treatment

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  • Braeburn Pharmaceuticals via AP

    FDA OKs first implant treatment for opioid addiction (updated)

    by 
    Mariella Moon
    Mariella Moon
    05.27.2016

    That small stick in the image above might look like a fat toothpick or a part of a toy that broke off, but its much, much more than that. It's called Probuphine, and it's the first implant treatment for opioid addiction that got the FDA's blessing. Opioid dependence is a huge problem today, especially since opioids encompass not just illegal substances like heroin, but also legal pain killers, such as those prescribed after surgery.

  • Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

    US military wants vaccines that adapt to fight new viruses

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    04.10.2016

    Vaccines and other antiviral treatments have one overriding, seemingly inescapable problem: since viruses evolve, a solution that works today can be completely useless tomorrow. The researchers at DARPA are convinced this is a solvable problem, however. They've launched an INTERCEPT (Interfering and Co-Evolving Prevention and Therapy) program that aims to create therapies which adapt in sync with the viruses they're meant to thwart. It'll largely revolve around therapeutic interfering particles (TIPs), or tiny slices of protein-shelled DNA that infiltrate cells and compete with viruses for protein shells. Since the particles should be produced faster than viruses, you end up with loads of dud viruses that dramatically reduce the impact of any viral load. Think of it as watering down a stiff drink.

  • How electrifying the brain wards off Parkinson's disease

    by 
    Steve Dent
    Steve Dent
    04.14.2015

    Implanting electrodes in the brain and zapping it helps patients with Parkinson's and other disorders, but doctors have never been sure why, exactly. Now, researchers from UC San Francisco think that the therapy (called deep-brain stimulation, or DBS) works by altering neural timings, in much the same way a defibrillator resets heart rhythms. In a healthy brain, neuron firing is controlled by low frequency rhythms that sync up movement, memory and other functions. But the UC team found that the synchronization is too strong in Parkinson's patients, making it harder for them to move voluntarily.

  • Hail nearby medics with the GoodSAM smartphone app

    by 
    Jamie Rigg
    Jamie Rigg
    08.27.2014

    In a serious medical emergency, action in the first few minutes can be key to a positive outcome. An ambulance might be only a few miles away, but what if someone with medical training, who could provide immediate care while the cavalry's on route, was sitting just next door? It's this kind of scenario a doctor with London's Air Ambulance service had in mind when he created GoodSAM, an Android and iOS app that sends out a request for any nearby professionals to lend a hand in an emergency.

  • Virus-based sensors find superbugs in minutes, may lead to safer surfaces

    by 
    Jon Fingas
    Jon Fingas
    05.08.2013

    Viruses usually have to be rendered inert to work in humanity's favor, as anyone who has received a flu shot can attest. Auburn University has bucked that trend by discovering a way to put active viruses to work in not only diagnosing sickness, but in preventing it in the first place. It's using bacteria-hating (and thankfully harmless) viruses as biosensors to quickly identify superbugs, or antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can sometimes prove fatal. As the viruses change color once they've reached impervious bacterial strains, in this case variants on Staphylococcus, they can reveal superbugs within 10 to 12 minutes -- a potentially lifesaving interval when current purification-driven methods can take hours. Auburn would like to eventually use what it has learned to develop more effective antibacterial glass and similar surfaces. If successfully put into practice, either breakthrough could mitigate what's already a major medical crisis. [Image credit: Bob Blaylock, Wikipedia]

  • London's E-Health Cloud program will send patient records to the stratosphere next month

    by 
    Amar Toor
    Amar Toor
    06.27.2011

    You'd think that the recent spate of high-profile cyberattacks would've deterred the healthcare industry from sending patient records to the cloud -- but you'd be wrong. Beginning next month, all data on patients at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital will be stored in a centralized database, accessible from any computer, smartphone or tablet. Under the National Health Service's pilot program, known as E-Health Cloud, patients will be able to decide which doctors, nurses or family members can view their records, allowing them to easily share their data with other specialists. Flexiant, the Scottish software company that developed the platform, hopes to eventually expand it to other treatment phases, including assisted living, and insists that its system will help the NHS save money in the long-term. Security, however, will likely prove critical to the program's success. Users will have to pass multiple ID checkpoints to access the database, but privacy-wary Londoners might demand protection a bit more robust than an automated bouncer. You won't need to adhere to a dress code to view the full PR, available after the break.

