisions in rat skin, but they haven’t tested the temperature sensing and heating capabilities in animals yet. They are also working on making the devices wireless.

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Proper healing of incised skin is critical to the natural processes of tissue repair. Concepts in flexible silicon electronics enable integration of actuators, sensors and a variety of semiconductor devices onto thin strips of plastic or biopolymers, to yield ‘instrumented’ suture threads for monitoring and accelerating the wound healing in this context. Bifacial systems of this type demonstrate various classes of functionality, in live animal models. Detailed modelling of the mechanics reveals stress and strain distributions in such applications, to support design strategies for robust operation.

Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Proper healing of incised skin is critical to the natural processes of tissue repair. Concepts in flexible silicon electronics enable integration of actuators, sensors and a variety of semiconductor devices onto thin strips of plastic or biopolymers, to yield ‘instrumented’ suture threads for monitoring and accelerating the wound healing in this context. Bifacial systems of this type demonstrate various classes of functionality, in live animal models. Detailed modelling of the mechanics reveals stress and strain distributions in such applications, to support design strategies for robust operation.

Source : http://www.technologyreview.com/news/428969/smart-sutures-that-detect-infections/

Full story

Glove Tricorder Seeks to Bring Human Touch Back to Diagnostic Medicine

Glove Tricorder Seeks to Bring Human Touch Back to Diagnostic Medicine

Glove Tricorder Seeks to Bring Human Touch Back to Diagnostic Medicine

It may look like an early prototype of the Power Glove, but this wearable “tricorder” is not only less embarrassing than the doomed Nintendo peripheral — it’s also quite a bit more advanced technologically. This second prototype of the medical gadget is home to a veritable arsenal of sensors, including an accelerometer, pressure and temperature modules. Eventually, Med Sensation hopes to place ultrasound pads on the fingertips, allowing physicians to peer inside the body while they poke and prod in an attempt to diagnose you. At the moment, the system is better suited for providing feedback — guiding trainees in the proper techniques for giving exams. Ultimately though, the hope is to put these in (or would that be on?) the hands of average Joes and Janes. Individuals could then check for lumps or enlarged organs at home, without having to spend half the day sitting in a waiting room. For a brief demonstration, check out the video after the break.

A Singularity University startup called Med Sensation has released a prototype of a new device called the Glove Tricorder that contains sensors to assist medical personnel and may one day potentially diagnose cancer and other diseases. Med Sensation believes that human-human contact between a physician and patient is extremely powerful, so they sought to create a solution that utilizes the power of sensor technology and the benefits of human touch.

The Glove Tricorder, which is currently in the second prototype stage, is equipped with temperature, pressure, accelerometer sensors, and is designed to aid medical students and doctors in providing feedback regarding what they are doing right and wrong in their physical examination techniques. Soon however, Med Sensation hopes to add ultrasound transducers to the fingertips, which could allow patients themselves to check for breast cancer and other illnesses.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv6RwdqMQJg&feature=player_embedded

Source : http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/24/glove-tricorder-helps-train-doctors/

Full story

Dense-Array Electroencephalography with Source Imaging Gives a New View into Epilepsy

Dense-Array Electroencephalography with Source Imaging Gives a New View into Epilepsy

Dense-Array Electroencephalography with Source Imaging Gives a New View into Epilepsy

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (08/24/2012) —A team of University of Minnesota biomedical engineers and researchers from Mayo Clinic published a groundbreaking study today that outlines how a new type of non-invasive brain scan taken immediately after a seizure gives additional insight into possible causes and treatments for epilepsy patients. The new findings could specifically benefit millions of people who are unable to control their epilepsy with medication.

The research was published online today in Brain, a leading international journal of neurology.

Temporal lobe seizures have a significant chance to induce impairment of normal brain functions. Even after the termination of ictal discharges, during the post-ictal period, loss of consciousness, decreased responsiveness or other cognitive dysfunctions can persist. Previous studies have found various anatomical and functional abnormalities accompanying temporal lobe seizures, including an abnormal elevation of cortical slow waves. Intracranial electroencephalography studies have shown a prominent increase of lower frequency components during and following seizures that impair (complex partial seizures) but not those that preserve (simple partial seizures) normal consciousness and responsiveness. However, due to the limited spatial coverage of intracranial electroencephalography, the investigation of cortical slow waves cannot be easily extended to the whole brain. In this study, we used scalp electroencephalography to study the spectral features and spatial distribution of post-ictal slow waves with comprehensive spatial coverage. We studied simple partial, complex partial and secondarily generalized seizures in 28 patients with temporal lobe seizures. We used dense-array electroencephalography and source imaging to reconstruct the post-ictal slow-wave distribution. In the studied cohort, we found that a ‘global’ spectral power shift to lower frequencies accompanied the increased severity of seizures. The delta spectral power relative to higher frequency bands was highest for secondarily generalized seizures, followed by complex partial seizures and lastly simple partial seizures. In addition to this ‘global’ spectral shift, we found a ‘regional’ spatial shift in slow-wave activity. Secondarily generalized seizures and complex partial seizures exhibited increased slow waves distributed to frontal areas with spread to contralateral temporal and parietal regions than in simple partial seizures. These results revealed that a widespread cortical network including temporal and fronto-parietal cortex is involved in abnormal slow-wave activity following temporal lobe seizures. The differential spectral and spatial shifts of post-ictal electroencephalography activity in simple partial, complex partial and secondarily generalized seizures suggest a possible connection between cortical slow waves and behavioural and cognitive changes in a human epilepsy model.

