Archive for September 1st, 2012

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Cambridge Consultants Develop Concept Eco-friendly Blood Glucose Meter

Cambridge Consultants Develop Concept Eco-friendly Blood Glucose Meter

Cambridge Consultants Develop Concept Eco-friendly Blood Glucose Meter

New eco-friendly breed of medical devices

Blood glucose monitor concept is easier to use and cuts environmental impact by two-thirds

A blood glucose monitor concept for diabetics that’s simpler to use, less cumbersome to carry and has a third of the environmental impact of traditional devices has been developed by Cambridge Consultants. The concept is the latest result of ‘Ecovation’ – an approach developed by the leading technology design and development firm to integrate environmental considerations into its radical concept generation process.

More than 346 million people worldwide have diabetes*, and monitoring glucose levels is a critical part of managing the condition and preventing long-term complications. Insulin-treated diabetics are advised to test blood glucose levels four times a day. Many existing blood glucose monitors require separate lancets, test strips, storage tubs for carrying these items, and sharps bins for disposal. This can mean the devices are fiddly to use, inconvenient to transport, and wasteful.

Applying the Ecovation process, Cambridge Consultants conducted a ‘life cycle assessment’ on a popular blood glucose monitor to identify which elements had the highest environmental impact and so should be the focus for innovation. It was identified that less than 5% of the environmental impact could be attributed to the monitor itself – with more than 70% due to the high number of single-use disposables that are consumed over the lifetime of the device.

Ideas generated to reduce the environmental impact ranged from efficient packing of unused and used components, to safe reuse of ‘single-use’ lancets and test strips. The winning concept achieved a 65% reduction in environmental impact by integrating the functionality of three previously discrete consumables and getting the device to do the handling – not the user. The final challenge was then to create a single consumable cartridge, which was both reliable and suitable for manufacturing.

For the user this novel concept has significant benefits. The integrated monitor design is easier to carry around, with fewer consumables requiring separate storage and transport. The cartridge design means the user only has to worry about loading the device once every 28 tests – and, by combining the lancets and test strips in the monitor itself, the glucose test is far easier to administer and more discreet for the user.

“What makes this concept so exciting is that, while it provides a sustainable alternative to the status quo, it also offers distinct usability advantages,” said Andy Pidgeon, of the Medical Technology division at Cambridge Consultants. “We have long championed combining the safety and reliability of the medical development framework with the broader lens of a consumer experience approach in order to create solutions that patients use both safely and willingly. Adding environmental considerations into the design process through Ecovation provides a framework for a new breed of superior medical devices.”

The approach employed in Ecovation can be applied to any type of product to reduce its overall environmental impact. For example, Cambridge Consultants previously demonstrated the methodology by producing an eco-vacuum concept that uses 43% less energy than the average vacuum cleaner.

“The Ecovation process, as demonstrated by our blood glucose monitor concept, has the potential to make a significant step change in reducing the eco-impact of almost any product,” said Gemma Evans, Senior Consultant in Innovation Management at Cambridge Consultants. “Applying Ecovation principles at the design stage needs to become standard practice if we are to reduce our carbon footprint. But making a product greener should never take away from its reliability or functionality and, as we have demonstrated, it can in fact improve its usability and the user experience while minimising its environmental impact.”

Cambridge Consultants has developed a concept blood glucose monitor that should be simpler to use, less cumbersome to carry and has a third of the environmental impact of traditional devices. When assessing which parts of traditional devices had the highest environmental impact, the design firm discovered that less than 5% of the environmental impact could be attributed to the monitor itself, while more than 70% was attributed to single-use disposables used over the lifetime of the device.

Existing blood glucose monitors require separate lancets, test strips, storage tubs for carrying these items and sharps bins for disposal. This makes them fiddly to use, inconvenient to transport and wasteful, especially if you consider that diabetics are testing their blood glucose about four times a day. The solution was to create a single consumable cartridge that integrates lancets and teststrips into the monitor itself.

The cartridge carries enough lancets and test strips for 28 tests and the device does all the handling. For the patient this only leaves the glucose meter itself to be carried around, without any additional components. Taken together, this makes the glucose test far easier to administer and much more discreet. It sure looks like a great concept, but it is still just a concept device at this stage, so hopefully a manufacturer will take on the challenge of mass-producing it sooner rather than later.

Source : http://www.cambridgeconsultants.com/news/pr/release/102/en

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New Wireless Sensor Can “Predict the Future” for Fall-Risk Patients

New Wireless Sensor Can “Predict the Future” for Fall-Risk Patients

New Wireless Sensor Can “Predict the Future” for Fall-Risk Patients

Engineers at Texas Tech are developing technology that can predict when a person might fall — even days in advance.

The researchers have created a prototype wireless sensor, small enough to be clipped to a belt, which analyzes posture and gait, and sends an alert when there is a break in routine.

“The concern is significant because a simple fall could prove deadly,” said Donald Lie, Keh-Shew Lu Regents Chair Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas Tech and an adjunct professor in the Department of Surgery at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC).

Lie and Tim Dallas, a Texas Tech microelectromechanical (MEMS) researcher and associate professor, along with a team of clinicians from the TTUHSC: Dr. Ron Banister, Dr. Andrew Dentino, Dr. Tam Nguyen, and Dr. Steven Zupancic, are collaborating with Texas Instruments on the multidisciplinary research. Technology like this could benefit not only the geriatric community but patients with balance issues from disorders such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy or dementia.

The first step is to build a database of the subject’s normal movements, including standing up and sitting. A significant future variation would then indicate instability, warning that a fall may be imminent.

“The alert may be attributed to muscular or visionary changes, or even due to drug interaction,” Lie said.

