Mobile Laboratory Technology Brings Blood Test to You

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Mobile-Laboratory-Blood-TestingThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at a new clinical mobile laboratory that could fit in a doctor’s, nurse’s, or paramedic’s pocket and use their smartphone to test blood right wherever you are. This means that the days of making a separate trip to the Lab just to get your blood work done could be a thing of the past. This particular advance creates a pocket lab for ELISA testing.

ELISA stands for Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assays. These are the standardized lab tests that look for the presence of antibodies for certain diseases. This is how doctors figure out if you have an infection or disease for which we have a test. Up until now, you have needed a big machine in a professional lab to run these tests.

Researchers at UCLA have figured out how to miniaturize the ELISA plate down to what they call a microplate. The tiny plate has room for 96 samples on it which means that you can test for up to 96 diseases per plate. The system they developed uses a combination of the microplate, a smartphone’s camera, processor and a cloud computing system to determine which tests are positive. The current system is more than 98% effective at detecting diseases like Mumps, Measles, or Herpes.

Stay tuned because this could be coming to a healthcare professional’s bag near you very soon. This is also a potentially huge advance for remote diagnosis of emerging infectious diseases like Ebola or the Hanta viruses. Rapid testing and diagnosis in the cases where these diseases present is key to effectively quarantining patients early in the outbreak, limiting the spread of the disease. Stay tuned here to HTWeekly.com for more on this in the future as it continues to develop.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

Concussion Testing With A Music Video

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concussion-testing-music-video-systemThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast let’s look at the difficult task of assessing and monitoring patients with possible concussions. Despite all our modern technology, there is still no definitive concussion testing method to diagnose a concussion. A concussion is essentially a bruised area of the brain following a traumatic injury.

Usually, health care professionals have to judge a concussion based on the perceived severity of the injury and other outward, subjective signs. Researchers at with the Veteran’s Administration and other health care professionals have developed a new concussion testing technology that uses the tracking of eye movements while watching a video to determine if there’s a concussion or not.

This is particularly interesting to me because as a paramedic and nurse I’ve always been taught that the “eyes are the windows to the brain.” What goes on with the eyes often gives a sign of underlying brain injury or symptoms.

Eye-Tracking Concussion Testing

The eye tracking technology they developed works like this. A person sits in a specially designed chair and rests their chin on a chin rest to hold their head in a particular position in front of the screen and camera. Then they watch a music video that plays while the camera tracks the way their eyes move around while watching the video and compares it to a normal person’s eye movements.

By comparing the movement of the eyes over the course of the video, the researchers propose that their computer algorithm can predict the presence of a brain injury. The software assigns a percentage to each patient assessed that represents the likelihood that individual is suffering from a concussion’s effects.

Concussion testing like this is important as we continue to focus on the effects of concussions on athletes and try to determine how soon an athlete can return to regular practices and competitions. Stay tuned as they continue to research this technology in the future. It could become the standard by which all are assessed for a traumatic brain injury.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

Diabetes Monitoring Without Drawing Blood Coming Soon

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This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at a potentially groundbreaking new technology that could affect monitoring of diabetes worldwide. One of the biggest challenges with helping people to manage their diabetes is that they have to draw some blood every time they want to check their blood sugar.

diabetes-scanner-blood-sugarThere are numerous potential technologies out there that have been put forward to create a way that gets around this requirement to draw some blood. Unfortunately none of them have really panned out.

The University of Leeds in the UK has patented and tested a new laser scanning technology that could be the solution people have been looking for. The scanner is large and bulky now in its planning and development stages but could be miniaturized with more research. It’s about the size of the desktop printer in it’s present form.

It works like this. The patient puts their finger over the small oval sensor window and holds it there for about 30 seconds. The scanner looks at the finger underlying blood supply and working with a computer algorithm determines blood sugar levels. Initial studies have it about 96.5% accurate when compared to simple blood testing.

More clinical testing is needed but this could be the holy grail of noninvasive blood glucose monitoring for diabetics around the world. I will definitely keep you up to date on developments from this new technology as they come to my attention. Stay tuned here to Health Tech Weekly for updates.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

MoleScope Helps Doctors Identify Skin Cancer

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molescope-for-skin-cancer-detectionThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at the MoleScope. It’s an attachable microscope for an iPhone that offers a solution for people concerned about potential skin cancer lesions. The MoleScope is a company that is a spinoff from Simon Fraser University in Canada.

