Electronic neural bridge enables paralyzed rats to walk: As MedGadget reported last year, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, are working on spinal neurostimulation to make spinal cord injured persons walk again. They have advanced a bit further and now use a “neural bridge” that carries neural signals across spinal cord injury lesions. Currently the researchers are in a stage where they can make rats with severed spinal cords and completely paralyzed hind legs run on all four legs again. One of the tricks exploited here is the fact that walking is controlled in a big part by spinal cord reflexes. Thus, only a simple signal needs to be transferred to the spinal cord part distal of the lesions to set the walking reflex in motion. This also means that the neural bridge only needs to be attached to electrodes on the outside membrane of the severed spinal cord, avoiding the complexity of connecting individual nerve bundles. Slow neural pulses invoke a stepping pattern and once the legs bear weight the movement pattern is automatically continued without the need for additional pulses. This produces better walking patterns than what complicated muscle stimulation devices have achieved so far.
Philips touts first birth inside MRI: Recently MedGadget wrote about Berlin’s Charité University performing the first live birth imaged by MRI. Philips Healthcare (NYSE:PHG) on Dec. 9 announced that a modified version of their Panorama high field Open MRI was the device used for the procedure. According to Philips:
This operation was the culmination of two years of research and development work by the “open high-field MRI” task force specialising in radiology. “We had to develop a new type of foetal surveillance monitor whose measuring technology is not adversely affected by the extremely strong magnetic field of the MRI scanner,” said project manager Felix Güttler. The Philips Avalon CTS cordless monitoring system, which was used with the appropriate modifications, provided doctors and midwives with vital information throughout the birth about the child’s heart tones and movements, the strength of contractions, as well as the mother’s blood pressure.
OmniGuide launches BeamPath-GYN surgical laser: Cambridge, Mass.-based OmniGuide released a new laser for gynecologic surgery in its BeamPath product line. The system allows for varying power levels and easy reach thanks to a flexible fiber used to deliver the energy.
Vector blog’s holiday books guide: Evidence-based reading & ranting: Some of the most popular books now at Children’s Hospital Boston, as judged by their turnover in the hospital’s library. “We can’t keep them in the library,” said Children’s librarian Alison Clapp. The recommendations include Better: A Surgeon’s Notes on Performance, by Atul Gawande and NurtureShock: New Thinking about Children, by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman. For more reading suggestions, read last week’s post.
A weekly roundup of new developments in medical technology, by MedGadget.com.
Image credit: Parad Gad.
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