The fall-risk sensor could benefit not only the geriatric community but patients with balance issues from disorders such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy or dementia.

The fall-risk sensor could benefit not only the geriatric community but patients with balance issues from disorders such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy or dementia.

A team of medical clinicians receives the real-time patient data through wireless sensors made up of accelerometers and gyroscopes, Lie said. Their goal is to identify changes to posture and gait through sophisticated algorithms, analyzing a pattern that would indicate risk.

“It’s a complicated phenomenon,” Lie said. “We hope someday we will be able to tell the patient, ‘Sir, please be careful maybe in the next several hours or days ahead.’”

Placement of the sensor will require additional consideration, Lie said. The technology is small enough to be clipped to a belt, an accessory often omitted by the geriatric population and preferably near the T-4 region at the back (between the shoulder blades). A secondary option might be a pressure sensor insole that could also help acquire additional gait analysis. Conversely, one needs to be cautious as the insole device could also trigger a fall.

This research on “fall-risk identification and assessment using body-worn sensors” has recently been approved by a TTUHSC Institutional Review Board, which is a committee formally designated to approve biomedical and behavioral research involving humans. From there, the technology could prove useful in various capacities, from the geriatric community to vestibular (balance) research.

“There is a lot of research going on in this area,” Lie said. “We are humbled as we move slowly and methodically toward creating something useful.”

A new device from Texas Tech University is being developed to predict when a person might fall – even days in advance. It may sound like magic, but the device works by analyzing posture and gait trends and patterns, and sends an alert if there is a break in routine.

The device, which is wireless and small enough to be clipped to a belt, works by employing a number of accelerometers and gyroscopes. These sensors measure and build a database of a person’s normal movements, including standing up and sitting down. The data is processed using sophisticated algorithms that identify patterns and will alert the patient to take caution if the pattern is broken.

Texas Tech researchers still have to work out certain issues, such as the optimal location to wear the sensor where it won’t trigger false positives, but the device could be a huge benefit to both the geriatric community and those with balance issues from disorders such as Parkinson’s, epilepsy or dementia.

Source : http://today.ttu.edu/2012/08/new-technology-could-detect-a-fall-before-it-happens/

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Terumo PriorityOne AC Aspiration Catheter Now Available in U.S.

Terumo PriorityOne AC Aspiration Catheter Now Available in U.S.

Terumo PriorityOne AC Aspiration Catheter Now Available in U.S.

Aspiration Capability

Advanced technology for enhanced aspiration

Large extractionlumen and braided shaft construction provides constant aspiration performance throughout the procedure

Rounded, short tip designpreserves crossability, while providing effective aspiration

A choice of 2 sizes (6 Fr or 7 Fr guide catheter compatibility) to meet multiple clinical scenarios

Ease of Use

Short and thin distal radiopaque marker provides excellent distal visualization and increases distal tip flexibility

Rounded, short tip design preserves crossability, while providing effective aspiration

Complete kit contains:

Catheter and pre-loaded stylet

30 ml locking syringes

Extension line (25 cm) with 2 way stopcock

Filter basket

Guidewire lumen flushing tool

Deliverability

PriorityOne™’s innovative technology provides improved deliverability and kink resistance

Pre-loaded stylet provides improved pushability and kink resistance thereby ensuring optimal crossability even in difficult to cross scenarios

Fully braided shaft construction for improved kink resistance and pushability of the catheter

9 cm long rapid exchange segment provides improved trackability

Hydrophilic coating facilitates easy navigation through tortuous anatomies

Elucidating the neural pathways that underlie brain function is one of the greatest challenges in neuroscience. Light sheet based microscopy is a cutting edge method to map cerebral circuitry through optical sectioning of cleared mouse brains. However, the image contrast provided by this method is not sufficient to resolve and reconstruct the entire neuronal network. Here we combined the advantages of light sheet illumination and confocal slit detection to increase the image contrast in real time, with a frame rate of 10 Hz. In fact, in confocal light sheet microscopy (CLSM), the out-of-focus and scattered light is filtered out before detection, without multiple acquisitions or any post-processing of the acquired data. The background rejection capabilities of CLSM were validated in cleared mouse brains by comparison with a structured illumination approach. We show that CLSM allows reconstructing macroscopic brain volumes with sub-cellular resolution. We obtained a comprehensive map of Purkinje cells in the cerebellum of L7-GFP transgenic mice. Further, we were able to trace neuronal projections across brain of thy1-GFP-M transgenic mice. The whole-brain high-resolution fluorescence imaging assured by CLSM may represent a powerful tool to navigate the brain through neuronal pathways. Although this work is focused on brain imaging, the macro-scale high-resolution tomographies affordable with CLSM are ideally suited to explore, at micron-scale resolution, the anatomy of different specimens like murine organs, embryos or flies.

Terumo is bringing its PriorityOne AC aspiration catheter to the United States. The device is used to remove thrombi in the coronary and peripheral arteries and features a fully braided, stainless steel body and a kink-resistant stylet for easy navigation through the vasculature.

The company touts the PriorityOne’s large extraction lumen and the rounded, short-tip design that helps the surgeon push the catheter down its path.

Features from the product page:

Large extraction lumen and braided shaft construction provides constant aspiration performance throughout the procedure

Rounded, short tip design preserves crossability, while providing effective aspiration

A choice of 2 sizes (6 Fr or 7 Fr guide catheter compatibility) to meet multiple clinical scenarios

Short and thin distal radiopaque marker provides excellent distal visualization and increases distal tip flexibility

Rounded, short tip design preserves crossability, while providing effective aspiration

Pre-loaded stylet provides improved pushability and kink resistance thereby ensuring optimal crossability even in difficult to cross scenarios

Fully braided shaft construction for improved kink resistance and pushability of the catheter

9 cm long rapid exchange segment provides improved trackability

Hydrophilic coating facilitates easy navigation through tortuous anatomies

Source : http://www.opticsinfobase.org/oe/abstract.cfm?uri=oe-20-18-20582

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Stanford Cooling Glove More Dope than Steroids

Stanford Cooling Glove More Dope than Steroids

Stanford Cooling Glove More Dope than Steroids

“Equal to or substantially better than steroids … and it’s not illegal.”