The device works with the phone and a downloaded app to document moles and other skin lesions or growths so that patients and their doctors can see if they change or grow over time, a sign that they may be cancerous. They have released the first version of the device for early adopters in the dermatology field so that they can try it out with their patients who have already had documented cases of skin cancer. This puts them at greater risk for future skin cancer lesions making them perfect candidates for this device.

molescope-for-skin-cancer-detectionResearch has shown that devices like this one can improve cancer diagnosis accuracy by about 25%. In the U.S. more than 73,000 cases of Melanoma skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. Nearly 10,000 of these patients will die from the disease. This rate of diagnosis is increasing year after year for the last 30 years. Early recognition and diagnosis is key to surviving skin cancer and the MoleScope is a potentially important tool to add to a dermatologist’s bag of tricks to help their patients.

Patients can use the device themselves in their homes. MoleScope’s skin screening app will guide the patient through a self-examination and image analysis of their mole helping them find warning signs of skin cancer. Then the patient can send a secure image of the mole to their healthcare professional via the internet and set up a time for a professional consultation. I really love these mobile device apps that put more power in the hands of patients giving them the tools they need to more effectively communicate with their doctors and nurses. I’ll keep looking for more of them and bring them to you here on Health Tech Weekly so stay tuned to the podcast.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

Pain Management Mobile App From Brigham and Women’s Hospital

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pain management appThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast I look at a novel mobile app that could help chronic pain patients manage their suffering. Developers and health care professionals at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston are in the process of testing a new smartphone app that they hope will help manage chronic pain in patients and help their healthcare providers help them.

Millions of Americans deal with chronic pain from a variety of causes each day. The costs to the patients and the healthcare system tops six hundred billion dollars a year. The app hopes to help patients communicate with their doctors throughout the day between appointments creating a record of their pain level that can then be discussed on the next meeting.

pain management mobile appPatients can document interventions and treatments that are working or not. With the help of their doctors or nurse practitioners, they can then work to figuring out an effective treatment plan that is customized for them. The app works by periodically prompting the patient to input their pain levels now and throughout the day. They also enter info about their mood and basic activities like exercise or walking.

Doctors hope that this customized treatment modality will better manage the pain for patients, save time and money for the healthcare system and improve communication between patients and their healthcare team. I’ll keep reporting on this and other health management apps as they come along so you know what new health tech is available for you and your own health management.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

Pulse Oximetry Tech Innovation for Critical Care Nurses

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xhale-pulse-oximetryA new oxygen sensor for use in healthcare settings is the feature this week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast. This is a special segment on a new technology that could be coming to a hospital near you to monitor the oxygen levels in your blood. I was attending a critical care nurses conference recently in San Diego, California. While I was there doing interviews, I found the Xhale booth and did an interview there on the the new device.

John Moscarillo from Xhale was showing off his new pulse oximetry reading technology that provides much more reliable readings from the side of the nose. Nursing Show host Jamie Davis wore one of the small, unobtrusive sensors on his nose during the actual interview and found it to be comfortable and non-bothersome.

Traditional digit-based pulse oximetry presents several challenges to effectively and efficiently monitoring a patient’s parameters. Because of the distance from a patient’s heart to the fingertip or toes, a digit-based pulse oximetry sensor can result in a delay to the detection of the start of desaturation and the nadir in patients and an even longer delay in the detection of the lowest oxygen saturation point.

Here it is!

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

New Clotting Gel Stops Bleeding Fast

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bleeding-gel-4This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at another development to help stop severe bleeding in major traumatic injuries like those seen on the battlefield or in a serious motor vehicle accident. Researchers at Texas A&M University, Harvard University and MIT all collaborated to create a new biodegradable clotting gel that has nano-disks of specialized silicate material.

These silicate disks aid the body’s natural coagulation factors to help quickly form blood clots when a person is bleeding out. Their research was supported by the U.S. Army Research Office. While it’s still being tested, early studies of the effectiveness of the gel is very promising.

It’s especially important for those wounds where it is not easy to apply direct pressure to the wound to suppress the flow of blood like internal wounds and penetrating torso injuries. The gel can increase the body’s clotting response by up to 77%! When injected into a wound, the gel starts working instantly at the site of the bleeding without migrating to other parts of the body or having to apply pressure sealants. Since it’s difficult to see inside the wound and stop internal bleeding outside of the surgical operating room, this injectable smart substance is a potentially essential tool in treating battlefield injuries in the future.

