CorMatrix’s CanGaroo ECM Envelope Allows Vital Medical Devices to be Implanted Easily

CorMatrix-CanGarooVery often implanting medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators can cause damage to the surrounding tissue. Additionally, devices can move around after being implanted which can lengthen healing time, cause infections, and in extreme cases, lead to follow-up surgeries. Now, medical company CorMatrix has developed the CanGaroo ECM Envelope which works as a bioscaffold. The CanGaroo creates a comfortable environment for the cardiac device to be explanted and held in place until the body’s own tissue grows around the device. The CanGaroo ECM Envelope will not calcify, molds to the shape of the device, and eventually forms into vascularized tissue.

So far, the CanGaroo ECM Envelope has been successfully implanted in one human patient and CorMatrix has received clearance from the FDA to begin marketing this product.

(Sources: medGadget, CorMatrix)

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New Device Could Detect if Drinks Have Been Drugged

PDIDFrom a young age, many women receive the conventional wisdom to never take a drink from a stranger at a bar to avoid being drugged. However, this cardinal rule becomes fudged in situations where an element of trust is implied, for instance, at parties or on a date. Now, IT tech David Wilson wants to give women the power to verify if their drinks are safe with the development of the pd.id; a device that can be slipped into a drink and will detect any foreign substances. The pd.id will flash green if the drink is safe or blink red if the user should think twice before drinking.

Wilson likens the device to the Shazaam app which allows users to garner information on a song simply by playing a few bars; the pd.id gathers information about a beverage after it is dipped into the drink. However, Wilson cautions, like the Shazaam app, the pd.id is subject to error. In the same way Shazaam cannot filter out just the song in a noisy environment, substances such as dish soap may be present in the glass, which could cause the pd.id to flash red. Still, the device could serve as a warning system and potentially prevent instances of rape and abuse when used.

The pd.id is still in its developmental stages and creator, Wilson, is raising funds via Indiegogo to manufacture the product on a large scale. $12,000 of the $100,000 goal has currently been collected.

(Source: Huffington Post)

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Cubbi’s Compact Active Desk

cubiiIt is no mystery that sitting for the larger part of the day can be detrimental to a person’s long-term health. However, with more and more careers requiring employees to sit at a desk for eight hours or more, sitting seems inevitable. While standing desks and even treadmill desks have been proposed by health professionals, space and funding make these limited options for most offices.

Now, start-up Cubii is sizing down the options of active desks by developing its eponymous device– a compact elliptical trainer. The device fits under a standard desk and is designed in a way that will not cause the user’s knees to bang against the underside of the desk. the Cubii also comes with an accompanying app to keep users accountable and allows them to track their progress.

Initial cost via Kickstarter was $279 and is now $299 and ships in January.

(Source: Tech Crunch)

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EnteroMedics’ Maestro Device Provides Alternative for the Obese

subpage_image_maestro_system_completeFor many obese individuals, traditional diet and exercise methods are not enough to provide the significant weight loss necessary to improve health. For many obese and morbidly obese individuals, the answer often comes down to surgery. However, surgery comes with its own set of risks and is costly as well as dangerous. For individuals who are not willing or able to undergo weight loss surgeries, such as gastric bypass, EnteroMedic’s has developed the Maestro.

The Maestro System consists of a subcutaneously implanted rechargeable neuroregulator and two electrodes that are laparoscopically implanted by a bariatric surgeon. The system then uses the electrodes to block vagal nerve signals during the patient’s waking hours, thereby controlling appetite. In a study lasting one year, over 200 morbidly obese Americans and Australians were selected for trials 157 received the Maestro System and 76 received a placebo device. Neither group was given special diet and exercise instructions, only 15 minute counseling sessions throughout the study. Patients using the Maestro System lost, on average 24% of their excess weight, as opposed to 16% of placebo patients. In addition, patients who received the Maestro system seemingly kept the weight off after the trial was over, but 40% of those who received the placebo device regained the weight lost in 6 months.

On the heels of this study comes an 8-1 approval from an FDA panel, greatly improving the Maestro System’s chances of receiving an official FDA approval. If the device is approved, it will be used primarily for patients whose body mass index (BMI) exceeds 40, but may also be used for patients who have a BMI of 35 if their weight has caused health complications.