Epileptic seizures have mystified people for thousands of years, appearing in the Bible numerous times as evidence of wicked spirits invading innocent human hosts. Though Jesus reportedly treated these cases with divine intervention, he failed to leave clinical guidelines, leaving modern clinicians to continue to be confounded by epilepsy.

An important factor when deciding what treatment option to offer an individual patient is knowing where in the brain the electrical storm is generated. Commonly EEG is used when a patient is experiencing a seizure to do this localization, but now researchers from University of Minnesota and Mayo Clinic have shown that a high density EEG test immediately following a seizure offers similar ability. They used an EEG array of 76 electrodes (more than double the 32 usually used) to study 28 epileptic patients and discovered that the frontal lobe is a predominant source of the seizure during particularly severe episodes. The researchers hope the new technology will be adopted to help individual patients address the unique nature of their disease.

Source : http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2012/UR_CONTENT_406575.html

Full story

The Alzheimer’s Bus Stop… to Nowhere

The Alzheimer’s Bus Stop… to Nowhere

The Alzheimer’s Bus Stop… to Nowhere

German nursing homes started a trend that has taken hold of European nursing homes throughout the country: fake bus stops for Alzheimer’s patients.

The idea was first tried at Benrath Senior Center in Düsseldorf, Germany, who joined forces with a local care association and the public transportation department to construct an exact replica of a standard bus stop outside, with one small difference: buses do not use it.

Before this unique system was created the center frequently had been forced to rely on police to retrieve the Alzheimer’s patients who often wanted to go to homes and families that did not exist. After some careful observation, the staff at the center noticed a trend that escaped Alzheimer’s patients often headed directly to their only exit: public transportation. The theory of why this type of deception works is that in Alzheimer’s patients their short-term memory hardly works at all, but the long-term memory is still active. They know the green and yellow bus sign and remember that waiting there means they will go home.

How the system works is that the bus stop diffuses the sense of panic. For instance, if a delusional patient decided that she needed to go home immediately because her children were all alone and waiting for her, the attendant didn’t need to restrain her or talk her out of it, she simply said, “Oh, well, there’s the bus stop.” Thus, the patient would go sit and wait. Knowing that she was on her way home, she would relax and, given her diminished cognition, she would eventually forget why she was there. Staff can then approach the patients and tell them that the bus is delayed and invite them in for refreshments while they wait. Five minutes later they have completely forgotten they wanted to leave.

This system has become so successful that many nursing homes throughout Germany and Europe have built these “fake bus stops”.

Many Alzheimer’s patients experience unexpected urges to reconnect with their past. Trying to convince someone with Alzheimer’s that their uncle Joseph is no longer living, or that he’s too far away, is no use.

So, how to manage these situations? One solution that’s just come to our attention: placing fake bus stops outside of clinical facilities taking care of Alzheimer’s patients.

According to the publication of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, a few nursing homes in Germany are quite comfortable with letting their Alzheimer’s patients wait for the bus, to wherever they plan on going. Once the urge passes, and the patient can’t recall why they’re waiting, caregivers can redirect the patient to another activity.

Source : http://www.theiacp.org/About/Governance/Divisions/

www.StateAssociationsofChiefsofPoliceSACOP/CurrentSACOPProjects/MissingAlzheimersDiseasePatientInitiative/

www.AlzheimersSuccessStory/tabid/1007/Default.aspx?id=1665

Full story

How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently

How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently

How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently

IDEAS fosters and provides an interactive forum for innovation at the interface of surgery and other disciplines—whether the social, biological, or physical sciences—with the goal of improving the lives of patients worldwide.

Watch the IDEAS Surgical Robotics symposium 2012.

Upcoming Event: The next IDEAS symposium will take place on Saturday, April 27, 2013. Please check back later for details.

Medgadget editor Dan Buckland is in training to become a physician while trying to remain an engineer. Here he talks about a recent symposium he attended that was at the intersection of surgery and engineering.

The title of a symposium a few months ago at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA was “Opportunities and Challenges in Surgical Robotics,” but really it was a day devoted to getting academic engineers and practicing surgeons into a room and figuring out what projects they could work on together. All of the participants were eager to find ways to work together, but I noticed that often the two groups were not operating in the same mindset, something that I see a lot when MDs and engineers collaborate.

