New Smartphone App Detects Newborn Jaundice

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This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast let’s take a look at a pretty cool smart phone app that could help parents of newborns work with their nurses and pediatricians to assess their babies for neonatal or newborn jaundice. Programmers at the University of Washington worked together with doctors to create the Bilicam which comes up with an approximate bilirubin level based on a photograph of the baby’s skin color taken with a smartphone’s camera. Hyperbilirubinemia occurs in most, if not all neonates. As the newborn ages, eventually the level of bilirubin, a by product of the breakdown of red blood cells, usually decreases naturally.

newborn jaundice appThe question for many parents who have taken their new baby home is whether they need to take their baby back in for a blood test to follow up on it and get treatment, usually photo-therapy with ultraviolet light. The camera app works by using a color calibration card that is placed in the camera’s frame when the photo is taken. This gives the camera and the app software a known color value to gauge the skin against. Then the app examines the photograph taken and compares the values with a cloud-based algorithm to come up with an approximate bilirubin level.

The app is still in the research phase and the team at the University of Washington are planning on testing the app on 1000 newborns in coming months to further calibrate the system for different lighting and skin tones. I love to see this type of assessment tool coming to mobile devices because it means that for nurses like me, we will all have full diagnostic suites soon at our fingertips wherever we encounter our patients. Stay tuned for more on this and other mobile app breakthroughs here on Health Tech Weekly in future episodes.

This episode sponsored in part by CES Partner HearNotes.com.

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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.

Click Chemistry Helps Diseases Fight Themselves

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click chemistryThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we take a look at what one group of researchers at the Scripps Research Institute is doing to create solutions to problems that have long plagued some patients. They are using a technology called Click Chemistry to take molecules existing only in diseased cells and getting them to create an attraction to other chemicals rendering the causative molecules inert.

This is being tried first with a particular form of muscular dystrophy where the very rogue RNA molecules that cause the disease were used to formulate their own inhibitors thus nullifying their effects. This is huge, not just for those who suffer from muscular dystrophy, but also for potential in other disease treatments.

The technology could also be applied to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Huntington’s Disease and others for which there is no cure but which have a root cause by rogue RNA molecules in their cells. Stay tuned here to Health Tech Weekly for more segments on this in the future as there are more developments in the treatments.

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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.

Healthy Building Workplace Design Creates Healthier Jobs

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??????????????????This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we take a look at what some design experts are doing to improve the health of whole communities. A group of architects and designers in New York city teamed up with the New York Department of Health to come up with ways to improve the health and wellness of people in the city through changing the way healthy buildings and community improvements are set up.

Their goal is to reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes and obesity in the region though thoughtful design decisions when creating buildings. The group is looking at the new body of “inactivity research” that goes against the conventional wisdom that if you just watch your diet and exercise regularly, you’ll stay healthy. Inactivity research says that our level of sedentary lifestyle is not offset by just a little extra exercise.

Constantly sitting while working and not regularly moving around our workspaces is now being equated to be just as bad as smoking or other risky lifestyle choices. The group in New York says that the movement to active design creates buildings and workplaces where movement and mobility is required to interact in the workplace.

With a company’s biggest investment and cost being its employees. In the future, those potential employees will make job decisions based on which workplace is healthiest for them. Employers and workplace designers are starting to pay attention to this trend.

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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.

Healthcare Technology Gives Back the Independence Individuals Desire

There are many individuals who require healthcare consistently in their lives. With the advancements in technology, this is becoming more and more possible without the assistance of another individual. There are, of course, still cases where a caregiver is needed but there are many who still want their freedom and independence but require an extra watchful eye on their lives.

Types of Advancements in Healthcare Technology

Some prominent advances in healthcare include ways to provide access for emergencies without having someone constantly watching in the home. This is a way for people to keep their independence while still being in the care of someone. It is also a good option for people who do not have family close by and may need help very quickly. This may seem like something that is not possible but with the technology advancements, it is more than possible. It is a reality. This is done by keeping an alert device on your person at all times. When you need medical help and are unable to reach a phone, it will quickly arrive after you press the help button. You can call for help even if you cannot move anywhere. Keeping the device on you at all times keeps medical assistance very close in the case of an emergency.

Medical Monitoring Services

Of the most prominent in the industry is the medical monitoring technology. Instead of having someone constantly watching over yourself or a loved one, there are many different types of devices that can be used for monitoring. This allows individuals to maintain their independence while still having access to healthcare at a moment’s notice. There are several different companies that provide this service: Medical Alert, Life Alert and several smaller companies across the United States. A quick search online will give you plenty of companies to choose from.

