tech

Master the MCAT On Your iPhone

There is no shortage of MCAT resources, especially those claiming to be something along the lines of ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. So, how do you sift out the bad ones and figure out what will really work? We took the time to find for you one of the best and most unique resources: the MCAT 2015 Mastery app.     We should note that this is not a stand-alone resource but an awesome supplement that every student should consider. One user says:     Below, we’ve outlined the ten best features of this app, if you’re not convinced already.     1.  You don’t need internet or data to access any content. Hellooo travel-studying and a better battery life!     2.  Of 144 reviews, the app has a high rating of 4.5 stars.     3.  There are over 1100+ official practice questions (and counting!)     4.  Streamlined and highly organized content to get maximum learning in minimal time.     5.  It costs only $20 (in app) to unlock all the content.     6.  After downloading the free app and purchasing the full version, if after two weeks you don’t love it you are eligible for a full refund.     7.  Questions can be sorted by what is tested most frequently on the exam so you don’t end up wasting time on...

The Digital 3D Heart

In medical school we frequently use books, models, and online training tools to help us understand the intricate and immensely detailed anatomy of the human body. However, these diagrams are often times 2D, and it can be difficult to fully grasp the complexity of organs. Even the cadaver lab still poses difficulty since the bodies tend to, we could say, not keep so well over the length of the course. This is why we will be examining a digital tool that will hopefully be utilized soon in medical training.    Glassworks   Inventive Medical Ltd. has partnered with Glassworks, a high-end digital animation house in Amsterdam, to bring the medical community a new tool in cardiological education. Heartworks is a computer-generated replica of the human heart, designed with incredible detail right down to each individual capillary.   This 3D simulation of cardiac anatomy can be used as a standalone teaching tool, or in conjunction with one of Inventive Medical’s training mannequins. With practical applications in transthoracic echocardiography, cardiovascular pathology, and Doppler or M-mode imaging, Heartworks offers medical students and cardiac specialists a unique way to study and perform research. Click here for more information on the Heartworks project from...

Nano-bots May Soon Drill Through Blocked Arteries

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi), as the causative agent of Lyme Disease and facilitates transmission of the bacteria to humans. Aside from the characteristic skin rash, known as erythema migrans, other common symptoms of Lyme disease include fatigue, headache and fever. Antibiotics over the course of a few weeks have proven successful for the treatment of Lyme disease but in the event that the disease is left untreated, the resulting infection can have serious consequences with the potential to affect the “joints, the heart, and the nervous system.” B. burgdorferi belongs to a group of bacteria known as Spirochetes that possesses a distinctive spiral shape or “wavelike body and flagella enclosed between the outer and inner membranes.” In fact, research has shown that the flagella provide these bacteria with motility, the ability to swim through media that would be impossible for other bacteria to navigate, and to burrow through healthy cellular tissue, often going undetected and thus suppressing the host immune response. How incredible would it be if these unique traits could somehow be harnessed for the treatment of disease? This very idea inspired Dr. MinJun Kim’s extensive research on “robotic microswimmer technology” and his work to design microrobots to navigate and clear blocked arteries in a minimally invasive fashion to accelerate recovery time and improve patient outcomes. Dr. Kim is...

New App Analyzes Breast Cancer Treatment

It is truly amazing what apps are coming to fruition. A new app, Share the Journey, leverages Apple’s recently released ResearchKit framework that accurately and securely gathers data from participants’ devices. The app is used to analyze issues connected to breast cancer treatment. Symptoms studied include mood changes, activity and exercise disruptions, sleep disturbances, cognitive troubles, and fatigue. Using journals and survey answers solicited from program participants, in conjunction with optional iPhone sensor-collected data, the research study aims to better understand variations in post-treatment symptoms of breast cancer survivors.   With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and support from prominent breast cancer non-profit organizations, ShareTheJourney hopes to find ways to improve the quality of life for women diagnosed with breast cancer. All women with an iPhone, ages 18 and up, are eligible to contribute, regardless of whether they have ever suffered from the disease. To download the app from IMS Health Appscript, click...

A Moving Skeleton Made from Plastic

Theo Jansen is so much more than an artist. He is an engineer that gives life to inanimate objects, creating physiology and movement from tubes of plastic. In this short documentary, Theo discusses his latest “animal,” a towering structure that can walk and react to the wind based on designs that mirror muscles, nerves, and a skeleton. Read more about Theo Jansen and his animals.       Featured image is a screenshot from video...

STD Testing: There’s An App for That

Nearly two million people under the age of forty have chlamydia in the United States according to the CDC and yet this disease frequently goes undetected and uncured. Since symptoms can be so minimal, without regular annual testing, many cases go undetected. When left chlamydia is left untreated, it can cause fertility or pregnancy complications for women. Gonorrhea similarly can cause infertility in both men and women or make the patient more susceptible to an HIV infection. Given these risks and statistics, Planned Parenthood has designed a new app, which has been released in California, that allows users to discreetly test for these two of the most common sexually transmitted diseases, chlamydia and gonorrhea, according to a report from NPR. Currently, any California resident over the age of 16 can use the app to purchase an STD kit for $149 that is mailed to the individual directly. After submitting a urine sample through the provided pre-paid return package, users receive their test results sent through the app in just days after mailing their sample. If any results come back positive, the app has an feature that allows users to request a prescription through Planned Parenthood or schedule an appointment for in-office antibiotic treatment. If this pilot project can expand beyond these initial stages, it could significantly help protect young men and women across the country from two dangerous, common,...

Scientists Find A Way to Regrow Limbs

Seeing a limb grow before your eyes sounds exactly like something out of a science fiction movie, but now it may have just become a reality. Biomedical engineering has taken regenerative medicine to a new level of ground breaking. It’s not exactly like a lizard regrowing its tail, but it seems just as cool. A newer technique, according to CBS News, called decellularization, has been used to create a new rat limb from a deceased rat donor. Decellularization is a method where scientist take the extracellular matrix of the donor cells and use that as the scaffold for the new limb. Then, the rats own stem cells were added to the extracellular matrix, and the new limb began to grow. During testing, the new leg had muscles that contracted at 80% the strength of the rat’s other original muscles. This advance in biomedical engineering could potentially help the 185,000 amputations that occur each year. Doctors are hoping that even if full limb regeneration may still be a ways off, that this method can be employed to help people who have had parts of their body damaged by accidents such as burns, or surgical procedures like cancer...