tech

Want To Take A Virtual Tour Of The Human Body?

Imagine having the ability to take a virtual tour of the human body. One company is making it happen. Though the software is only available to healthcare companies for now, this technology could eventually be used in medical schools, completely changing the way students learn.   Video: Source   BioLucid, a digital health company, has introduced You®, a virtual reality (VR) software platform that takes physicians, students, and patients on an interactive tour of the human body. The immersive 3D experience lets users travel through organs and systems, explore within organs, and individualize physiologic functions, disease severity, and treatment. The platform can be used with a PC, VR headset, or mobile device.   Over the past 20 years, VR simulations have been applied to surgical training as well as post-stroke rehabilitation, treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, and cognitive training of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. As VR simulations have become more sophisticated, realistic, and medically precise, their applications have flourished. Today students take online anatomy courses that use 3D VR anatomic simulations. Patients can embark on interactive virtual tours of their disease or receive immersive 3D education about complex treatment options. It’s not difficult to imagine a future in which physicians and patients enter virtual realities and arrive at the destination of individualized, patient-centric healthcare.   Featured From: The Doctor’s Channel   Featured Image:...

How Augmented Reality is Changing Medical School

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that combines the real world with computer generated enhancements, such as sound, video, and graphics to literally augment the world around you. I’m sure we’re all aware of the most recent phenomenon that attracted kids and adults alike to wander around streets and parks for elusive Pokemon. PokemonGo is the perfect example of augmented reality in action and used for a mainstream purpose.   This same technology that puts a cartoon Pikachu in the real grass in front of you is now being put to use in medical schools. This could completely change the way med students learn about anatomy and physiology. Students would be able to interact with a 3D representation of the human body, making it easier for students to transition to actual patients.   Image: Source   Cool, right? Check out the video below to see the technology in action!   Video: Source   3D4Medical‘s newest product, Complete Anatomy Lab (CAL), has the potential to completely transform the way medical students study anatomy and physiology. The software, with a little help from hardware, can place 3D representations of the human body in any space. The 3D models are composed of over 6,500 interactive body structures, complete with descriptions, related lectures, and other useful study tools the user can summon at any time.   The technology may help reduce the number of...

Is IBM’s Watson The Future Of Medical Decision Making?

Ever since soundly winning Jeopardy! in 2011, IBM’s Watson has been quite busy.   Besides soundly beating out members of Congress in an untelevised Jeopardy! match, Watson also became possibly the smartest second-year medical student of all time. But like any bright medical student, Watson didn’t just stop there.   IBM recently announced the development of two paradigm-shifting projects, WatsonPath, a diagnosis and education program, and Watson EMR Assistant, a tool for analyzing information stored in medical records. Building upon Watson’s question-answering abilities, WatsonPath draws from clinical guidelines, evidence-based studies, and reference materials to either support or refute a set of hypotheses. WatsonPath is essentially the algorithm machine every medical student wishes they had in their head during board exams. And with a “learning regimen” that includes breaking down board-style questions, why wouldn’t WatsonPath score the highest USMLE score ever?   How can WatsonPath be used as an educational tool? The video above explains how the project not only offers answer suggestions, but also displays a schematic flow diagram showing the reasoning behind answers and confidence levels. WatsonPath breaks down clinical scenarios the same way any medical student would, looking at signs and symptoms, interpreting lab values, and searching for key associations. The project is currently being assimilated into the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine.   Beyond the classroom walls, the possibilities...

Can Computers Diagnose Melanoma?

