Tag Archives: health

First human ‘infected with computer virus’

from BBC:

A British scientist says he is the first man in the world to become infected with a computer virus. Dr Mark Gasson from the University of Reading contaminated a computer chip which was then inserted into his hand.

Dr Gasson admits that the test is a proof of principle but he thinks it has important implications for a future where medical devices such as pacemakers and cochlear implants become more sophisticated, and risk being contaminated by other human implants.

Chemical cocktail keeps resurrected heart alive for 10 days outside of body

from PopSci:

Staying alive on the organ transplant waiting list could get a bit easier with organs that last longer outside the body.

That’s the hope of Harvard startup Hibergenica, which looks to commercialize a liquid solution that preserves the metabolism of hearts and livers for about 10 days, Technology Review reports.

Not only that, but Thatte’s team also managed to actually restart a pig’s heart in the lab by building an artificial circulatory system to support it. The Somah solution then helped keep it in a sort of stasis for 10 days.

“We’re the first laboratory in the world to restart the heart 24 hours after death,” Thatte told PopSci.

Wheelchairs that listen

from Boston.com:

Seeking greater independence, patients help MIT researchers design a voice-driven device

“They can know more about the environment — weather, scheduled events, menus — and exploit that knowledge to make more meaningful choices about how they wish to spend their time,’’ said Teller, a member of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

The prototype, under development since 2005, can cruise the halls of MIT’s computer science lab, often without a passenger. When one of the students working on the device tells it to “Go to the kitchen,’’ a computer-generated voice responds: “Do you want to go to the kitchen?’’

Delivering babies, treating heart attacks, scanning brains – There’s an app for that

from Singularity Hub:

AirStrip Technologies is setting your doctor free. The Texas based company is developing a suite of hardware/software solutions that allow physicians and nurses to monitor important vital signs from their smart phone.

Now, your doctor can use her iPhone to keep track of heartbeats, nurse’s notes, exams results, and drug doses even when she is out of the hospital.

You can check out a free demo of AirStrip OB at the App Store, or watch a local news segment …

When your carpet calls your doctor

from The Economist:

Wireless health is “becoming omnipresent” in hospitals, according to Kalorama Information, a market-research firm; it estimates that the market for such devices and services in America alone will grow from $2.7 billion in 2007 to $9.6 billion in 2012.

A forthcoming report by the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF), a think tank, estimates that two-thirds of American physicians already have smart-phones. Over one-third of American doctors use Epocrates, a program for mobiles and laptops which offers instant information on drug-to-drug interactions, treatment recommendations and so on.

The software will soon be able to access electronic health records (EHRs) via mobiles—which the author of the CHCF’s report thinks could be “the killer application” of wireless health.

Bionic eye on the horizon

from Tel Aviv University (via Machines Like Us)

Prof. Yael Hanein of Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering has foundational research that may give sight to blind eyes, merging retinal nerves with electrodes to stimulate cell growth.

She’s developed a spaghetti like mass of nano-sized (one-millionth of a millimetre) carbon tubes, and using an electric current has managed to coax living neurons from the brains of rats to grow on this man-made structure.

Nanotech contact lens monitors diabetes by changing color w/ glucose level in tears

from Singularity Hub:

Professor Jin Zhang at the University of Western Ontario has developed contact lenses that would change color as the user’s glucose levels varied.

The new device is made by embedding nanoparticles into standard hydrogel.

Sensecam: A little black box to jog failing memory

from NYTimes:

The concept was simple: using digital pictures and audio to archive an experience like a weekend visit from the grandchildren, creating a summary of the resulting content by picking crucial images, and reviewing them periodically to awaken and strengthen the memory of the event.

The hardware is a little black box called the Sensecam, which contains a digital camera and an accelerometer to measure movement. Worn like a pendant around the neck, it was developed at Microsoft’s research lab in Cambridge, England.

Arteries blocked? Just take a pill & grow new ones

from Futurity:

YALE (US)—A new method for growing arteries could lead to a less invasive way to treat coronary artery disease.

“Instead of using growth factors, we stopped the inhibitor mechanism by using a drug that targets a particular enzyme called PI3-kinase inhibitor.“Because we’ve located this inhibitory pathway, this opens the possibility of developing a new class of medication to grow new arteries,” Simons adds.

Portable brain-computer interfaces advance w/ reconstructed 3D hand motions

from The Society for Neuroscience:

Researchers have successfully reconstructed 3-D hand motions from brain signals recorded in a non-invasive way, according to a study in the March 3 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

This finding uses a technique that may open new doors for portable brain-computer interface systems. Such a non-invasive system could potentially operate a robotic arm or motorized wheelchair — a huge advance for people with disabilities or paralysis.

