Five Most Fascinating Stories In Recent Medical News

by from Medelita | Thursday, Sep 03, 2015

Every few weeks we try to bring you the top five most compelling stories in recent medical news. Keep reading to learn about about how a wasp can treat cancer, a paralytic taking his first steps in a bionic suit, and more!

Image from ekodevices.com

Image from ekodevices.com

1. Digital Stethoscope Approved by FDA

The stethoscope is an essential medical tool, but unlike almost every other medical fixture, it has yet to be modernized. Eko Devices is about to change all that. The Silicon Valley startup has created a digital stethoscope that could make healthcare more efficient and less costly. The Eko Core stethoscope records the heartbeat and sounds of the patient’’s heart and transmits it to an iOS device where it can be stored, updated to the cloud, and used for future reference. The ability of this new technology to allow cardiologists around the world to analyze and assess audio heart data has the potential to reduce the need for expensive cardiology tests and could allow provision of high quality cardiology care at a lower cost. [Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2015/09/02/ekos-stethoscope-shows-the-potential-of-digital-technology-to-reinvent-health-care/]    

2. Wasp Venom Used To Fight Cancer

The normal reaction to seeing a wasp is to reach for the can of Raid insect killer. But for one particular Brazilian wasp, the peptide Polybia-MP1 can be found in its venom. This peptide, referred to as MP1, has been shown to kill cancerous cells in certain types of cancer—including prostate cancer, bladder cancer, and leukemia. A new study published in Biophysical Journal reveals how the peptide works to inhibit cancer cells while not interfering with healthy cells. In a cancerous cell the lipid membranes are located in the external cellular membrane, while in a healthy cell these lipid components are located in the inner cell membrane. MP1 works to target lipids that coat the surface of cancerous cells, which creates holes in the cell’s membrane and allows important cellular components to leak out. This antimicrobial peptide found in wasps holds tremendous potential as a cancer treatment. [Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298863.php]  

Image by Mark Pollock from mnt.com

Image by Mark Pollock from mnt.com

3. Paralyzed Man Uses Bionic Suit To Take His First Steps In Years

Mark Pollock, who has been paralyzed from the waist down for the last four years, has now taken his first steps in a robotic exoskeleton developed by researchers at UCLA. He is now the first person in history to have achieved voluntary control over a robotic suit of this kind. The battery-powered device is a huge step forward in spinal research and was implemented in a non-invasive way that required no surgery. Researchers had Pollock participate in 5 weeks of physical training followed by hour-long sessions of spinal stimulation training. This wearable bionic suit can also transmit data about the degree of movement in the patient and the patient’s activity in the suit. Since using the suit, Pollock has been able to take thousands of steps after 4 years of being unable to walk. [Source: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/299013.php]    

4. Increasing Concern Over Mobile Heath Security

As smartphones and social media become ever more present in the world of healthcare, increasing numbers of medical professionals and consumers are beginning to stress about the ability of security methods in mobile devices to keep their health data private. 41% of consumers have expressed concern over the privacy risks inherent in smartphones, which collect vast amounts of confidential data through a variety of healthcare apps. There is also concern among hospitals about the risk involved with mobile health and potential HIPAA violations through data breaches. As mobile devices, healthcare apps, and the healthcare industry itself become more intertwined, it must become a top priority to adopt effective security measures in order to give these consumers peace of mind. [Source: http://mhealthintelligence.com/news/41-of-consumers-stress-over-smartphone-mobile-health-security]  

3D image of a melanoma cell. Image courtesy of Sriram Subramaniam, National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2012 [Public domain]

3D image of a melanoma cell. Image courtesy of Sriram Subramaniam, National Cancer Institute (NCI), 2012 [Public domain]

5. Chronic Disease Driving Growth Of Digital Pathology Systems

Digital pathology refers to the conversion of traditional pathology procedures, such as labs and tests, to a digital process. Digital pathology systems are proving to be highly effective in reducing pathology costs, improve patient care, and minimize incidents of human error. One of the more popular digital pathology devices is slide imaging, which creates high-resolution digital images in a very short amount of time while also allowing multiple magnifications. As the prevalence of chronic diseases (cancer, for example) continues to increase, demand for effective pathological systems are expected to increase dramatically. In fact, the market for global digital pathology systems is projected to grow to over $692 million by 2022. [Source: https://www.whatech.com/market-research/medical/90092-digital-pathology-market-set-to-grow-by-2022-according-to-forecasts]