medical

Drugs.com Medication Guide review

Drugs.com Medication Guide offers comprehensive information about prescription and over-the-counter drugs and packs handy features like Pill Identifier, Drugs by Condition, and Interactions Checker in a neat and appealing UI. The only downside to using this app is that it's full of ads.

Pros

Probably the best medication database for Android: Drugs.com Medication Guide features more than 24,000 prescription and over-the-counter drugs, which means that even if you're looking for lesser-known names, you'll probably find them. What's more, apart from searching for drugs or browsing by name, you're also able to discover … Read more

Despite assault on privacy, Page sees value in online openness

While Larry Page bemoans the deterioration of Internet privacy, the Google CEO also sees real benefit in more openness with medical histories.

In a rare public appearance at Wednesday's TED conference in Vancouver, Page called the US electronic surveillance programs, detailed in leaks to the media by Edward Snowden, and its lack of transparency in the matter a threat to democracy.

"For me, it's tremendously disappointing that the government sort of secretly did all these things and didn't tell us," Page said in a wide-ranging interview with Charlie Rose.

"I don't think we … Read more

Could electronically controlled drugs reduce side effects?

It should go without saying that, when it comes to drugs -- legal or otherwise -- dose matters. Take too little and a drug can be ineffective; take too much and it can be lethal.

For years, researchers around the world have been working to build more targeted drug delivery systems that allow for more precise dosing tailored to a specific patient's specific needs. The hope is to avoid negative side effects (death among them) altogether.

Reporting in the journal ACS Nano, researchers led by Dr. Xinyan Tracy Cui at the University of Pittsburgh say their new approach allows them to electronically control the release of very specific amounts of drugs to certain parts of the body.… Read more

Nanoribbons let beating hearts power their own pacemakers

Pacemakers supply electrical pulses so hearts can keep a steady beat -- and maybe now it's time for hearts to return the favor.

As electronics spread to smaller and smaller devices, a new technology called energy harvesting can in some cases solve the problem of supplying electrical power. Researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign have shown they can harvest energy from the movement of internal organs to power pacemakers and other medical devices that today depend on hard-to-change batteries. … Read more

Perfect drug for perfect pitch? New study tests valproate

You're only as young as you think you are. But what if you could re-train your brain to absorb information as easily as a child can?

That's exactly what scientists testing the FDA-approved drug called valproate investigated in study of adults who had little or no musical training yet demonstrated some degree of absolute pitch, an ability to identify or produce the pitch of a musical sound without any reference point.

Absolute pitch, the scientists say, can only be acquired early in life.

Valproate is currently used to treat epileptic seizures, migraines, and manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder. But scientists wanted to see if the drug had other neurological benefits. … Read more

'Hobbit' villains suffer vitamin D deficiency, researcher says

"The Hobbit" dragon Smaug may be suffering from more than a bad attitude as he sulks around in his subterranean cave dwelling. He may have a vitamin D deficiency that's turning his toothy grin into a frown. Nicholas Hopkinson, a lecturer at Imperial College London, culled through "The Hobbit" for clues to the lifestyle and diets of the Middle-earth denizens.

Hopkinson, in conjunction with his 15-year-old son Joseph, published his findings under the title "The hobbit--an unexpected deficiency" in the December issue of the Medical Journal of Australia.… Read more

Scientists inch closer to building a drug-delivering nanorobot

Scientists have been toying for years with creating tiny implants and nanorobots that could carry drugs to certain diseased cells. It is about as targeted as therapy can get, but at this point it's all a bit futuristic.

Within the confines of petri dishes, researchers are still tinkering. A new study is the first to demonstrate that a nanorobot, which the researchers are calling a DNA nanocage, can both encapsulate and release a biomolecule without degrading the cage itself -- and at a size small enough to keep the drugs trapped until they reach the end target.

The researchers … Read more

Next up in robot suits for the paralyzed: Mind control?

What if people who are paralyzed could use their brainwaves to get up out of wheelchairs and walk away? That's exactly what researchers from the University of Houston are hoping to accomplish with the latest evolution of robotic exoskeletons. They're turning to mind control to move these high-tech mobility machines to the next level -- and take patients with them.

The idea for for a mind-controlled robotic exoskeleton came to engineering professor Jose Contreras-Vidal, the project's lead, after Duke University's Miguel Nicolelis demonstrated that electrode arrays implanted in monkey brains could pick up on the neuron-firing patterns that occur when the monkey thinks about walking.

"Contreras-Vidal's group found out they could get the same effects using EEG (electroencephalography) to control an exoskeleton. EEG doesn't have the spatial resolution of an implanted electrode array, but it is noninvasive and has the added benefit of being able to measure electrical activity across the entire brain," Popular Mechanics reported. … Read more

Superbug app spreads with 100K downloads in first month

An app that tracks the presence of superbugs and their sensitivities to drugs by ZIP code is making the rounds among doctors in the US. The app, which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times since it was released in early October, shot to the top of the Apple App Store's free medical app list in its first week alone and now boasts an average user rating of 4+ stars.

Epocrates Bugs + Drugs, a free app for iOS devices, uses aggregated electronic health record (EHR) data and geotagging to help users see both superbug prevalence and sensitivity to drugs by location. The developers, Athenahealth and Epocrates, add more than 6,000 lab isolate data points (from urine, blood, and skin samples) every day to keep the results fresh.… Read more

MedicalKeyring: Your medical data on a fingerprint thumbdrive

Say what you will about the benefits or pitfalls of the digitization of medical records, but it seems inevitable.

SmartMetric has a new device that makes your records available anywhere, anytime. As long as you're carrying it, that is.

It's called the MedicalKeyring and it's an 8GB thumbdrive that carries all your vital info, protected by fingerprint-only access. … Read more