Donor Heart Beats Outside Body for 10 Hours…

A donor heart has beat outside the body for 10 hours thanks to a new invention.

Approximately 5,000 heart transplants are performed around the globe annually, and although this form of surgery has become more efficient and routine, delivering donor organs has always been a race against time.

Iranian Professor Abbas Ardehali, head of Heart and Lung Transplant Ward in UCLA Hospital in the US, has managed to invent a device to keep donated organs alive outside of the human body for a longer period.

The new device preserves hearts for up to 10 hours after people have died, and could therefore dramatically increase the number of organs that can be donated.

Ardehali said the donated heart can stay alive for a maximum six hours outside of the human body in ice, which makes the surgery more complicated when the donated organ is to be transferred from long distances.

“I invented a device which helps preserve the donated heart for longer hours, which is about nine hours and 56 minutes and may increase to even 24 hours,” he said.

He referred to the device as a revolution in the field of heart transplant surgery, saying that it increases the survival rate among those suffering from heart failure.

“The invention of the new device is done for the first time in the world and no such thing has already been registered in the history of medical sciences,” Ardehali said.

“My device pumps blood through human hearts, allowing them to stay warm and survive longer during transport. This can help a donated heart stay alive for 10 hours outside the human body.”

The device has been approved by FDA. Other nations will be able to use the technology in the near future.

Image credit: University of Liverpool, Faculty of Health & Life Science

Bionic Eye Restores Sight…

A bionic eye implant has been used to allow Allen Zderad, a man who has been blind for the past ten years, to see outlines of people and objects for the first time since losing his vision.

Zderad suffers from a degenerative condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa that causes the cells in the retina which collect light to die. Prior to the use of the implant, he was only able to see very bright light and relied on a cane to assist his mobility.

The bionic eye implant is made by Second Sight and was given to Zderad as part of a clinical trial. It is named Retinal Prosthesis and consists of a small electronic chip that is placed at the back of the eye. This chip sends visual signals directly into the optic nerve, bypassing the damaged cells in the retina.

A set of glasses containing a tiny camera makes up the external part of the device alongside a small computer the patient wears around their waist. The camera in the glasses takes pictures replicating those gathered by the human eye and feeds the information to the computer. The images are translated into light signals which pass through a wireless transmitter to electrodes in the patient’s eye. The electrodes transmit the light signals to the brain through the rest of the retina and the optic nerve cells which remain healthy.

Zderad was given the implant as part of a clinical trial and was immediately able to reach out and take his wife’s hand as the implant was activated.  He is about to undertake a course of physical therapy which will better enable him to interpret the light signals from the implant.

Image credit: Desirae

Implant Allows for Paralysed Rats to Walk Again

A new medical device attached to the spines of paralysed rats, has allowed for them to walk again.

Scientists have made a soft, flexible electrical implant that mimics the elasticity of the brain and spine’s protective tissue.

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology built the implant, called “e-dura,” after the dura mater, which is one of the layers of protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

The device delivers electrical and chemical stimulation to the brain and spine, and when implanted in paralysed rats, gave the animals the ability to walk again – with some help.

Previously, it had been difficult for scientists to find a way to connect an electronic device to the spinal cord without damaging it. One obstacle is that electronics are made of stiff materials, whereas the spinal cord and its protective covering are more flexible. The new flexible device moves with the animals, keeping the stimulation attached to their neural tissue. The implants also did not trigger an immune response, the team reports.

The results could have implications for long-term treatment of paralysis and certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s, in humans.

Image credit: Harraz

How Green Glowing Veins Could Make Blood Donation Easier…

The world faces a shortage of blood for lifesaving transfusions, and if you’ve ever given blood, you have likely experienced the discomfort of having a nurse struggle to find your vein. Now, however, a device has been created that shows a glowing map of our veins could make the whole process a lot easier, and trials of the technology have already begun in Australia.

The technology works by beaming harmless near-infrared light at your arm. Our veins contain a lot of deoxygenated haemoglobin, and because this is absorbed by infrared light, it creates an image of exactly where your veins are under the skin.

Importantly, the device can be used anywhere. It’s already used widely in hospitals and pathology clinics around the world to make it easier for patients to have blood taken, but now it’s also going to help those willing to donate blood.

While this technology is already used globally in clinical settings to assist practitioners in taking blood samples, it’s now being trialled on blood donors in Sydney by the Australian Red Cross. It’s hoped that reducing anxiety by quickly and easily finding veins without the painful prodding will make donors more likely to return. 300 first time donors and 600 returning donors between the ages of 18-35 will be included in the trial.

The Australian Red Cross is the first blood bank service in the world to trial this technology, and has already started using it in its Sydney clinics.

Watch the video of the device in action here - New Technology for the Blood Service

Image credit: Australian Red Cross

Blackberry’s Medtech Smartphone…

Disregard the excitement of the launch of Apple’s iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch, as Blackberry is taking a bold step into healthcare!

After losing ground in the smartphone race, Canadian phone maker Blackberry Limited has decided to venture into a new field by launching a healthcare service platform that will integrate thousands of medical devices to enable early detection of illnesses in India.

Blackberry has allied with NantHealth, which makes medical device interoperability systems, to develop a service platform designed to aggregate data from thousands of devices in order to generate insight into the spread of disease.

The companies plan to offer a smartphone designed to tap into the medical device network to integrate data from a variety of devices, including ECG machines, scanners and other systems. Blackberry’s platform will also provide analytics and decision support.

“Work has started on it but we haven’t finalized an official launch date,” said Sunil Lalvani, managing director of BlackBerry India. “We are running trials with multiple hospitals in India. It includes integration with different hospital information systems as well as various medical equipment.”

Image credit: Silicon Angle