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Ostomy Care Accessories Market Worth US$ 503.7 Million by 2021

Ostomy Care Accessories Market Worth US$ 503.7 Million by 2021

doct

 

The ostomy care accessories market has been estimated to be valued at US$ 347.2 Mn by the end of 2015, and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.8% during the forecast period (2015-2021) to account for US$ 503.7 Mn by 2021.

Ostomy care accessories are designed to enhance performance and comfort of an ostomy pouching system. There are various types of ostomy care accessories such as skin protection & skin barriers, belt, tapes and adhesives, irrigation sets & sleeves, convex inserts and stoma caps. Irrigation sets and sleeves may be used by some colostomies to reduce or eliminate the need to constantly wear a colostomy bag by cleaning stool directly out of the colon through the stoma. Stoma capes are small sized plastic cups or closed pouches that are worn for a short period of time for occasions such as swimming, playing sports, or during intimate moments where patient do not want to wear ostomy pouch as these are big in size and have high visibility. Stoma capes can also be used after irrigation when output has become predictable.

Ostomy care accessories market is growing mainly driven by increasing number of ostomates, technological advancement, and product innovation, and increasing the incidence of gastrointestinal disease. Also, rising awareness about ostomy care accessories available in the market and growing aging population are fuelling the growth of ostomy care accessories market globally. Ostomy care accessories find various applications such as sealing, cleaning, drainage, and lubrication. Stoma sealing helps reduce the risk of leakage. The cleansing application includes accessories that protect the skin and gently clean the stoma. Drainage application includes accessories such as irrigation sets and sleeves that are used by the colostomies who do not want to wear colostomy bag by cleaning stool directly out of the colon through the stoma. Lubrication is the ostomy care application that helps ensure that the content is always at the bottom of the bag and not around your stoma. Ostomy care accessories are used by various end users such as hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and home care settings.

Rising number of campaigns to raise awareness about ostomy is a major factor expected to further drive overall growth of the ostomy care accessories market over the forecast period. However, lack of awareness in developing countries, increasing pricing pressure and unfavorable reimbursement scenario in certain developed countries are some of the major factors that restrict the growth of the market.

Increasing partnerships between manufacturers and distributors, growing market share of domestic players, increasing sales through alternative/non-conventional channels such as the Internet, reducing operating cost by moving production to countries with low labor costs, extensive R&D activities, and increasing adoption of alcohol-free ostomy accessories are some of the trends observed in the global ostomy care accessories market.

By region, Europe has been estimated to dominate the ostomy care accessories market with over 42.1% share by 2015 end and is expected to remain dominant throughout the forecast period. Skin protection and skin barriers are the largest segment in global ostomy care accessories market. The global skin protection and skin barriers segment are expected to increase at a CAGR of 6.6% in terms of value during the forecast period. Belt, tapes and adhesives are the second-largest segment in the global ostomy care accessories market and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 6.8% in terms of value during the forecast period.

Asia-Pacific represents the most lucrative market, followed by North America for ostomy care accessories This is primarily due to increase awareness about ostomy care accessories available in the market, growing operational activities by key players and rising demand for better healthcare facilities in India, China, Bangladesh, Philippines and Indonesia. Asia Pacific has been estimated to account for 15.1% market share in the global ostomy care accessories market in 2015, which is expected to increase to 15.6% market share by 2021.

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Key market players covered in this report are Coloplast Corp., ConvaTec Inc., Hollister Inc., EuroMed Inc., 3M, Smith & Nephew, FNC Medical, Nu-Hope Laboratories, Inc., Marlen Manufacturing & Development Torbot Group Inc and Cymed Ostomy Co. These players have been profiled on the basis of various attributes such as company overview, recent developments, growth strategies, SWOT analysis and sustainability.