  • IBM's Jeopardy-winning supercomputer headed to hospitals. Dr. Watson, we presume?

    by 
    Amar Toor
    Amar Toor
    05.24.2011

    We always knew that Watson's powers extended well beyond the realm of TV trivia, and now IBM has provided a little more insight into how its supercomputer could help doctors treat and diagnose their patients. Over the past few months, researchers have been stockpiling Watson's database with information from journals and encyclopedias, in an attempt to beef up the device's medical acumen. The idea is to eventually sync this database with a hospital's electronic health records, allowing doctors to remotely consult Watson via cloud computing and speech-recognition technology. The system still has its kinks to work out, but during a recent demonstration for the AP, IBM's brainchild accurately diagnosed a fictional patient with Lyme disease using only a list of symptoms. It may be another two years, however, before we see Watson in a white coat, as IBM has yet to set a price for its digitized doc. But if it's as sharp in the lab as it was on TV, we may end up remembering Watson for a lot more than pwning Ken Jennings. Head past the break for a video from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, which, along with Columbia University, has been directly involved in IBM's program.

  • Paralyzed man can stand and walk again, thanks to spinal implant

    by 
    Amar Toor
    Amar Toor
    05.20.2011

    Here's an amazing story to end your week on a high note: a 25-year-old paraplegic is now walking again, thanks to a groundbreaking procedure developed by neuroscientists at the University of Louisville, UCLA and Cal Tech. The Oregon man, Rob Summers, was paralyzed below the chest in 2006, after getting hit by a speeding car. This week, however, doctors announced that Summers can now stand up on his own and remain standing for up to four minutes. With the help of a special harness, he can even take steps on a treadmill and can move his lower extremities for the first time in years. It was all made possible by a spinal implant that emits small pulses of electricity, designed to replicate signals that the brain usually sends to coordinate movement. Prior to receiving the implant in 2009, Summers underwent two years of training on a treadmill, with a harness supporting his weight and researchers moving his legs. This week's breakthrough comes after 30 years of research, though scientists acknowledge that this brand of epidural stimulation still needs to be tested on a broader sample of subjects before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. Summers, meanwhile, seems understandably elated. "This procedure has completely changed my life," the former baseball player said. "To be able to pick up my foot and step down again was unbelievable, but beyond all of that my sense of well-being has changed." We can only imagine.

  • World's biggest CMOS sensor could help doctors detect and treat cancer

    by 
    Amar Toor
    Amar Toor
    05.06.2011

    Move over, Canon, because scientists at the University of Lincoln have just seized the crown for world's biggest CMOS image sensor with their new Dynamic range Adjustable for Medical Imaging Technology microchip -- or 'DyNAMITe,' for short. Measuring a hefty 12.8 square cm (or about five square inches), DyNAMITe is roughly 200 times bigger than the chips you'd find in most PCs, making it the largest imager ever made on a wafer of standard, eight-inch diameter. This extra girth allows the active pixel sensor to capture images in high detail, with a 100-micrometer pitch boasting 1280 x 1280p aligned next to a 50-micron layer, carrying 2560 x 2560p. DyNAMITe can also run at up to 90fps and withstand high levels of radiation for several years, making it ideal for medical imaging, including radiotherapy and mammography. Researchers say these enhanced images could help doctors detect cancer in its earliest phases, while allowing them to monitor radiotherapy treatments more closely. No word on when we should expect to see DyNAMITe pop up in hospitals (or a Hasselblad back), but physicists at the Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden Hospital are busy looking for other, potentially life-saving applications. Full PR after the break.

  • Startup's headset will bathe your brain in ultrasound, might help fight cancer, too

    by 
    Amar Toor
    Amar Toor
    04.24.2011

    The scientific community has spent a decade exploring ultrasound as a means of breaking through the blood-brain barrier -- a layer of tightly-packed cells that surround the brain's blood vessels, making it difficult for doctors to deliver chemotherapy and other treatments to cancer patients. Thus far, though, most ultrasound-based techniques have relied upon complex and often costly equipment, including MRI machines and infusion pumps. But researchers at a startup called Perfusion Technology think they may have come up with a less invasive, more cost-effective alternative -- a new headset designed to deliver low-intensity ultrasound therapy to the entire brain over the course of extended treatment periods. This approach differs markedly from most other methods, which typically target smaller areas of the brain with high-intensity ultrasound doses. As with most other potential breakthroughs, however, Perfusion's technique still needs to undergo some major testing. The company has already conducted several tests on animals, but the last time a similar method was tried on humans, many subjects ended up suffering from excessive bleeding. And that doesn't sound good at all.

