Tag Archives: device

Glioblastoma multiforme: a new weapon in the surgeon’s arsenal

Molecular ThoughtsGlioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a devastating form of brain cancer that usually results in death within 15 months of diagnosis. Tumor cells at the margins of these brain tumors often invade surrounding tissues, and this means that they can be difficult to remove completely. If a patient is able to undergo surgery, the goal is to remove as many malignant cells as possible without affecting parts of the brain that are necessary for other essential neurological functions. Currently, surgeons have no way of knowing for sure that they’ve removed all of the cancerous cells. But new research could change that.

The day before surgery, a patient would be injected with nanoprobes that migrate to the tumor cells. These nanoprobes don’t affect normal brain tissue. Then, during surgery, the surgeon would use a device that detects these nanoprobes to determine whether they had successfully removed all of the malignant cells. The device looks like a laser pointer, and in laboratory studies with mouse models of human GBM, researchers were able to remove all of the malignant cells from the mice!

This may be ready for human clinical trials relatively quickly, and it’s possible that it could be helpful in the treatment of other types of brain cancer as well. Read more about it here:

http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2014/acs-presspac-september-3-2014/handheld-scanner-could-make-brain-tumor-removal-more-complete-reducing-recurrence.html

 

Hearing aids: do you hear what a FLY hears?

google free ormia ochraceaResearchers have created a new device that may be instrumental in creating the next generation of hearing aids. And the tiny animal that helped them do it? A fly.

Wondering what a fly has to do with hearing aids? Insects usually aren’t good at pinpointing the source of a sound because their bodies are so small that the sound hits both of their ears at just about the same time. But a certain fly- Ormia ochracea- has a unique sound-processing mechanism that adjusts for this, and the fly is incredibly accurate at determining the source of sounds.

Researchers have replicated the fly’s hearing mechanism in the form of a device that is only 2 mm wide. Many hearing aid users have problems sorting out noises, and this technology may be able to improve directional hearing aids and help users determine the direction of the sound much more accurately. Read more about it here:

http://www.engr.utexas.edu/news/7821-fly-hearing-device

Memory-restoring implant by 2017!

Molecular ThoughtsAn implantable neural device could restore memory in patients with Alzheimer’s! The Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is funding the development of this device, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, UCLA, and Medtronic are going to work together to make it a reality.

The device will stimulate neural tissue to bridge gaps in the brain, making it possible for patients to access memories and also form new ones. This device could also help patients with TBI (traumatic brain injury). This closed-loop, wireless device will be implanted into the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex.

Neurostimulators were piloted in rodents and dogs before approved for human use, and it’s amazing to see the advances and the potential associated with this research. Patients suffering from Parkinson’s and chronic pain are already benefiting from this technology, and with the rising incidence of Alzheimer’s, the potential for treatment with this device is great news. The hope is to have this device in clinical trials by 2017. Read more about it here:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140710175337.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ftop_news%2Ftop_science+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Top+Science+News%29&utm_content=FaceBook

Heart attack prevention by wearing a SLEEVE on your HEART?

iStock_000026449104SmallIt’s the ultimate pacemaker- a sleeve, fitted over the heart, that acts as an artificial pericardium and keeps the heart beating at a consistent rate.

Researchers used a 3D printer to create an exact replica of a rabbit’s heart, then built an elastic silicon membrane around the model. This circuit-lined membrane is able to sense abnormalities in heart rhythm, and it can apply electrical stimuli to the heart in a way that could prevent the heart from stopping. Awesome.

It’s possible that this technology could be used on human hearts in about a decade. Unlike current pacemakers, which aren’t specifically made for a particular person, this would be a custom piece of equipment- unique to each patient! It also has the capability to cover the entire surface of the heart, making it more effective than 2D devices. It has the capability to sense pH, temperature, mechanical strain, and electrical, thermal and optical stimulation. Watch the device in action and read more about it here.