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Company Introduces Platform For Wirelessly Connecting Medical Devices

Post image for Qualcomm announces major breakthrough for connected medical devices #mHS11

One of the major announcements at last week’s mHealth Summit was made by Qualcomm who introduced a new platform for wirelessly connecting medical devices. The 2net platform abstracts away the details of connecting a sensor to a cloud-based server.

Right now, if a company develops a great  lightweight sensor to measure, say, walking speed, it will also have to engineer a way for that information to be transferred wirelessly, sometimes across a couple of stops, to its eventual destination somewhere on a server. Although these same challenges repeat for every device, each company has to “reinvent the wheel”.

Additionally, once it arrives at the company’s servers that rich collection of data would still be isolated – in a “data silo”. If another company comes along with a terrific heart rate sensor and suggests, “why don’t we combine the two data streams and make a useful new app”, not only would they have to recreate the entire chain of communication for themselves, the two companies would have to agree to methods for their two servers to talk and share information.

2Net makes almost all of the above problems Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Independent Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals: Just How Independent Are They?

On September 27, 2010, the peer-reviewed scientific journal Europace published online-before-print a case report entitled “Spontaneous explosion of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator” by Martin Hudec and Gabriela Kaliska. In the pdf of that case report a figure containing a color photo of the affected patient’s chest, chest X-ray, and two pictures of the extracted device (one seen here) were included.

The pictures and case presentation were dramatic and the case very rare. Both were perfect reasons to report such an important case to the medical literature. And so these doctors sent the case to Europace on June 29, 2010, and the article was accepted after revision on August 16, 2010, with the article appearing online September 27, 2010.

The authors must have felt very proud to have an article published relatively quickly, and the editors and reviewers of Europace must have thought the case was unique enough and important enough to have the article revised according to their specifications, then published online — until I reported the case on this blog on October 5, 2010, and included images from a portion of the case report’s figure.

Remarkably, later that same day, Europace removed the case report from its website without comment. The article simply vanished. I attempted to e-mail the editor of Europace to inquire about the reason for the retraction but received no reply, so I contacted the lead author, Martin Hudec, M.D. He kindly responded and I included his email response in the comments to my post two days later. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

MRI-Safe Pacemakers Available In U.S. Hospitals Soon: What It Means For Heart Patients

This was the Guest Blog at Scientific American on February 16th, 2011.

New wave of MRI-safe pacemakers set to ship to hospitals

This week Medtronic will begin shipping to hospitals in the United States the first pacemaker approved by the FDA as safe for most MRI scans. For consumers, it is a significant step in what is expected to be a wave of new MRI-compatible implanted cardiac devices.

But this is an example of one technology chasing another and the one being chased, the MRI scanner, is changing and is a step ahead of the new line of pacemakers. The pacemaker approved for U.S. distribution is Medtronic’s first-generation pacemaker with certain limitations, while its second-generation MRI-compatible pacemaker is already in use in Europe where approval for medical devices is not as demanding as it is in the U.S. So let’s check out what this is all about — what it means now for current and future heart patients and where it may be headed.

We are all born with a natural pacemaker that directs our heart to beat 60 to 100 times a minute at rest. The pacemaker is a little mass of muscle fibers the size and shape of an almond known medically as the sinoatrial node located in the right atrium, one of four chambers of the heart. The natural pacemaker can last a lifetime. Or it can become defective. And even if it keeps working normally, some point may not function well along the electrical pathway from the pacemaker to the heart’s ventricles which contract to force blood out to the body.

Millions of people in the world whose hearts beat too fast, too slow, or out of sync because their own pacemaker is not able to do the job right, follow their doctors’ recommendation to get an artificial pacemaker connected to their heart to direct its beating. The battery-run pacemaker in a titanium or titanium alloy case the size of a small cell phone, (why can’t it be the size of an almond?) is implanted in the upper left chest, just under the skin, with one or two insulated wire leads connecting to the heart. It can be programmed to run 24/7 or to only operate when the heart reaches a certain state of irregular beating. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at HeartSense*

Doctors’ Right To Freedom Of Speech

Imagine having a medical device that is being tested in multiple centers, but one doctor thinks the device has problems. He says so at a national conference despite glowing reviews by others. Should the company sue the doctor for liable and remove him from their investigative panel?

Today, it seems that might not be such a good idea. This is, in fact, what NMT Medical did regarding comments made by Peter Wilmshurst, M.D. regarding NMT’s patent foramen ovale (PFO) closure device called Starflex:

NMT sued Dr. Wilmshurst for libel after he criticized its research at a US cardiology conference in 2007. The doctor vowed to take the case to trial in order to defend scientists’ rights to free academic debate.

The company threatened Dr. Wilmshurst with libel a second time for subsequent comments he made about the case on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

Spinal Fusion Device: “From Revolutionary Advance To Public Health Alert”

There are many stories journalists could report on about conflicts of interest and questions about evidence in the treatment of low back pain, perhaps especially with spinal fusion. We talked about many of these with journalists from the American Society of News Editors in a workshop at the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making in Boston in May.

John Fauber of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel hammers one of these issues, looking at how Medtronic’s Infuse product “went from revolutionary advance to public health alert.”

Here’s his story on MedPageToday: “Spinal Fusion Device: A Bone of Contention for FDA.” 

His entire series entitled “Side Effects: Money, Medicine and Patients” is indexed on the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel website. The image below is from the Journal-Sentinel’s online story:

bmpG_082910.jpg

*This blog post was originally published at Gary Schwitzer's HealthNewsReview Blog*

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