Ultrasound to break up brain amyloid plaques moving to human trials in 2019

Somewhat outside of telecare, but inside our concern with the health of older people, is the exciting news of a novel ultrasound treatment to break up the amyloid plaques in the brain that may be the cause of many dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease. Initially developed at the University of Queensland in 2015, the original objective was to open the blood-brain barrier to facilitate antibody treatment for dementia. Researchers found that in tests on mice, the ultrasound ablation cleared the plaques without any further drugs. Later tests found that the treatment clears both “toxic proteins and restores memory function safely in several different rodent models, including an older mouse model designed to resemble human brains of 80 to 90 years old.” 

Australian government funding is key in helping accelerate development. The first stage in human trials is a phase 1 safety trial, kicking off later in 2019. 

While at least a decade in the future if all goes well in clinical trials, one of the researchers, Jürgen Götz, is thinking larger, towards future personal ultrasound devices which could be used for personal treatment or prevention. New Atlas

An earlier study referenced in MedPageToday summarized results and concerns with a Canadian study. 

Butterfly IQ handheld ultrasound offers clinical-quality body imaging for under $2,000

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/butterfly-iq.jpg” thumb_width=”200″ /]Butterfly IQ is a NYC and Connecticut-based company which has developed a handheld ultrasound that transmits images to a smartphone. Where it differs from current handhelds like GE’s VScan is that it uses a single transducer for all images both near-field and deeper in body, and connects to a iPhone loaded with their software.

Larger machines, even on portable carts like the Philips Lumify [TTA 27 Mar] operate on an older vibrating crystals-based technology. The IQ uses capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers or CMUTs. 

It claims to be FDA-cleared for 13 applications. All this is delivered for under $2,000, far under other handhelds or carts (VScan is above $12,000, Lumify about $6,000), with delivery this year (pre-order notification at present) in the US only. Butterfly is also working on problems such as the volume of blood a heart is pumping or detecting problems like aortic aneurysms.

The IQ has a brace of impressive testimonials from doctors at Yale, UC Irvine, Denver Health, Rocky Vista University, Mass General, St. Elizabeth’s (Boston), and Metrowest Medical Center. According to vascular surgeon and company chief medical officer Dr. John Martin, he used it on himself to diagnose a mass in his neck last year that turned out to be Stage 4 cancer, for which he is under treatment. Daily Mail, 9to5 Mac, MIT Technology Review  Hat tip to Editor Emeritus Steve Hards

News roundup for Tuesday: room at the top at VA? (updated), Philips integrates teleradiology. 3rings Care premieres Amazon Echo service

Updated. Who’s the Leader? At the Veterans Administration, the soap opera plot accelerated on the continued tenure of Secretary David Shulkin who, after a strong start (and coming from within VA’s tech area), has stumbled over charges of inappropriate spending and staff turmoil since the beginning of the year. Journalist Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, who speaks regularly with President Trump, indicated in an interview on ABC’s This Week on Sunday that Dr. Shulkin will likely be the next Cabinet departure. The fact that VA Choice 2.0 did not make it into the huge ‘omnibus’ budget bill indicated a disillusion with him on Capitol Hill. The lack of closure on replacing VistA with Cerner is also not in favor of a longer stay. The replacement may come from the VA House committee, the defense contractor community, or DoD. Why it’s important? VA is the largest purchaser of telemedicine and telehealth in the US, and has set the pace for everything from EHRs to info security. And there are those 9 million veterans they serve. Stay tuned. POLITICO Morning eHealth…..

By the next morning, a press secretary was saying “At this point in time though, he [President Trump] does have confidence in Dr. Shulkin. He is a secretary and he has done some great things at the VA. As you know, the president wants to put the right people in the right place at the right time and that could change.” But one of Dr. Shulkin’s biggest thorns-in-side at the VA, Darin Selnick, shuffled off last year to the Domestic Policy Council, will return to a post at the VA.

HIMSS continued to support VA’s and Dr. Shulkin’s efforts to increase veteran patient record sharing through changing the consent requirements authorizing the VA to release a patient’s confidential VA medical record to a Health Information Exchange (HIE) community partner. Letter.

Philips has entered the integrated teleradiology field by combining Philips’ Lumify portable ultrasound system and Innovative Imaging Technologies‘ (IIT) Reacts collaborative platform. It combines a compatible smart device that enables a two-way video consult with live ultrasound streaming. How it works: “clinicians can begin their Reacts session with a face-to-face conversation on their Lumify ultrasound system. Users can switch to the front-facing camera on their smart device to show the position of the probe. They can then share the Lumify ultrasound stream, so both parties are simultaneously viewing the live ultrasound image and probe positioning, while discussing and interacting at the same time.” Release

Following up on 3rings and their integration into the Amazon Echo virtual assistant system [TTA 18 Oct], Mark Smith from their business development area has told us that they have formally launched this platform earlier this month. The person cared for at home can simply ask Alexa to alert family and caregivers that they need help via voice message, text or email. Care staff or family can also use Echo to check through the 3rings platform by simply asking Alexa if that person is safe and OK. 3rings is now actively seeking to partner with innovative health, housing, and social care organizations. Overview/release.

Catching up with: Mobisante, Parkinson’s Voice Initiative

(Editor’s note: This Editor is always gratified to see that some of the tech developments your Editors covered in early days pop up again having moved successfully forward. This article and the next on minimally disruptive healthcare follow up on articles respectively in April, December and June 2013.)

[grow_thumb image=”http://telecareaware.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Mobisante-185×185.jpg” thumb_width=”150″ /] Mobile ultrasound developer Mobisante is alive, well and well beyond their kit days we profiled back in 2011 (when they gained FDA approval) and last in April 2013. The smartphone is now a dedicated integrated mobile device called the MobiUS SP1 with applications in primary care, ob/gyn, emergency and vascular medicine, with the entire system under 12 ounces. It also has a big brother in a tablet-based system. Both are highly portable and take quick imaging to the max (and developing countries). Interview with Sailesh Chutani, CEO and co-founder. Hat tip to reader Sandeep Pulim MD of @Point Of Care via Twitter

The Parkinson’s Voice Initiative headed by the UK’s Max Little, currently a visiting professor at MIT, is moving forward having collected voice samples from 17,000 volunteers. He is seeking to develop a non-invasive, quick, accurate test for Parkinson’s through analyzing the patient’s voice patterns. Mr Little is adding to this the Michael J. Fox Foundation challenge in analyzing movement data captured through smartphones. Originally profiled in November and December 2013. Fast Company: Co.Exist (which also has his 2012 TED talk). Hat tip to Ashley Gold in today’s Morning eHealth (POLITICO)’s ‘What We’re Clicking’.