Tiny chip made of paper diagnoses diseases and costs just a penny

from PopSci:

A Harvard University chemist has created a prototype “chip” technology out of paper that could help diagnose HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases for just a penny each time, according to CNN.

A drop of blood on one side of the paper chip results in a colorful tree-like pattern that tells physicians or nurses whether a person has certain diseases. Water-repellent comic-book ink helps channel the blood into the tree-like pattern, as several layers of treated paper react to the blood and create the telling colors.

Argus III – The artificial retina is near!

from Singularity Hub:

Argus seeks to create an epiretinal prosthesis, a device that will take the image from a camera and send it to your brain via your optic nerve.

The first two phases of Argus (which we call Argus I and Argus II) have had extraordinary success with implants in more than 30 patients.

Now, LLNL is getting ready to launch Argus III – the third phase that will expand the number of patients, the quality of vision provided, and ease in which the device is implanted.

DARPA seeks smart robotic hands

from PopSci:

National Defense reports that the DARPA program aims to create inexpensive robotic hands that can perhaps also replace existing prosthetics for amputees.

Engineers can already design specialized robotic arms better suited for any number of specific tasks than human hands. But DARPA specifically hopes to see arms and hands that can mimic the general adaptability and flexibility of human hands.

Japanese researchers create levitating chair prototype

from DVICE:

The concept works almost exactly like an air hockey table, with a series of air compressors mounted to the bottom of the chair.

As it stands (or floats), the chair has a lot of problems. It wouldn’t work on rub or the tatami mats they have in Japan, for instance, and its ground clearance doesn’t give it too many options when it comes to uneven terrain. Still, the chair is just a prototype and the researchers are looking for investors — so maybe they have some grander designs.

More details on Invetech & printing 3D body parts

from Next Big Future: <- [Much more at link]

[...] The printer, developed by Invetech, fits inside a standard biosafety cabinet for sterile use. It includes two print heads, one for placing human cells, and the other for placing a hydrogel, scaffold, or support matrix.

Invetech plan to ship a number of 3D bio-printers to Organovo during 2010 and 2011 as a part of the instrument development program. Organovo will be placing the printers globally with researchers in centers of excellence for medical research.

Digital bandage monitors vital signs

from The FUTURIST:

A wireless digital “bandage” that would continuously monitor patients’ vital signs and transmit the data in real time to health-care professionals is currently being tested in the United Kingdom.

The Sensium disposable adhesive bandage is non-intrusive and affixes easily and painlessly to a patient’s chest. Doctors and nurses would be notified instantly of any changes in a patient’s body temperature, heart rate, and respiration on any digital device, from desktop computers to cell phones.

Could self-tracking be the future of health?

from h+ Magazine:

This September Bell and Gemmell released a book called Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything. In it, they talk about the future implications of being able to remember everything about your life in extraordinary detail.

Bell proposes that a “continuous digital diary or e-memory” that integrates digital recording devices, memory storage and search engines will fundamentally “change what it means to be human.”

Their work includes research into memory, work, health, learning, and immortality.

[...] Here are some scenarios that point to a fundamental shift in healthcare coming in the near future:

  1. Self-Organized Clinical Trials
  2. Streaming, Ubiquitous Biosensors
  3. Analytics for Your Health

Also from h+: Open Source Medicine as the Next Insanely Great Thing

MIT’s Eyeball Chip could let the blind see

from WIRED:

A chip inside the eye that can help blind people see again is moving closer to reality as researchers at MIT work on a retinal implant that can bypass damaged cells and directly offer visual input to the brain.

Patients who receive the implant will wear a pair of glasses that has a tiny camera attached to it. The camera will send images to a microchip implanted in the eyeball that channels the input to the brain.

Intelligent wheelchairs will navigate on their own

from MedIndia:

Lehigh University researchers are working on a ‘smart wheelchair’ with artificial intelligence which can navigate on its own using lasers, sensors and mapping software without the need for human guidance or remote control.

[...] A key difference is that this chair will cross-reference the maps it makes of its surroundings using LiDAR and other sensors with 3-D maps that Spletzer and his team create and load into its memory.

First commercial 3-D bio-printer makes human tissue and organs

from R&D Magazine:

“Scientists and engineers can use the 3-D bio printers to enable placing cells of almost any type into a desired pattern in 3-D,” said Murphy.

[...] Ultimately the idea would be for surgeons to have tissue on demand for various uses, and the best way to do that is get a number of bio-printers into the hands of researchers and give them the ability to make three dimensional tissues on demand.”

Also see: The Desktop Manufacturing Revolution