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Tired Of Needles? Measure Your Glucose Levels With An iPhone

skin_tattoo[1]Researchers at Northeastern University are using nanosensors implanted into the skin — similar to a tattoo — and a modified iPhone to measure sodium and glucose levels in patients. The implications for this could be tremendous, but first, here’s how it works:

“The team begins by injecting a solution containing carefully chosen nanoparticles into the skin. This leaves no visible mark, but the nanoparticles will fluoresce when exposed to a target molecule, such as sodium or glucose. A modified iPhone then tracks changes in the level of fluorescence, which indicates the amount of sodium or glucose present.”

For patients who are diabetics, Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

An App To Self-Test For STDs?

A new £5.7 million project being led by St. George’s-University of London is developing self-test devices that can plug directly into mobile phones and computers, immediately identifying sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The project is called eSTI — electronic self-testing instruments for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — and is being led by Dr. Tariq Sadiq, senior lecturer and consultant physician in sexual health and HIV at St George’s-University of London. Most of the funding is coming from The Medical Research Council and the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.

The UK has seen a 36 percent rise in STIs from 2000 to 2009 — often blamed on the reluctance of the population to get diagnosed and the stigma of going to public health clinics — prompting the support of this project. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

Magnet-Guided Medicine Hits The Spot

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden successfully used magnets to guide clot-dissolving drugs (fibrinolytics) directly to the site of a thrombus stuck within a coronary stent. They did this by attaching the drugs to magnetic nanoparticles and using external magnets to move them to the right spot.

From the press release:

Guiding drug-loaded magnetic particles using a magnet outside the body is not a new idea. However, previous attempts have failed for various reasons: It has only been possible to reach the body’s superficial tissue, and the particles have often obstructed the smallest blood vessels.

The Lund researchers’ attempt has succeeded partly because nanotechnology has made the particles tiny enough to pass through the smallest arteries and partly because the target has been a metallic stent. When the stent is placed in a magnetic field, the magnetic force becomes sufficiently strong to attract the magnetic nanoparticles. For the method to work the patient therefore has to have an implant containing a magnetic metal.

Press release: Medicine reaches the target with the help of magnets…

Abstract in Biomaterials: The use of magnetite nanoparticles for implant-assisted magnetic drug targeting in thrombolytic therapy.

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Bee Venom Nanoparticles Can Kill Cancer Cells

We have known for many years that melittin, an ingredient in bee venom, is a poison to tumor cells. Development of therapeutic uses of the substance has been stymied by the fact that melittin does damage to healthy cells as well. Now researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have developed nanoparticles called “nanobees” that can ferry the melittin directly to tumor cells with great specificity.

The Wall Street Journal reports: Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Lab On A Chip: One Drop Of Blood Is Enough For Many Tests

A new microfluidic device from the University of Southampton, called single-cell impedance cytometer, is being reported in Lab on a Chip. The technology promises to perform a white blood cell differential count in a tiny package from a puny sample.

According to Dr David Holmes of ECS, lead author of the paper, the microfluidic set-up uses miniaturised electrodes inside a small channel. The electrical properties of each blood cell are measured as the blood flows through the device. From these measurements it is possible to distinguish and count the different types of cell, providing information used in the diagnosis of numerous diseases.

The system, which can identify the three main types of white blood cells – T lymphocytes, monocytes and neutrophils, is faster and cheaper than current methods.

‘At the moment if an individual goes to the doctor complaining of feeling unwell, a blood test will be taken which will need to be sent away to the lab while the patient awaits the results,’ said Professor Morgan. ‘Our new prototype device may allow point-of-care cell analysis which aids the GP in diagnosing acute diseases while the patient is with the GP, so a treatment strategy may be devised immediately. Our method provides more control and accuracy than what is currently on the market for GP testing.

The next step for the team is to integrate the red blood cell and platelet counting into the device. Their ultimate aim is to set up a company to produce a handheld device which would be available for about £1,000 and which could use disposable chips costing just a few pence each.

Full story: Device being developed for on-the-spot blood analysis…

Abstract in Lab on a Chip: Leukocyte analysis and differentiation using high speed microfluidic single cell impedance cytometry

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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