medicine

This wristband detects an opiate overdose

Posted by | america, carnegie mellon, Gadgets, Health, medicine, pittsburgh, TC, Wearables | No Comments

A project by students at Carnegie Mellon could save lives. Called the HopeBand, the wristband senses low blood oxygen levels and sends a text message and sounds an alarm if danger is imminent.

“Imagine having a friend who is always watching for signs of overdose; someone who understands your usage pattern and knows when to contact [someone] for help and make sure you get help,” student Rashmi Kalkunte told IEEE. “That’s what the HopeBand is designed to do.”

The team won third place in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Opioid Challenge at the Health 2.0 conference in September and they are planning to send the band to a needle exchange program in Pittsburgh. They hope to sell it for less than $20.

Given the more than 72,000 overdose deaths in America this year, a device like this could definitely keep folks a little safer.

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Not to be overshadowed by the Apple Watch, AliveCor announces a new 6-lead ECG reader

Posted by | AliveCor, Apple, Apple Watch, Atrial fibrillation, ceo, fda, Gadgets, Health, heart attack, medicine, TC, Vic Gundotra, Wearables | No Comments

Apple’s announcement last week of a Watch with an FDA-approved ECG reader to track heart health looked to be the undoing of original ECG reader company AliveCor. But, to prove it still has a hearty pulse, AliveCor tells TechCrunch it is coming out with a “never-before-seen” 6-lead electrocardiogram (ECG), pending FDA approval.

In a care clinic, a patient typically has 12 leads, or stickers placed across their chest to pick up data from their heart. However, other ECG readers typically have one or two leads. The Apple Watch places a single lead system on the wrist. The 6-lead ECG reader is, in theory, more accurate because there are more sensors picking up more information, which could be critical in saving lives.

AliveCor’s and the Apple Watch’s current function is to pick up AFib — or the detection of an irregular heart beat. AliveCor announced earlier this month it had received FDA-approval to use its ECG readers to detect a rare but dangerous blood condition called hyperkalemia.

With 6-lead ECG readers, the AliveCor device could also pick up about 100 different diseases, according to CEO Vic Gundotra, who rattled off a bunch of long-worded maladies I can’t even begin to pronounce but he’s hoping his reader will soon be able to detect.

However, one important detection would be ST elevation — one of the key factors associated with the onset of a heart attack and which could get a person on their way to the hospital before they start displaying other physical symptoms.

Of course, Apple — which already holds 17 percent of the wearables market — could easily decide it, too, needs to add a 6-lead ECG reader to the Watch and beat AliveCor’s market yet again. But Gundotra shrugs at that suggestion.

“They could but we have some pretty good patents in the space,” he told TechCrunch, adding “Apple has done me a great service, actually. We’re a small company but you are talking to me, calling about this [because of their announcement].”

No formal name has been announced yet for the 6-lead product, but AliveCor will be working with the FDA on the regulatory pathway for it and hopes to bring it to over-the-counter consumers by 2019.

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AliveCor gets a green light from FDA to screen for dangerously high potassium levels in the blood

Posted by | AliveCor, artificial intelligence, Gadgets, hardware, Health, Mayo Clinic, medicine, neural network, TC, Vic Gundotra | No Comments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted AliveCor the designation of “breakthrough device” for its ability to detect a rare but dangerous blood condition called hyperkalemia without taking any blood from the patient.

Hyperkalemia is a medical term describing elevated potassium levels in the blood and is usually found in those with kidney disease. The correct amount of potassium is critical for the function of nerve and muscles in the body, including your heart muscle. A blood potassium level higher than 6.0 mmol/L can be dangerous and usually requires immediate treatment, according to the Mayo Clinic.

A surprising 31 million people in the U.S. suffer from chronic kidney conditions leading to potentially elevated levels of potassium. Nearly 500,000 of those with the condition are on dialysis as their kidneys are no longer able to function.

AliveCor is able to detect elevated levels of potassium in the blood using the company’s specifically trained deep neural network and data from its electrocardiograms (ECG) technology, similar to those captured by AliveCor’s KardiaMobile and KardiaBand devices.

The new designation means the FDA will begin to fast-track the technology, enabling patients with kidney disease to use AliveCor for home-based detection of elevated potassium levels.

AliveCor was cleared late last year by the FDA to use its KardiaBand technology as a medical device for the Apple Watch to detect abnormal hearth rhythm. Allowing kidney and heart patients to use this technology at home would potentially save lives by detecting and warning them that something is wrong before heading into the doctor’s office to get checked.

“We are gratified that the artificial intelligence work we’re doing at AliveCor has been deemed so meaningful that it has achieved FDA ‘Breakthrough Device’ status,” AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra said in a statement. “We view it as a key milestone in our corporate history and look forward to the further development of our non-invasive Hyperkalemia detection tools.”

