PSFK Picks: Top 10 Health Innovations Of The Week

PSFK Picks: Top 10 Health Innovations Of The Week

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

Wesley Robison
  • 16 june 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.

Is Your Environment Making You Sick?
Inspired by a personal experience with a heart attack potentially affected by a lifelong exposure to pollutants, geographic information systems (GIS) software developer Bill Davenhall has developed new methods of mapping environmental conditions to explore correlations with health risks and mortality data. By mapping pollutants like industrial emissions and smog alongside health risks including heart attacks and cancer, resultant maps frame health in a geographical context for individuals, caregivers, public health officials, city planners and NGOs. Maps can be zoomed in to provide a geographically enhanced medical history for a particular patient or zoomed out to provide detail-rich insight into the health of a community.

Neuroprosthesis Restores Hand Movement In Paralyzed Monkeys
Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a neuroprosthesis that was able to restore complex movement in the hands of paralyzed monkeys. After implanting an electrical signal capturing device directly into the brains of the monkeys, the scientists were able to detect the signals that generate arm and hand movements. These signals were analyzed by a computer algorithm and relayed to a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device, which then was used by the scientists to bypass the monkey’s spinal cord to deliver an electrical current to its paralyzed muscles. With a lag time of just 40 milliseconds, the system enabled voluntary and complex movement of the monkey’s paralyzed hand.

Model Replicates Functioning Circulatory System For Practicing Brain Surgery
Researchers at Japan’s Fuyo and Saitama Medical University International Medical Centers have developed an artificial model that simulates the functioning of cerebral blood vessels so that doctors can develop the skills required to perform operations on the brain. The Cybernetic Brain Artery Model is a life sized, plastic body that contains a series of plastic tubes which mimic arteries and blood vessels and can simulate blood flow and pressure in the body. Using a touchscreen panel, surgeons can control everything from blood pressure to heart rate in order to simulate different surgical procedures and scenarios. Using the panel, surgeons can recreate tumors and brain aneurysms to help students refine surgeons’ skills without ever risking patients’ lives.

Virus Could Help A Broken Heart Mend Itself
Researchers from Duke University Medical Center successfully demonstrated a procedure that regenerated scarred heart tissue into healthy muscle tissue. By injecting a virus carrying four different molecular control switches known as microRNAs into a mouse’s damaged heart, the researchers were able to induce cells in scar tissue to change roles and turn into healthy, functioning heart muscle. In theory, the technique could translate into similar microRNAs being given to patients after a heart attack so that their cardiac muscle could regenerate, thereby reducing the risk of future heart failure.

App Lets Kids Plan Their Lunches And Teaches Good Nutrition
LaLa Lunchbox is an iPhone application designed for kids that involves them in the planning of their own lunchtime meals, while teaching them how to build balanced, nutritional meals in the process. After creating a personal avatar, users select food items from weekly menus and generate an ongoing list for parents to include in their weekly grocery shopping. Each meal within the application requires at least one fruit, vegetable and food high in protein to be selected, giving children a visually stimulating platform on which to design their own healthy meals.

Free Online Tool Makes Bill Payment And Benefits Policies Easier To Navigate
Simplee is a free online tool that helps consumers track, review, and pay medical claims and bills online. The service works by categorizing and explaining medical, dental, vision and pharmacy expenses in plain, easy to follow language, as well as by providing users with medical benefit alerts, payment reminders, deductible updates and access to electronic bill payment across thousands of medical providers covered by 80% of insurers in the U.S. market. Since its inception in 2011, the platform has managed nearly a half a billion dollars in medical expenses, helping users manage an average of $1,000 in medical costs per year. The service is intended to help users simplify bill payment and better manage health plans in a characteristically complex and expensive system.

Portable Device Tests Food And Drink For Any Poison
Researchers at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University of Jerusalem have developed a device called Dip Chip hat checks for toxic substances in food and drink. Mimicking what happens when toxic elements are introduced into living organisms, the device’s genetically modified microbes produce a biochemical reaction when exposed to toxic materials. The reaction is converted into an electrical signal which is then analyzed and translated into a “toxic” or “non-toxic” diagnosis. Testing broadly for anything that’s toxic rather than one poison at a time, Dip Chip can be used to detect any type of poisonous substance, even poisons unidentified thus far. Results are delivered immediately, improving upon methods that require time and resource consuming lab analysis.

