The DigiScope, a new digital stethoscope, could make it easier for general practitioners to spot the first signs of heart disease, according to researchers at the University of London.
Conventional stethoscopes rely on the expertise and listening skills of physicians, but the DigiScope analyzes heart sounds and provides visual representations of anomalies.
The DigiScope synchronizes the various sounds that make up a human heartbeat and analyze them using independent component analysis, where a signal is separated into subcomponents.
The device is designed to be used by doctors in exactly the same way as they use a conventional stethoscope. They position the end piece on four different places on the patient’s chest. The sounds from each position are wirelessly sent to a computer or laptop, and combined into one sound.
Doctors can compare the visual graphs produced with ‘normal’ readings while the patient is there, or save the graphs and study them later, according to the release.
"The development will not remove the need for specialist cardiac units, it will simply make it easier to identify potential heart problems at an earlier stage," said lead investigator Professor Mark Plumbley.
Here’s a roundup of recent clinical trial and scientific study news:
Surgical tonsil or appendix removal before age 20 was linked to an increased risk of premature heart attack in a large population study performed in Sweden. Tonsillectomy increased the risk by 44 percent and appendectomy by 33 percent.
The study looked at the national health records of every Swedish resident born between 1955 and 1970 and identified each one who had tonsil or appendix removal, or both. The records were followed up for an average of 23.5 years to cross-check for the occurrence of fatal or non-fatal heart attack
Between 10 and 20 percent of all young people have either their tonsils or their appendix removed, according to the study.
There was no risk association evident when the operations were performed in people over the age of 20.
The study is published in the European Heart Journal.
Tiny electrodes have been coated with a drug-loaded polymer in hopes of developing a brain implant that can detect several neurological symptoms, such as those associated with epileptic seizure, and treat them simultaneously.
Researchers have developed technology that precisely analyzes individual neurons in rats. Researchers demonstrated how the release of drugs could be informed, in real-time, by activity detected in neurons.
"We envision an implanted device in the future that will monitor the brain activity, detect or predict an onset of epileptic seizure, and send the command to the electrode at the most appropriate location, releasing an anti-convulsive drug to prevent the seizure, said co-author Professor X Tracy Cui.
Long emergency department waiting times are associated with an increased risk of hospital admission or death within seven days of discharge, according to research published in the British Medical Journal. Risk of death increased incrementally with each additional hour of average waiting time.
A survey of 1,5000 physicians found that the majority of emergency departments docs reported feeling burned out by patients who frequent the emergency department more than 10 times per year. More than 90 percent said frequent users posed challenges for the department, 59 percent acknowledged that they had less empathy for frequent users than for other patients and 71 percent said their institutions need some sort of program to deal with the issue.