The surgeons were looking for better ways to do tasks using skills they already had, while the engineers were offering different skills that would (hopefully) accomplish the same tasks. As an example, the surgeons were asking to replicate open surgical techniques in a minimally invasive procedure using surgical robots, while the engineers were saying that using robots would allow procedures that had no open case correlates. This subtle difference in expectations of progress is due to many things. Engineers have to realize that the current decision makers (senior surgeons) on the clinical side of R&D were trained to do things a certain way, that they do very well and have been shown to have very good outcomes. Senior surgeons often want to know that new technologies can operate in the same workflow they are comfortable with and that there is always a failure mode that allows them to use their existing well-honed skill-set to fix any problems. Residents and junior surgeons will often be more comfortable with newer technologies, but they often won’t adopt them without support from the senior partners in a group or senior faculty in an academic medical practice. It follows that engineers will have to design and convince two sets of end users: the senior and junior surgeons, both groups of whom are concerned with how new technologies will fail them, but with two different mindsets.

In the other direction, surgeons should realize that when they go looking for an academic engineer to solve a problem, that engineers don’t think in terms of differentials and that they are not going to automatically accept that the surgeons’ way of doing things is optimal. Often, the best way to pose a problem to an engineer is to follow this rough guide:

1. Context

Who are the patients? What are the steps the entire task entails? Are you trying to give 80 year old females new knees, but they will still have the bone density and cardiovascular system of an 80 yr old? This could impact the operational envelop the engineer is designing for. Maybe endurance is more important than maximum failure load.

2. Deficiency in current procedures or tools as the surgeon understands them.

What exactly doesn’t work in the way you feel it should? Note: this doesn’t mean the surgeon needs to know the solution already, just how to describe what is wrong. Does the endoscopic stapler you use work perfectly fine, except you don’t get any tactile feedback if it is not properly engaged? Is the display positioned in a way that your thumb is always over it the moment you need to see it? Does it take 30 seconds to reload a device that you need to use once every 10 seconds?

3. Ideal outcome (both in terms of overall patient outcome and narrowly focused to the problem itself)

In the best of all worlds, what do you hope the solving of this problem will change? Does it make a 4 hr procedure a 1 hr procedure with minimal direct change in morbidity and mortality? Does it lessen surgeon fatigue with no patient impact? Does it reduce a 30% chance of failure/infection to a 20% chance? This can help set everyone’s expectations to the same level.

4. Limitations and constraints to possible solutions

In your experience, why has this problem not been fixed already? Do you know what has been tried in the past and why it didn’t work? Are there other users of this device who will be impacted by this change? This can prevent work being re-done if it doesn’t have to be. However, sometimes the work does have to be re-done, but in a different way, so be sure not to close off a route to a possible solution by simply stating “We already tried that.” without explaining that attempt.

5. Explanation as to why the current way of doing things became the way things are done

Why was the display/trigger/grip/etc.. put in that position in the first place? Why does the EMR ask for a patient’s weight before it will let you prescribe the drug?

All this may seem like common sense, and to others it might seem like overkill, but it really will make the problem clearer for all involved.

This gulf in communication is not limited to engineers and surgeons. What may be unique in this case is thatt much of the difference in thinking strategies is a function of how engineers and physicians are trained. From my perspective as a US trained engineer and medical student; engineers learn to always approach a problem from first principles, whereas physicians are trained to see problems from a categorical view. (I plan on writing a more thorough post on this concept in the near future).

It is frustrating to see two groups of experts talk past each other routinely, when they both have similar goals and don’t realize that the path is not agreed on. Hopefully, meetings like the IDEAS group will continue to involve both communities and keep them talking to each other through the development process.

Medgadget editor Dan Buckland is in training to become a physician while trying to remain an engineer. Here he talks about how his training in different thinking styles leads to different problem solving strategies.

In my last post, I mentioned that I thought that a lot of the miscommunications between Surgeons and Engineers were due to the differing ways that they approach problems. More than a personality difference, Physicians [1] and Engineers are trained with different philosophies of problem solving. Scientists are another group that is often mentioned in the same breath as Physicians and Engineers, and they are trained in a third, different way as well [2]. With this article I’ll explore these differences, and also discuss three example problems that characterize these three different ways of thinking. These three types of problem solvers (Scientist, Engineer, Physician) are meant as archetypes representing the training methods each field is known for. Of course, an individual would use a mix of these problem solving methods based on their knowledge and experience, but they may never have received formal training in methods other than the ones they are expert in. These simplistic descriptions are not meant to imply that all people in each of the described groups are only one way or that they are incapable of seeing things another way. (For more caveats please also see my footnotes at the end.)

divider How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently The 3 Types:

The Physician: MDs are trained in medical school to think about differentials and categories. A patient’s presenting signs and symptoms are processed, then historical information is used to determine the most common diagnosis associated with that data set. More complicated tests are given based on the most common and most dangerous diagnoses, and then treatment is often based on the outcomes of those tests. This is a categorical approach to problem solving. The MD tries to determine what category the patient belongs in, and then treatment is based on the assigned category. This is a very efficient system when a patient has a problem that has been encountered before and a pre-existing data-set that the patient can be matched too. Often, a complete picture isn’t even needed since this problem solving approach is based on probabilities. However, when the patient has something not seen before, this is a very inefficient way of treating the problem, as the MD moves to less and less common solutions. Programmers would call this searching a known set, which is often the fastest way to find a solution if the solution is in the set, but it is the slowest if the solution is not, as all possibilities have to be excluded before determining that the answer isn’t there.

