Researchers from Columbia University have developed a “lab on a chip” HIV and syphilis test, and are now reporting the first results from tests in the field conducted in Rwanda. The mChip, as it is called, is the size of a credit card and replicates all steps of an ELISA test, at a lower total material cost and within 20 minutes. After application of a blood sample, the chip is inserted into a $100 battery-powered handheld analyzer. It needs only 1 μl of unprocessed whole blood and does not require any user interpretation of the signal, providing a clear-cut yes or no result.
Right now, HIV testing in developing countries either relies on expensive laboratory testing taking a long time, or uses cheaper methods based on lateral flow, which, although very rapid, do not provide very reliable results. The mChip combines Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
A report on the future of health was presented to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) by PSFK, a trends research and innovation company. It features a wide range to topics including distant learning, diagnostics, gaming for health, offline web, DIY checkup, and many others:
(Hat Tip: iMedicalApps)
*This blog post was originally published at ScienceRoll*
The Associated Press recent article “Overtreated: More medical care isn’t always better” reiterated a commonly known fact which is not understood by the public. This problem of doing more and yet getting little in return is a common issue which plagues the U.S. healthcare system and was illustrated quite convincingly by Shannon Brownlee’s book. Americans get more procedures, interventions, imaging, and tests but aren’t any healthier.
In fact they are often worse off. Too many unnecessary back surgeries. Too many antibiotics for viral infections, which aren’t at all impacted by these anti-bacterial therapies. Too many heart stents which typically are best used when someone is actually having a heart attack. Research shows that those that are treated with medications do just as well. As all patients with cardiac stents know, they also need to be on the same medications as well.
Eliminating unnecessary treatments is a good thing, particularly when it is based on science. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Saving Money and Surviving the Healthcare Crisis*
Let’s face it, the best way to cut healthcare costs is to say “no.” That means denying unnecessary tests that most patients in the United States are accustomed to having.
The New York Times‘ David Leonhardt has the best take on this issue that I’ve read. He acknowledges the difficulty of telling the American public “no,” and cites examples ranging from the breast cancer screening controversy to the managed care backlash in the 1990s:
This try-anything-and-everything instinct is ingrained in our culture, and it has some big benefits. But it also has big downsides, including the side effects and risks that come with unnecessary treatment. Consider that a recent study found that 15,000 people were projected to die eventually from the radiation they received from CT scans given in just a single year — and that there was “significant overuse” of such scans. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at KevinMD.com*
A newly-created index of consumer healthcare confidence has fallen steadily this year, reports The Thomson Reuters Consumer Healthcare Sentiment Index. Consumers report declining confidence in their ability to access, use, and pay for healthcare. The index, set at a baseline of 100 in December 2009, is now at 97.
More consumers reported difficulty paying for services and insurance, or reported a reduction or cancellation of their insurance. More delayed or failed to fill a prescription in the past three months or canceled a diagnostic test (such as blood work, X-ray or mammogram). Further, consumers expect the situation to worsen in the next three months, including putting off elective surgery.
Thomson will report figures monthly and has published their methodology online.
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*