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The ostomy care accessories market is segmented as follows:

By Product Type:

  • Belts, Tapes, Adhesives
  • Skin Protection and Skin Barriers
  • Irrigation Sets & Sleeves
  • Convex Inserts
  • Stoma Caps

By Application Type:

  • Sealing
  • Cleansing
  • Lubrication
  • Drainage

By End User:

  • Hospital
  • Ambulatory Surgical Centers
  • Home Care Settings

By Region:

  • North America
  • Latin America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific
  • The Middle East & Africa

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PMR stands committed to bringing more accuracy and speed to clients’ business decisions. From ready-to-purchase market research reports to customized research solutions, PMR’s engagement models are highly flexible without compromising on its deep-seated research values.

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Non-Invasive Glucometry: Hangout with Avner Gal of Integrity Applications

Non-Invasive Glucometry: Hangout with Avner Gal of Integrity Applications

glucotrack

 

Noninvasive measurement of blood glucose is a holy grail of medicine, with the potential to revolutionize diabetes management. Integrity Applications, an Israeli firm, has developed a device that looks like a pulse oximeter that attaches to the ear lobe, but instead uses ultrasound, electromagnetic, and thermal data to measure the amount of glucose within the blood passing through the ear lobe. The firm already received the CE Mark for their technology in Europe and a clinical trial in preparation for FDA review is in the works.

Avner Gal, Co-Founder, President & CEO of Integrity Applications, joined us to discuss the company’s technology, how it can impact healthcare, and what the future holds for diabetes management and treatment.

Here’s a recording of the hangout:

Flashbacks: GlucoTrack Non-Invasive Ear Lobe Glucometer to Go to Clinical Trial in U.S…GlucoTrack DF-F Noninvasive Glucose Meter Receives CE Mark…Non-Invasive Measurement of Blood Glucose Levels Using GlucoTrack: Interview with CEO Avner Gal…;

Link: Integrity Applications homepage…

 

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One Drop Blood Glucose Monitoring Service Launched in U.S. and E.U.

One Drop Blood Glucose Monitoring Service Launched in U.S. and E.U.

one-drop

 

One Drop, a company based in New York City, has announced that it received FDA clearance and CE Mark approval to introduce its One Drop | Chrome blood glucose meter. The device is part of the firm’s One Drop | Premium subscription service that includes the meter, unlimited testing strips, and live support from diabetes professionals via a smartphone app.

The service costs $39.95 without insurance and includes the Chrome glucometer that uses Bluetooth to upload readings to the One Drop app, testing strips shipped on demand, and assistance of experts. The experts can lead a patient through programs to help control blood sugar levels, define goals, and explain various issues. The app keeps a record of all the readings and interactions with the professional experts, which can be shared with one’s doctor and family members.

Link: One Drop…

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Crowdsourcing Citizen Scientists to Combat Zika at Texas A&M: Interview with Dr. Jenifer Horney

Crowdsourcing Citizen Scientists to Combat Zika at Texas A&M: Interview with Dr. Jenifer Horney

Infectious disease monitoring and management is not only a challenge abroad but also locally in the continental United States. At Texas A&M, Dr. Jennifer Horney PhD, MPH, CPH from the School of Public Health and Dr. Daniel Goldberg, PhD from the College of Geosciences have lead an effort to attack Zika, an Aedes mosquito-borne virus, at its source, standing water, through iOS and Android apps. The platform crowdsources data from citizen scientists about the locations of standing water that health departments can use to identify hotspots where samples can be collected to test for the presence of Zika. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Horney to learn more about the group’s mobile platform.

 

Mike Batista, Medgadget: Tell us a little about your background and interest in Zika.

jennifer-horneyDr. Horney: I am an epidemiologist whose research focuses on outbreak investigations and natural disasters. I worked a lot on the novel influenzas that were happening in 2006 (avian flu) and 2009 (H1N1). Since coming to Texas A&M, I’ve been able to work with researchers across the university on issues related to infrastructure and health, climate and health. Zika is a great example of how we might be facilitating the spread of new diseases through issues like infrastructure and climate.

 

Medgadget: Within the past couple of years efforts have been underway to fight Zika. What led you to the idea of creating a mobile app to address the problem?