This is the sort of claim you see in spam email subject lines, not in discussions of mammalian thermoregulation. Even the man making the statement, Stanford biology researcher Dennis Grahn, seems bemused. “We really stumbled on this by accident,” he said. “We wanted to get a model for studying heat dissipation.”

But for more than a decade now, Grahn and biology Professor H. Craig Heller have been pursuing a serendipitous find: by taking advantage of specialized heat-transfer veins in the palms of hands, they can rapidly cool athletes’ core temperatures – and dramatically improve exercise recovery and performance.

The team is finally nearing a commercial version of their specialized heat extraction device, known as “the glove,” and they’ve seen their share of media coverage. But what hasn’t been discussed is why the glove works the way it does, and what that tells us about why our muscles become fatigued.

Nature’s radiator

For Heller and Grahn, the story starts, improbably, with a longstanding question about bears.

Black bears are extremely well-insulated animals, equipped with a heavy coat of fur and a thick layer of subcutaneous fat that help them maintain their body temperature as they hibernate through winter. But once spring arrives and temperatures rise, these same bears face a greater risk of overheating than of hypothermia. How do they dump heat without changing insulation layers?

Heller and Grahn discovered that bears and, in fact, nearly all mammals have built-in radiators: hairless areas of the body that feature extensive networks of veins very close to the surface of the skin.

Rabbits have them in their ears, rats have them in their tails, dogs have them in their tongues. Heat transfer with the environment overwhelmingly occurs on these relatively small patches of skin. When you look at a thermal scan of a bear, the animal is mostly indistinguishable from the background. But the pads of the bear’s feet and the tip of the nose look like they’re on fire.

These networks of veins, known as AVAs (arteriovenous anastomoses) seem exclusively devoted to rapid temperature management. They don’t supply nutrition to the skin, and they have highly variable blood flow, ranging from negligible in cold weather to as much as 60 percent of total cardiac output during hot weather or exercise.

Coolers and vacuums

In humans, AVAs show up in several places, including the face and feet, but the researchers’ glove targets our most prominent radiator structures – in the palms of our hands.

The newest version of the device is a rigid plastic mitt, attached by a hose to what looks like a portable cooler. When Grahn sticks his hand in the airtight glove, the device creates a slight vacuum. The veins in the palm expand, drawing blood into the AVAs, where it is rapidly cooled by water circulating through the glove’s plastic lining.

The method is more convenient than, say, full-body submersion in ice water, and avoids the pitfalls of other rapid palm-cooling strategies. Because blood flow to the AVAs can be nearly shut off in cold weather, making the hand too cold will have almost no effect on core temperature. Cooling, Grahn says, is therefore a delicate balance.

“You have to stay above the local vasoconstriction threshold,” said Grahn. “And what do you get if you go under? You get a cold hand.”

Even in prototype form, the researchers’ device proved enormously efficient at altering body temperature. The glove’s early successes were actually in increasing the core temperature of surgery patients recovering from anesthesia.

“We built a silly device, took it over to the recovery room and, lo and behold, it worked beyond our wildest imaginations,” Heller explained. “Whereas it was taking them hours to re-warm patients coming into the recovery room, we were doing it in eight, nine minutes.”

But the glove’s effects on athletic performance didn’t become apparent until the researchers began using the glove to cool a member of the lab – the confessed “gym rat” and frequent coauthor Vinh Cao – between sets of pull-ups. The glove seemed to nearly erase his muscle fatigue; after multiple rounds, cooling allowed him to do just as many pull-ups as he did the first time around. So the researchers started cooling him after every other set of pull-ups.

“Then in the next six weeks he went from doing 180 pull-ups total to over 620,” said Heller. “That was a rate of physical performance improvement that was just unprecedented.”

The researchers applied the cooling method to other types of exercise – bench press, running, cycling. In every case, rates of gain in recovery were dramatic, without any evidence of the body being damaged by overwork – hence the “better than steroids” claim. Versions of the glove have since been adopted by the Stanford football and track and field teams, as well as other college athletics programs, the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders and Manchester United soccer club.

The elegant muscle

But what does overheating have to do with fatigue in the first place?

Much of the lab’s recent research can be summed up with Grahn’s statement that “temperature is a primary limiting factor for performance.” But the researchers were at a loss to understand why until recently.

In 2009, it was discovered that muscle pyruvate kinase, or MPK, an enzyme that muscles need in order to generate chemical energy, was highly temperature- sensitive. At normal body temperature, the enzyme is active – but as temperatures rise, some of the enzyme begins to deform into the inactive state. By the time muscle temperatures near 104 degrees Fahrenheit, MPK activity completely shuts down.

There’s a very good biological reason for this shutdown. As a muscle cell increases its activity, it heats up. But if this process continues for too long, the cell will self-destruct. By shutting itself down below a critical temperature threshold, MPK serves as an elegant self-regulation system for the muscle.

“Your muscle cells are saying, “You can’t work that hard anymore, because if you do you’re going to cook and die,’” Grahn said.

When you cool the muscle cell, you return the enzyme to the active state, essentially resetting the muscle’s state of fatigue.