(Sources: webmd; EnteroMedics)

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Jerry the Bear Teaches Children How to Monitor Their Diabetes

Children with diabetes often have the task of maturing more quickly than their healthier contemporaries because they are forced to take control of their health from an early age. These children have to monitor the foods they eat, give themselves daily blood tests to measure blood glucose levels and, in some cases, they must also administer daily insulin injections. As a result, most childhood diabetics are more attentive to their personal healthcare than many adults.

Still, for many children with diabetes, the tasks necessary to take care of themselves can seem cumbersome. To help teach children about the importance of managing their diabetes, a company known as Sproutel has developed Jerry, a teddy bear with diabetes. Children can measure Jerry’s blood sugar (by pressing on his paws) as well as give him meals and snacks (in the form of cards that are swiped over Jerry’s mouth) and see how the foods he eats affect his blood glucose levels. For more information on Jerry the bear, watch the video above.

(Source: medGadget)

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Kosmo Begins Indiegogo Campaign to Launch Connected E-Cig

kosmo-ecigaretteAccording to studies, roughly 71% of people who begin using e-cigarettes do so because they believe it will help them kick the smoking habit altogether. However, because of the ease e-cigarettes offer (by allowing users to vape where smoking was previous prohibited such as restaurants and movie theaters) and variable nicotine amounts in each electronic cigarettes, many users often end up smoking more than they did before. Now, start-up company Kosmo is aiming to help those trying to use e-cigarettes as a quitting tool with the creation of an e-cig that comes with an accompanying app.

The app offers users instant feedback (data is transmitted to smartphones through bluetooth each time users take a pull). The app then tracks and charts how often the cigarettes are used, giving users a visual tool. In addition, users can program the app with a cessation program that coaches them by providing users with a daily cap of pulls, lowering the amount of allotted pulls over time.

Kosmo is still conducting its Indiegogo campaign and hopes to use the funds to begin manufacturing and marketing the product soon.

(Source: medGadget)

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Sri Lankan Newspaper May Protect Against Dengue

paperGlobally, there are 50-100 million Dengue fever infections each year. The disease is carried by mosquitoes that bite both early in the day and in the evening, and the mosquitoes that carry the virus are able to flourish in urban environments, making them increasingly dangerous. Though few people actually die from the Dengue fever, especially after seeking immediate medical help, the fever causes severe pain and can disable the infected for long periods of time. To help prevent stings from Dengue-carrying mosquitoes, a newspaper in Sri Lanka has begun printing their newspapers with citronella-infused ink to help repel mosquitoes. On its first day of sales, the news company, Mawbina, saw a 30% increase in sales. There is no word yet on how effective the newspapers were at repelling insects, but the venture shows promise, particularly in warmer climates.

(Source: IFLScience)

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Nestle to Create a Kitchen Appliance for Customizing Vitamins

vitaminsThe use of multivitamins has come under fire by the medical community in the past year. The controversy stems from the belief that for many people, a supplemental vitamin is unnecessary as most people get adequate nutrition from their diet alone. Additionally, vitamins and herbal supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so their purity is questionable. Now, Nestle’s Institute of Health wants to improve the vitamin industry by developing a kitchen appliance which would deliver a personalized regiment to suit the user’s needs.

The product is still in design phases, however the device would likely look like the brand’s Nespresso machines and customize the supplement (in either powder or capsule form) by having the user input their nutrient profile. Skeptics worry that the cost of a nutrient profile (anywhere from $50-$1000 for a full profile) will turn users off from the product, while others worry about the accuracy of such a device. However, if the appliance works as intended, it could be an attractive purchase for many members of the health-conscious community.

(Source: engadget)

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Whill Develops the Type-A Mobility Device

WHILL-Type-AIn the past we have covered Tokyo-based company, Whill’s development of a wheelchair attachment aimed at allowing wheelchair users ease by applying a motor that could move the chair up to 12 miles per  hour. Now, the company has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its new mobility device, the Type-A. The Type-A is smaller than its wheelchair counterparts and significantly more efficient. The new mobility device features an adjustable height seat, a motor, and front wheels made up of smaller wheels that allow for small turning radii. In addition, the Whill Type-A has all-wheel drive, allowing it to move easily on surfaces such as gravel and snow.

(Source: medGadget)

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Doctoral Student Finds Innovative Way to Solve Water Shortage

WATER_Challenge 02Although over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered in water, a lack of drinkable water is a common problem throughout the world. Most of the Earth’s water is from seas and oceans, the salt content of which makes the water difficult to consume. Since the 1970’s, the solution has been reverse osmosis, however the process is costly and causes more environmental harm than good. However, a doctoral student from the University of Texas, Austin, by the name of Kyle Knust may have found a solution.