Dr. Horney: We heard from local health department partners that they needed volunteers to help with surveillance for mosquitoes. The mosquitoes are collected from standing water and then tested for Zika virus. By crowd-sourcing the data collection, we can collect a lot of data about where standing water might be concentrated to improve the efficiency of these local health departments.

 

Medgadget: How does the app work and who would use the mobile app?

zika-appDr. Horney: Anyone can download the app and enter data about the number of potential breeding containers in their own yard, property, or in public areas. All data is uploaded and mapped to generate “hot spots” where there are a lot of potential breeding containers. 

 

Medgadget: Who benefits from the mobile app?

Dr. Horney: The idea is that by using citizen scientists to collect data on risk factors for Zika and mapping places where the mosquitos that transmit the virus can breed, we can cover a lot more areas than if we have to rely on limited public health staff to conduct surveillance for mosquito breeding. By having residents anywhere around the world contribute data, we can identify hot spots and put resources there to mitigate mosquito breeding.

 

Medgadget: The mobile app is free for download in the iOS and Android app stores. Are there plans for monetizing this technology as a platform?

Dr. Horney: There are no plans to monetize the technology. We are hoping to secure grant support to enhance the app. For example, we could add more questions to collect data about the prevalence of other potential risk factors for Zika and related diseases, like travel, housing quality (i.e. window screens), and contact with stray dogs.

 

Medgadget: What more can or needs to be done today to make strides against the Zika virus?

Dr. Horney: We saw our first reported case of local transmission of Zika virus in Texas just this week in Cameron County. Zika is here to stay. This is also true for other diseases that we’ve previously only seen in more tropical locations like leishmaniasis and dengue. We will need major investments in public health infrastructure and in health education to keep people safe. In the long run, we have to consider how changes in the environment and the climate facilitate the spread of these types of diseases.

 

Medgadget: Do you see mobile health technology playing a role in the management of other infectious diseases? Are there any examples where it has already been or could be applied?

Dr. Horney: Google Flu Trends and other platforms have been used to track clusters of disease before they could be identified with traditional public heath surveillance. The idea of outsourcing data collection to citizen scientists is one that is not going away. However, more work needs to be done to ensure data quality and to better understand how we can analyze these types of crowd-sourced data to develop public health interventions.

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TAMU Zika app downloads: iOS and Android

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Global Prostate Cancer Therapy Market 2016: Regional Outlook, Analysis, Size, Share, Forecast – 2021.

Global Prostate Cancer Therapy Market 2016: Regional Outlook, Analysis, Size, Share, Forecast – 2021.

Prostate-Cancer-Therapy

 

Global Prostate Cancer Therapy Market Research Report

This report provides a strategic analysis of the Prostate Cancer Therapy market and the growth estimates for the forecasted period.The market research analyst projects the global Prostate Cancer Therapy market to grow at a considerable CAGR, in terms of revenue,over the forecast period. The report will provide the client with market insights andin-depth analysis of multiple market segments on the basis of applications, end-users, and geographicalcross-sectional study across the globe.This report also provides market sizing and forecasts for the Prostate Cancer Therapy market. In addition, it provides a copious view on the market dynamics such as market drivers, market restraints, and opportunities for each of the micro markets.

Complete Report With TOC Available @ http://www.mrsresearchgroup.com/market-analysis/global-prostate-cancer-therapy-market-2016-production-sales.html

The report provides detailedinformation with respect to competitive landscape along with the top competitors in the Prostate Cancer Therapy market.Furthermore, to help the clients make strategic decision, the reporthighlights a comprehensiveprofiling of leading players, their detailed analysis, their key developments along withthe market positioning. The report also foregrounds current and future market trends in order to justify the forthcoming attractive markets within the Prostate Cancer Therapy market.Moreover, clients are also provided with segment-wise, region-wise, and country-wise analysis of the Prostate Cancer Therapy market.To convey a proper analysis of all the data, the report comprises a number of figures, graphs, tables, and diagrams, which will help the clients get a crystal clear idea of the current trends in the Prostate Cancer Therapy market. Additionally, the report also strategically analyzes the Prostate Cancer Therapy market with regards to individual growth trends, future prospects, and contribution of each segment to the market. Various competitive developments such as contracts and agreements, new product developments, expansions, and mergers & acquisitions in the Prostate Cancer Therapy market are also included in the report.