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AssistENT offers an anti-snoring device you stick in your nose

Posted by | baltimore, Face++, Gadgets, head, maryland, medicine, MIT, plastic surgery, TC | No Comments

If you sleep next to someone who snores you know that the endless horking and honking isn’t very fun… and it makes the snorer’s life even worse. Some students and doctors in Baltimore, Maryland, however, have created something that acts like an internal breathing strip to help you breathe better and snore less.

Called assistENT, the company uses small, reusable rings that fit into the nostril and open the septum. You insert and remove them yourself with a little pair of forceps and they can survive sneezing and, one would assume, a good, hard midnight snoooorrrrrk. Patrick Byrne and Clayton Andrews created the product and it recently won the $10,000 “Use it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for best product. Other members of the team include Melissa Austin, Talia Kirschbaum, Harrison Nguyen, Theo Lee, and Eric Cao.

The team will be running a Kickstarter soon and is looking into a seed round for manufacture. The product, called N-Stent, costs 15 cents to make and will sell for about $4 a pair.

“The design is inspired by the typical cartilage grafts used in functional rhinoplasty to improve nasal breathing. In essence, the device is a tapered silicone stent consisting of two flexible beams bridging two soft pads whose shape closely follows the complex internal nasal anatomy,” said Byrne. “When deployed, one pad grips the nasal septum and the other presses against the lateral nasal wall to dilate the passage and stent it open. This dilation force comes from the two flexible beams, which bend to provide a gentle spring force while forming a lumen to accommodate airflow.”

The product fits into the nasal vestibule and to get it in and out you can either use the simple applicator or just stick it up there with your finger.

The team is excited about the possibilities, especially since this can help people without forcing them to get surgery.

“Although the mechanism for reversing nasal obstruction is straightforward, there is no viable alternative to surgery for those who struggle with nasal breathing throughout the day. Breathe Right strips lead this nighttime nasal dilator market with annual revenues of $145M, amounting to an 80% market share. However, experts estimate a $250M market opportunity for less-invasive nasal obstruction treatment,” said Byrne.

“We have heard stories from dozens who have had surgery to correct nasal obstruction – with limited success and great expense – and hundreds who are reluctant to undergo surgery in the first place and feel they have no alternative for breathing better throughout the day, at night, or during exercise. This invention has potential to radically change the standard of care for nasal obstruction and provide a convenient, sensible solution to this widespread problem,” he said.

Look for this anti-snort-hork-honnnnnking device in the next few months.

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Roman is a cloud pharmacy for erectile dysfunction

Posted by | Apps, eCommerce, Erectile Dysfunction, Fundings & Exits, Health, medicine, Mobile, pharmacy, Roman, Startups, TC | No Comments

 “When I was 17, I experienced erectile dysfunction.” My interviews with startup founders rarely start so candidly. But to destigmatize the business of his new company, Roman, and empathize with customers, Zachariah Reitano is getting vulnerable. “I think in a good way I’ve become numb to the embarrassment,” says 26-year-old Reitano. Read More

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The e-Mosquito bites you to monitor glucose levels

Posted by | chemistry, diabetes, Gadgets, medicine, TC | No Comments

 Researchers at the University of Calgary have released the latest version of their “Wearable Microsystem for Minimally Invasive, Pseudo-Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring,” a watch-like wearable that “bites” you every few hours to draw blood and test your glucose levels. The system uses a shape memory alloy actuator which contracts when heated and then snaps back into… Read More

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Figure 1, a knowledge-sharing app for doctors, launches sponsored content

Posted by | app monetization, Apps, Figure 1, gregory levey, Health, medical education, medicine, Mobile, mobile apps, monetization, photo sharing, science, Startups, TC | No Comments

 Since its launch in 2013, Figure 1, a photo- and knowledge-sharing app for medical professionals, has focused on “traction” that is winning over new users and keeping them around. The app now boasts registered users in 190 countries, with three-quarters of U.S. med students using Figure 1. Today, the Toronto- and New York-based startup revealed how it has begun to generate revenue. Read More

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Researchers create a wireless hydration sensor that tracks how thirsty you are

Posted by | biology, Dehydration, Gadgets, Health, Hydration, medicine, TC | No Comments

zhu-hydration-sensors-sidebar-full A wearable wireless hydration sensor from North Carolina State University will be able to tell how thirsty you are via a chest patch or wrist-worn device. The device is designed to tell you when you might be facing heat stress due to dehydration. “It’s difficult to measure a person’s hydration quantitatively, which is relevant for everyone from military personnel to athletes… Read More

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