With significant development in medical diagnostics and imaging, we see a lot of new products coming to health care market. Anyone who has undergone the traditional Endoscopy would vouch about the difficulty he faced while swallowing the rigid or flexible cable. This also leads to the risk of infection, harming body organs and over-sedation, etc. The wireless capsule camera has been a savior in this regard. The cameras known by different names such as capsule camera, video pill, PillCam, EndoCapsule or Sayaka are look and size wise similar to a pill or capsule. These capsules are capable to see areas, which traditionally used endoscopes are unable to see. The capsule travels through the intestines after the patient swallows it. It’s true that it takes longer time to send images but it definitely sends better quality images. In this field, Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST)’s MiroCam has proved to be a success. The capsule designed and developed by KIST and IntroMedic, a medical venture firm in Korea. MiroCam has not only passed the European medical standards but also has been sent for US FDA’s approval. It has already been adopted in many hospitals in Korea since May 2007. This capsule is in demand from more than 20 countries, thanks to its pioneering technology and smaller shape. Korea is ready to start exporting, once it receives FDA Approval. The capsule camera is equivalent to the size of the tip of a bullet, i.e., 11 millimeters in diameter and 24 millimeters long. The institute also claims this to be the smallest capsule camera available in the market today. Quite contrary to the available capsule cameras, it doesn’t use radio transmitter (requiring a n antenna and pulsing signals), instead it uses the human body to its advantage and takes it as a conductor and sends images to a device that the patient can wear. This technology also ensures, it has a longer battery life. It can send 3 frames per second of 102,400 pixels, running for over 11 hours. Thanks to such cutting-edge technology, painful procedures like endoscopy will not be a terror anymore. Source: Koreatimes Image source: Yonhapnews
The other day while I was watching an amputee climb the dizzy heights of Mt. Everest with his prosthetic leg, I was fascinated. That showed what the field of prosthetics can achieve. The latest news in the prosthetics industry is the new microchip-controlled artificial knee joint. Let’s see how this works. First, the best thing about this artificial knee joint is the fact that it opens up a wide variety of movements. This particular prosthesis is above the knee and contains an inbuilt microprocessor chip that controls all the limb movements. People using this kind of knee joint have seen a tremendous amount of improvement in mobility. Amazingly, this knee joint allows users to even walk backward fluidly. Currently, the engineers are trying to stretch its battery life to about 50 hours, which would certainly be enough diluting all hiccups that the knee might stop working in the middle of an important task. The artificial knee is offered with the C Leg. It has two modes as of now. First one is for basic walking. Second one is mostly for strenuous activity like biking or any other preprogrammed activity. How do you change between these modes? Well, try a remote or swinging the knee. Lt. Col. Andrew Lourake of the Andrews Air Force Base is the first above the knee amputee. He switches his knee activity between walking and flying modes. But, freedom and mobility of his knee came at a price of about $30,000. Image Credits: Gizmag, Ottobockus
For most of us, the fact that modern technology isn’t actually ‘ingenious’ but an extension of ancient practices would be hard to digest. Accept it or not, most of modern medicinal ‘technology’ had been an integral part of ancient medicine and surgery. For long, we had believed that plastic surgery is a recent invention. On the contrary, as research proved, the concept was made use of in…India, yes! And, recent research suggests that prosthetics per se is no recent concept. Ancient Egyptians were the first to apply this concept sometime between 1069 and 664 B.C. Nicknamed the ‘Cairo Toe’, this fake wooden add-on was used as a practical limb to replace a lost toe in people’s feet. Signs of wear on the prosthetic toe ruled out any speculation that it might have been used just as a showpiece. This discovery disproves the earlier finding that practical application of prosthetics started in 300 B.C. A fake leg made of bronze was discovered previously. Scientists are currently testing to confirm if the ‘toe’ had indeed proved useful. The ‘Cairo Toe’ is put up for public viewing at the Cairo Museum in Egypt. Via: Telegraph
Right diagnosis of a diseased part of body is important factor for permanent cure a patient. Am I sounding like a doctor? Yes! I am. Have a look on this portable ultra sound machine that is introduced by Siemens Medical Solutions, one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry, helps the doctors to monitoring or treatment of medical conditions of diseased body. This device is usually designed with rigorous safety standards. The device, known as Acuson P10, is a hand-held device intended for complementary initial diagnostic care especially in cardiology, emergency care and obstetrics. Head of the Ultrasound Division of Siemens Medical Solutions claims , By using P10, the patient need not rush to technology. In fact it brings the technology to the patient, which can reduce critical minutes, particularly when a patient is in cardiac distress or with trauma patients, who have multiple injuries. This device can be used during labor and delivery. This is able to determine fetal viability, fetal positioning, amniotic fluid volume, bleeding and miscarriage.