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This research study incorporated the use of extensive secondary sources, directories, and databases in order to identify and gather information useful for the technical, market-oriented, and commercial study of the Prostate Cancer Therapy market.This report is an effort to identify driving factors for the Prostate Cancer Therapy market and sub-markets in the near future.The research report also presents an exhaustive evaluation of the Prostate Cancer Therapy market and comprises contemplative insights, historical data, facts, and statistically supportedmarket data that is industry-validated. It comprisesestimations using anappropriate set of assumptions and necessary methodologies. The research report provides analysis, statistics, particulars, and information with respect to the market segments such as geographies, applications, and others.

Highlights of the report:

A complete backdrop analysis, which includes an assessment of the parent market.
Important changes in market dynamics.
Market segmentation up to the second or third level.
Historical, current, and projected size of the market from the standpoint of both value and volume.
Reporting and evaluation of recent industry developments.
Market shares and strategies of key players.
Emerging niche segments and regional markets.

Regional Segment Analysis

North America
U.S.
Europe
UK
Asia Pacific
China
Japan
India
Latin America
Brazil
Middle East & Africa

The global medical industry is going to experience tremendous growth in the coming years with a range of development and investment opportunities for companies looking out to enter in this industry or to expand within. Healthcare industry is one of the largest sectors in the country both in terms of revenue as well as employment. This sector consists of medical devices, hospitals, health insurance, medical equipment etc. The Indian healthcare delivery system is basically classified in two components i.e. private and public. The public healthcare system which is run by the Government works towards providing basic healthcare facilities in the form of primary healthcare centers in the rural areas of the country.

Browse more reports on Medical & Health at: http://www.mrsresearchgroup.com/category/medical-and-health.html

Table of Content:

Chapter One Introduction of Industry
1.1 Brief Introduction of Industry
1.2 Development of Industry
1.3 Status of Industry

Chapter Two Manufacturing Technology of Industry
2.1 Development of Manufacturing Technology
2.2 Analysis of Manufacturing Technology
2.3 Trends of Manufacturing Technology

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Restless Sleep may cause Widespread pain in Older Adults

Restless Sleep may cause Widespread pain in Older Adults

nice sleep

Waking up and  not  feeling rested isn’t just annoying. Researchers say that “non-restorative sleep” is the biggest risk factor for the development of widespread pain in older adults.Widespread pain that affects different parts of the body — the main characteristic of fibromyalgia  – affects 15 percent of women and 10 percent of men over age 50, according to the previous studies.To identify the triggers of such widespread pain, British researchers compiled the demographic data as well as information on the pain and physical  and mental  health of more than 4,300 adults  older than 50. About 2,700 had some pain at the study’s start, but none had widespread pain.

Three years after the study began, 19 percent of the participants had new  widespread pain, the researchers found.This new pain in various parts of the body  was worse for those who had some pain at the beginning of the study. Of those with some prior pain, 25 percent had new widespread pain. Meanwhile, 8 percent of those with no pain at the start of the study had widespread pain three years later.”While osteoarthritis  is linked  to new onset of widespread pain, our findings also found that poor sleep, , and physical  and psychological health may increase pain risk,” concluded the study’s leader, Dr. John McBeth, from the arthritis research center at Keele University in  Staffordshire, England.”Combined interventions that treat both site-specific and widespread pain are needed for the older adults.

Increasing age, however, was linked to a lower chance of  developing  widespread pain. Muscle, bone and nerve pain is more common  among the older people. Up to 80 percent of  people 65 and older experience some form of pain on a daily basis, according to the news release.While the study finds an association  between poor sleep and widespread pain, it does not establish a direct  cause-and-effect  relation ship.

