MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Smartphones are capable of meeting all the criteria for an artificial pancreas by providing close-loop, outpatient control of glucose levels for diabetics, according to a new study published by the American Diabetes Assn.
Using modified Android phones, researchers proved that it is possible to make an artificial pancreas fully mobile. They hope to replace the current standard, which is a laptop connected to to the patient’s glucose monitor and insulin pump, according to MobiHealthNews.
The artificial pancreas has been called the “holy grail” of the medical device industry, seamlessly providing diabetic patients with blood glucose monitoring and insulin dosing, but no such devices have made it to the U.S. market. That’s not for lack of trying, however.
Companies like Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) are slowly progressing with its research and development, with Medtronic in particular recently touting positive outcomes for its MiniMed mechanical insulin pump system. Canadian researchers have been comparing their dual-hormone artificial pancreas to conventional diabetes management with positive results.
Many companies and research groups have their eye on that "holy grail," and future iterations of the devices may be able to rely on the smartphones everyone already has in their pockets to manage the system.
Black box warnings do little to slow dialysis drug use
Despite an FDA "black box" warning on ESA dialysis drugs, which can increase risk of heart attack and stroke, a new study finds the real reason the use of these drugs has dropped is because of a change in Medicare payments. Researchers concluded that ESA-use has been slowly dropping since a 2011 Medicare rule that removed financial incentives for big doses. There was no similar drop in ESA prescriptions following the black box labeling.
New CT scan cuts radiation exposure by 31%, study says
Although CT scans are often necessary to map heart and other organ problems, they expose patients to potentially unsafe radiation. Researchers say that hospitals that adopt new CT hardware and software that will cut a patient’s radiation exposure by 31% without sacrificing image quality. Michigan researchers measured radiation doses of almost 12,000 patients, scanned both with the old technology and the new, at 1-year intervals. The 1st scan exposed patients to an average radiation dose of 9.5 mSV, and the 2nd an average of 6.6 mSV.
Low-income countries still have low cervical cancer screening rates
Cervical cancer is an easily detected and highly preventable disease, yet screening rates in low- and middle-income countries are still far below higher-income countries. Approximately 53 out of 100,000 women in sub-Saharan Africa develop cervical cancer, compared to 7 out of 100,000 women in Western countries, a study said. Lead author Ruby Singhrao outlined 4 main reasons cervical cancer screenings need to be emphasized in the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.
FDA hands Harvard $5.6M to develop its organ-on-a-chip technology
Harvard’s Wyss Institute just landed a $5.6 million contract from the FDA to continue developing its organ-on-a-chip technology, a promising new breakthrough that mimics the functions of a human organ to eliminate risks of human testing. The contract asks Wyss researchers to look into treatments for radiation sickness. The researchers are developing chip versions of the human lung, gut and bone marrow to subject them to radiation damage and evaluate possible treatments.
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