The Scientist: In contrast to the MD, the Scientist is trained to look at a problem in the abstract and use testable hypotheses to isolate all the component parts of a problem and solve them (individually, if possible) in a logical way [3]. Breaking down the problem into its component parts can determine the independent root causes. Then, using those root causes, the Scientist can arrive at a solution to the overall problem. Solving problems in this way is more resource- and time-intensive than the Physician method, but if the right hypotheses are posed, this system can handle a broader range of problems and generate new data that are applicable to other problems. Programmers would call this a global search, which is often the least efficient way to find a solution, but the solution found would have a higher chance of being the optimal solution because it ideally takes into account the most information [4].

The Engineer: One way to think of the Engineer’s method is as a hybrid of the Scientist’s and Physician’s methods. The Scientist starts with a new set of hypotheses for each problem, and the Physician starts with a set of solutions that can be applied. The Engineer is trained to take a known solution and then use that as a starting point to hypothesize a solution that applies to the problem. Thus, the Engineer’s approach is also a combination of the advantages and disadvantages of the above methods. Like the Scientist, the Engineer tries to break down the problem, but doesn’t break it down all the way. Since the Engineer isn’t looking for a root cause, the problem is only simplified enough to get a solution that works with the least amount of change from the current paradigm. Going back to our programming analogy, this is a local search: again, a hybrid of the two above examples.

divider How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently

Three Approaches to Three Problems:

In this section, I will lay out a problem and describe how the three archetypes above would approach solving the problem. These are not random problems, each one is meant to show that none of the problem solving types is inherently better than the others, but that they are each better suited to different situations.

Patient A started coughing this morning, what should she do about it?

Physician: What are the top 5 reasons people cough? Has she been treated successfully for a cough in the past? For this patient’s age and medical history, which of those 5 causes are most likely? Would any test results change the treatment plan? Treatment will be based on what has historically worked best for the most likely diagnosis.

Scientist: What would cause this patient’s particular cough? What is the root cause of her lung or throat irritation? If it is infectious, what is causing the infection? If we find what is causing the infection, do we know how it is causing the cough or irritation?

Engineer: What is different now than when she wasn’t coughing? What was she doing this morning when the cough started? If she tries one treatment and gets a little better, then she should use more of it to get a greater effect.

In this case, the Physician probably has the fastest and most efficient route to diagnosis and treatment plan if there is a common cause for the cough. The Scientist’s method, when it eventually gets to a treatment, will have produced a lot of information, but it will take a longer time and be very resource intensive. However, if there is a uncommon cause for the cough, the Scientist method will be more likely to find it. The Engineer’s method could work as well, but doesn’t use the shortcuts of the Physician or the robust strategy of the Scientist.

Patients B,C, D, E, and F all have a form of slow growing cancer no one has seen before. They are all related, but the inheritance pattern is not one that has been observed in other cancers. What should be done?

Physician: Of all the cancer types known, which one is the closest to this one? How is that cancer treated? If that doesn’t work, what is the next closest match? How is that one treated?

Scientist: How does this cancer work? What is the cell type involved? What makes the cancerous versions of that cell type different than the non-cancerous versions? Is that difference something that can be detected in this patient? Can that information be used to determine how to kill just the rapidly growing version of that cell type and leave the rest alone?

Engineer: What makes this cancer different than the closest match that has been treated in the past? Can we use that difference to modify the treatment plan?

In this case the Scientist’s method is probably the best approach to take, since the problem itself has very little known about it. The Physician method will get to a treatment quicker, but is likely a shot in the dark and may cause more pain and discomfort with less overall benefit if the closest guess has a very different root cause. The Engineer method looks at these differences to try to get to a solution.

Patient G had her gallbladder removed by Dr. H. Dr. Hn performs the procedure laparoscopically, but the tools she uses don’t work the way she wants them to, and she feels that she spends too much time struggling with the equipment rather than doing the procedure. Other surgeons say they have the same problem too. What should be done?

Physician: What have other surgeons done to compensate for the unwieldy tools? Do any of those methods fix the problem of taking too much time struggling with equipment?

Scientist: How would we design a brand new laparoscopic system that doesn’t have those problems?

Engineer: What exactly does the surgeon like and dislike about the system. How could we modify the current system to keep the benefits and lose the difficulties?

For this issue the Engineer probably has the best approach. Rather than starting from scratch like the Scientist, or treating the problem as fixed like the Physician, the Engineer’s approach looks for the simplest novel solution using the current context. divider How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently

Conclusions:

A better understanding of the problem solving methods of others can go a long way in improving communication. A common response on Twitter to my last article was that a lot of communication problems could be solved by just putting everyone in the same room together. While that might work, anyone who has gone through MBTI training of some sort knows that is really just a new way to start conflict unless there exists an understanding that the other people in the room don’t think and respond the same way as you. The three archetypes detailed in this post don’t break down neatly within the MBTI categories, though some similarities exist. In a future post I will discuss other ideas for improving communication between these groups

While this simple breakdown leaves a lot to be detailed, hopefully it is a step in the right direction that allows people from different fields to work together more efficiently.

divider How Physicians, Engineers, and Scientists Approach Problems Differently

Footnotes:

[1] For the purposes of this post I am grouping Surgeons and Physicians into a single group. All MDs went through the same 4 years of medical school (at least in the US) and as different as the two groups see themselves, their training is more similar to each other than to the other two groups.