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Cold Weather,Humidity Changes tied to Stroke risk

Cold Weather,Humidity Changes tied to Stroke risk

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There may be a link between weather and the risk of suffering a stroke, say researchers who analyzed the climate trends and hospital records  on millions of  Americans.Cold weather, high humidity and big daily temperature swings seem to land more people in the hospital  with strokes. As it got warmer, risk fell — 3 percent for every 5 degrees, the study found.”Maybe some of these meteorological factors serve as a trigger,” said Judith Lichtman, a Yale University stroke researcher who led the study. With global climate change and extreme weather like this week’s freak storm in the South,  ”this could be increasingly important,” she said.Lichtman and colleagues from Harvard and Duke universities gave the results of their study Wednesday at the American Heart Association’s International Stroke Conference in San Diego. It is the largest and most detailed research on this issue.Each year, about 800,000 Americans have a stroke. Most are due to the clots that block a blood vessel to the brain, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor.Some earlier studies found a seasonal trend to stroke rates, and there are biological reasons to think they are related, said one independent expert, Dr. Andrew Stemer, a neurologist at Georgetown University.

Blood vessels  constrict  in the cold weather, which can raise blood pressure, he said. Extreme weather can trigger a stress reaction by the body, causing it to release substances “that not only increase the work of the heart” but make blood stickier and more likely to the clot, Stemer said.In cold weather “your body clamps down, there’s cardiovascular stress,” said Dr. Larry Goldstein, a Duke stroke specialist who worked on the study. Conversely, “high humidity may cause dehydration,” which also can raise the risk for clots and raise stress on the body, he said. “You know how you feel  when you’re out in hot, humid weather — you don’t feel so hot.”Several of these same researchers  published another study earlier this year that looked at stroke deaths from 1999 to 2006 among Medicare patients and  found a pattern — higher rates in the  winter, lower in summer and a small peak in July.

The new study  looked at the stroke  hospitalizations, not just deaths, in a wider population of adults using a federal database covering all states except Idaho,  Delaware and New Hampshire. Researchers also had daily climate data down to the county level from the National Climatic Data Center for 2010 and 2011.Researchers tracked only strokes caused by the clots, not the less common kind caused by a burst or bleeding the blood vessel.Lower temperatures, larger daily temperature changes and higher dew points (humidity) were tied to higher stroke hospitalization rates.Each 5-degree increase in daily temperature fluctuation (the highest reading minus the lowest one) raised the chance of stroke hospitalization by 6 percent. Each 5-degree rise in the dew point  raised the risk by 2 percent.The researchers did not  establish a threshold when things were too hot — the point of the study was tracking the general trend, Lichtman said.The results mean that during extreme weather, friends and relatives should “keep an eye on people that are  at high risk, those who are older,” she said.During stressful weather conditions, “you want to watch your diet, watch  your  salt intake, regardless of what the temperatures are,” and get enough fluids, said Daniel Lackland, a scientist at Medical University of  South Carolina in Charleston.Goldstein added this advice for people already at cardiovascular risk: “Stay in the  air conditioning in the summer and stay heated  in the winter,” so the weather  outside affects you  less…

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Seafood Neurotoxin May Cause Kidney Damage at Levels FDA Considers Safe

Seafood Neurotoxin May Cause Kidney Damage at Levels FDA Considers Safe

                                          seafood

 

A chemical found in seafood is known to cause brain damage, but a recent study found that the toxin is damaging to the kidneys at much lower concentrations. The findings, appearing in an upcoming issue of Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, suggest that officials may need to the reconsider what levels of the toxin are safe for human consumption.

Likely due to the  environmental changes, domoic acid, a neurotoxin also called “Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning,” is becoming  prominent among algae along coastal regions. The stable, heat resistant  toxin accumulates in mussels, clams, scallops and fish, which led the FDA to set a legal limit on the amount of the domoic acid allowed in seafood,based primarily on its neurological effects.