Choosing the Right Medical Monitoring Service

Choosing the right company can be a tedious task. Before going with a company, you want to ensure that they will provide the services you need. Different companies offer different ranges of reach as well as designs for the alert devices. When choosing the best company for your needs, you will want to weigh all of the options that are presented to you. If you or your loved one live in a larger home, you will want a large range of reach and vice versa. A good place to start would be by examining some online reviews. You should start with the larger companies since there are several reviews that can be found easily online. For example, by searching with the terms “Life Alert Review,” you will quickly find a review for that company and service.

Not everyone needs this type of system today but one day they might. It is important to keep up with technological advancements in the medical field as they can seriously assist you or a family member both now and in the future. It is not something to take lightly or laugh at as it can save many lives. Do some research before choosing the company that you want for your medical monitoring. Make the best decision based on offerings and your needs. There are pros and cons to every system so make sure the one you choose fits your lifestyle and needs.

More Telemedicine and Digital Connections to Your Healthcare

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Midsection Of Shirtless Man And Heartbeat GraphThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast we take another look at how telemedicine is helping to connect patients with their doctors without traveling hundreds of miles for appointments. Patients at Carle Hoopeston Regional Medical Center in Hoopeston, Illinois are now able to connect with their specialists over 50 miles away in Urbana using a telemedicine connection.

Small local hospitals around the country are seeing the same telemedicine improvements where they can get their specialist followup visits via this video phone connection, ask their doctor or nurse questions about their care and do it all relatively close to home. These local hospitals are also using other cutting edge technologies to leverage their community connections.

Carle Hoopeston is also using a smartphone app that patients can access and download. It allows them to connect to see emergency room wait times, followup appointment times and access their health records. All of these advancements are available because of the push to connect patients digitally and the initiatives to drive healthcare costs lower through innovative use of things like telemedicine connections.

Patients and healthcare providers both like the connection using big flatscreen TVs and HD web cameras. Some say it is just like being in the same room as the doctor. Look for technology like this soon in your community that will allow you to meet with your doctors closer to home and avoid traveling long distances and inconvenient trips to distant hospital centers.

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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.

Video Game Tech Teaches Parents and Children About Surgeries

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Stanford-heart-repair-screenshot3This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast I found a great article on new avenues for patient and family education that is really cool. New video game style technology is now being used to help educate children and their family members about upcoming surgeries and procedures thanks to an initiative started by Stanford Children’s Health in the San Francisco Bay area.

Stanford Children’s Health collaborated with Lighthaus, Inc. a company that creates video game style animations to create educational, interactive 3D videos that help families understand congenital heart defects and the procedures used in surgery to correct them. Families don’t often understand the complicated 12-hour surgery used to correct these defects. They just sign on the dotted line and trust the medical team. This is not really informed consent, nor do you have an educated patient or caregiver who can help with care after the surgery.

The use of this type of creative animation can be used help many different types of patients understand what is going on with their conditions and health. According to the article, because the video education program is interactive, it allows the patients and family members to “help” complete the procedure in the simulation and that interaction creates much deeper understanding about what is occurring in the surgery. I look for other creative patient education techniques to continue to crop up as technology becomes more and more available for such things.

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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.

Decoy Proteins Trick Cancer Cells To Stay In Place & Not Spread

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DNWord-StrandThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast I have another exciting breakthrough in cancer treatment and management technology that might stop cancers from spreading throughout the body, allowing the cancer to be treated in it’s original location much more easily. The spread of cancer through the body from its original location is called metastasis. It’s often what makes cancer so hard to treat and ultimately fatal. So if scientists could find a way to stop that metastasis then we could get ahead of the cancer spread rather than constantly playing catchup.

That’s what the team at Stanford University did with their research into the way that the proteins Axl and Gas6 work together to help cancer spread through the body. Apparently when these proteins team up on the surface of cancer cells, they cause the cells to detach and move through the body to start cancer tumors or nodules elsewhere.

What the Stanford team did was create an Axl decoy protein that acts like the original version except it doesn’t allow the cell to detach from the tumor to travel around the body. This means that potentially, a cancer treatment team could inject these decoy proteins into the cancer patient while they are treating the original tumor through surgery, radiation or chemotherapy and slowing or stopping the spread of the tumor to other parts of the body.

Currently the treatment is showing promising results in laboratory mice with cancers, stopping the spread of new nodules by up to 78%. This type of genetic protein engineering is holding out hope for being a powerful new addition to the treatment of cancer buying the patient and treatment team valuable time to halt or slow the spread of the disease. Stay tuned here to Health Tech Weekly for more cancer treatment news in the future here on the show.

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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.