The version of the device that will be made available commercially is still being tweaked, but the researchers see applications for heat extraction in areas more important than a simple performance boost. Hyperthermia and heat stress don’t just lead to fatigue – they can become medical emergencies.

“And every year we hear stories about high school athletes beginning football practice in August in hot places in the country, and there are deaths due to hyperthermia,” said Heller. “There’s no reason why that should occur.”

Almost a year ago, we originally reported on the Rapid Thermal Exchange (RTX) glove and after rigorous testing, it is now reaching the market place.

While traditional body cooling systems such as ice vests, wet towels and misting fans may feel like they’re working to the benefit of the user, they’re actually quite ineffective at reducing the body’s core temperature, as they work against the body’s natural insulation and heat retention systems. Through extensive research into mammalian heat regulation systems, AVAcore has developed a simple, portable device that effects heat exchange to the body core extremely quickly. You don’t necessarily feel cooler, you just feel completely refreshed and less fatigued – and the system is producing some remarkable and unexpected results for athletes.

In humans, the key radiator zones occur in our palms, the soles of our feet, and hairless facial skin. Looking at a thermographic image of a runner who is reaching high body temperatures, you can clearly see the heat radiating from these areas whereas the torso is quite externally cool.

AVAcore’s Core Control Rapid Temperature eXchange (RTX) devices apply this information to draw heat directly out of the body core without trying to push cooling in through the skin and insulating fat. By increasing bloodflow to the palm of the hand using a slight vacuum, and cooling it directly, the body is able to shed core temperature 2 to 5 times faster than through skin surface treatments.

The system has been in testing now for 2 years with a range of elite sporting teams, firefighters, the military and sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, who often suffer badly from an inability to regulate core temperature. Testing has been an unmitigated success – no adverse side effects have been found, the system has been shown time and again to cool the body core quickly and effectively – and some unexpected performance gains have become apparent.

Using the RTX system while exercising under a thermal load increased athletes’ endurance by 25%, increased the initial recovery rate by 50%, and increased fat oxidation by 15% – meaning the athletes burned a greater percentage of fat instead of carbohydrates during exercise.

As everyone has learned from this era of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, steroids and doping is against the rules. But researchers at Stanford have created a cooling glove that according to one of the lead scientists on the team is “Equal to or substantially better than steroids … and it’s not illegal.”

How can a cooling glove improve athletic performance? The researchers got lucky and noticed the glove dramatically reduced muscle fatigue. The device works by creating a low pressure environment around the hand, expanding arteriovenous anastomoses (vessels responsible for controlling body temperature). A cooling liquid is concurrently circulated throughout the glove, rapidly lowering core body temperature.

From Stanford:

Even in prototype form, the researchers’ device proved enormously efficient at altering body temperature. The glove’s early successes were actually in increasing the core temperature of surgery patients recovering from anesthesia.

“We built a silly device, took it over to the recovery room and, lo and behold, it worked beyond our wildest imaginations,” Heller explained. “Whereas it was taking them hours to re-warm patients coming into the recovery room, we were doing it in eight, nine minutes.”

But the glove’s effects on athletic performance didn’t become apparent until the researchers began using the glove to cool a member of the lab – the confessed “gym rat” and frequent coauthor Vinh Cao – between sets of pull-ups. The glove seemed to nearly erase his muscle fatigue; after multiple rounds, cooling allowed him to do just as many pull-ups as he did the first time around. So the researchers started cooling him after every other set of pull-ups.

“Then in the next six weeks he went from doing 180 pull-ups total to over 620,” said Heller. “That was a rate of physical performance improvement that was just unprecedented.”

The researchers applied the cooling method to other types of exercise – bench press, running, cycling. In every case, rates of gain in recovery were dramatic, without any evidence of the body being damaged by overwork – hence the “better than steroids” claim. Versions of the glove have since been adopted by the Stanford football and track and field teams, as well as other college athletics programs, the San Francisco 49ers, the Oakland Raiders and Manchester United soccer club.

Source : http://news.stanford.edu/news/2012/august/cooling-glove-research-082912.html

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Harmony Prenatal Test, a New Simpler, Cheaper Screening Tool for Fetal Trisomies

Harmony Prenatal Test, a New Simpler, Cheaper Screening Tool for Fetal Trisomies

Harmony Prenatal Test, a New Simpler, Cheaper Screening Tool for Fetal Trisomies

An advanced blood test to detect common fetal trisomies at 10 weeks gestational age or later

The Harmony Prenatal Test analyzes the relative number of chromosomes in maternal blood to provide an objective, individualized patient result with high sensitivity and specificity. 1-3

atory

Safety

Non-invasive testing poses little risk to pregnant women

Standard blood draw

No risk to the fetus

Accuracy

Highly accurate detection of common fetal trisomies 4

Extremely low false positive rate 4

Individualized results on trisomy risk for each patient

San Jose, Calif., May 7, 2012 – Ariosa Diagnostics, a molecular diagnostics company today

announced that the Harmony™ Prenatal Test will be available in the United States and Canada through

Laboratory Corporation of America® Holdings (LabCorp®) and Integrated Genetics, a member of

LabCorp’s Specialty Testing Group. Harmony represents an innovative non-invasive test for detection

of common fetal trisomies utilizing a directed approach to analyze cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in maternal

blood. The Harmony Prenatal Test is currently available in selected locations and will be broadly

available next month.

“Ariosa Diagnostics is very excited to announce the official launch of the Harmony Prenatal Test and

the agreement with LabCorp, which helps us deliver on the promise of bringing an affordable and

accessible prenatal testing option to pregnant women and their physicians,” said Ken Song, MD, chief

executive officer at Ariosa Diagnostics. “With enhanced test performance and simplicity, the Harmony

Prenatal Test can be reliably incorporated into the management of pregnancies.”