Domoic acid is filtered from the body by the kidneys, a fact  that led P. Darwin Bell and Jason Funk of the Medical University of South Carolina to measure the toxins effects on those organs. By giving mice doses of domoic acid, the team found the kidneys are more sensitive to this toxin than the brain.

“We have found that domoic acid damages kidneys at concentrations that are 100 times lower than what causes neurological effects,” Bell said. “This means that humans who consume the seafood may be at an increased risk of kidney damage possibly leading to the kidney failure and dialysis.

While human  testing will be needed to verify the findings, the researchers are hopeful they will see an increased awareness and monitoring  of domoic acid levels in seafood sold to humans, according  to a statement. They said the FDA may need to reconsider the legal limit, as it is based on levels  harmful to the brain….

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HD Medical Demonstrates ViScope MD-World’s First Visual Stethoscope

HD Medical Demonstrates ViScope MD-World’s First Visual Stethoscope

ViScope MD  ViScope MD Stethoscope with Visual Capabilities from HD Medical

 

ViScope  MD  is a compact stethoscope with an integrated high resolution phonocardiogram  visual display featuring the world’s first murmur indicator. It  has a unique embedded algorithm that enables clinicians to quickly screen for the  heart anomalies and murmurs. The scope has a tunable filter giving you the ability to select specific parts of the heart sound to listen to, such as S1/S2, S3/S4 murmurs, etc. Additionally ViScope MD supports an external amplifier for observation and discussion such as in teaching or consulting situations. ViScope MD visually augments patient examinations for more rapid and accurate patient screenings with documentation to improve triage of patients for the next level of diagnostic care.

Includes:     It includes Integrated Visual Display and ViScope Software.

Key Features:

  • Patented signal processing technology delivers “best-in-class” stethoscope functionality that ensures you can hear all that you need to
  • Digitized sound assures you are not limited by your hearing with the ability to amplify for optimum audibility
  • Integrated visual display of the PCG enables Dynamic Auscultation – seeing what you hear
  • World’s first Murmur-Signal Wave display (MUR) helps you screen for murmurs
  • World first integrated heart anomaly indicator aids in detecting heart abnormalities with high sensitivity and specificity
  • Storage for up to four 10 second patient waveforms for documentation
  • Interfaces to a PC through the ViScope MD Software which allows you to capture, save document and archive patient records…

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Sonar System Enables the Blind to “See”

Sonar System Enables the Blind to “See”

Sonar System Enables the Blind to “See”

A “sonar vision” system that enables people who are blind from birth to perceive the shape of a face, a house or even words and letters, is being developed by a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Using this device, the researchers have shown that, in people that are blind from birth, the areas of the cerebral cortex normally devoted to reading become activated in response to stimulation. The results of this study, conducted in conjunction with researchers at the ICM Brain and Bone Marrow Institute Research Center (Inserm/UPMC/AP-HP) and NeuroSpin (CEA-Inserm), were published in Neuron on November 8.

