From Apple’s new smartwatch that tracks heartbeats to contact lenses that measure blood sugar — Silicon Valley is pouring billions into gadgets and apps designed to transform health care. But the tech giants that have famously disrupted so many industries are now facing their own unexpected…
Brain stimulation treatments are often used to treat depression. However, protocols of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation
Brain stimulation treatments are often used to treat depression.
For example, a patient may receive several weeks of regular ECT treatments before a full response is achieved.
As a result, researchers are searching for an antidepressanttreatment that acts to rapidly improve mood.
Low field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) is one such potential new treatment with rapid mood-elevating effects, say researchers at Harvard Medical School and Weill Cornell Medical College.
“LFMS is unlike any current treatment. It uses magnetic fields that are a fraction of the strength but at higher frequency than the electromagnetic fields used in TMS and ECT,” explained first author Dr. Michael Rohan.
The potential antidepressant properties of LFMS were discovered by accident, while researchers were conducting an imaging study in healthy volunteers.
This led Rohan and his colleagues to conduct a preliminary study in which they identified the imaging parameters that seemed to be causing the antidepressant effect.
They then designed and constructed a portable LFMS device, which delivers a low strength, high frequency, electromagnetic field waveform to the brain.
The next step was to test the device in depressed patients, the results of which are published in the current issue of Biological Psychiatry.
A total of 63 currently depressed patients, diagnosed with either major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder, participated in the study and were randomized to receive a single 20-minute treatment of real LFMS or sham LFMS, where the device was on but the electromagnetic fields were inactive.
Since neither the patients nor the researchers knew which treatment each person actually received, the true effect of the LFMS could be measured.
An immediate and substantial improvement in mood was observed in the patients who received real LFMS, compared to those who received the sham treatment. There were no reported side effects.
This finding suggests that LFMS may have the potential to provide immediate relief of depressed mood, perhaps even in emergency situations. It also confirms the success of the device’s design.
“The idea that weak electrical stimulation of the brain could produce beneficial effects on depression symptoms is somewhat surprising,” said Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.
“Yet the data make a compelling case that this safe approach deserves further study.”
Rohan confirmed that additional research is underway to find the best parameters for LFMS use in the clinical treatment of depression.
Further research will also be necessary to evaluate the effects of multiple compared to single treatments, and how long the antidepressant effects last following treatment.
Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has launched a pilot in which 700 mental health patients receive access to their therapists’ notes on their laptop or smartphone, according to a must-read report in the New York Times.
“Nationally, the momentum is shifting in favor of transparency in the medical record, but understandable caution and controversy remain when it comes to mental health notes,” lead author and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, Dr Michael Kahn, wrote in a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article on the pilot.
This pilot is an extension of a rather famous trial that Beth Israel participated in a few years ago, called OpenNotes. In the OpenNotes program, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, more than 13,500 primary care patients were given access to their physicians’ notes via an online portal and electronic messaging. More than 100 physicians participated in that trial. In the end, close to 11,800 patients opened at least one note during the study, which took place at two other healthcare facilities as well: Geisinger Health System (GHS) in Pennsylvania and Harborview Medical Center (HMC) in Washington.
At the time, the study authors explained that a vast majority of the participating patients said they could understand their medical issues more easily, better remember their treatment plans, and prepare for future visits. Patients also found that they felt an increased sense of control.
Since then, more than 2.5 million American patients from several healthcare institutions including MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) have been given access to their medical notes. Still, with the exception of the VA, a release from the researchers explained these institutions do not share notes written by psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. The researchers write in the JAMA article that they find these exclusions unnecessary.
“Inviting patients to read what clinicians write about their feelings, thoughts and behaviors does seem different from sharing assessments of their hypertension or diabetes,” Kahn said. “Bringing transparency into mental health feels like entering a minefield, triggering clinicians’ worst fears about sharing notes with patients.”
Some concerns that exist, according to Kahn, include how a patient will react to reading a diagnosis of his personality disorder and what a patient with schizophrenia will feel when a therapist writes that her “firm convictions” are delusional. Still, according to the researchers, allowing patients to read therapist notes might help them address their mental health issues actively and reduce the stigma that they feel around mental health.
Qualcomm Incorporated, through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ initiative, and Trice Imaging, a mobile medical imaging business announces the results of their collaborative, 3G “Mobile Ultrasound Patrol” project.
Every day, around the world, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Of those deaths, 40 percent are due to injuries or conditions related to placenta complications. The only way of detecting abnormal placenta challenges is through an ultrasound. Ultrasound medicine is experiencing drastic changes, resulting in a veritable paradigm shift. New technology is disrupting how ultrasound imaging is currently executed by whom and at what cost. Technology creates additional access, reduces costs, which is driving accessibility and paves the way for new, sustainable models of healthcare economics.
Inspired by the UN initiatives and the knowledge that their combined strengths could truly impact the health of women across the globe and specifically in Morocco, a group of companies combined resources, talent, and passion for mobile healthcare to create something extraordinary: the Mobile Ultrasound Patrol Project.
The Mobile Ultrasound Patrol is a project that seeks to improve care for women in developing countries through early detection and treatment of major causes of maternal mortality. The medical examinations took place in three villages in Morocco — Oulmes, Boulemane and Ribat el Kheir — with reading physicians providing diagnoses in city centers in Morocco and France. Done in conjunction with Fujifilm SonoSite, an ultrasound systems provider and Sony Mobile, the Xperia smartphone division of Sony Corporation; this project used portable ultrasound units, 3G-enabled smartphones and phablets, remote diagnostic software and 3G connectivity to improve care for women in developing countries through early detection and treatment of major causes of maternal mortality.
The key goal was to validate how advanced wireless technologies and connected portable ultrasound devices can provide access to state-of-the-art imaging diagnostics in places it has never been available before at a significantly lower cost. Medical professionals provided proper care to patients in remote areas using encrypted mobile devices that were connected to a 3G/4G network and a sharing platform that enabled experts to perform remote diagnoses. The time and cost efficiencies gained, without any compromise in quality improved the likelihood for early detection and treatment of the major causes of maternal morbidity/mortality, which could ultimately reduce the number of maternal and child deaths.
– 575 exams were wirelessly transmitted to clinicians
– 94 exams exposed potential at-risk pregnancies
– 158 patients were flagged for a second opinion
– Use of advanced wireless technologies led to:
o Shortened diagnostic review or second opinion time from two weeks to less than a day
o Reduced ultrasound costs from US$80 to US$2 per patient
o Shortened the delivery of medical data for review from four days to two seconds
o Shortened the time the patient had to wait for a medical opinion from two weeks to less than 24 hours
o Increased local medical practitioners’ skills in delivering ultrasound images from 20 percent sufficient for diagnostic purposes to 92 percent sufficient for diagnostic purposes
o Participating physicians reported an increased number of patients seeking care at health houses after the trial. The number of deliveries in these facilities increased, which is an important step in reducing the number of dangerous at home births.
For more information:
– See case study
– See full report
For the first time ever, a paralyzed man can move his fingers and hand with his own thoughts thanks to an innovative partnership between The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and Battelle…