The Harmony Prenatal Test, which detects common fetal trisomies such as Trisomy 21 (associated

with Down syndrome), will be offered through LabCorp and will be available at its 1,000+ patient

service centers. The test is performed using a simple maternal blood draw taken at a doctor’s office or

patient service center, and provides the safety of screening tests with accuracy approaching that of

invasive testing for common fetal trisomies. The test is available to pregnant women of at least 10

weeks gestational age with a single fetus conceived without the use of an egg donor.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this novel, non-invasive prenatal test,” indicated Mark Brecher, MD,

LabCorp’s chief medical officer. “Ariosa Diagnostics’ Harmony Prenatal Test adds another option to

LabCorp’s comprehensive prenatal testing menu.”

“The Harmony Prenatal Test is an affordable, high-quality test that provides a new choice for women,”

said Dr. Song. “Together with LabCorp, we are committed to ensuring that the latest advances in

prenatal testing are accessible to all healthcare providers and women.”

About Ariosa Diagnostics (formerly Aria Diagnostics)

Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. is a molecular diagnostics company committed to providing safe, highly

accurate and affordable prenatal tests for maternal and fetal health. Led by an experienced team,

Ariosa is using its proprietary technology to perform a directed analysis of cell-free DNA in blood.

Ariosa’s simple blood test equips pregnant women and their healthcare providers with reliable

information to make decisions regarding their health, without creating unnecessary stress or anxiety.

The company began operations in 2010 and is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. For more information,

visit www.ariosadx.com.

*Integrated Genetics is a business unit of Esoterix Genetic Laboratories, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of

Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings.

Ariosa Diagnostics (San Jose, California) is releasing in the U.S. and Canada its Harmony Prenatal Test for detecting fetal trisomies in maternal blood. To be distributed through Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp), the test analyzes cell-free DNA (cfDNA), which are free floating DNA fragments, some of which that are in the mother’s blood come from the fetus.

Harmony utilizes directed DNA analysis, which is cheaper and more precise than random sequencing, aka shotgun sequencing, to spot aneuploid chromosomes.

From the announcement:

The Harmony Prenatal Test, which detects common fetal trisomies such as Trisomy 21 (associated with Down syndrome), will be offered through LabCorp and will be available at its 1,000+ patient service centers. The test is performed using a simple maternal blood draw taken at a doctor’s office or patient service center, and provides the safety of screening tests with accuracy approaching that of invasive testing for common fetal trisomies. The test is available to pregnant women of at least 10 weeks gestational age with a single fetus conceived without the use of an egg donor.

Source : http://www.ariosadx.com/benefits-of-harmony-test/

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Live-Tweeted Brain Surgery

Live-Tweeted Brain Surgery

Live-Tweeted Brain Surgery Tomorrow Starting at 7:30 am CST

Tomorrow, May 9 at 7:30 am CST, a brain tumor resection will be live-tweeted from Houston’s Memorial Hermann hospital. Surgeon Dong Kim will be performing the brain surgery (removal of a cavernous angioma) on a 21-year-old woman. Tweets will be using the hashtag #MHbrain and the social media event will feature not only simple tweets, but also pictures and video, including live video feed from the operating microscope.

Live-tweeting a surgery is not new to the hospital. Less than three months ago they made news by performing the world’s first live-tweeted open heart surgery. The goal of the live-tweeted surgeries is to educate the general public about these diseases and take them into the OR to see what happens during a surgery.

In the upcoming surgery, neuronavigation will be used to identify the entry point and the precise location of the tumor in the patient’s brain. A craniotomy will be performed to remove a portion of the skull bone. A microscope will then be used to take out the tumor deep in the patient’s right brain. Finally, the team will replace the skull bone and complete the surgery.

The twittercast will be moderated by neurosurgeon Scott Shepard, who will be on-site to respond to questions and comments in real time during the event. Videos will be uploaded to Youtube and photos to Pinterest. Storify is used to put the whole story together afterwards. So sit back and relax while watching live-surgery tweeting tomorrow at 7:30am CST, with first incision at approximately 9 a.m. CST.

Doctors at Houston’s Memorial Hermann Northwest Hospital made medical and social media history last month by live-tweeting an open heart surgery for the first time ever.

Dr. Michael Macris performed a double-coronary artery bypass on a 57-year-old patient. Meanwhile, colleague Dr. Paresh Patel provided 140-character updates throughout the procedure, and answered questions submitted by followers of the hospital’s @houstonhospital Twitter account. Dr. Macris also wore a video camera attached to his head. Dr. Patel snapped additional photos, and posted some of the pictures and videos to Twitter. The procedure lasted two and a half hours, and the patient made it through fine.

More than anything, though, the feat is a powerful example of social media’s ability to connect people and shed light on even the most unexpected activities. Its success is a lesson in using creativity and digital innovation to educate mass audiences.

“We’re always becoming more connected as a society,” says Gary Kerr, CEO of the non-profit Memorial Hermann Healthcare System’s Northwest Hospital. “Information can’t be contained anymore, and that’s the most positive thing about the Internet.”

Hospital staff expected a modest amount of attention, but were surprised to see the event blow up online. Natalie Camarata, Memorial Hermann Healthcare System’s digital marketing manager, told Mashable the event delivered an estimated 125 million impressions through Twitter, Storify and media coverage in the weeks following the operation.

Since the surgery, Mashable interviewed several of the people involved in the groundbreaking idea, asking them what it means that social media can be leveraged in new, effective ways. We spoke with Dr. Macris, Dr. Patel, Kerr, Camarata and Beth Sartori, a Memorial Hermann marketing and communications executive. What follows is their inside story.