Knust has created a small device by called the Waterchip. The Waterchip fits comfortably in the palm of your hand and separates the salt from water through the use of electrical currents. Saltwater passes through a Y-shaped channel in the Waterchip, where electrical currents separate the liquid where the Y splits, leaving the salt in one channel, as clean water passes through the other. Knust says the Waterchip is infinitely scalable; while one chip removes 25% of the salt from seawater, hundreds of chips linked together in a plant, pumping seawater through, could produce as much freshwater as many reverse osmosis plant, but with a significantly smaller consumption of energy.

(Source: Popular Science)

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A Wearable Sensor Will Tell When You’re Dehydrated

smartwatch_almurrayDehydration is a dangerous condition which can result in nausea, light-headedness, heat stroke, and in some cases, death. However, the condition is also very preventable. Sandia National Laboratories is trying to make it simpler for people to notice their dehydration with a wearable monitor. The monitor, which looks like a watch, has microneedles on the underside which attach to the skin. From there, the device measures the water between cells. When the sensor detects that your hydration levels are below a safe limit, it will alert you to have a beverage.

The technology has real-world applications for athletes and the military personnel who run the greatest risk of dehydration. However, Sandia National Laboratories is also looking to market the product to patients in hospitals and for the health-conscious general public who like wearable monitors.

(Source: engadget)

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Scientists Develop First Catalog of Proteins in the Human Body

human proteomeIn a tremendous effort that involved 94 scientists from the U.S., India, Canada, Chile, the U.K., Hong Kong and Germany, all of the proteins in the human genome were successfully identified and cataloged. In addition to cataloging all of the known proteins, the researchers also discovered 193 discrete stretches of DNA that were previously not believed to be genes at all. In addition to expanding our knowledge about the human body and our unique DNA, this cataloging effort is the first step in a greater project devoted to identifying the causes and chances of genetic disorders.

(Source: Popular Science)

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Philips Creates EmboGuide 3D Visualization Tool for Tumor Embolization

[youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=b72_7UKpqmA&w=525&h=394]

Philips has developed a device known as the EmboGuide in order to assist interventional radiologists during embolization. The device combines previously entered planning information with real-time x-rays that give feedback on the positioning of catheters. In trial runs, the device has been shown to minimize error and optimize the success of catheter placement and overall procedure. Click the video above to watch the EmboGuide in action.

(Source: medGadget)

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Transcranial Alternating Current Stimulation Improves Lucid Dreams

lucid dreamHave  you ever had a dream where you very suddenly realized that you are dreaming and used this information to manipulate your fantasy? This phenomenon is known as lucid dreaming. While reports of lucid dreaming are a fairly common occurrence, there is no real way to determine whether or not when you go to bed at night you will be having a lucid dream. However, a team of German researchers has reportedly found a way to induce lucid dreams in sleeping subjects with the use of transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS).

27 volunteer subjects were included in the trials to determine whether or not tACS worked to induce lucid dreaming. tACS does not cause any noise or sensation, so the stimulation was applied after the subjects were already sleeping and entering REM sleep, sending electrical currents to the frontal and temporal lobes– the portions of the cerebral cortex associated with self-awareness and meta-cognition. The subjects were then awoken and asked to rate their dreams based on awareness that they were dreaming, vividness, and awareness of the dream plot. Though the subjects chosen for the experiment had never before experienced lucid dreams, many reported having them after tACS. In addition, researchers found that it was only certain frequencies which were able to trigger the lucid dreams– in particular 40 Hz (77 percent of participants reported lucid dreams at this frequency), and 25 Hz (58 percent reported lucid dreams at this frequency).

(Source: ieeeSpectrum)

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Body Dryer to Eliminate Towels and Their Germs

body-dryerEver since indoor plumbing made its debut, towels have been the primary way to dry off after a shower. However, towels do not dry themselves efficiently, and a moist towel can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold. A New York-based start-up known as Body Dryer has created an eponymous device that hopes to eliminate towel usage altogether. The Body Dryer appears to be a household digital scale. However, the device is also capable of blowing “forced ionized air” that can be either hot or cold.

