PSFK Pick’s: Top 10 Health Innovations Of The Week

PSFK Pick’s: Top 10 Health Innovations Of The Week

We bring you the most stimulating and exciting stories from the world of wellness research.

Wesley Robison
  • 24 march 2012


PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a snapshot of Ten Innovative Ideas each week that are reshaping the health care industry. Continue reading below for the most exciting ideas from the past seven days.

Sterilizable, Wearable Computer Patch Safely Monitors Patients Health
An international research team has succeeded in manufacturing the world’s first sterilizable flexible organic transistor. The transistor can easily be manufactured and is expected to be adopted into wearable health monitors and/or implantable devices such as a soft pace maker. The invention opens a new path to the development of thin film sensors which detect tumors, inflammations, and early cancers, broadening the usage of the organic transistors as medical devices due to its flexibility and ability to cover large areas. Potential applications offered by the biocompatible transistors include wearable electronics that read bio-information from outside the skin, or implantable electronics that directly extract health information from the body.

New Service Facilitates Expression For People With Autism
Squag is a social networking-style digital interface designed specifically for young people with Autism. With its goal to help facilitate a better way for Autistics to communicate, users begin by creating their own Squagpad, a virtual bedroom full of photos and videos that they like, as well as a digital journal. They then have an opportunity to reach out to their peers based on common interests and shared experiences, creating a positive community built with the support of family and friends.

Device Allows Users To Inject Their Medicine With The Help Of WiFi
Researchers at MicroCHIPS Inc. are experimenting with a microchip that can be implanted in the body and release drugs on command from an external wireless control. Offering relief for those uncomfortable with taking medication via injection, the implanted device can help patients better adhere to a strict medication schedule and directly deliver drugs to the part of the body needing care. Though still in its early stages of testing, doctors might some day be able to program dose changes with the push of a button, or time doses for when the patient is sleeping to minimize side effects.

Self-Propelled Device Can Travel Through The Bloodstream For Targeted Drug Deliveries
Engineers at Stanford University have demonstrated a tiny, self-propelled device that can travel through the bloodstream in a controlled manner to better deliver drugs and serve as a diagnostic tool. Using a hand-held transmit antenna, doctors can direct the device as it travels internally through a patient’s bloodstream, targeting specific areas and delivering drugs on command. There are many possible applications for this new device concept, including the precise delivery of drugs and as a focused diagnostic tool.

Researchers Connect Nerves To Prosthetics, Amputees Control Robotic Limbs With Their Minds
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are experimenting with new ways to improve an amputees’ control over prosthetics through direct help from their own nervous systems. The goal is to enable improved prosthetics with flexible nerve-to-nerve or nerve-to-muscle interfaces through which transected nerves can grow, putting small groups of nerve fibers in close contact to electrode sites connected to separate, implanted electronics. The idea is to sync material properties with those of nerve fibers by using flexible, conductive materials that are bio-compatible and can then integrate with nerve bundles. If researchers can obtain the right material properties, it is believed that they will be able to create a healthy, long-lasting interface that will allow an amputee to control a robotic limb using their own nervous system for years, or even decades, without repeat surgeries.

Aging Population Play World Of Warcraft To Improve Cognitive Functioning
Researchers from North Carolina State University’s Gains Through Gaming laboratory have found that playing the massive multiplayer online video game World of Warcraft appeared to boost cognitive functioning in older adults. Researchers hypothesized that playing a cognitively complex game such as World of Warcraft, which requires multitasking and extensive use of a number of mental skills such as map reading, planning and tracking of multiple status indicators, could boost the cognitive performance of the elderly. The study initially examined the spatial ability, memory and focus of adults aged 60 to 77, to set a baseline. Among participants who scored low on baseline cognitive functioning tests, there was demonstrated improvement in both spatial ability and focus for participants.

iPhone/iPad App Allows Doctors To View A Patient’s Current And Historical Data In Real-Time
AirStrip Patient Monitoring provides clinicians with near real-time data and historical patient information from the time patients get into the ambulance until the time they are discharged. The new iPhone and iPad apps were created by the remote monitoring app company AirStrip Technologies in partnership with GE Health Care mobile health, which integrates biomedical patient monitoring devices with hospital information systems. The entire offering enables physicians to access patient waveforms, vital signs and other critical clinical measurements on their iPad and iPhone.

Portable Device Detects Infectious Disease And Reports It To Medical Authorities
Researchers at the University of Tennessee have developed a portable device that can be used on-site to detect infectious diseases, pathogens and physiological conditions in people and animals. To use the device, a droplet of blood is simply placed onto a microchip which is slotted into the device where it is then treated with disease-specific antigens and can quickly identify if these disease-specific antibodies are present in the blood sample. If the antigens and antibodies match, then the device automatically informs the health care provider that the patient or animal is infected. To date, the device has been used to detect tuberculosis in humans and wild animals, and Johne’s disease in cattle.

UK Doctors Asked To Prescribe Smartphone Apps To Patients
UK government officials have unveiled a nationwide plan where doctors will be encouraged to prescribe smartphone apps to help patients manage conditions ranging from diabetes to depression. Administers at the UK’s National Health Service have compiled a list of nearly 500 tools and apps which have been approved for recommendation by doctors and are free or cheap to use, in an attempt to give patients more power and reduce visits to doctors. Among the apps available is a tool for food allergy suffers that scans bar codes on products to warn them if they contain dangerous ingredients, and a new diabetes app from Diabetes UK that gives people reminders on checking blood sugar levels and taking medication.

Your Scrapes Help To Save a Life? Bandages That Identify Donors While Patching Cuts
Help, I’ve Cut Myself and I Want to Save a Life” is a bone marrow donation registry kit tucked inside the packing of standard adhesive bandages. The number of available donors for many ethnic populations in the National Marrow Donor Program is small, prompting a creative at a NYC ad agency to develop the concept of a bandage and bone marrow kit combination. After suffering a cut, consumers simply saturate the tip of the cotton swab with blood, seal it in the postage-paid envelope, and send it off to DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor center. DKMS is currently processing all the kits for free to facilitate matching patients with potential donors.

PSFK has partnered with Boehringer Ingelheim to bring you a steady stream of inspiring news and ideas in the health and wellness space. Once each week, we will be posting an article on If you would like to gain access to the full stream of content, please check out Boehringer Ingelheim’s Facebook page, where they are publishing a regular stream of inspiring and informative content.


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