I’ll stay on top of this and get back to you with more information and updates as they become available.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

New Coach By Cigna 2.0 App Motivates Patients to Wellness

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Coach by Cigna 1Insurance giant takes on personal wellness challenge with unique fitness and wellness mobile app. Health Tech Weekly host Jamie Davis, the Podmedic interviewed Joe Mondy from Cigna about the Coach by Cigna wellness app. Through the app, users have access to instructional videos and support from health coaches to help focus on improving in five integrated areas: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress and weight management.  

The new app program on Google Play, uses a lateral psychology profiling tool which identifies your personality type, individual needs, preferences, and overall understanding of health issues to maximize success.  Coach by Cigna then provides daily challenges and encouragement from experts, in addition to integrated trackers to monitor progress.

The new and improved app builds on Cigna’s commitment to finding effective ways to make people achieve healthier lives through simple, intuitive technology. Coach by Cigna 2.0 is now available at no cost in the Google Play store for both Samsung Galaxy S6 and S5 devices in 15 countries in nine languages.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

Electronic Sensing Stocking for Diabetics’ Feet

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sock-for-diabeticsThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we look at a technology that might help a family member of yours soon who suffers from diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) nearly 350 million people live with diabetes worldwide and it is considered a worldwide epidemic.

One of the side effects of the disease is that the nerves in the extremities like the feet become desensitized and many diabetics lose feeling in their feet entirely. This is a big problem because they no longer receive those pain, temperature or pressure signals that tell us when something is wrong with their feet. When they get injured their injuries quickly become infected without them noticing and often this can lead to having their feet or toes amputated.

But what if we could put something on their feet that would sense the same things that they can no longer feel on their own. Enter the spectacular German researchers at Fraunhofer who have developed a new electronic sensor stocking that monitors pressure on the foot and transmits that data to software. The software can alert the patient or caregiver to visually check and assess the foot allowing pressure sores and ulcers to be stopped before they form.

The special stocking uses a stretchy elastomer silicone film that can be easily added to any textile fabric. When pressure is sensed for an extended period that might result in injury, the film’s electronics alerts a smartphone app and the patient can move to relieve the pressure or inspect the area if there might have been an injury.

The stockings could be on the market soon and would cost around $250 a pair. This is much cheaper than the extensive wound care needed by most diabetics with pressure sores on their feet. It’s a few years away but this technology is likely to create a huge benefit to healthcare systems dealing with millions of aging diabetic patients with foot problems.

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.

Robot Brain Surgery Innovates Health Technology

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robot-brain-surgery-deviceRobot Surgery is the topic for this week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast. Now before you start going down the path of thinking Terminator movie-style robots, I’m talking about robotics overseen and controlled by skilled surgeons.

The advantages of robots for surgery is that robot hands don’t tremble and are mechanically stabilized. This means that these robot surgeons can accomplish much more complex and minuscule surgical procedures than a human robot can manage alone.

One such robot is the one created by students at Vanderbilt University in their Laboratory for Design and Control of Energetic Systems. This robot is created to specifically treat epileptics whose brain surgeries typically require removal of a section of skull and digging through upper layers of the brain to reach the areas affected by epilepsy deep in the brain.

Using a robot, though, you could enter through a much smaller hole, drilled, say, through the cheek bone and only a half inch wide. By entering the brain from the bottom up, there is much less damage to upper, cognitive layers of the brain and the robot can reach the hippocampus part of the brain with relative ease.

The robot surgeon can twist and “snake” it’s way around other brain structures identified in 3-D MRI images and cause nearly flawless entry to reach just the target zone. The segments of the invasive robot probe advance a millimeter at a time and is steered in real time while watching the MRI screen. While it’s still a few years away from being used in live humans, it shows great promise and could also be adapted for previously inoperable tumors as well. Stay tuned here on the Health Tech Weekly show for more on this and other amazing health technologies that will change our lives!

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That will wrap up this episode of Health Tech Weekly. Make sure you follow up over at our website, HTWeekly.com, for more information on this and all of our episodes. There are additional resource links, links to trusted resources for living a healthier lifestyle and more. If you have a comment on this week’s episode please get back in touch with me either over at HTWeekly.com in comment links for each article or shoot me an email at podmedic@mac.com.