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Geek Therapy
How Geek Culture is saving the world. Can geeky, nerdy, and techy things help heal the world? Absolutely. | For the Geek Therapy Podcast and more, visit http://www.geektherapy.com.
Curated by Josué Cardona
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Wii: A Game Changer for Maine Hospitals

Wii: A Game Changer for Maine Hospitals | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

A number of hospitals around Maine are using Nintendo Wii in their physical and occupational therapy programs.

Josué Cardona's insight:

This articles has a few stories of different hospitals in the area using Wiis and the patients who benefited from them.

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Kirsten Milliken's comment, August 6, 2013 5:39 AM
WHo knew? In my own backyard!
Laura Wiesner's curator insight, November 8, 2013 8:12 PM

This article is talking about how the nintendo wii is able to help childred with physical therapy. Certain games can help with certai issues, just like the fishing game that was mentioned in the article. My question is that did nintendo wii do this on purpose knowing that this would be beneficial, or was it discovered. Now that wiki has been informed about this, will they specialize in games that will aid in physical therapy? Now will other gaming devices try to invent games to help with this issue? 

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40 hours of playing violent videos actually IMPROVED the sight of young gamers

40 hours of playing violent videos actually IMPROVED the sight of young gamers | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Parents of young children might find it hard to believe, but playing video games could be good for your eyes.

 

Just ten hours of gaming for four weeks dramatically improved the vision of young men and women who as babies were almost blind.

 

After 40 hours of playing a violent video game, they were able to read two extra lines on an eye chart.

 

The simple but effective treatment was devised by Daphne Maurer, of McMaster University in Canada.

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FDA Approved "Digital Pill" Turns Sci-Fi Into Sci-Fact

FDA Approved "Digital Pill" Turns Sci-Fi Into Sci-Fact | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Early in August, the FDA gave its official stamp of approval for a "digital pill" that will help medical professionals track a patient's health from inside the body. Sounding like something dreamed up in the mind of a Hollywood screenwriter – the 1966 classic Fantastic Voyage comes to mind – there's actually a lot more science fact here than science fiction.

 

Created by Proteus Digital Health, the digital pill – which used to bear the moniker "Ingestion Event Marker" but is now simply being referred to as an "ingestible sensor"– was developed as a means of informing doctors when their patients have taken their scheduled medication. Apparently, people not taking their prescribed medications at the right times and in the right dosages is a big problem in the medical industry. Big enough for Proteus to have gone to bat to invent an ingenious method of monitoring pill intake remotely without having to have someone holding the patient's hand.

 

Far from giving doctors the ammunition necessary to reprimand their patients for failing to take their pills at the right time, the information collected will give doctors better insight into developing a medication schedule that's better tailored to the patient's habits. It will also be able to tell doctors how patients are responding to their medications, as well as gathering and transmitting addition information like heart rate, body position and activity level.

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The iRobot Doc Will See You Now: Roomba Maker Enters the ER

The iRobot Doc Will See You Now: Roomba Maker Enters the ER | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant), unveiled this week at the Clinical Innovations Forum in Santa Barbara, is a remote-controlled telepresence robot that combines InTouch’s “telemedicine” technology and the autonomous navigation innovations introduced in iRobots’ AVA robot at CES in 2011.

 

It may be controlled via joystick, but RP-Vita does have some awareness of its environment. It employs a dazzling array of sensors that include PrimeSense Sensors (the same ones you find in the Kinect for Xbox 360), two cameras that together approximate normal human vision, sonar and a laser range finder. It also creates a map of the hospital and knows the location, for example, of its roll-into charging base.

 

RP-Vita is not, at least for now, designed for run of the mill checkup and house calls. It focuses on urgent care in the emergency room and ICU. Once RP-Vita is in place, it can, via local Wi-Fi and a cloud based medical record system, collect patient data and, with another care-giver present, check vital signs via connected octoscopes, ultrasound devices and a built-in stethoscope.

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5 Ways to Instantly Connect With Doctors

5 Ways to Instantly Connect With Doctors | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

New mobile health apps are springing up to save the day — connecting doctors on standby with patients who need them the most.

 

We’ve rounded up five medical apps and websites that connect users directly to doctors. With tele-health apps, patients can call, text or privately message licensed physicians online for immediate help. Patients have an instant connection to knowledgable specialists. This industry won’t replace primary care physicians, but it will come in handy when sudden sickness strikes.