Pulling Back a Curtain

Memorial Hermann has embraced digital technology for the past several years. It has also hosted more than 50 webinars over the past year, and this week hosted a live social media-broadcasted Q&A about colonoscopies for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The live-tweeted open-heart surgery was born from that spirit of using technology to educate.

Camarata: We were talking about what we could do for Heart Month. Last year we did something where you could share a glass of red wine with someone online, but we wanted to take it farther. So we came up with the Twitter-cast idea to pull back the curtain on something that happens every day in all of our hospitals.

Sartori: We already had a social media policy in place, but this wasn’t exactly addressed specifically because it had never been done before. We got risk management and hospital executives [to approve] it. It’s a little bit different from just getting a news camera in the operating room. But it didn’t take a lot of arm twisting with Dr. Macris.

Dr. Macris: When Natalie told us all about the Twitter idea, we all thought it would be a pretty straightforward thing, not a big deal in terms of the attention it got. I said, “How many people are we talking about following along?” They said, “Oh, maybe 50 or 100.”

Kerr: Once they told me that had a process in place for the 1% chance something got more complicated in the procedure, I felt comfortable for it to go forward.

Source : http://mashable.com/2012/03/29/live-tweeted-open-heart-surgery/

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Covidien Introduces OneShot Renal Denervation System

Covidien Introduces OneShot Renal Denervation System

Covidien Introduces OneShot Renal Denervation System

PARIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May. 8, 2012– Covidien (NYSE: COV), a leading global provider of healthcare products, will unveil its new OneShot™ renal denervation system at the EuroPCR congress in Paris, France, on May 16, 2012. Adding to the Company’s broad and growing vascular therapies portfolio, the OneShot system is designed to treat patients with hypertension who are not responsive to traditional medical therapy.

Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products, will unveil its new OneShot™ renal dener …

Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products, will unveil its new OneShot™ renal denervation system at the EuroPCR congress in Paris, France, on May 16, 2012. (Photo: Business Wire)

Millions of people worldwide are impacted from complications of prolonged, uncontrolled high blood pressure. The OneShot system is an irrigated, radiofrequency (RF) based balloon catheter used to ablate the renal sympathetic nerves located in the outer wall of the renal arteries. The OneShot technology received CE mark clearance in February 2012.

“For the large subsets of patients who have refractory hypertension and are unresponsive to traditional pharmacologic agents, the field of catheter-based renal denervation holds enormous promise,” said Mark A. Turco, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Vascular Therapies, Covidien. “We believe that the OneShot system will provide advantages over existing devices and strengthens Covidien’s leadership in delivering best-in-class vascular solutions.”

The OneShot system will be featured in “live” cases at the Covidien-sponsored “Tools & Techniques (TNT) Interventions” presentation and panel session for hypertension and renal denervation at the EuroPCR congress. The session will be held on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, from 16:50 -18:50 in the Maillot Room at the Palais des Congrès de Paris.

Professor Dirk Scheinert will perform two cases at Park Hospital in Leipzig, Germany, that will be transmitted live at the Congress. In addition, John Ormiston, MD, Medical Director for Mercy Angiography and President of the Asia-Pacific Society of Interventional Cardiology in New Zealand, will present first-in-human results of cases performed with the OneShot system in New Zealand. The OneShot system and Covidien’s other endovascular solutions will be on display at Booth F22 at the EuroPCR meeting.

Additional faculty in the TNT session is a distinguished group of speakers including:

Professor Karl-Heinz Kuck, MD, F.A.C.C. – Director, Cardiology Department

Allgemeines Krankenhaus St. Georg – Hamburg, Germany

Dr. Stephen R. Ramee, FACC, FSCAI

Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans, Louisiana

Dr. John Ormiston, MBChB, FRACP – Medical Director

Mercy Hospital Angiography Unit – Auckland, New Zealand

Professor Marc Sapoval, MD, PhD – Department Head

Cardiovascular/Interventional Radiology – Hospital Popidou University – Paris, France

Dr. Renu Virmani – Medical Director

CVPath Institute – Gaithersburg, Maryland

In support of the Company’s dedication to evidence-based medicine, Covidien also announces that the first patient in its Post-CE mark clinical trial, RAPID (Rapid Renal Sympathetic Denervation for Resistant Hypertension Using the OneShot™ Ablation System), studying the OneShot system, will be enrolled this week at Middleheim Hospital in Antwerp, Belgium, by Professor Stefan Verheye. This trial will enroll subjects throughout Europe and at a site in New Zealand.

Covidien is a recognized leader in RF ablation technology with numerous products in both its vascular and surgical portfolios including: ClosureFast™ catheter for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency, the Cool-tip™ RF ablation system for thermal ablation of non-resectable liver tumors and osteoid osteomas, the HALO ablation system used to treat Barrett’s esophagus in conjunction with endoscopy by removing precancerous tissue from the gastrointestinal tract, and LigaSure™ vessel sealing for permanent vessel occlusion.

These product lines have helped millions of patients worldwide. Covidien will leverage its expertise in RF technology while providing patients with new therapeutic options for poorly controlled hypertension.

Covidien is committed to advancing the treatment of vascular disease worldwide and will feature products at EuroPCR that represent a comprehensive portfolio of technology-driven solutions. Through a disciplined approach that leverages clinical evidence, world-class education programs and customer collaboration, Covidien is focused on revitalizing and preserving life for patients with vascular disease.

ABOUT COVIDIEN

Covidien is a leading global healthcare products company that creates innovative medical solutions for better patient outcomes and delivers value through clinical leadership and excellence. Covidien manufactures, distributes and services a diverse range of industry-leading product lines in three segments: Medical Devices, Pharmaceuticals and Medical Supplies. With 2011 revenue of $11.6 billion, Covidien has 41,000 employees worldwide in more than 65 countries, and its products are sold in over 140 countries. Please visit www.covidien.com to learn more about our business.

