Clinicians at Duke University Hospital are some of the first to implant a bioengineered blood vessel into a human patient. The vein was developed by Duke
The surgery is part of a larger phase 1 clinical trial on 20 patients with end-stage renal disease that Duke researchers are spearheading. The vessels are being implanted into the arms of the subjects to help with performing hemodialysis, and the researchers will be closely following up to analyze the safety and durability of the new grafts.
Bioelectronics is the field of developing medicines that use electrical impulses to modulate the body's neural circuits as an alternative to drug-based interventions. How far away are we from having these very targeted "electroceuticals"?
Mobile and wearable digital devices and related Web 2.0 apps and social media tools offer new ways of monitoring, measuring and representing the human body. They are capable of producing detailed biometric data that may be collected by individuals and then shared with others. Health promoters, like many medical and public health professionals, have been eager to seize the opportunities they perceive for using what have been dubbed ‘mHealth’ (‘mobile health’) technologies to promote the public’s health. These technologies are also increasingly used by lay people outside the professional sphere of health promotion as part of voluntary self-tracking strategies (referred to by some as ‘the quantified self’).
Medical centers are testing new, friendly ways to reduce the need for office visits by extending their reach into patients’ homes.
Most patients who enter the gym of the San Mateo Medical Center in California are there to work with physical therapists. But a few who had knee replacements are being coached by a digital avatar instead.
The avatar, Molly, interviews them in Spanish or English about the levels of pain they feel as a video guides them through exercises, while the 3-D cameras of a Kinect device measure their movements. Because it’s a pilot project, Paul Carlisle, the director of rehabilitation services, looks on. But the ultimate goal is for the routine to be done from a patient’s home.
“It would change our whole model,” says Carlisle, who is running the trial as the public hospital looks for creative ways to extend the reach of its overtaxed budget and staff. “We don’t want to replace therapists. But in some ways, it does replace the need to have them there all the time.”
Receiving remote medical care is becoming more common as technologies improve and health records get digitized. Sense.ly, the California startup running the trial, is one of more than 500 companies using health-care tools from Nuance, a company that develops speech-recognition and virtual-assistant software. “Our goal is basically to capture the patient’s state of mind and body,” says Ivana Schnur, cofounder of Sense.ly and a clinical psychologist who has spent years developing virtual-reality tools in medicine and mental health.
(Phys.org) —Diabetes patients often receive their diagnosis after a series of glucose-related blood tests in hospital settings, and then have to monitor their condition daily through expensive, invasive methods.
Startup companies are coming up with new technologies aimed at getting people to take medicine only as directed.
Taking medication haphazardly—skipping doses, lapsing between refills or taking pills beyond their expiration date—has been linked to health complications and hundreds of millions of wasted dollars for insurers and hospitals.
"After six months' time, only half of people taking prescription medicines are taking them as directed," said Troyen Brennan, chief medical officer of drug retailer CVS Caremark Corp.
Health insurers and pharmacy-benefits managers like CVS have long relied on robo-calls, mailers and face-to-face meetings with pharmacists to keep patients on their dosing schedule.
Now they are evaluating a range of more cost-effective technologies, from pills and bottles with digital sensors, to data analytics software and social games that offer patients rewards.
Insurers and pharmacies are motivated in part by Medicare, which offers financial rewards for proving their members have improved their overall adherence to medication schedules.
They also stand to benefit if their members are healthier. The New England Healthcare Institute estimates that some $290 billion in costs is wasted each year on unnecessary hospital and doctor visits by people who failed to comply with their medication schedule.
CVS is pilot-testing technology from Virginia-based RxAnte Inc., which sells an analytics platform that looks at millions of patients' claims data and clinical data to identify people at highest risk of failing to comply with doctors' orders.
These patients include people with a spotty track record of adherence, those who take several different medicines or those facing unwanted side effects, Chief Executive Josh Benner said.
"It's all a targeting game," Mr. Benner said. "We predict individual behaviors, and suggest interventions."
Putting a digital face to the abusive voices in their head could help people with schizophrenia.
Results of a preliminary trial, announced today at the Wellcome Trust in London, demonstrated how people with schizophrenia could overcome their auditory hallucinations by conversing with an avatar representation of the voice in their head.
At the start of the trial, 16 people with schizophrenia created an on-screen avatar that best matched what they imagined the voice in their head to look like – much like a police photo-fit. They then chose a male or female voice closely resembling the one they hear.
By conversing with a therapist via the avatar, the volunteers reported reduced levels of distress and higher self-esteem. Three people stopped hearing the hallucinatory voice altogether – including one who had lived with it for 16 years.
This post is part of Tech Cocktail’s “Healthy Entrepreneur” series, bringing you insights on food, exercise, and sleep throughout May. The series is presented by Coromega (more info and a giveaway below).