  • Portable brain tumor treatment system kills cancer while you take out the trash

    by 
    Christopher Trout
    Christopher Trout
    04.17.2011

    We've seen robots that perform brain surgery and lasers that cook tumors, and now a team of researchers are well on their way to bringing mobility to the battle against brain cancer. The NovoTTF-100A, which just received FDA approval, is basically a set of insulated electrodes, attached to an electronic box, that pumps low intensity electrical fields to the site of a freshly diagnosed GBM (glioblastoma multiforme) tumor. The fields, known as Tumor Treatment Fields (TTF), play off the electrically charged elements of cancer cells to stunt the tumor's growth, and may in some cases actually reverse it. A recent test of the system showed comparable results to chemotherapy, without the usual lineup of side effects, including nausea, anemia, fatigue, and infection. Given, patients using the system are expected to wear the thing continuously, but we'd say walking around with a cap full of electrodes is a small price to pay for giving cancer the boot. Full PR after the break.

  • Geolocation app appeals to your inner good samaritan, makes you an amateur EMT

    by 
    Michael Gorman
    Michael Gorman
    01.28.2011

    When you go into cardiac arrest, you've got about ten minutes to live if you don't receive medical attention, and the average emergency response time is seven minutes after you dial 911. In an effort to get folks help more quickly and leverage the iPhone's life saving abilities, the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District in California has created the FireDepartment app to enlist the help of the citizenry in fighting the (unfortunate) results of a lifetime of eating tacos. The iPhone app -- Android and BlackBerry versions are currently in the works -- allows emergency dispatchers to notify users via text of a nearby crisis. For those feeling heroic, the app displays a map with the victim's location and any nearby automatic electronic defibrillators, and provides "resuscitation reminders" in case you're the CPR teddy-toting type. For now, the service only works in San Ramon but there are plans to port it for use elsewhere. That means we can look forward to a nation of amateur EMTs, which makes us thankful that mouth-to-mouth is no longer a part of CPR. Check the video after the break to see the app in action.

  • THQ and Kaos defend 6 month 'crunch' for Homefront

    by 
    Alexander Sliwinski
    Alexander Sliwinski
    01.17.2011

    Accusations of an exhaustive "crunch" at Homefront developer Kaos have been met head-on by parent company THQ and the studio's general manager David Votypka. Develop is covering all sides of the issue, including Votypka's acknowledgement that the studio has been crunching for the last six months, with 10 hour days. He notes, "If this seems unique or abhorrent, I would have to suggest that any assessment regarding a 10 hour work day would need to consider a much larger segment of the American workforce." The anonymous employee also wrote up their own piece for Develop expressing fears about "THQ publicly [saying] things that glorify crunch time." The source feels that management shouldn't have put the team on a schedule that created this extended, "seven day a week crunch mode." "Crunch," loosely defined as the overtime-intensive period before a game ships, is an industry standard. The issue certainly gets sensitive whenever brought up, and it always seems like the specter of EA Spouse is watching the conversation.

  • Over the counter, spray-on stem cell treatment could heal burns on the go

    by 
    Laura June Dziuban
    Laura June Dziuban
    12.02.2010

    Research at the University of Utah could lead to burn treatment on the go that makes use of your body's own cells. Surgeons Amit Patel and Amalia Cochran are researching the use of stem cells in conjunction with several chemicals as a spray-on jelly which has, in early testing, shown to accelerate the healing process of burns. While the team is starting with small burns, its goal is to be able to provide fast and effective, actual regeneration of a patient's own cells to be grafted onto large area burns. Video of the project is after the break.

  • Manage complex medical conditions with iBiomed

    by 
    David Winograd
    David Winograd
    11.09.2010

    iBiomed is not for everyone. It's a niche app designed for detailed tracking of care management for patients with complex medical conditions, such as autism. Once set up (and that can be a bit daunting), a care-giver can take control of everything related to the care of a patient. iBiomed is totally flexible, allowing a user to input all pertinent information and keep historical track of everything involving the patient. It can send push alarms, too, when it's time to administer the next dosage of any supplement, medicine, or test. That just scratches the surface of what this amazingly-flexible, multifaceted, and free app can do. Walking you through its functions will give you a good idea of just how detailed and important this app can be for care-givers. You start by creating a patient profile, including name, birth date, and sex. From there, you fill in information about the treatment history of the patient. Beginning with diagnoses, you can enter information for each one, be it autism, allergies, or any other problem. Descriptions can be added for each condition. Next, using a summary treatment screen, you can enter information which details required supplements, medicines, tests, diets, and alternative treatments. Once you get the hang of entering one topic, which is detailed and can take some time, it gets easier since most of the input modules are quite similar. For example, when entering supplements, the required information includes the name of the supplement, the start date, what quantity comprises a dose, and the dosing frequency. A stop date is optional, and any notes you would like to enter are also optional. The same is true for medicines and a number of other items. Each item needs to be input and saved individually, which can take some time. %Gallery-107002%