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Beyond Entertainment: How Video Games Can Help You Stay Healthy and Sharp

Beyond Entertainment: How Video Games Can Help You Stay Healthy and Sharp | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Video gaming has transcended into a new plane of thought – gaming beyond entertainment. Games for Health is a fast spreading organization that essentially aims to develop gaming as a form of health care. In fact, doctors are beginning to give out game prescriptions to patients suffering from certain types of mental health problems. Plus, a study conducted by McGill University in Quebec states that online gaming can actively reduce Cortisol (stress hormones) levels by up to 17%. In other words, video games can effectively reduce stress levels (oh, we know all about that) and now, it even has scientific proof! (that, we didn’t know).

 

The involvement of gaming in the process of health care revolutionizes the doctor-patient relationship as the patient has now the opportunity to become engaged in his own health care program. In addition, the patient can enjoy the treatment through a “fun, monitored, and managed, technology-enabled and corrective and preventive intervention.” Game prescriptions comprise of a detailed duration of how many times a patient should play in a week and for how long depending on the patient’s medical condition. Aside from stress-related conditions, health games also include a number of other fields as enumerated by Ferguson:
1.) Nutrition, weight management, and obesity
2.) Disease prevention, self-management, and adherence
3.) Cognitive behavior and mental and emotional health
4.) Clinical training, simulation, diagnosis, and treatment
5.) Rehabilitation and therapy
6.) The psychology of game design
7.) Social influence and peer groups in health games
8.) Health game sensors
9.) Mobile health games
10.) Games in home-to-clinic telehealth systems

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CAMH: The new technology that’s opening doors

CAMH: The new technology that’s opening doors | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Technology at the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (CAMH) is not only helping researchers better understand mental illness, but offering less invasive treatment options.

 

This summer, CAMH will be the first psychiatric facility ever to receive a DNA sequencing machine, which can examine single DNA molecules in the genes that react with psychiatric drugs. This in-depth testing will reveal how people of different ancestries respond to different medications, making it possible to create more individualized drug regimes.

 

As well, Kennedy is working to make personalized medicine mainstream through “lab-on-a-chip” biotechnology that would allow patients to easily share their genetic risk data with health-care providers.

 

A different kind of technology at CAMH is shedding new light on the causes and possible cures for Alzheimer’s disease. The advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines at the new Research Imaging Centre have helped Dr. Aristotle Voineskos detect a critical gene variation that’s involved in both promoting learning and memory and in predisposing the brain to the disease.

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Scientists invent real "Doctor Who sonic screwdriver"

Scientists invent real "Doctor Who sonic screwdriver" | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Researchers at Dundee University claim to have invented a real-life Doctor Who-style sonic screwdriver. The new ultrasound technology could help real doctors treat patients more effectively.

 

"This experiment not only confirms a fundamental physics theory but also demonstrates a new level of control over ultrasound beams which can also be applied to non-invasive ultrasound surgery, targeted drug delivery and ultrasonic manipulation of cells," said Dr MacDonald.

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A Game to Help Doctors Ask Tough Questions

A Game to Help Doctors Ask Tough Questions | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
The game, which is in its final phase of testing, is aimed at primary care and family doctors, who often feel uncomfortable and unqualified assessing their patients in this regard.

 

“This isn’t something medical students have traditionally been trained for,” Dr. Fleming said. “These are hard conversations to have.”

 

The game encourages doctors to adopt a more collaborative and less accusatory approach with patients, Dr. Olsen said. “The goal is to build rapport,” he said.

 

The video game was designed based on research by Dr. Michael F. Fleming at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and draws on technology used by the F.B.I. to train agents in interrogation tactics. It teaches doctors to look for warning signs of drug abuse, like a history of family problems, and to observe nonverbal signs of nervousness, like breaking eye contact, fidgeting and finger-tapping.

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Harvard Scientists Create First Cyborg Flesh

Harvard Scientists Create First Cyborg Flesh | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Lines between man and machine blur as Harvard bioengineers develop cybernetic tissue.

 

A bioengineering team at Harvard University has created the world's first hybrid of living cells and electronic components. Neurons, muscle cells, and blood vessels (taken from rats) were been spliced with nanowires and transistors that can monitor bioelectric impulses, and researchers predict subtle variations in the technology will let them control cellular behavior.

 

"It allows one to effectively blur the boundary between electronic, inorganic systems and organic, biological ones," team leader Charles Lieber told NewScientist. While these first cyborg tissues are functionally limited, it could reportedly be applied for drug testing, construction of pacemaker-type implants and prosthetics, or even neural observation and medical nano-robotics.

Now, as a rule of thumb, the crazier a potential application of cyborg tech sounds, the less likely we'll see it implemented in the foreseeable future. But the concept of lab-grown "organs-on-a-chip" - whole cybernetically interwoven human organs to obviate human- and animal-test subjects - apparently isn't too many years away.