Emerging Voucher Websites Lessen Cost Barriers To Filling Prescriptions
The My Coupon Doc is a website that allows consumers to search for coupons as indexed by medication and illness. Visitors can type in an ailment like “migraine” and be connected to coupons for drugs that treat migraine headaches and then use the platform to compare options side-by-side. After selecting a medication, consumers are given a brief description of the drug in layman’s terms, and are redirected to the pharmaceutical company’s website to redeem their discount. Nearly half of Americans use prescription drugs (48%), but nearly one in seven under the age of 65 claim to have not filled a prescription because they could not afford it, even when supported by medical insurance.

First Responders Scan QR Codes To Obtain Health Information
Medical information management company Lifesquare is producing QR codes that contain personalized medical information for first responders to scan during medical emergencies. Marin county residents can upload medical information and link it to a QR code through the Lifesquare website, receiving stickers which they can place anywhere, such as helmets, in their car or on their person. Care providers can scan the codes with an iPhone and see a patient’s allergies, current medications and existing conditions, while maintaining a patient’s privacy at all other times. Marin county believes this will improve first responders overall time and efficiency; they eventually hope to be able to seamlessly transfer the patient information between care providers.

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.


DIY Kit Lets You Build Your Own Wooden Bike, Boat Or Caravan

Design & Architecture
Culture Yesterday

Messaging Add-On Helps You Correct Your Friends’ Bad Grammar

An iMessage sticker pack will help you copyedit text messages

Automotive Yesterday

Mercedes-Benz Introduces A New Electric Mobility Brand

The separate entity aims to simplify the identification of Mercedes EV products to customers


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Mobile Yesterday

Tinder’s New Feature Makes Swiping A Group Effort

The dating app wants to democratize its gestural interaction by buying in to the social polling trend pervasive among millennials

Related Expert

Andy Hobsbawm

Internet of Things

Syndicated Yesterday

Autonomous Garbage Drone Prevents Trash From Reaching Deep Ocean

The solar-powered WasteShark collects refuse closer to the source: the harbor

Automotive Yesterday

Aston Martin Reveals Its Own Luxury Powerboat

The sleek AM37 echoes styling elements from the British brand's sports cars

Advertising Yesterday

An Escort Website Fights Violence Against Sex Workers

The advocacy campaign from McCann aims uncover the human toll of the exploitative industry


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed september 27, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs september 29, 2016

The 10 Steps To Discover, Hire, Develop Your Next Leader

PSFK's Future of Work report outlines key steps in the employee development path to empower next-gen leaders

Culture Yesterday

LIFE Magazine Relaunches In Pure VR

The general interest periodical, which ceased publication in 2000, has turned into a portal for virtual reality content

Mobile Yesterday

Reorder This Detox Drink With A Simple Text Message

Dirty Lemon is streamlining its communication by letting customers place orders, ask product questions and request help exclusively through chat

Op-Ed Yesterday

The Future Of The American Workforce Requires Unbundling College Education

President of JetBlue Technology Ventures: developing corporate education programs for non-traditional students

Retail Yesterday

Gilt’s Pop-Up House Is The Kind Of Store You’ll Want To Live In

The New York City townhouse plays host to the latest in retail inspiration, curation, and lifestyle activation (and some libations, too)


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Mobile Yesterday

Registering To Vote Is Now Just A Text Away

A new bot aims to mobilize underrepresented groups this election season through SMS and Facebook Messenger

Africa Yesterday

Virtual Reality Game Gives Lessons About Emergency Birth Care

LIFE is a serious tool that takes advantage of new technology to help save lives

Luxury Yesterday

Shoe Repair Has Moved Onto Your Phone

Cobbler Concierge is an on-demand service to get your footwear fixed online

No search results found.