Apps aim to detect skin cancer

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http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323783704578245973988828066.html#

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center tested four apps to analyze images of 188 moles, including 60 melanomas. All of these moles were pre-evaluated by a dermatologist.

The best-performing app forwarded the images to board-certified dermatologists to review at cost of $5 per mole, and claims to be accurate 98% of the time.  Some are skeptical.  We are sure that we will soon see a proliferation of early, at home detection apps.

Health focused sensor technology dominated CES

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-yang/health-devices_b_2424812.html

The “sensorization” of CES was obvious.  Which technologies are meaningful, and which are simply stylish?  The health monitoring sector is set to grow exponentially in 2013. It’s important to understand the science behind the gadgets.  ApplySci, the crowdfunding platform, is committed to bringing you peer reviewed, life enhancing, sensor based mobile health monitoring technology.  And the ApplySci blog will regularly review this technology.  We welcome your input.

Radiation in space might harm the brains of astronauts

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/50334586/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.UOK82ak2_zI

“This study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” study author Kerry O’Banion, a neuroscientist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said in a statement.

Genetically modified virus produces heart’s own pacemaker in animals

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http://technorati.com/technology/article/viruses-helped-to-make-the-natural/

Researchers at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute had another idea. They knew a gene called Tbx18 is normally activated during the sinoatrial node’s development, when an embryo is forming. So they set out to add Tbx18 into a functioning, fully grown heart. To do it, they inserted the code for this gene into a virus, which they then inserted into the hearts of guinea pigs. The infected hearts beat according to this newly formed pacemaker, Eduardo Marbán and colleagues report in Nature Biotechnology. It also worked in a Petri dish.

The team used ventricular cells, one of three main types of heart cells (along with pacemaker cells and atrial cells). The infected cells changed their appearance, taking on a distinctive tapered shape, and this lasts even after the Tbx18 has faded away. That suggests it’s a permanent structural change, which means this could be a lasting treatment for diminished sinoatrial cells.

“This technology thus represents a promising alternative to electronic pacing devices,” Marbán et al. write. Longer-term experiments are still needed, but the work so far is promising, they say.

Genetic manipulation in neuroscience, reproductive medicine, cancer

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http://www.technologyreview.com/news/508981/its-all-about-the-genes-and-the-brain-machines/

MIT’s Technology Review reports advances in genome sequencing in several areas.  Most applicable to ApplySci is the melding of mind and machine.  Their coverage follows:

“The melding of mind and machine was also big this year. Scientists in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, demonstrated that a brain implant could replace some cognitive function in primates, which could one day help people with brain damage. On the flip side, two research groups published the first accounts of quadriplegic people using brain implants to control robotic limbs. The implants recorded the participants’ intentions to move, which were translated by a computer into instructions for a robotic arm. The idea is that one day people with severe paralysis or amputations could use such neural prosthetics at home to help with the tasks of daily life.

Brain electronics were also implanted into Alzheimer’s patients this year in an attempt to slow a disease that has so far evaded pharmaceutical treatment.  The urgency for treatment is growing, but the community still doesn’t know what sets into motion the cascade of molecular events that robs people of their memory and thinking skills. With better diagnostic tools and the discovery that there are warnings decades before symptoms, scientists are turning to treating patients with a genetic predisposition for the disease before they start having symptoms. Perhaps this will be the key to treatments in future years. ”

MIT Technology Review, December 24, 2012

1/4 of Americans trust mobile health monitoring apps as much as their doctors

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http://www.newscenter.philips.com/us_en/standard/news/press/2012/20121212_Philips_Survey_Health_Info_Tech.wpd#.UNb48qk2_zL

A recent Royal Philips Electronics survey found that consumers believe web-enabled, mHealth and mobile apps are part of their health care solutions and key to living long lives.  While about half of Americans (49 percent) are comfortable with symptom checker technologies or home-based vital sign monitors automatically sharing information with their doctor, more than one third of those surveyed believe technology that allows one to monitor his/her own health is now the key to living a long life.

Philips is developing unique healthcare technology solutions that combine superior clinical expertise with deep human insights.