[2] If you were wondering, I don’t know where Management and Administrative types would fit on this spectrum. I suspect they would be a whole separate category when it comes to problem solving, based on my interactions with them. Unfortunately I don’t have enough experience with the training they go through to develop an informed description and I am similarly uninformed about Sales types.

[3] This is the same scientific method learned in middle school. Your teacher wasn’t wrong about how this stuff would be useful later in life.

[4] The reader may note that the author’s expertise is in the training of engineers and physicians, so where does he get his info about scientists? He is married to a very good one, and she helped him out with this part.

Source : http://www.ideasprojectharvard.org/

Full story

Rock Health Graduates Inaugural Boston Class

Rock Health Graduates Inaugural Boston Class

Rock Health Graduates Inaugural Boston Class

A pioneering surgical blood salvage technology developed at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, is set to transform the way major surgery is carried out by reducing blood loss in patients.

HemoSep is set to revolutionise the health care sector after gaining the CE mark and receiving Canadian national approval, following highly successful clinical trials in the world leading University of Kirikkale University Hospital in Ankara, Turkey.

The device is designed to recover blood spilled during open-heart and major trauma surgery and concentrate the blood cells for transfusion back to the patient. This process, known as autotransfusion, reduces the volume of donor blood required and the problems associated with transfusion reaction.

Professor Terry GourlayProfessor Terry Gourlay, who led the development of the technology at the University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, said: “This is a fantastic example of real collaboration between the University of Strathclyde and the medical device industry to take this device from concept to clinical delivery.

“The introduction of HemoSep to the medical device field will make a significant difference to people’s lives and greatly reduce the cost and risks associated with blood transfusions. The technology has distinct advantages over traditional techniques which are not only costly but technically challenging and involve the use of a complex centrifuge and pumping apparatus by specialist technicians.

“We expect further developments in the form of a derivative of this technology for use in children undergoing open-heart surgery where the challenges of blood conservation are even more critical.”

In the clinical trials, carried out in over 100 open-heart surgery operations, the use of the HemoSep device significantly reduced the need for blood transfusions together with preservation of normal clotting mechanisms and a reduction in the inflammatory reaction often encountered after such surgical procedures.

The device consists of a blood bag which employs a chemical sponge technology and a mechanical agitator to concentrate blood sucked from the surgical site or drained from the heart-lung machine after the surgery. The separated cells are then returned to the patient by intravenous transfusion.

Bioengineer Laurie Shedden demonstrates the deviceProfessor Serdar Gunaydin, Head of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Kirikkale where the trials were conducted, said: “The technology is a real step forward in the field of autotransfusion for cardiac surgery, being highly effective, easy to use and associated with a reduction in the need for donor transfusion and blood loss in these patients.

“In the climate of national blood product shortages and concern for disease transmission and immunosuppression, every effort should be made to optimise blood recovery and reduce allogeneic blood usage.

“The HemoSep technology has produced impressive results, it is the easiest method we have ever used. There is no interference with the ongoing operation and product is ready to use following a very short processing time. It quickly and safely recovers substantial proteins, clotting factors and cell concentrates for all types of cardiac procedures.

“We believe this new technology will be one of the essential components of the routine heart surgery in the near future. We even think this technique may be useful for blood preservation during transplantation, orthopedics and neurosurgery.”

Further clinical trials are planned, but the CE mark means that the device will now be sold to the healthcare sector. HemoSep has been licensed to Advancis Surgical Ltd. The company will market and sell the device in all European territories, other regions which recognise the CE mark and Canada.

Mr Stephen Cotton, Advancis Surgical Ltd director of research and development, said: “We are delighted to be able to make this announcement which comes after considerable shared effort to develop this exciting product. We hope that this success will be the first of many through our collaboration with the University of Strathclyde.”

Professors Gourlay and Gunaydin will present the results of the recent clinical trials at the European Society for Artificial Organs congress in Rostock, Germany in September to correspond with Advancis’ commercial launch of the device.?

Intrasurgical blood loss is commonly addressed by appropriately delivering donor blood to the patient, something that’s not without side effects and additional costs. Autotransfusion uses the patient’s own spilled blood recovered from the heart-lung machine; this has been an expensive solution, and prone to dangerous coagulation.

HemoSep HemoSep Autotransfusion System from U of Strathclyde Gets CE Mark (video)Researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow have developed a new process for autotransfusions that just received regulatory approval in Europe. The HemoSep device that’s at the core of the process uses a special sponge and an agitator to concentrate blood and deliver it back to the patient. In a clinical trial in Turkey involving over 100 surgeries, the system proved its safety and effectiveness at reducing the amount of transfused donor blood.

The device has been licensed to Advancis Surgical Ltd. for commercialization and is expected to come to market later this year.

