by Mackenzie Thompson
Life Saver, AMC
posted on May 12, 2014, at 9:51 pm
MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY is increasing greatly with each passing year. The priorities today dealing with the approval and delivery processes are speed, inexpensiveness, and efficiency. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year proclaimed a new Medical Device Innovation Consortium (MDIC). The goal is to simplify the process of designing and testing new technologies, which will help increase safety and survival rates while decreasing the overall cost of medical care. Here are a few new technological innovations to watch in the coming year.
1. Reduction of Melanoma Biopsies
Melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, is constantly tested for in dangerous-looking moles that are actually harmless. But, it is impossible to know without performing a surgical biopsy. The MelaFind optical scanner is a handheld tool for multispectral analysis of tissue morphology. This provides additional information for the doctor to determine whether the biopsy is needed or not, eliminating unnecessary costly surgeries. The MelaFind uses missile navigation to optically scan the surface at 10 electromagnetic wavelengths. The signals are processed using heavy-duty algorithms and matched against a registry of 10,000 digital images of melanoma and skin disease.
2. Electronic Aspirin
Aspirin is useless for excruciating head or facial pains due to migraines, cluster headaches, and other causes. These severe chronic headaches have been associated with sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG), a facial nerve bundle, but there is no permanent treatment for this. However, Autonomic Technologies, Inc. is providing clinical investigation on a new patient-powered tool that block the SPG signals. A small, permanent, nerve-stimulation device is implanted in the upper gum on the side of the head that is in the most pain. The lead tip of the implant connects with the SPG bundle. When the patient feels a headache coming on, he or she will press a handheld remote against the cheek with the implant. The proceeding signals will trigger the SPG nerves and block the pain-causing neurotransmitters.
3. Robotic Check Ups
A mobile cart with a two-way video screen and medical monitoring materials has been programmed to maneuver through the busy halls of a hospital in routine rounds. The RP-VITA Remote Presence Robot is the first such autonomous navigation remote-presence robot to be cleared by the FDA for hospital use. It can check on patients in different rooms and administer their individual charts and vital signs without direct human interference.