  • Study: Games can improve vision of adults with lazy eye

    by 
    JC Fletcher
    JC Fletcher
    09.25.2010

    Kids with amblyopia, or "lazy eye" as it's commonly known, are familiar with the treatment/ritualistic torture of having a patch put over the good eye and being made to read, in order to strengthen the weaker eye. This doesn't work as well for adults with the condition -- unless they're playing video games while patched. That's the takeaway from a study by a group at the Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute at the University of California, Berkeley. According to GamePolitics' summary of the study, 40 hours of gameplay using the "bad" eye was equivalent to 120 hours of normal, non-game-specific occlusion therapy. The test patients experienced an average of 30 percent improvement in visual acuity. Joystiq is not qualified to dispense medical advice, but it sounds like -- if your bad eye is still good enough to figure out what's going on in a video game -- this might be worth trying. Suddenly the impossible dream of being able to kind of see the 3DS's stereoscopic effect seems within reach for the first time. [Image credit: Magiceye.com. (The image is basically indecipherable for those with amblyopia.)]

  • Blizzard: World of Warcraft movie has slowed, but still happening

    by 
    Mike Schramm
    Mike Schramm
    07.22.2010

    Blizzard Entertainment took the stage here at Comic-Con in San Diego to talk about World of Warcraft-inspired merchandise, and when the topic of the WoW movie came up during the Q&A, Vice President of Creative Development Chris Metzen confirmed that though the process has slowed recently, the movie is still happening. Director Sam Raimi is still "very, very passionate" about getting the movie made, but Metzen said that a treatment is still being hammered out. If that gets approved, he said, then "hopefully it'll start moving very quickly, very soon." Metzen and the rest of the panelists also talked about the next lore-based novel to be released -- it's called The Shattering, and will set up a lot of the events leading up to the Cataclysm expansion. Metzen cautioned the game's fans that there are "dark times ahead" for Azeroth with the return of Deathwing and quakes destroying large parts of the game world. "It's going to get rough out there for a while," he admitted. "But there's a plan. The great heroes always rise to the top."

  • Amblyopic six-year-old uses Nintendo DS to regain normal eyesight

    by 
    Sean Hollister
    Sean Hollister
    06.28.2010

    Ben Michaels was on the verge of losing sight in his right eye. The solution? Two hours of Mario Kart DS a day -- using only his bad eye -- until the condition improved. And improve it did. We wonder if using the comparatively dim original DS handheld helped... and we're dying to know what fantastic anecdotal treatments the autostereoscopic Nintendo 3DS might afford civilization at large.

  • VNS implant might fix the ringing in your ears

    by 
    Sean Hollister
    Sean Hollister
    05.25.2010

    Earlier this decade, doctors discovered that by shocking the vagus nerve -- one of twelve nerves connected directly to the brain -- they could attempt to treat chronic hiccups, epilepsy and severe depression. Now, a startup called Microtransponder believes such a device can help reduce tinnitus, too. Technology Review now reports the company's RFID-like, externally-powered implant could stimulate the vagus nerve while doctors play particular tones for those suffering ringing ears, slowly attuning the patients to frequencies other than the one that ails them. As with all new medical procedures, we don't expect to see this one on the market anytime soon, but the firm does claim it's just raised $10 million in funding and will pursue FDA clearance accordingly. Until then, you'll just have to try less invasive procedures, or simply restrain yourself from turning that volume dial to 11. Ch'yeah right!

  • British surgeons using radiation beams to halt macular degeneration

    by 
    Darren Murph
    Darren Murph
    11.23.2009

    We've seen more eyesight restoration efforts than we could easily count, but rather than tooting their horn about some theoretical discovery, boffins at Kings College Hospital in London are actually putting their hard work to use on real, live human brings. The new process, which goes by the name brachytherapy, is a one-off treatment for macular degeneration. In essence, surgeons carefully light up a beam of radiation within the eye for just over three minutes, which kills harmful cells without damaging anything else. A trial is currently underway in order to restore eyesight in some 363 patients, and everything thus far leads us to believe that the process is both safe and effective. As for costs? The procedure currently runs £6,000 ($9,889), but that's still not awful when you consider that existing treatments involving injections run £800 per month. Hop past the break for a video report.