Published on Monday 12 November 2012 | A “sonar vision” system that enables people who are blind from birth to perceive the shape of a face, a house or even words and letters, is being developed by a team at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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It is generally accepted that the visual cortex fails to develop normally in the congenitally blind, to such an extent that it can prove impossible to recover sight at a later point – even in cases where blindness can be corrected. In reality, the blind can indeed access a kind of vision, describe objects, and even identify written words and letters, using a “sensory substitution device” (SSD), which transforms images into sound.These are the results demonstrated in the study conducted at the Edmond and Lily Safra Neuroscience Center (Hebrew University of Jerusalem). The study was conceived by researchers at the Hebrew University, who carried out the experimental components, with scientific support from French cognitive neuroimaging specialists. The device consists in a small video camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses, a laptop (or Smartphone) which transforms images into sounds, and stereo headphones to hear the sounds produced. For example, an oblique line is transformed into an increasingly high-pitched sound (or increasingly lower-pitched sound). The same principle is used to encode much more complex images in auditory form.Using this system, the blind can achieve greater “visual” acuity than that defined as blindness according to WHO criteria.After only 70 hours of specialized training, the blind are able to correctly classify images into different categories (faces, houses, etc.). They can also perceive other important information, such as where people are located in a room and certain facial expressions. They can even read words and letters (see videos at http://brain.huji.ac.il/).In addition to the performance enabled by this sensory substitution system, the researchers at the Hebrew University wanted to understand what happens in the brain when a blind person learns to “see” through sound. To this end, they have developed a functional MRI study based on a specific paradigm. In particular, they have shown that the regions of the cortex normally devoted to visual perception, which seem to serve no apparent use in the blind, become highly activated in response to the “sonar vision” of faces, houses and words, etc.Not only is the visual cortex activated, it also demonstrates a “normal” functional selectivity of different categories of objects. Thus, in a sighted person, a very specific region of the visual cortex in the left hemisphere (known by the acronym VWFA), is known to become more activated when perceiving a string of letters than when perceiving any other kind of object. It is exactly this same region that is activated when a blind person reads letter using the “sonar vision” device.“The fact that this specialization for reading develops after just a few hours of training shows a remarkable degree of cerebral plasticity,” explained Stanislas Dehaene (NeuroSpin brain imaging center). These results back up the idea that that the so-called visual cortex is selective in analyzing the shape of objects, and can perform this function based on visual input (as is generally the case), but also, if necessary, based on auditory or tactile input.“These results suggest that it may be possible, with the right technology and rehabilitation, to ‘wake up’ certain areas of the brain and access certain aspects of the visual world, even after years, or even a lifetime of blindness,” concluded Laurent Cohen (ICM Research Center).

Highlights

The visual word form area (VWFA) is selective for letters without visual experience

Blind VWFA letter selectivity exists even relative to complex stimuli such as faces

This selectivity can develop in the adult brain for a new sense used for reading

The VWFA shows amodal feature tolerance for linking letter shapes to phonology

Summary

Using a visual-to-auditory sensory-substitution algorithm, congenitally fully blind adults were taught to read and recognize complex images using “soundscapes”—sounds topographically representing images. fMRI was used to examine key questions regarding the visual word form area (VWFA): its selectivity for letters over other visual categories without visual experience, its feature tolerance for reading in a novel sensory modality, and its plasticity for scripts learned in adulthood. The blind activated the VWFA specifically and selectively during the processing of letter soundscapes relative to both textures and visually complex object categories and relative to mental imagery and semantic-content controls. Further, VWFA recruitment for reading soundscapes emerged after 2 hr of training in a blind adult on a novel script. Therefore, the VWFA shows category selectivity regardless of input sensory modality, visual experience, and long-term familiarity or expertise with the script. The VWFA may perform a flexible task-specific rather than sensory-specific computation, possibly linking letter shapes to phonology.

Researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a device with which congenitally blind people will be able to see again to some extent. This “sonar vision” device transforms images into sound, enabling the blind to perceive visual information via the ear. Results of the conducted study using the technology were published in Neuron.

The sonar system can transform images into sounds by using a combination of a video camera embedded in a pair of eyeglasses, a laptop and headphones. Before being able to “see” with this device, a person will need about 70 hours of specialized training in identifying shapes transformed into sound. After this training the blind person may become very adept at perceiving information like where people are located in a room and even to read words and letters.

The research also showed that certain regions of the visual cortex become highly activated after perceiving the “sonar vision” of objects. Functional MRI testing even showed a similar functional selectivity of different categories of objects, compared with sighted people. These results point towards the idea that the visual cortex also analyses the shapes of objects through auditory or tactile input. This shows promise that blind people with the right technology and training might be able to perceive the visual properties of the environment through other senses than sight.

Source : http://www.cea.fr/english-portal/news-list/a-sonar-vision-system-for-the-congenitally-blind-96675

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