Vetigel Clots Blood Superfast for Your Pets

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This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast I have a brand new technology for you that will likely change the way healthcare professionals and emergency responders deal with stopping severe bleeding in just ten seconds. This amazing technology came from an unlikely source when then 17 year-old NYU student Joe Landolina discovered a unique protein gel that when injected into blood, it stops the bleeding quickly and safely.

College Contest Winner Starts Company

Vetigel-Stops-Bleeding-In-Seconds-2Joe won a contest as a college freshman and got the money to startup a new company around his discovery and invention called Suneris. The first application of the blood clotting gel is in the veterinary world with the product called VetiGel which is being tested by 1,000 vets right now.

The technology and discovery came from Joe’s work on a plant derived protein that in its gel form creates an extracellular matrix of proteins and sugars that imitates the cellular matrix of the tissue it’s placed on or in. So put it on skin and it acts like skin, put it on muscle and it acts like muscle, and put it in blood and it forms the clotting matrix of blood attracting fiber and proteins from the blood to its matrix and stopping bleeding fast.

Veterinary Practice First, Then Humans

According to the Suneris site description of VetiGel it is designed exclusively for veterinarians to stop internal and external bleeding. The gel activates blood’s natural clotting process and is made with biocompatible components that can be absorbed directly into the body. By reassembling onto a wound site, VETIGEL mimics the body’s extracellular matrix and accelerates the production of fibrin, which enables the body to clot rapidly.

I’m sure this will migrate to the human treatment world soon so stick around here at HTWeekly.com for more on this as the news is released in the future and if you know a vet, send them to the website. It might just be the thing that saves your pet’s life someday.

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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.

Wearable Pregnancy Monitor for Pregnant Moms-to-be from Drexel University Team

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This week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast I have a brand new technology for women with at-risk pregnancy. Monitoring the health of the fetus remotely during pregnancy is a challenge. The existing ultrasound technology requires the patients to remain still during monitoring. But what if you could create a wearable contraction monitor that at-risk moms-to-be could still be out working or caring for their families while still being connected to the monitoring station? That’s what the folks at Drexel University decided to work on.

Pregnant_BlueBringing together people from multiple disciplines, the Drexel team has Tim Kurzweg a professor of electrical and computer engineering, Shima Seiki a professor of Fashion Design, and Dr. Owen Montgomery, OB-GYN chairman at Drexel University College of Medicine. That’s quite a cross disciplinary platform for research! They created a smart fabric that can be worn and connect the monitoring technology from the pregnant patient back to their Doctor’s office or hospital center. The fabric acts as both monitor and antenna using RFID technology. They are getting ready to test the monitor in a clinical trial of pregnant mothers.

This is exciting because this could revolutionize all sorts of remote monitoring setups. Adult heart monitoring, brainwave monitoring or almost anything else. Imagine going to the doctors office and getting a tight fitting t-shirt to wear for the next week while they collect data on your body. It’s just the beginning of an exciting time in medical fashion and fabric design. The Smart Fabric Belly Band is the first of its kind and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Stick around here and come back and check out future episodes here on the Health Tech Weekly show. I’ll be bringing you more on this as it continues to develop and be tested.

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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.

Mayo Clinic Direct to Patient Telemedicine Innovates Care (video)

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Mayo Clinic TelemedicineThis week on the Health Tech Weekly Podcast I have a look at a new use for an existing medical technology that may change the face of medical treatment for minor illnesses, aches and pains in the future. The folks at the Mayo Clinic have long been in the business of shaking up the medical treatment paradigm by finding new and innovative ways to manage health and wellness while treating illnesses. They have now implemented a new use for an existing medical technology called telemedicine.

This is where a doctor or nurse at a remote location can interact with healthcare professionals and patients in a different place and give their advice and treatment recommendations remotely. Usually this is confined to the hospital arena where rural hospitals can get the benefit of the expertise of specialists in large urban hospital centers. But the Mayo clinic thought outside the box and decided to experiment with a direct-to-patient model for telemedicine.

In their Austin, Texas offices, employees with a minor ache or pain can visit a telemedicine kiosk in the building called Mayo Connected Care. There is an HD web cam connected to a machine that can take pulse, blood pressure, and temperature. It can measure their height and weight as well as look in their mouth, throat and ears. It is being used for minor treatments just for the Mayo Clinic employees right now but if it’s successful, other companies might start using this technology because employees can get looked at without leaving the office and going to wait in a doctor’s office.

This can improve workplace productivity, health and wellness in so many ways. I look forward to more on the results of this technology in the near future. I’ll make sure to keep you up to date on the advancements in the program here on the Health Tech Weekly 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.