Covidien is the latest in a line of companies entering the renal denervation business, as it will unveil its new OneShot renal denervation system at the EuroPCR (European Association for Percutaneous Cardiovascular Interventions) congress in Paris, France, on May 16. Like all other recently introduced denervation systems, it is intended to treat patients with hypertension who are not responsive to traditional medical therapy.

The OneShot system is an irrigated, radiofrequency (RF) based balloon catheter used to ablate the renal sympathetic nerves located in the outer wall of the renal arteries. The OneShot technology received CE mark clearance in February 2012. If you are attending EuroPCR, it will be possible to watch two denervation procedures that will be transmitted live from Leipzig, Germany.

Source : http://investor.covidien.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=207592&p=irol-newsArticle&id=1692834

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Welch Allyn’s New Extra Small Disposable Vaginal Speculum

Welch Allyn’s New Extra Small Disposable Vaginal Speculum

Welch Allyn’s New Extra Small Disposable Vaginal Speculum

Device Offers Greater Convenience for Providers and Added Comfort, Safety for Patients

Skaneateles Falls, NY, May 7, 2012 –Welch Allyn, a leading global provider of medical diagnostic solutions, today introduced the industry’s first extra small, disposable vaginal speculum at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Annual Clinical Meeting in San Diego. Available for sale in August, the extra small KleenSpec® Disposable Vaginal Speculum joins the company’s suite of vaginal specula designed to work with the Welch Allyn Cordless Illumination System. They are made of smooth, molded acrylic that will not pinch or bind tissue, and their wider handles provide improved ergonomics, better balance, and are easier to manipulate during exams.

“We are proud to say we now offer every size disposable vaginal speculum needed for all types of patients,” says Tracy Bennett, manager, Physical Assessment at Welch Allyn. “Our new extra small disposable vaginal speculum will allow obstetricians, gynecologists and family physicians to perform a comfortable, safe exam with virginal and pediatric patients as well as post-menopausal and post-hysterectomy women. And since they are single-use, they eliminate the time and expense of reprocessing and help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.”

KleenSpec Disposable Vaginal Specula are designed to fit directly onto the Welch Allyn Cordless Illumination System—eliminating the worry of cords being cleaned, getting in the way or breaking during an exam. Featuring automatic on/off, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) provide a whiter, brighter light source that enhances visualization of the exam area with true tissue rendition and less heat than traditional lamps. In addition, the light pipe on the specula provides a homogeneous spot and eliminates glare-back, projecting light forward where it is needed most.

“Our Cordless Illumination System features a LED light source that’s whiter and brighter than conventional halogen systems,” added Bennett. “And because it’s cordless, our customers will have enhanced freedom of movement when performing pelvic exams. With continuous on-time of 80 minutes, and a rechargeable lithium ion battery, it’s a must-have for every physician’s office, hospital or clinic that cares about efficiency, safety and patient comfort.”

For more information about the Welch Allyn KleenSpec Disposable Vaginal Specula and Cordless Illumination System, please call 800.535.6663 or visit www.welchallyn.com.

KleenSpec® Vaginal Specula

Welch Allyn’s single-use specula eliminate the time and expense of reprocessing and reduce the chance of cross-contamination. Each speculum is designed and manufactured to deliver durability and reliability.

Status: Current

Newly designed light pipe provides a homogeneous spot and eliminates glare back

New wider handle provides improved ergonomics, better balance, and is much easier to manipulate during exams

Smooth, molded acrylic will not pinch or bind tissue for greater patient comfort during the exam

The new 590 Series KleenSpec® Vaginal Speculum is compatible with the new cordless illumination system (catalog #79910) as well as the current illumination system (catalog #78810)

Source : http://www.welchallyn.com/pressroom/releases/pressNews.jsp?id=15-vm-108-1336354063581

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Eyewire Crowdsources Retinal Connectome Mapping

Eyewire Crowdsources Retinal Connectome Mapping

Eyewire Crowdsources Retinal Connectome Mapping

When it comes to “big” data, you’re hard-pressed to find a subject bigger than the human brain. Electron microscope images of a cubic millimeter of brain matter are equivalent to a petabyte of data, according to Sebastian Seung, professor of computational neuroscience at MIT, who is on a mission to map the “connectomes” (pronounced like “genome”) inside our heads. Well, inside a head as connectomes are unique and may be the foundations for how our memories — and identities are formed.

As you could imagine, mapping connectomes is a pretty big undertaking, and Seung believes high-powered artificial intelligence isn’t enough. Which is why he’s turned the process into a game, launching Eyewire.org to ask people to join in his cranial crusade.

Watch our video interview with Seung where he explains what connectomes are, why they’re important, and how growing up with coloring books makes you a perfect candidate to help with this project.

The eye has its own connectome, the neuronal network of the retina that processes the incoming signals before it sends them off to the brain. Much of its structure is yet unknown, and now researchers are looking into the powers of crowdsourcing to process the vast amounts of data they have acquired on the structure. Eyewire, developed by neuroscientists at MIT, comprises a game that requires the players to connect the neurons in a small piece of the retina.

The data for analysis consists of a retinal volume with a size of 350×300×60 µm3 that was imaged using serial electron microscopy at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany. In total it amounts to about one terabyte of data. Although the analysis of these images to find connectomes can be automated to some extent, a lot of it is still manual work and this can be very time-consuming. By incorporating a game-like element and engaging a crowd from all over the world the researchers hope to speed up their analyses.