From the announcement:

Professor Serdar Gunaydin, Head of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Kirikkale where the trials were conducted, said: “The technology is a real step forward in the field of autotransfusion for cardiac surgery, being highly effective, easy to use and associated with a reduction in the need for donor transfusion and blood loss in these patients.

“In the climate of national blood product shortages and concern for disease transmission and immunosuppression, every effort should be made to optimise blood recovery and reduce allogeneic blood usage.

“The HemoSep technology has produced impressive results, it is the easiest method we have ever used. There is no interference with the ongoing operation and product is ready to use following a very short processing time. It quickly and safely recovers substantial proteins, clotting factors and cell concentrates for all types of cardiac procedures.

“We believe this new technology will be one of the essential components of the routine heart surgery in the near future. We even think this technique may be useful for blood preservation during transplantation, orthopedics and neurosurgery.”

Source : http://www.strath.ac.uk/press/newsreleases/headline_648390_en.html

Full story

Microflow Device Headed to the Final Frontier to Help Keep Astronauts Healthy

Microflow Device Headed to the Final Frontier to Help Keep Astronauts Healthy

Star Trek may have had Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy around to keep the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise safe from space bugs, but at present, an astronaut with an illness must send samples down to Earth for analysis and diagnosis. This all may change soon, thanks to a diagnostic device called Microflow, which will be headed to the International Space Station for testing in December.

Microflow, designed by Quebec-based National Optics Institute (INO) for the Canadian Space Agency, is basically a run-of-the-mill flow cytometer, which is a common laboratory instrument that uses lasers and sensors to analyze a liquid sample. However, Microflow has a couple special features that make it suitable for use in space. First, it’s portable and lightweight. Most flow cytometers weigh hundreds of pounds and take up a good deal of space in a lab; Microflow weighs in at a mere 22 pounds (10 kg) and is about the same size as a toaster. Second, Microflow works in zero-gravity. To accomplish this feat, researchers built a device that suspends particles in a tiny amount of liquid inside a small fiber-optic structure that is permanently focused, which allows the particles to be analyzed in weightless conditions in just ten minutes.

Up on the ISS, Microflow could change how astronauts are able to diagnose and treat themselves during long-durations missions. The best part is that, if successful, Microflow could find its way back to Earth to offer real-time analysis of everything from infections to cancer markers, and even for food monitoring. Moreover, because Microflow is much smaller and less expensive than most standard flow cytometers, it would be perfect for use in remote areas and disaster zones.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sAFlcytcMI&feature=player_embedded

Microflow: Diagnosing Medical Conditions on Earth and in Space

08.16.12

Microflow uses unique fiber optics technology to detect cells in small quantities of liquid. The portable, technology could offer near real-time medical diagnosis for astronauts in space, people in remote communities or in areas affected by natural disasters where medical equipment is not readily available. (National Optics Institute) Microflow uses unique fiber optics technology to detect cells in small quantities of liquid. The portable, technology could offer near real-time medical diagnosis for astronauts in space, people in remote communities or in areas affected by natural disasters where medical equipment is not readily available. (National Optics Institute)

View large image In the movie Iron Man 2, billionaire-turned-super-hero Tony Stark uses a pocket device to measure his toxicity levels caused by the fictional reactor core in his chest that gives him super-powers.

In this Hollywood vision, the test results come back instantly (of course) and are immediately transferred to a vast database that helps Stark find a cure.

In real-life, such instantaneous personal medical technology doesn’t exist yet. But soon, a new device the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) will be testing on the International Space Station (ISS) could pave the way for just such a gadget–one able to offer real-time analysis of everything from infections, to stress, blood cells, cancer markers, and could even be used to test food-quality levels here on Earth.

Meet Microflow

The device–called Microflow–is a miniaturized version of a flow cytometer (a common research or clinical laboratory instrument used for a range of bioanalysis and clinical diagnoses). Microflow can spot cells and biological molecules rapidly by using optical fiber-optic technology to detect them in a sample of liquid as they pass single-file in front of a laser–all within 10 minutes.

Different detectors positioned at the point where the stream meets the laser can analyze the physical and chemical properties of molecules or cells in the sample.

Unlike most current flow cytometers (which are used only in labs because they can weigh hundreds of pounds and take up as much space as three laser printers and an espresso machine), Microflow weighs less than 22 lb (10 kg) and takes up about the same space as a toaster. Microflow’s small size and light-weight make it ideally suited for use in space, since it costs much more to launch heavier objects into space, and bulky objects are more difficult to stow aboard sleek spacecraft and the ISS.

Making it micro

Miniaturizing flow cytometer technology, and making it work in space, required the Quebec City-based National Optics Institute External (INO) to find a way to keep the fluid stream small and from becoming unfocused in weightlessness.

Led by principle investigators Dr Ozzy Mermut from INO and Dr Luchino Cohen from the CSA, the Microflow team built a device that suspends particles in just a tiny amount of liquid inside a small fiber-optic structure that is permanently focused. Once the particles are detected in this structure, the device transfers the collected data to a USB key for analysis.

