Tag Archives: Featured

Discreet EEG sticker monitors brain activity


University of Illinois professor John Rogers has made another breakthrough in flexible medical electronics. His team has created an EEG system that sticks to the skin behind one’s ear to monitor brain activity. The miniature, lightweight, gold electrode device sticks to the skin without adhesive, and can be worn continuously for 2 weeks.

While not yet precise or fast enough to replace traditional EEG, study participants were able to spell the word “computer” on a screen using their brain’s electrical activity.

Rogers is now concentrating on refining the device for medical applications, and making it wireless.  In a related Neuron paper, he describes advances in soft electronic interface technologies for neuroscience research.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ the New York Academy of Sciences, features Professor Rogers’ MC10 colleague, Roozbeh Ghaffari, as a keynote speaker.


High speed MRI analyzes vocal movement


Aaron Johnson of The Beckman Institute has developed an MRI technique that can view dynamic images of vocal movement at 100 frames per second.  This speed is far more advanced than any other MRI technique.  The method is especially useful in studying how rapidly the tongue moves, along with other muscles in the head and neck, during speech and singing.  The attached video demonstrates the results.

To combine the imaging with audio, the researchers used a noise-canceling fiber-optic microphone to pull out the voice, and aligned the audio track with the imaging.

According to Johnson, the neuromuscular system and larynx change and atrophy with age, contributing to deficits associated with the older voice, such as a weak, strained, or breathy voice.  He wants to understand how these changes occur, and if interventions, such as vocal training, can reverse the effects. This requires seeing how the muscles of the larynx move in real time.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.  Early registration discount ends Friday, 4/24.

Home-based autism therapies


The MICHELANGELO project creates home-based solutions for assessing and treating autism, including:

  • Pervasive, sensor-based technologies to perform physiological measurements such as heart rate, sweat index and body temperature
  • Camera-based systems to monitor observable behaviors and record brain responses to natural environment stimuli
  • Algorithms allowing for the characterization of stimulus-specific brainwave anomalies

These technologies will allow for more intense, personalized treatment, and give parents the role of co-therapist.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.  Early registration rate ends Friday, 4/24.

Breath test for malaria


QIMR Berghofer, ANU and CSIRO researchers are developing  a breath test for malaria. Current blood testing methods have not changed since 1880.

A recent study found a marked increase in normally almost undetectable chemicals in malaria patients’ breath.  The chemicals were seen four days earlier than with a traditional microscope test, with higher sensitivity.

Malaria killed 584,000 people in 2013.  In Africa, a child dies every minute from the disease.  The hope is to prevent death through earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.  Early registration rate ends Friday, 4/24.

Alpha wave oscillation stimulation studied for depression


UNC‘s Flavio Frohlich used low doses of electric current  to boost creativity by enhancing alpha wave oscillations.  His  goal is to to help people with neurological and psychiatric illnesses, as some depression patients have impaired alpha oscillations.

His Cortex paper showed EEG observed alpha wave oscillation enhancement using a 10-Hertz current run through electrodes attached to the scalp.

Frohlich and David Rubinow are using this type of brain stimulation in clinical trials for major depressive disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.  Early registration rate ends April 24th.

Study: DBS reshapes neural circuits


UCSF professor Philip Starr published a paper suggesting that Deep Brain Stimulation works by reducing overly synchronized motor cortex activity. He believes that this explains why surgically implanted electrodes improve movement, tremor, and rigidity in Parkinson’s patients.

Little is known about why and how DBS works.   This has held back efforts to improve the therapy. Customizing the stimulation delivered to maximally reduce symptoms is challenging.  A better understanding of the effect of DBS on brain circuits could make it more effective.

ApplySci hopes that this research will also lead to equally effective, non-invasive, future treatments.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences.  Early registration rate available until April 24th.

Cheap, remote, smartphone molecular cancer diagnosis


A Harvard and Mass General developed device may bring rapid, accurate molecular diagnosis of cancer and other diseases to remote locations.  The smartphone-based device creates holograms to collect detailed microscopic images for digital analysis of the molecular composition of cells and tissues.

The study’s authors believe that “because the system is compact, easy to operate, and readily integrated with a smartphone, this approach could enable medical diagnostics in geographically and/or socioeconomically limited settings with pathology bottlenecks.”

The D3 (digital diffraction diagnosis) system features an imaging module with a battery-powered LED light clipped onto a standard smartphone. It records high-resolution imaging data with its camera.

With a much greater field of view than traditional microscopy, the system can record data on 100,000 cells from a blood or tissue sample in a single image. The data is transmitted for analysis to a remote server via the cloud. Results are returned to the point of care.

For molecular analysis of tumors, a sample of blood or tissue is labeled with microbeads that bind to known cancer-related molecules. The sample is loaded into the D3 imaging module. After the image is recorded and data transmitted, the presence of specific molecules is detected by analyzing diffraction patterns generated by the microbeads.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ The New York Academy of Sciences

Big Data, AI and personalized healthcare


With the goal of personalizing healthcare, improving outcomes and cutting costs, IBM’s Watson Health will aggregate massive amounts of disparate patient data.  The company has struck deals with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to collect and use more information from devices.

To address privacy concerns, IBM is offering ways to strip personal information from wearables and plug that information into Watson to look for aggregate trends. Its health cloud will  be able to de-anonymize information when needed for doctors to see how to apply a patient’s specific health information to their care.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ The New York Academy of Sciences


Nanoparticle treatment targets brain tumors


Tel Aviv University Professor Dan Peer is developing a nanoparticle-based process to target glioblastoma cells, previously considered untreatable.

Nanoparticles were injected into tumors, acting as the drug delivery system. Nucleic acid, with interference RNAs, attached to receptors  expressed specifically on glioma cells, and stopped the activity of a key protein that regulates the rapid reproduction of the cancer cells.

The therapy was tested in mouse models affected with gliomas and control groups treated with standard chemotherapy. The results were, according to the researchers, “astonishing.”

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences

Breath test for head and neck cancer


EPFL researchers have developed a sensor that can identify the presence of a head and neck cancer through breath analysis.

Nico de Rooij‘s micro-sensors  detect volatile organic compounds which vary in  presence and concentration depending on one’s health.

The sensor includes a silicon disk covered by a polymer and suspended by four tiny “bridges” with integrated piezoresistors. When exposed to a gas, the polymer absorbs certain molecules and the disk changes shape. This deformation is detected by the piezoresistive bridges, which emit an electrical signal, determining the signature of the gas and its concentration. Different polymers must be used on each sensor  to obtain an overview of the gas composition.

According to de Rooij, “There are already methods for detecting molecules called ‘electronic noses’ on the market. But they have a hard time analysing very complex gases like human breath, Humidity in particular can disrupt the reading, leading to false positives or false negatives.” The new sensors are extremely accurate.

Wearable Tech + Digital Health NYC 2015 – June 30 @ New York Academy of Sciences