Bioidentical, dissolvable brain implants for monitoring injury

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/1499.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]A pressure and temperature sensor which sits on the surface of the brain to monitor intracranial pressure and temperature changes has been developed by an international team from South Korea and the US. Currently, implantable sensors are used for monitoring victims of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI), but these sensors carry risk of inflammation and infection. In initial testing, this new sensor has been found to be fully biocompatible (no inflammation or scarring) and dissolves in a few weeks. It can also be modified in other ways to monitor other brain functions, such as acidity and the motion of fluids, or deliver drugs. Published in Nature. Summary in the Guardian.

 

 

Brain neuroprosthetics, stimulation for TBI, PTSD

A signature injury of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has been traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as an outcome of all wars–post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over 270,000 veterans since 2000 have been diagnosed with TBI–along with 1.7 million civilians per year. The US Department of Defense (DOD) has been funding research in several areas to help veterans–and eventually civilians–with these traumas.

  • DARPA’s RAM: Restoring Active Memory program is seeking to compensate for brain injury by developing a neuroprosthetic to aid memory function. (more…)

RSM event on Clinical Neuroscience and Telemedicine on 24th September (UK)

Through presentations by world-class clinicians, this meeting on 24th September, will examine the wide range of ways in which telemedicine has improved patient outcomes, and reduced cost, in the field of clinical neuroscience. Older readers with long memories may recall a BT television advert from the late ’80’s featuring a neurosurgical consultant in his dressing gown and slippers studying a TV monitor in his home. A CT scan of an acute patient had been transferred in real time for a consultant decision using the ‘Intrans’ system. Since then, there have been many applications of image transfer, which has become the UK norm. This will be discussed, as well as the complexities and difficulties related to encryption.

However telemedicine has applications in a host of other clinical areas. Management of very acute neurological conditions remains the most obvious. ‘Apps’ in head injury management are now commonly used for both record and decision making and are about to be expanded further. We will also be discussing telemedicine intensive management with international experts by Skype. Acute stroke has also been transformed by thrombolytics, although the decision on who to treat must be made in local centres without recourse to neurological experts, so here again telemedicine plays a vital role.

Acute medicine is not the only field where telemedicine has a role. Long term management of disabled patients who find the distance to the specialist centre daunting is also vital. Telemedicine in neuro-rehabilitation is one of a number of areas where the techniques have found a clear place.

This is the fourth event organised by the RSM’s Telemedicine & eHealth Section this year – the previous three have all been extremely well attended; delegates have rated them highly in feedback reports. To book go here – as with all RSM events, prices are far below commercial rates as the Society is a charity dedicated to medical education and the promotion of medical advances.

Music, art app for Alzheimer’s patients; diagnosing brain performance

GE Healthcare has developed an iPad app, MIND, for patients with Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders which presents favorite music, music videos and a virtual art gallery. The aim is to stimulate the brain, evoke emotions and promote social interaction.  This extends the pioneering research from New York City’s Institute for Music and Neurologic Function‘s Music and Memory program, which provides personalized music on iPods for those with both cognitive and physical challenges in long-term care to improve quality of life and reduce anti-psychotic drug use. GE release. Website.

Another approach to brain diagnosis and therapy for Alzheimer’s, stroke and brain hemorrhage may be pioneered by Multineurons. This startup has developed a head-worn sensor device that works with an iPad app, WakeUp, for non-invasive brain diagnosis and therapy. It measures speed (connectivity of neurons), fitness (neuroplasticity) and robustness – at 10 different points in the brain. Testing is planned to start in a Swiss rehabilitation facility this summer. MedCityNews

DrChrono and Sermo’s ‘Blue Blazes’ moments

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/blue-blazes.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /]Neil Versel in his personal blog Meaningful HIT News notes meaningful lapses in accuracy and good communications taste from two reputable companies targeted to US medical professionals. DrChrono is a mobile ambulatory EHR tweeting about ‘cashing in’ on the HITECH Act–the program that rewards practices for achieving stages of Meaningful Use with EHRs. Sermo is a physician social networking platform that has staged a contest called ‘The Pro Football Injury Challenge’  where one will go ‘head-to-head’ with other doctors in ‘making predictions about how injuries will affect pro athletes this season.’ This Editor felt in her comments below the article that this promotion’s communication crossed the line into, on the usual two-second read, a message that it is OK to ‘play for glory’ and win prizes out of players’ real pain, injury and career disaster–a misbegotten effort to gamify real-world medical situations ostensibly for learning. Yes, both have sound messages at the core, but how they were communicated…regrettable. Both DrChrono and Sermo are nominated for ‘Blue Blazes’ because, to paraphrase Neil, ‘what are their marketers thinking?’ What do you think? And this Editor would be more than open to comments from representatives of these two companies. DrChrono and Sermo, what are you thinking?

Editor’s Update: Sermo has provided an important response and clarification blazingly fast in their blog here. (more…)

Tablets for mental stimulation, concussion detection

Clevermind for dementia, cognitively disabled

The new Clevermind app/user interface for iPad is designed to simplify the internet for active use by those with Alzheimer’s disease, dementias or others who are cognitively impaired for a variety of reasons. According to founder Glenn Palumbo in an interview with Neil Versel, “The initial release, set for June will have limited functionality, serving as the front end for communication and social hubs like Skype, Facebook and Twitter, with a simplified display including a basic Web browser.” Depending on the stage that the dementia is in, it can be a boon in mental stimulation or as their website terms ‘neuroplasticity’, if presented appropriately–or, based on your Editor’s knowledge of working with dementia sufferers, potentially quite upsetting. The secondary markets that Mr. Palumbo mentioned, stroke patients and children with disabilities, may be more favorable. Clevermind is on Kickstarter with an initial goal of $10,000 but has raised a low $1,717 with 23 days to go. (Hint: try a healthcare- oriented crowdfunding site like Medstartr or Health Tech Hatch for your next round.)

GeriJoy’s ‘virtual pet’ to engage older adults

Another iPad and Android tablet app, GeriJoy, uses the interface of a virtual pet to respond to the user both by voice and touch to lessen isolation, loneliness and increase connectivity to loved ones and friends. Another asset of these tablets is that they have two-way capability, and that active monitoring can help an older person in a bad situation. From the release: (Co-founder Victor) “Wang describes how a customer adopted a GeriJoy Companion for her elderly father, who lives alone. One day, the companion woke up to a loud sound, and heard a paid caregiver screaming at the elder. GeriJoy reported the abuse to the customer, who was very grateful and replaced the caregiver that week.”

Sideline and ringside voice testing for concussion

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have developed a tablet-based test that can detect injury through before-and-after voice analysis. For instance, an athlete recites a series of words before a game, recorded on a tablet. If there’s a suspected concussion or brain injury, the same words are used and software compares differences. Injury indicators can be pitch, hyper nasality, distorted vowels and imprecise consonants–and the tests are far more difficult to fake. In action in this video, the tests also appear to include spatial and balance. Associate Professor Christian Poellabauer describes the research below using Notre Dame’s boxing teams.

[This video is no longer available on this site but may be findable via an internet search]