Uses in space

Microflow will be put to the test on the ISS during CSA Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s six-month mission. If the technology proves successful in space, it could revolutionize how astronauts are able to diagnose and treat themselves and others throughout long-duration missions by allowing the crew to test for medical conditions without having to send samples back to Earth for analysis.

Uses on Earth

On Earth, Microflow could allow people in remote communities to be tested quickly for things like infectious disease, thereby reducing healthcare costs and putting hospital-level care into the hands of more Canadians. It might also help reduce travel for medical analysis by testing people in their home communities. The technology could also allow food and agricultural processing plants to run on-site quality-control inspections and tests.

Source : http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/microflow.html

Full story

AliveCor Launches iPhone Veterinary Heart Monitor Ahead of Human Version

AliveCor Launches iPhone Veterinary Heart Monitor Ahead of Human Version

AliveCor Launches iPhone Veterinary Heart Monitor Ahead of Human Version

Seattle, Washington based Alivecor will be showing off its new iPhonECG system at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company has partnered with Oregon Scientific to manufacture the units, which are expected to sell for under $100 a piece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dY7ZQM5eah8&feature=player_embedded

AliveCor, developer of the highly-anticipated-but-yet-to-be-released iPhone-ECG attachment, has released a veterinary version ahead of the one for humans. The Veterinary Heart Monitor is intended for obtaining single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) rhythms from dogs, cats, and horses. It has been designed for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and consists of a plastic case that snaps on the back of the phone and has two large metal electrodes on its back. The case wirelessly communicates with the app on the phone.

alivecore veterinary screenshot AliveCor Launches iPhone Veterinary Heart Monitor Ahead of Human Version (video)

The corresponding AliveECG Vet app can be downloaded for free from iTunes. It displays the ECG waveform and recording can be performed continuously or for a set period of time. Acquired ECG’s can be annotated and are automatically stored in the cloud. ECG rhythm data can be shared over the web through AliveCor’s servers, or by printing or emailing a PDF.

As the demonstration video below shows, even for hairy animals shaving is often not necessary, and generously applying alcohol to the fur and conductive gel to the device’s electrodes results in adequate ECG’s. AliveCor is working on an attachment for other Apple and Android devices, although this is hampered by the breadth of different devices available (Apple’s legal department is currently working with Samsung on a unified solution). The vet device is now available for sale in the U.S. for $199 (iPhone not included) and is intended to be used by pet owners and licensed veterinary professionals. The human version meanwhile is still awaiting FDA approval.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2NsN1f0vXjE&feature=player_embedded

Source : http://www.alivecorvet.com/

Full story

WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device Gets CE Mark for Expanded Use

WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device Gets CE Mark for Expanded Use

WATCHMAN Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device Gets CE Mark for Expanded Use

NATICK, Mass., Aug. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — European regulators have approved an expanded indication for the Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) WATCHMAN® Left Atrial Appendage (LAA) Closure Device. The new indication offers patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), and a contraindication to warfarin and the newer oral anticoagulants, a new treatment option for stroke reduction.

Atrial fibrillation affects approximately 15 million patients worldwide and is a disorder that disrupts the ability of the heart to beat regularly and pump blood efficiently. Patients in AF have an increased risk of stroke due to the migration of clots formed in the LAA. Blood-thinning medications have previously been the only therapy for reducing stroke risk in these patients.

This CE Mark approval of the WATCHMAN device was based on results from the ASAP study. WATCHMAN is a novel device introduced into the heart via a flexible tube (catheter) through a vein in the groin intended to close off the LAA. The device is designed to capture any clots that may form in the appendage, reducing the risk of stroke and potentially eliminating the need for long term use of blood thinning medications.

“The expanded indication for WATCHMAN represents a significant advance for these patients who are at high risk of stroke, but who are unable to take conventional anticoagulant therapy,” said Kenneth Stein, M.D., chief medical officer of Boston Scientific’s Cardiac Rhythm Management Group. “WATCHMAN continues to demonstrate that it is an effective therapy for preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation.”

In addition, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) today announced the inclusion of LAA closure devices in the revised “Guidelines for Management of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation.” The recommendation was based on the expansive WATCHMAN LAA closure device clinical data, collected on more than 2,000 patients and exceeded the equivalent of 4,000 patient years of follow up across multiple studies. These studies include the PROTECT AF trial, which proved the WATCHMAN device was non-inferior to warfarin and demonstrated a 38 percent relative risk reduction for stroke, cardiovascular death and systemic embolism compared to long-term warfarin therapy; the ASA Plavix (ASAP) Registry, which demonstrated a 77 percent reduction for ischemic stroke in patients contraindicated to warfarin; and the Continued Access PROTECT AF trial, which demonstrated improved procedural outcomes with experience.

The WATCHMAN device was approved for use in Europe in 2005 and some countries in Asia in 2009. Boston Scientific recently completed enrollment in the PREVAIL study, a confirmatory study designed to gain U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Patient follow up for the study is six months. In the U.S., the WATCHMAN device is an investigational device, limited by applicable law to investigational use and not available for sale. The device was developed by Atritech, which Boston Scientific acquired in March 2011. Please visit http://www.bostonscientific.com/watchman-eu for more information.