The Body Dryer is in the midst of an Indiegogo campaign and, when released, the device will retail for $250. Though initially designed for home use, the Body Dryer is now being marketed to gyms and other high traffic shower locations where conditions are not always very hygienic.

(Source: TechCrunch)

 

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FingerReader Gives Blind More Options

fingerreaderFor the blind, reading is a limited venture. According to a 2011 study, only 7% of all books written are available in large print, audio or braille. In addition, written information on screens is almost impossible for the blind to read. However, researchers at MIT have developed a prototype that may one day solve the limitations of trying to read for the visually impaired; the FingerReader. The device fits onto the wearer’s finger, then the wearer points the device towards text, where a robotic voice reads out the text. Vibrations indicate the start and end of printed lines and if the wearer’s finger deviates from the line they are currently on, the FingerReader provides helpful guidelines to the wearer. In addition, the FingerReader can read text off of a screen.

There are obvious limitations, such as how the blind person would know in which direction to point the FingerReader in order to read text. However, the device is still in its developmental stages, and whether or not it will be available for consumer use is still unknown.

(Source: Yahoo Tech)

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Google Patents Contact Lens With Built in Camera

googlecontactsOn the heels of its development of Google Glass and a contact lens which measures blood glucose levels, Google has now developed a contact lens with built in cameras. The contact lens has the potential to be  used for the same functions as Google Glass, however, wearers would use blinking patterns rather than voice commands. The development even has potential as a medical aid by helping blind people to “see.” For instance, a blind person wearing the contacts approaching an intersection would traditionally be unable to see if a car was coming. However, while wearing the Google contact, the implanted cameras will detect oncoming vehicles and send an alert.

The Google contact lens has received a patent from Patent Bolt, though public availability of the product is as of yet unknown.

(Source: Yahoo Tech)

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CareFusion ClipVac to Keep Operating Rooms Cleaner

CareFusion-shaving-attachmentVery often, prepping a patient for surgery involves shaving the patient at the incision site. However, the shaving does not occur until the moments right before the surgery and stray hairs can often fly around the operating room. This leads to stray hairs getting into the body of the patient, causing preventable complications. Enter CareFusion’s ClipVac.

The ClipVac borrows technology that is used in barbershops and hair salons, where a vacuum built into the walls allows for swept-up hair to be collected neatly. The ClipVac is a little vacuum that attaches to the CareFusion clippers, collecting stray hairs as it shaves an area. The ClipVac collects 98.5% of hair that is being clipped, which would result in significantly cleaner operating rooms.

(Source: medGadget)

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Glass Brain Project Delivers Real-Time Feedback of Brain Activity

A group of scientists from the Neuroscape Lab at the University of California in San Francisco have developed a way to visualize the readings from an electroencephalogram (EEG) in real-time. Participants of the study first had a brain scan done through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which provides the data for a 3D printed, high-resolution model of their brain. The patients were then given an EEG, which would typically only read as lines on a sheet of paper. However, in the case of the Glass Brain study, readings from the EEG were projected as colors across the Glass Brain, providing researchers and participants with real-time feedback of the participants’ brain activity.

The developers of the Glass Brain hope that the development will have practical, therapeutic benefits as well. Because the Glass Brain does not require patients to be lying still as most traditional brain scans do, it can provide more real-time, true to life feedback of various conditions. Potentially, the project could help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, depression and schizophrenia.

(Source: IFLScience)

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Vaginal Ring Provides 3 Months of Contraception and Protects Against HIV

IVR ringWhile contraceptives have come a long way to provide simple, effective protection from unwanted pregnancy, there are still many caveats including the need to take a daily pill and its inefficiency against preventing sexually transmitted diseases. To help ease some of these conflicts, a new form of contraception, the tenofovir levonorgesterel IVR has been developed. Similar to other contraceptive rings, the tenofovir levonorgesterel IVR releases small amounts of the contraceptive medicine into the body and can be worn continuously for up to 3 months. However, when contact is made with fluids, the ring also releases tenofovir– a chemical believed to kill the HIV virus before it can enter the body.

The ring is still in development, and human trials have yet to begin. There are concerns that the ring may lead to the body developing a resistance to tenofovir, so its effectiveness against preventing HIV over a long period of time is still unknown. However, the developers believe that the ring can provide simple, effective contraception to women in developing countries who do not have as much access to birth control.

(Source: IFLScience)

tenofovir levonorgesterel IVR
tenofovir levonorgesterel IVR
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