Korea based Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute has developed a mobile phone system for elderly people, which can sense if they have fallen. The new sensor system will also inform family members and medical providers about their situation. The phone system is equipped with GPS technology, which checks where the accident took place. When a sensor is carried on a belt, it detects a sudden movement like a fall, a mobile phone sends a signal to hospital’s computer. Then the computer calls the phone to check if the person is hurt. If the person needs assistance, the computer reports to the emergency centre of the hospital. Last month, company has transferred the technology to communications companies and it is expected that the system would be available next year. The system will also work in nursing homes and hospitals equipped with Internet, where users have to carry only the sensors not a mobile phone. According to ETRI’s Bioinformatics Team leader Park Soo-jun, the company is trying to reduce the size of sensor, so that seniors would be able to carry the sensor in the form of a belt or buckle brooch. Even they would be able to download a program, which senses the signal from the sensor to any mobile phone. Image Credit: WiMax Forum Via: Engadet
Imagine if your T-shirt or blouse were intelligent enough to detect the condition of your heart and also conveys the same to your doctor without u even knowing that. This might sound like lines from a popular science fiction but researchers at University of Arkansas have developed a fabric that will help turning this fiction into reality one day. The technology is based around an organic semiconductor called Pentacene and an electrical instrument known as Wheatstone bridge. A thin-film transistor and an electrical resistance are used to monitor body temperature and respiration respectively. In addition, device can be coupled with the wireless transmitters and embedded in fabrics of your garments to send details to your medical practitioner. Future development of technology will enable doctors to monitor their patients from a remote location and to reach to them in emergency situations.
A new X-Ray scanner, developed by Phillips, allows the radiologists to check out our body parts in detail. The Brilliance Computerized Tomography machine allows the body parts to stand out and present themselves in 3D format. Basically, it strips the patient down to the bones. The machine reveals the inner body organs like lungs, heart, etc. like never before. People trying to diagnose a disease can now get 3D images of these organs. They can even take a peak in the blood vessels if they need to. The new body scanner makes the skeleton look very real! The Brilliance CT machine is a 256 slice X Ray scanner – the latest of it’s kind. But, the technology comes at a cost. How expensive is this machine? Well, I am talking a million pounds. So if your local medical facility can afford that, they will be able to take a very close look at your organs. The computerized scanners have been used by many hospitals. Although, most of them are forty and 64 machines. The 256 pulse scanner is the latest in the field. It sends out 256 pulses every 0.3 seconds, which is more than enough to freeze the frame of a beating heart without blurring the image. I am simply amazed at how fast medical technology is developing. Image: Dailymail
The new life-saving device that can emerge as godsend for all the heart patients called Bluetooth heart monitor. Developed by scientists from India this avant-garde device measures electrical signal from the heart, analyse them to produce an electrocardiogram (ECG), and thereafter sends an alert together with the ECG via your cell phone text message. Periodically, the Bluetooth heart monitor records an electrocardiogram (ECG) and transmits the information via radio frequency signals to the patient’s cell phone with the help of an added analyzer circuit that checks the ECG signal for signs of imminent cardiac failure. It is worth mentioning that this life saving device will certainly add some more breaths in around 22 million people psychologically and practically those are otherwise at intense risk of sudden heart failure. Now with successful launch of their this life saving device developers are now also looking ahead to develop some more advanced models of this prototype that will hopefully integrate GPS and MMS messaging to enable hospitals to instantly locate anguished patients and their condition. Via: Newlaunches
Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) using implants is an emerging research frontier in psychiatry and neuromedicine. DBS technique blocks tremors using implants in brain has already been tried on Parkinson’s patients. More than 40,000 Parkinson’s patients worldwide have these implants and have shown positive results. Now scientists are exploring options to manipulate brain circuits with these implants for other illnesses such as chronic depression and obsessive compulsive disorder as well. The idea is to explore whether these implants can act as antidepressant by changing how the basic brain circuitry fires in patients with severe untreatable symptoms. The brain is a complex and exciting area of research. Mental illnesses such as severe depression and obsessive compulsion disorder have challenged psychiatrists for decades. Chances of cure by medicinal and surgical intervention are thin for many patients. So brain pace-makers, if they do give positive results, will give hope for many to return to normal life. Deep Brain Stimulation or DBS using implants for treating mental illnesses is still in an initial experimental state. Results are being monitored closely. Human Brain is a sensitive complex area for invasive research. In Parkinson’s affected brain areas have been mapped and wire implants are inserted in particular thalamus area. But such areas are yet to be identified and marked in other mental illnesses. Scientists do have a fair idea and are exploring focus areas for depression patients. But such research, which is largely funded by implant manufacturers and with little government intervention, is totally like blind men exploring an elephant. Manipulating nerve circuits in brain can have immense unimaginable behavourial side effects. Each brain is uniquely wired which makes all of distinct individuals. Scientists must tread carefully. DBS cannot be called successful and viable unless psychiatric patients show marked improvement. Experiments till now have shown patients do respond to the treatment but they are far from cured. These experimental studies are being carried out by teams at the Cleveland Clinic, Brown University, and Belgium’s University of Leuven. Image: Wikipedia Source: MSNBC