Medgadget reports on the top technology trends and devices of the past year.
Opioid Overdose Treatment:
Opioid addiction, and accompanying overdoses, have become disturbingly common lately. A few technologies have sprung this year as a response.
Naloxene (aka Narcan) is an antidote that prevents opioids from binding to brain receptors, but when a person does overdose there may not be anyone around to administer the drug. Researchers at Purdue University developed a smart overdose prevention system, which includes an implantable naloxone-releasing device, that can automatically halt an overdose without anyone’s intervention at all.
Electromagnetic Signals Slow Parkinson’s, Treat Irritable Bowels, Improve Blood Pressure:
The MemorEM system from NeuroEM Therapeutics delivers transcranial electromagnetic treatment, or TEMT, to the brains of Alzheimer’s patients targeting β-amyloid aggregates.
A new device called IB-stim from Innovative Health Solutions received FDA clearance to treat irritable bowel syndrome.
Orchestra BioMed, a company out of New Hope, Pennsylvania, won the European CE Mark of approval for the Moderato implantable pulse generator which delivers Orchestra’s unique BackBeat Cardiac Neuromodulation Therapy (CNT) to treat hypertension.
The US Food and Drug Administration cleared the Monarch external Trigeminal Nerve Stimulation (eTNS) System from NeuroSigma to treat ADHD in kids between 7 and 12 years old. The system has already been used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), epilepsy, and depression.
Stents and blood flow diverters:
These are now a common way to treat brain aneurysms, but whether these therapies actually help specific patients is hard to tell post treatment. Contrast enhanced angiography can do the job, but it is dangerous, inconvenient, and unpleasant to perform frequently. Researchers at Georgia Tech developed a sensor that can be built into currently available neural stents and flow diverters that can provide live haemo-dynamic information precisely from the spot that was treated.
A new wireless device called IdaFlo Tr from IdaHealth, is placed around the wrist of a patient, near the access site to continuously monitor blood flow through the radial artery. It can sound an alarm if it detects a slowdown in flow. So far tested on a small group of patients, it was able to spot abnormal blood flow post coronary catheterisation. This allowed clinicians to intelligently adjust the compression device that was used, closing the access site and preventing any occlusions.
Researchers at Stanford University have developed a biodegradable blood flow sensor that can be wrapped around an artery during vascular surgery, and then monitor blood flow thereafter. The battery-free and wire-free device can let a clinician know if a vessel is blocked, helping to address complications after surgeries.
Laser Ultrasound Contact-Free Imaging:
Optoacoustic imaging involves using a laser to induce sound waves within tissues and to pick up the ultrasonic reflections using a traditional detector that makes contact with the skin. MIT researchers were able to use another laser to do the detecting, resulting in an ultrasound system that uses nothing but lasers to look deep inside the body.
Wireless Implant Controls Overactive Bladder Using Light:
Collaborators from Washington University in St Louis, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Northwestern University created a flexible wireless implant that senses the movements of an overactive bladder and delivers light to bring it under control.
Growing New Bones Inside Patients’ Bodies:
A team from Rice University printed a 3D bioreactor mould within which new bone can grow. It is made to be attachable to the rib bones of patients and can support stem cells and the formation of blood vasculature.
Fully Implanted Artificial Heart:
Leviticus Cardio, a company based in Israel, and Jarvik Heart, the famous maker of artificial hearts, have announced that a man in Kazakhstan became the first person in the world to receive a completely implanted ventricular assist device (VAD). The gentleman received a Jarvik 2000 VAD, which was powered by Leviticus Cardio’s Coplanar Energy Transfer (CET) system.
Mechanical Pill Attaches to Stomach to Deliver Insulin:
A team of researchers from MIT, Harvard, and Novo Nordisk, the world leader in insulin production, have now developed a pill that reliably attaches itself to the walls of the stomach to automatically inject insulin into the bloodstream.