Two computer science students from the University of Pennsylvania, Eric Berdinis and Jeff Kiske, have hacked together a very impressive tactile feedback system for the visually impaired using a Microsoft Kinect device and a number of vibration actuators. The Kinecthesia is a belt worn camera system that detects the location and depth of objects in front of the wearer using depth information detected by the Kinect sensor. This information is processed on a BeagleBoard open computer platform and then used to drive six vibration motors located to the left, center and right of the user. The video below shows a demo of the system in use and gives a quick explanation of its operation.
The students came up with the idea for the Kinecthesia when Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget*
Intranasal insulin stabilized or improved cognition and function and preserved cerebral metabolic rate of glucose in brain regions affected by Alzheimer’s disease, concluded researchers from a phase II trial. But more and larger trials are needed before any conclusions can be drawn, they also cautioned.
Insulin is important to normal brain function, and reduced insulin levels may contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, researchers noted. To examine the effects of intranasal insulin in adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer’s disease, researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in a VA medical center.
The intent-to-treat sample consisted of 104 adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (n=64) or mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (n=40) defined as Clinical Dementia Rating scores of 0.5-1 and Mini-Mental State Examination scores greater than 15.
Participants received Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
For centuries, health providers have focused on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. This time-honored paradigm has generated phenomenal advances in medicine, especially during the last 60 years. It has also created a bit of an image problem for providers. That’s because the paradigm encourages consumers to perceive health care as a negative good; an economic term describing a bundle of products and services that we use because we must, not because we want to. Recent trends towards empowered consumers are a symptom of this problem more than a solution to it, as I described here.
Recently, the concept of Positive Health has emerged as a possible antidote for the malaise.
Pioneered by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman, Positive Health encourages us to identify and promote positive health assets—which Seligman describes as strengths that contribute to a healthier, more fulfilling life and yes, improved life expectancy as well. According to Seligman, “people desire well-being in its own right and they desire it above and beyond the relief of their suffering.”
Proponents of Positive Health have proposed that Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Pizaazz*
Can we teach empathy to the next generation of physicians? The University of South Florida Health thinks so and they’re putting it on the line this week with the launch of the SELECT program, a new curriculum intended to “put empathy, communication and creativity back into doctoring.”
The SELECT (Scholarly Excellence. Leadership Experiences. Collaborative Training.) program will offer 19 select students unique training in leadership development as well as the scholarly tools needed to become physician leaders and catalysts for change. During their first week on campus, instead of the old-style medical school tradition of heading to the gross anatomy lab, SELECT students are immersed in leadership training centered in empathy and other core principles of patient-centered care.
The hope is that this program will prepare the next generation of departmental chairmen, CMOs and physician thought leaders through more intense, non-traditional preparation.
Students will Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at 33 Charts*
In treating atrial fibrillation (AF), this year has witnessed some real excitement. And not all the good news has to do with new pills. Recently, there has been a flurry of encouraging and objective news on ablating AF. Here are some comments on three notable studies that address three important questions:
1. What are the “long-term” success rates of AF ablation?
On this important question comes an American Heart Association (AHA) abstract from the highly-regarded lab of Dr. Karl-Heinz Kuck in Hamburg. They report on a relatively young cohort of 161 patients who underwent AF ablation (using standard pulmonary vein isolation techniques) in 2003-2004. At an average of five years of follow up, more than 80 percent were either AF-free or “clinically improved.”
Real-world impression: Although late recurrences of AF years after successful ablation have been reported, my impression (having started with AF ablation in 2004) is that most who are AF-free off drugs after one year have remained AF-free thus far. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at Dr John M*