Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

App Enables Smartphone Camera to Screen for Pancreatic Cancer

The five-year survival rate of pancreatic cancer is one of the worst — 9 percent — in part because there are no obvious symptoms or non-invasive screening tools to catch a tumor before it spreads. One of the earliest symptoms of pancreatic cancer, as well as other diseases, is jaundice, a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes caused by a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. The ability to detect signs of jaundice when bilirubin levels are minimally elevated — but before they're visible to the naked eye — could enable an entirely new screening program for at-risk individuals.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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ECTemp™

The health and fitness industry strives to provide customers with the best technologies and features available to help users train in the right zone and duration for best results. Core body temperature is a factor in this analysis, but has been largely unavailable due to the invasiveness of accurate sensors, and the variation between skin temperature and core body temperature. An accurate estimate of core body temperature is also valuable for occupations in which heat stress and heat illness are risk factors. Because of the difficulty in directly measuring core body temperature, a practical alternative was developed.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Smartphone Camera Measures Heart Health

Currently, a 45-minute ultrasound scan is required to provide detailed information about heart health. Researchers have discovered a method by which a smartphone camera can noninvasively provide the same information.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Independent Navigation for the Visually Impaired Using a Wearable, Vision-Based Feedback System

Automatic navigation systems have been developed previously to aid the visually impaired, but these devices have not been as reliable and easy to use as a cane — the type of metal-tipped cane that visually impaired people frequently use to identify clear walking paths. These canes, however, have drawbacks. First, the obstacles they come in contact with are sometimes other people. Second, they can't identify certain types of objects, such as tables or chairs, or determine whether a chair is already occupied.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Graphene-Based Sensor for Improved Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Asthma

Asthma, which causes inflammation of the airway and obstructs airflow, affects about 300 million people worldwide. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Other serious lung ailments include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Diagnosis, Diseases, Fluids and secretions, Medical equipment and supplies, Nanotechnology
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Artificial “Wrist” Enables Design of Wearable Blood Pressure Monitors

Unfortunately, blood pressure (BP) measurements currently require the use of a cuff that temporarily stops blood flow. A wearable BP “watch” using today’s technology would squeeze the wrist every few minutes, making it impractical to use. A better method might gauge subtle pressure changes at the surface of the skin above one of the main wrist arteries — the radial artery — without regularly cutting off circulation. But before this new technology can be developed, there is a need to understand what the pressure inside a blood vessel looks like on the surface of the skin. This requires a physical model that can be used to test wearable devices in a laboratory.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Body regions, Medical equipment and supplies, Physical examination, Product development, Anthropometric test devices
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Digital-to-Analog Transformation and Reconstruction of ECG Data

The innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a new method and device for specialized digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) and reconstruction of multichannel electrocardiograms (ECGs), including 12-lead ECGs. Current devices do not have the functionality that allows for the transmission of stored digital ECG data collected from one manufacturer’s ECG machine to another for an automated second opinion. With this technology, the physician has the opportunity to compare results by transferring the ECG data to another ECG machine — regardless of location — when a patient’s results are difficult to interpret for a second opinion. The technology also allows for the use of less expensive 12-lead ECG front ends or analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) hardware that is advantageous when in remote locations or with patients who are mobile during research studies. The digital-to-analog transformation and reconstruction of ECG data technology is available for licensing.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Data exchange, Computer software / hardware, Computer software and hardware, Data acquisition and handling, Data exchange, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies
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Miniaturized Chemical Detectors for Point-of-Care Diagnosis

This chemical detector, based on a miniaturized, pulse-discharged ionization detector (mini-PDID), makes it possible to diagnose illnesses by identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with certain diseases and infections on a patient’s breath, or in the headspace of biological fluids.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Sensors and actuators, Diagnosis, Diseases, Fluids and secretions, Medical equipment and supplies, Chemicals
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PTC Heater Brings Greater Control for Hand-held Medical Devices and Disposables

Point of Care diagnostics devices, whether handheld or single-use, often require a brief application of tightly controlled heat. The disposable nature of these devices requires a low-cost component capable of delivering that heat reliably and safely. Heatron's new PTC heater solution uses a polymer-based heater technology that controls heat to within ±2°C of the target temperature, and reduces unit cost by eliminating sensors and applied controls.

Posted in: White Papers, Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Thermoelectrics, Medical, Medical equipment and supplies, Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), Polymers
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High-Quality Tissue Formation Method

NASA's Johnson Space Center seeks interested parties for the commercialization of the High Density Spot Seeding (HDSS) method to create 2D and 3D tissue models. This method can potentially be used to develop tissue models for a variety of applications, including wound treatment, therapy, and tissue modeling of skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, nerve, and bone. The HDSS technique has an easy four-step method that does not require expensive reagents, such as specialized serum or growth factors, and compared to traditional methods, HDSS has the potential to yield superior-quality tissue samples.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Anatomy, Biological sciences, Medical equipment and supplies, Forming
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