With so many advances in technology and computer learning, is it possible that one day computers could replace doctors? Robots already assist in surgeries and 3D bio-printers can create synthetic body parts. But can computers reliably make a medical diagnosis?   Medical researchers in California think so – in a collaboration between Stanford’s Department of Electrical Engineering, the Department of Dermatology and the Department of Pathology, among others, scientists have developed a computer algorithm that can diagnose melanoma from a typical photo of a mole taken by any smartphone.   Image: Source   The researchers programmed a computer learning algorithm called a “convolutional neural network” or “CNN,” by using 129,450 clinical images showing 2,032 different diseases to “teach” the CNN what a specific carcinoma looks like. The authors then put the CNN to the test against 21 board-certified dermatologists in a challenge to accurately diagnose the most common and most deadly skin cancers. The authors of the study report that their method performs with a similar success rate as the board-certified dermatologists when it comes to distinguishing malignant melanoma and keratinocyte carcinoma from benign lesions.   Current apps in the U.S. provide information and education about skin cancer and allow users to save pictures of any skin abnormalities, but do not suggest a diagnosis. However, in countries like Australia, Canada and the U.K, you can already download an app...

Essential Apps for Med Students

Admit it: you’re always on your phone. Instead of spending another hour trying to catch that elusive Pokémon, check out these essential apps for med school students. These apps are specifically designed to help you increase your productivity, stay organized and survive.   Image: Source   Anatomy Apps These anatomy apps will give you quick access to all the anatomy you need and help you learn along the way –   1. Muscle & Bone Anatomy 3D iOS Android With a 3D view of the body, this app can isolate muscle groups by actions with animations and commentary. When you’re ready, use one of the built-in quizzes to put your skills to the test.   Image: Source   2. Radiology 2.0: One Night in the ED iOS In a series of case studies, this app walks you through everything you need to know when reviewing CT scans.   3. 3D Brain iOS Android Study all parts of the brain with zoom and rotation features on 29 interactive structures. Learn how different brain regions function, how they are involved in mental illness and what happens if they’re injured.   Clinical Practice Apps These tools are particularly convenient for clinical practice –   4. EBMcalc Complete iOS Android Perform complicated medical calculations on the go with EBMcalc Complete.   5. Epocrates iOS, Android This comprehensive reference tool covers almost everything and includes...

Medical Advancements To Look Forward To This Year #3: Holograms

3. Holograms in Medical Education Along with the fast-paced growth of technologies and initiatives taking place for the enhanced expertise and patient care of currently practicing physicians in the field, growth is likewise comparable for our up and coming medical students.   Medical education has changed quite significantly over the decades, from a system of apprenticeship to a widely renowned infrastructure of accredited education. However, the invention of 3D holograms and their potential applicability in teaching young physicians-to-be may likely rise as one of the most exciting avenues in existence today. Human anatomy is one of the primary fields that has been investigated for the use of 3D holograms as an added supplement to enhance the understanding and preparation of students.     In addition to carrying out dissections on cadavers in formaldehyde-scented laboratories, students have the opportunity to manipulate and view the human body in various dimensions, from different angles, and in unique planes previously impossible without the hologram interface. Case Western Reserve University Medical School has been one of the biggest proponents of this initiative, hoping to incorporate 3D holograms into their curriculum as early as 2019. And human anatomy is just a starting point!   However, along with every invention comes certain skepticism. While this novel, cutting-edge technology may perhaps prove to be a superior tool over the long-established dissection-based practice, will our next generation of...

3D-Bioprinting Technology Produces Blood Vessels in Monkeys

3d-bioprinting is not a new concept, as we have seen in previous articles on Almost Docs. This fascinating technology has opened up countless possibilities, especially pertaining to the future of medicine. So far, bioprinting has successfully produced medical models, prosthetic parts, heart valves, and even organs. Now, this technology is able to produce something even more intricate: blood vessels.     In 2015, Chinese biotechnology company Revotek released a 3d-bioprinter that fabricates blood vessels using a bio-ink made from stem cells. Just before the close of 2016, Kang Yujian, chief scientist and CEO of Revotek, announced the first successful transplant of bioprinted blood vessels into the abdominal aortas of 30 rhesus monkeys.   As shown in the video below, this technology allows researchers to produce new layers of cells to fuse with the old ones. In just a month, the newly created cells had completely blended in.   Video: Source   All monkeys have survived thus far and the 3d-printed biomaterial has achieved regeneration of the endothelial and muscle cells that compose authentic blood vessels. The success of this experiment could one day have far reaching implications for the nearly two billion patients with cardiovascular disease.   Featured Image:...

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