tech

Can Smartphones Sequence DNA?

Featured From The Doctor’s Channel   Video: Source   Molecular analysis of biological samples is typically outsourced to well-equipped (and cost-intensive) laboratories. However, there are times when sample diagnosis and DNA sequencing is needed quickly, needed in a remote location, or both. For this reason, Professor Mats Nilsson of Stockholm Universitet, Uppsala Universitet, and SciLifelab has led research on creating a smartphone compatible device for rapid, cost-effective molecular analysis.   The 3d-printed smartphone attachment uses a specialized lens and two LED lights to perform its microscopy. One of the first use-cases that Prof. Nilsson envisions for the technology is identifying antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis in developing countries. When the device becomes widely available, it’s estimated that it will cost less than $500.   Click here to read the paper published in the journal Nature Communications.   Featured Image:...

Diagnosing Genetic Disorders with Facial Recognition Technology

With advancing technology, you can see a doctor from home using FaceTime or send a pic of your mole for a cancer diagnosis. And now, the same technology that automatically tags your photos on Facebook can help doctors diagnose rare genetic diseases.   Facial recognition technology dates all the way back to 1964, when computer programmers starting teaching their computers how to recognize human faces. Early operations could process about 40 pictures an hour in an attempt to match similar features using coordinates between pupils, outside corners of the eyes, hairline, etc. Early attempts struggled to cope with variations from photo to photo if the subject wasn’t posed in exactly the same position. In the mid-2000s, the Face Recognition Grand Challenge was sponsored by the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, among others, to bring attention and innovation to facial recognition technology.   Image: Source   Now, researchers at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) have produced software that uses facial recognition technology to help diagnose DiGeorge syndrome. A rare genetic disease, DiGeorge syndrome is caused by a defect in chromosome 22. Although its effects vary from person to person, the syndrome can result in cleft palate, low calcium levels, heart defects and a weakened immune system. There is no cure, but early interventions can improve the patient’s outlook through relevant treatments.   The breakthrough is particularly important...

Contact Lenses With Biosensors Could Change Glucose Monitoring

Diabetes has been a huge problem in the U.S. in recent years, and those inflicted have a very difficult time managing their blood glucose levels. Glucose monitoring is typically done with devices that measure glucose in blood drops. Not only is this procedure uncomfortable, but it is also difficult to get diabetic patients to comply to regular visits to their physician to get the procedure done.   What if you could monitor your patient’s glucose levels with…contact lenses? And have the data sent to your smartphone? Yes, that’s right. Contact lenses embedded with transparent biosensors could allow doctors and patients to monitor glucose levels without the invasive prick-and-test approach.   Image: Source   Gregory S. Herman, PhD developed a compound composed of indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO), a semiconductor used in displays on TVs, smartphones, and tablets. Herman investigated in this technology’s biomedical applications.   He speculated that bio-sensing contact lenses could provide several benefits, including: – Reducing the risk of diabetes-related health problems – Eliminating painful continuous glucose monitoring systems – Improving compliance in patients – Increasing speed of detection and gathering of data   To test his idea, Herman and his colleagues used a biosensor with a transparent sheet of IGZO transistors and glucose oxidase, an enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of glucose to gluconic acid…aka breaks down glucose. “As a result, the pH level in the...

Major Advancements in Brain-to-Computer Interface for Paralyzed Individuals

Featured From The Doctor’s Channel   Video: Source   Over the last two and a half years, Stanford University researchers have been developing and improving a brain-computer interface (BCI) that allows paralyzed individuals to input data into a computer using only their brainwaves (via implant). Recently, one patient with a spinal cord injury, and two patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease) have been able to enter up to 39 characters per minute (translating to about 8 words per minute) using the technology.   Krishna Shenoy, PhD, one of the senior co-authors of the paper published in eLife, says “This study reports the highest speed and accuracy, by a factor of three, over what’s been shown before.” Dr. Shenoy has been working on BCI development since the early 2000s and has spent the last two years working on this project with Chethan Pandarinath, PhD, and postdoctoral scholar Paul Nuyujukian, MD, PhD. “These high-performing BCI algorithms’ use in human clinical trials demonstrates the potential for this class of technology to restore communication to people with paralysis,” according to Nuyujukian.   It is important to note that this “typing” performance was achieved without any kind of autocorrection software.   Click here to read the quoted article published in Stanford Medicine‘s News Center.   Featured Image:...

Low-Tech Has Major Impact on Laparoscopic Surgery

What is laparoscopic surgery? Laparoscopic surgery, also referred o as minimally invasive surgery (MIS), describes the performance of surgical procedures with the assistance of a video camera and several thin instruments.   Image: Source   Thanks to researchers and small business entrepreneurs, surgeons now have access to a new type of low-tech instrument to perform these complex, minimally invasive procedures. This technology provides more dexterity, precision, and intuitive control than traditional instruments. It’s also simpler to use, requires less training, AND is less expensive.   Watch the video below to see it in action!   Video: Source James Geiger, MD, professor of surgery at University of Michigan, and his colleague, professor of engineering, Shorya Awtar, have developed a low-tech, and relatively inexpensive surgical tool that increases the precision of a surgeon’s hand, arm, and wrist movements during minimally invasive surgery (MIS). The FlexDex platform is designed to improve the accuracy of multiple endoscopic and laparoscopic tools. The innovations in parallel kinematics, virtual center of rotation, and flexure mechanisms comes from research teams at the Precision Systems Design Lab at the University of Michigan.   Featured From: The Doctor’s Channel   Featured Image:...

Blood Drawing Device for Squeamish Patients

As med students I’m sure we are used to, or getting used to, the fact that we will be seeing blood almost on a daily basis in our careers. However, patients aren’t always a huge fan of blood…or needles. A company has developed a new device that draws blood without a needle and without the sight of blood.     This would make a trip to the doctor’s office much less frightening for those who are typically more apprehensive about going to their routine checkup.   Video: Source   Seventh Sense Biosystems has developed a unique tool to perform routine blood draws in a quick, painless, and hidden manner. The TAP blood collection device adheres to a patient’s arm using an attached gel pad, and with the touch of a single button can draw a 100ul whole blood sample. The blood is drawn from the capillary beds near the surface of the skin using 30 microneedles, causing minimal discomfort and without the patient ever seeing the needles or blood. A window on the front of the device shows when the blood drawing is complete, and the unit then stores the sample until it is ready to be analyzed.   Featured From: The Doctor’s Channel   Featured Image:...

Treatment Devices for Migraines

This month the FDA updated their consumer information on migraines to include 2 devices approved for the treatment of migraines:   – the Cefaly transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) device, and – the Cerena Transcranial Magnetic Stimulator.   Those who suffer from migraines know the intense throbbing or pulsing pain that can last up to 72 hours, and is often accompanied by sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and/or vomiting. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 37 million Americans suffer from migraines, and women are three times more likely than men to have migraines.     These devices are great news for migraine suffers because the currently approved migraine medications can often have serious side effects that vary from patient to patient. “Although these migraine drugs are quite effective, they are not for everyone. Some can make you tired, drowsy or dizzy. Some can affect your thinking. And some migraine drugs can cause birth defects, so pregnant women can’t use them,” says Eric Bastings, M.D., an FDA neurologist.   Although TENS treatment for pain has been around for a while, Cefaly was the first TENS device to be approved for use as a preventative measure, before the onset of a migraine. It can be used daily and studies have shown that it reduces the number of days that patients have experienced migraines.   Video: Source   According to...

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