For more news about Boston Scientific please follow us on Twitter @bsc_eu_heart (https://twitter.com/BSC_EU_Heart).

About Boston Scientific

Boston Scientific is a worldwide developer, manufacturer and marketer of medical devices that are used in a broad range of interventional medical specialties. For more information, please visit: www.bostonscientific.com.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words like “anticipate,” “expect,” “project,” “believe,” “plan,” “estimate,” “intend” and similar words. These forward-looking statements are based on our beliefs, assumptions and estimates using information available to us at the time and are not intended to be guarantees of future events or performance. These forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements regarding our business plans, markets for our products, new product indications, regulatory approvals, clinical trials and product performance and importance. If our underlying assumptions turn out to be incorrect, or if certain risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the expectations and projections expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. These factors, in some cases, have affected and in the future (together with other factors) could affect our ability to implement our business strategy and may cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the statements expressed in this press release. As a result, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any of our forward-looking statements.

Factors that may cause such differences include, among other things: future economic, competitive, reimbursement and regulatory conditions; new product introductions; demographic trends; intellectual property; litigation; financial market conditions; and future business decisions made by us and our competitors. All of these factors are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many of them are beyond our control. For a further list and description of these and other important risks and uncertainties that may affect our future operations, see Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which we may update in Part II, Item 1A – Risk Factors in Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q we have filed or will file hereafter. We disclaim any intention or obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in our expectations or in events, conditions or circumstances on which those expectations may be based, or that may affect the likelihood that actual results will differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements. This cautionary statement is applicable to all forward-looking statements contained in this document.

We have more info on the Watchman, the mesh stent we covered last year, which is being studied for its ability to prevent blood clots in patients with atrial fibrillation. See, if you’ve got atrial fibrillation, you carry about a 2-3% annual chance of developing a stroke from these clots (above the matched baseline risk). To manage this risk, most patients get coumadin, an anticoagulant that’s unfortunately difficult to dose, and comes with a hefty risk of hemorrhage.

If the Watchman works, many patients could be spared the hassle, unpredictability, and risk of coumadin. There’s a nice article in the North Country Times about the state of Watchman research:

The Watchman blocks off the left atrial appendage so it’s no longer part of the circulatory system, Buchbinder said. In a matter of weeks, the sievelike cloth mesh is covered by living cells, which grow together, walling off the left atrial appendage. This changes the pattern of blood flow, reducing the likelihood that a blood clot will form. The Watchman does not treat atrial fibrillation itself, which must be handled separately.

So, what does that left atrial appendage do, anyway?

Closing off an area of the heart sounds drastic, but all the evidence indicates the left atrial appendage isn’t needed, Buchbinder said.

Buchbinder said closing it off doesn’t cause any disability to the patient because the appendage isn’t known to have any real function.

“It’s a vestigial, residual organ, and nobody really knows why it is there,” Buchbinder said. “It has no particular clear-cut function. It is a residue from when we were embryos.”

There’s a theory that the appendage senses the water concentration in blood, causing us to be thirsty when there’s too little water. However, Buchbinder said, all the medical evidence to date shows that people get along perfectly well without it, such as when it’s closed off during heart surgery.

Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are at an increased risk of stroke that can originate in the left atrial appendage (LAA), an evolutionary holdover that most think has no purpose. The inlet does create a space where a thrombus can form and lead to an ischemic stroke. Anticoagulants like warfarin are typically the desired approach, but patients carry substantial risk of internal bleeding, either spontaneously or with minor trauma.

The WATCHMAN device from Boston Scientific was developed to fill the space of the LAA and capture any clots that form within. Now the company received expanded indication approval in Europe to offer this treatment to AF patients that have a contraindication to the currently available anticoagulants. Take a look at our flashbacks below for our previous coverage of the WATCHMAN over the last six years as it’s been progressing through the clinical trials.

Additionally, the announcement reports acceptance of LAA closure devices for AF treatment by the European Society of Cardiology:

In addition, the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) today announced the inclusion of LAA closure devices in the revised “Guidelines for Management of Patients with Atrial Fibrillation.” The recommendation was based on the expansive WATCHMAN LAA closure device clinical data, collected on more than 2,000 patients and exceeded the equivalent of 4,000 patient years of follow up across multiple studies. These studies include the PROTECT AF trial, which proved the WATCHMAN device was non-inferior to warfarin and demonstrated a 38 percent relative risk reduction for stroke, cardiovascular death and systemic embolism compared to long-term warfarin therapy; the ASA Plavix (ASAP) Registry, which demonstrated a 77 percent reduction for ischemic stroke in patients contraindicated to warfarin; and the Continued Access PROTECT AF trial, which demonstrated improved procedural outcomes with experience.

Source : http://bostonscientific.mediaroom.com/

www.2012-08-26-Boston-Scientific-WATCHMAN-Left-Atrial-Appendage-Closure-Device-Receives-CE-Mark-Approval-For-Expanded-Use

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Full story

Page 1 of 3123
Copyright © 2017 Medical Technology & Gadgets Blog MedicalBuy.net. All rights reserved.
Proudly powered by WordPress. Developed by Deluxe Themes