The game itself is pretty simple, requiring you to color the retinal images in order to map the connections. It does not require any specialized knowledge. Right now it is all about tracing and reconstructing the individual neurons. At a later stage another game will be introduced to map the synapses in order to complete the connectome. Eventually the researchers hope to make it powerful enough to be applied to the brain, in order to detect aberrant neuronal connections that might be responsible for disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

Source : http://gigaom.com/2012/04/27/wanted-big-community-to-unlock-big-data-in-big-brain/

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MScore Analyzes Robotic Surgery Simulator Performance

MScore Analyzes Robotic Surgery Simulator Performance

New Proficiency Based Scoring System

MScore is utilizing data collected from more than 100 experienced

surgeons with over 75 robotic cases completed. Assessment is

based on expert averages and standard deviations similar to the

Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) protocol to facilitate

credentialing and privileging.

New Curriculum Tools and Customization

Educators can now build their own robotic surgery training protocols

from more than 40 exercises and assign different curricula to each

user. Curricula, including exercises, completion order, and scoring

baselines, can be imported and exported to facilitate collaboration

and sharing between institutions.

Comprehensive Metrics for Surgical

Skills Assessment

Time to Completion Master Workspace Range

Economy of Motion Blood Loss

Instrument Collisions Broken Vessels

Number of Drops Excessive Instrument Force

Missed Targets Misapplied Energy

Instruments Out of View Overall Score

Objective Skills Assessment for Robotic Surgery

Proficiency based scoring system

Import and export customized curricula

Admin tools for course creation and management

Track learning history for each exercise and metric

Customize scoring baselines and proficiency levels

Export data for statistical analysis in Excel

Mimic Technologies, a company that builds the dV-Trainer, a da Vinci surgical robot simulator, recently released a software product to help assess how novice surgeons are using the simulator. The company has been collecting data from experienced surgeons performing various tasks on the simulator, and the MScore application is able to compare a novice user of the dv-Trainer against this data set to provide an overall performance score.

The hope is that with better in-silico training coupled with performance feedback, fewer animals will be sacrificed for this task, and patients will have better skilled surgeons working on them.

From MScore’s brochure:

MScore is utilizing data collected from more than 100 experienced surgeons with over 75 robotic cases completed. Assessment is based on expert averages and standard deviations similar to the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS) protocol to facilitate credentialing and privileging.

Educators can now build their own robotic surgery training protocols from more than 40 exercises and assign different curricula to each user. Curricula, including exercises, completion order, and scoring baselines, can be imported and exported to facilitate collaboration and sharing between institutions.

Seattle, WA—A new assessment system has been developed by a team of researchers to more reliably predict

whether surgeons are ready to operate on patients using the da Vinci robot. The new technology, called MScore,

provides more precise analysis of actual surgical performance, which has been shown to be difficult to accomplish

using common training approaches.

Prior to the introduction of da Vinci simulation training, the only option for most robotic surgeons was to learn on

patients, animals and simple plastic models. Such training methods rely on a subjective assessment from proctors

rather than precise measurement of movement and actions.

Mimic Technologies, the simulation company that built the da Vinci simulation platform, is developing MScore,

utilizing performance data collected from more than 100 experienced surgeons and academics who have

completed at least 75 separate cases. This performance data is being collected from seven leading academic

medical centers worldwide, including University of Southern California, U.C. Irvine, and Columbia University.

MScore compares a novice surgeon performance to that of experienced surgeons in order to give an objective

assessment of a surgeon’s skills. Such an evaluation can help hospitals decide whether a new da Vinci surgeon is

proficient enough to conduct surgery on patients. The MScore system encourages continued training long after

proficiency has been established, and performance is monitored over time to inspire a surgeon to continually

advance their level of skill.

“This new technology is important for a surgeon’s own assessment of his or her performance on a machine as

complex and necessary as the da Vinci,” says Inderbir S. Gill, M.D., M.Ch., chairman & professor, Catherine and

Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine of USC. “Surgeons are encouraged to continue to

measure their ability with the best methods possible in order to ensure the safety of the patient and the quality

of their work.”

The MScore system allows every movement and action the surgeon makes to be tracked and evaluated within a

virtual reality training environment. A surgeon’s proficiency and score is established by utilizing a wide variety of

performance metrics, such as task time, efficiency of instrument motion, blood loss and the force applied to tissue.

Performance baselines are derived from the data collected from experienced surgeons.

“We believe, based on a decade of experience working with surgeons and hospitals, that assessment of surgeon

performance must be objective and consistently applied regardless of training institution,” says Jeff Berkley,

Founder and CEO of Mimic Technologies. “The medical community and patients will have an increased level of

comfort with robotic technology once there is such measurement of performance.”

MScore assessment is based on an evaluation protocol called the Fundamentals of Laparoscopic Surgery (FLS),

which is used to train and credential surgeons through the American College of Surgeons. The FLS scoring system

has been limited to general and vascular services and requires testing with physical models and proctor overview.

Mimic’s virtual reality system automates the process for surgical robotics training and provides instant assessment

and feedback. Current research is focused on utilizing MScore for surgeon credentialing across a wide breadth of

surgical subspecialties. Beyond establishing new surgeon proficiency, Mimic’s MScore is being applied to

alternative training protocols, such as warming up before surgery and retaining surgical skills during periods of

inactivity.

“Surgeons want to know their level of performance, as well as where they can improve,” says Rick Satava, M.D.,

Professor of Surgery, University of Washington “Providing proficiency-based benchmarks developed from the

performance of experts allows surgeons to gauge their own performance level and how to improve and become

more effective for their patients.”

Source : http://www.mimicsimulation.com/news/MScore%20Press%20Release%20Feb.pdf

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