Health tech

Imaging technology captures tumor growth in real time

Using two high-tech imaging techniques custom-built for their field, researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School will unveil a new method for examining tumor growth at theFrontiers in Optics annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., in October.

Multiphoton laser-scanning microscopy (MPLSM) and optical frequency domain imaging (OFDI) combine to give scientists the ability to look deeply inside tumors in real time, revealing extremely detailed pictures of live tumors as they grow. MPLSM is an advanced fluorescence-imaging technology, and OFDI captures tissues using their light-scattering properties.

Unfortunately, the method that creates what the researchers call "astonishing" images … Read more

Online counseling helps vets readjust to civilian life

Some 5 million veterans in the US are estimated to be suffering from depression, according to the National Science Foundation, and that doesn't take into account the full range of behavioral health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, general anxiety, and drug abuse.

So a few years back the NSF teamed up with former Navy pilot Rich Gengler and former Army sergeant Justin Savage to launch a free online screening and counseling program called Vets Prevail in an attempt to help veterans transition to life back home. Now, the NSF said the approach is working, with the group reporting a 99.76 percent user satisfaction rate and 98.3 percent efficacy in lowering clinical measures among the 16,000-plus veterans who've gone through the program since its inception three years ago.… Read more

How my body rejected activity trackers and the 'quantified self'

Earlier this year, I set out on a grand journey. I tested several activity trackers all at once, to decide which was the best in accuracy and in motivating me to lose a few pounds. Today, they sit unused on my desk. And I weigh pretty much the same.

What happened? For one, perhaps no one should try to use four activity trackers at the same time. Trying to stay on top of how they all compared ended up feeling like exercise itself.

But ultimately, I perhaps lost my motivation to be motivated by these devices by knowing too much … Read more

GE's new 'silent scan' tech takes the noise out of MRIs

Want to know what a typical MRI scanner sounds like? Go to this YouTube video and turn up the volume pretty much as loud as you can and you'll get an idea. At 110 decibels, which is roughly the noise level of a rock show (I know, depends on which one) and right at the average human pain threshold, MRI scanners are pretty much daring you to keep your cool.

So GE Healthcare has been developing a new technology called Silent Scan that dramatically reduces the noise level. (Scroll down to get an idea of the difference.) The company reports this week that the tech is now commercially available and is also being more widely used in clinical settings worldwide.… Read more

Man and chainsaw no match for device that controls bleeding

There comes a time in every man's life when he must face a chainsaw. Unfortunately, the chainsaw sometimes wins.

Thus the story unfolded on a recent summer's day near Olive Branch, Miss., when a 64-year-old man out tree trimming caught his shirtsleeve in a saw, which proceeded to take a 7-inch-long bite out of his left arm. Fortunately for the man, the flight crew that arrived on the scene was coming from a nearby hospital that had that very day adopted a new device to control severe bleeding, and its successful use on the man's arm not only saved his life but marked the first time it's been used in the US since it was cleared by the Food and Drug Administration earlier this summer.… Read more

Nissan smartwatch links car and driver

The link between man and machine drove car enthusiasts for decades, unwitting adherents to Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto, yet until now that link lacked coherence. Nissan's Nismo smartwatch takes the first step in using technology to quantify the connection between car and driver.

Smartwatches have only gained momentum in the last couple of years, and Nissan is first to jump on the bandwagon, today announcing its Nismo Watch concept.

The watch is designed for drivers of Nissan Nismo model variants, currently encompassing the 370Z, Juke, and upcoming GT-R. Photos Nissan released ahead of the unveil at the Frankfurt auto … Read more

Tiny, maggot-like bot could kill hard-to-reach brain tumors

When J. Marc Simard, a neurosurgery professor at the University of Maryland, saw a TV show a few years back with plastic surgeons using sterile maggots to remove dead tissue from a patient, the proverbial light bulb went off.

"Here you had a natural system that recognized bad from good and good from bad," Simard said last week in a press release from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. "The maggots removed all the bad stuff and left all the good stuff alone, and they're really small. I thought, if you had something equivalent … Read more

Can this driving video game rejuvenate your brain?

Some people think video games rot your brain, but a new study suggests the opposite may be true if you're older.

Neurological activity in the brains of people as old as 80 began resembling that of people in their 20s after playing a multitasking driving game, according to a report published Thursday in the science journal Nature.

Older adults who drove a car around a course in NeuroRacer while picking out road signs showed improvement in their short-term memory and long-term focus, suggesting that games tailored to specific skills can have cognitive benefits. … Read more

Bloody childbirth simulator nets big design prize

In some glorious day in the future, babies will be born via artificial uterus. The technology exists in science fiction so it's bound to become science fact. But until then, we're stuck with the miracle of life au naturel.

Our troglodyte ancestors had zero training for this messy rite of passage, but somehow managed it. Today there are countless books, courses, and professionals to help prepare, yet few aids are as realistic as a childbirth simulator from Laerdal Global Health that consists of a fake uterus, baby, umbilical cord, placenta, and blood.

The MamaNatalie Birthing Simulator recently picked up a prestigious INDEX: Award for design in the Body Category for helping reduce child and maternal mortality. … Read more

Smart syringe turns bright red to warn of prior use

First, the bad news: As much as 40 percent of the world's 40 billion injections administered every year are with unsterile, reused syringes, according to the World Health Organization.

Fortunately, people are working on better, tamper-proof syringes, and one of those -- the ABC Syringe -- holds such promise it is a finalist at this year's Index Awards in Denmark.

The syringe, designed by Dr. David Swann of Huddersfield University in England, comes in a nitrogen-filled pack, which ensures that the syringe is clear. But when exposed to air, the special ink in the syringe's barrel absorbs the carbon dioxide and, after 60 seconds of exposure, turns the barrel of the syringe a bright red to warn that it is now "used."… Read more