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Nanoengineers can print 3-D microstructures in mere seconds

Nanoengineers can print 3-D microstructures in mere seconds | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a novel technology that can fabricate, in mere seconds, microscale three dimensional (3D) structures out of soft, biocompatible hydrogels.

 

Near term, the technology could lead to better systems for growing and studying cells, including stem cells, in the laboratory. Long-term, the goal is to be able to print biological tissues for regenerative medicine. For example, in the future, doctors may repair the damage caused by heart attack by replacing it with tissue that rolled off of a printer.

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New generation of virtual humans helping to train psychologists

New generation of virtual humans helping to train psychologists | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

New technology has led to the creation of virtual humans who can interact with therapists via a computer screen and realistically mimic the symptoms of a patient with clinical psychological disorders, according to new research presented at the American Psychological Association's 120th Annual Convention.

 

"As this technology continues to improve, it will have a significant impact on how clinical training is conducted in psychology and medicine," said psychologist and virtual reality technology expert Albert "Skip" Rizzo, PhD, who demonstrated recent advancements in virtual reality for use in psychology.


Virtual humans can now be highly interactive, artificially intelligent and capable of carrying on a conversation with real humans, according to Rizzo, a research scientist at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies. "This has set the stage for the 'birth' of intelligent virtual humans to be used in clinical training settings," he said.

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Video games can be good for stroke patients

Video games can be good for stroke patients | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Stroke patients once considered too disabled to regain function in their affected limbs are now showing signs of recovery because of a new therapy that utilizes the Nintendo Wii.

 

Dr. McNulty’s data shows that an intensive, two-week training program based on the Wii can result in significant improvements in the way stroke patients are able to use their limbs, even for people that had a stroke many years ago. “It was previously thought that the movement and function stroke patients had at the time they left hospital was the only recovery they would make,” says Dr. McNulty. “But we have worked with people who have had strokes one month to 21 years ago, and excitingly, they all improve,” she added.

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Seven assistive technologies born from science fiction

Seven assistive technologies born from science fiction | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Oscar Wilde wrote “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”. One area Wilde’s comments may be disproportionately inverse is the current technological evolution. Whether it is prognostication or just very well developed details for the storyline, comics and science fiction in general have invented or showcased assistive technologies well before their time.

 

Here are a few assistive technologies that were utilized on the page and silver screen way ahead of their actual introduction to real life.

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Healthy Future Pediatrics Incorporating Technology To Improve Medicine

Healthy Future Pediatrics Incorporating Technology To Improve Medicine | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

Instead of being cluttered with patent’s files, Dr. Carl Lindgren’s personal office space includes the latest high tech gadgets. Lindgren has recently adopted a new online interface called Chadis. Once registered, parents use the website to answer a series of questions prior to each check-up.

 

Even though the Healthy Future Pediatrics front office staff personally answer each phone call, the practice is focused on using technology to simplify the health care process.

 

Providers carry small notebook computers between exam rooms and the office operates entirely with electronic medical records. All prescriptions are sent electrically and Lindgren jokes that “the script is at the pharmacy before the parent leaves the exam room.”

 

“I view technology as a powerful tool to improve the quality of health care. This is the future,” Lindgren summarizes.

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High-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible to fight cancer emerge

High-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible to fight cancer emerge | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it

New research shows a sharp escalation in the weapons race against cancer, with several high-tech approaches long dreamed of but not possible or successful until now.

 

The field continues to move toward more precise treatments with fewer side effects and away from old-style chemotherapy that was “like dropping a bomb on the body,” Dr. Richard Pazdur said.

 

Other doctors, including Pfizer’s cancer drug development chief, Dr. Mace Rothenberg, noted progress on new diagnostic tests to predict which drugs will work for which patients. Cost, time and difficulty have kept many of them from being practical in everyday settings for cancer patients, but “a lot of these barriers are falling,” Rothenberg said.

 

“Every time we say ‘this technology is 5 to 10 years off, we’ve been wrong” and progress has come sooner, he said.

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MIT Researchers Create Star Trek-Style Needleless Injections

MIT Researchers Create Star Trek-Style Needleless Injections | Geek Therapy | Scoop.it
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have pulled a page from Star Trek‘s book and have developed a technique for giving shots without a needle, much like the injections Dr. McCoy delivered on the starship Enterprise.

 

MIT scientists, led by Professor Ian Hunter, have figured out a way to inject medicine using a high-pressure jet to deliver specific amounts of medicine to variable depths beneath the skin, reports the Daily Mail. It’s a step up from existing needleless transdermal devices, such as nicotine patches, which are limited to medicinal doses tiny enough to be delivered via the skin’s pores. This means that the new needleless injections can be used on individuals of all ages and with a variety of doses and medications.

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