Nanotechnology Can Help Detect Breast Tumors

Breast tumor detection

According to the Susan G. Komen organization, 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer were diagnosed worldwide in 2012. It is widely accepted that early detection is key to successful diagnosis and treatment of the disease; the American Cancer Society reports that the survival rate for patients is 94 percent when tumors are diagnosed when they are smaller than 10 mm. Screening for breast cancer can be difficult, however. MRI and ultrasound are highly effective, but they are expensive. Mammograms can be uncomfortable for patients, and can provide misleading results. Manual breast examinations, even by a trained medical professional, can often miss smaller lumps. A group of scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have developed a new approach that could save lives.

Researchers Ravi Saraf and Chieu Van Nguyen have developed a thin film that can measure tiny differences in pressure. Combining nanotechnology and polymers, the pressure causes changes in how electricity and light pass through the film, making it possible to detect small objects of different densities, even when embedded in other tissue. In trials, the device was able to detect lumps as small as 5 mm across even when nearly an inch deep in the tissue. In comparison, healthcare professionals typically don’t detect lumps smaller than 20 mm during a breast exam.

The scientists envision this detection system as an inexpensive part of any clinical examination. It could be used as the basis for a stethoscope-style device that a physician could use to perform a more accurate exam and deliver immediate results. I see other possible applications for the technology. This film could be embedded in clothing, and provide data over time about any possible masses in a patient’s breasts.

Radio-on-a-Chip to Create Smart Networks [video]

Credit: Amin Arbabian

 Credit: Amin Arbabian When I was in grade school, my parents bought me a transistor radio. It was about the size of a dictionary, but it ran on batteries and I could put it under my pillow and listen to the Baltimore Orioles’ games as I fell asleep. It was so small and lightweight, it […]

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Teenager Builds Breath to Speech Device [video]

Breath to Speech

Did you read about the teenager who created sensor-socks for his grandfather who has dementia? Here is another inspiring story about a 16-year-old living on the opposite side of the world who has created an “augmentative and alternative communication” (AAC) device that will allow individuals with chronic conditions such as paralysis to communicate. Arsh Dilbagi’s […]

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What Would You Do with a Hopped-Up Headset?

Plantronics contest

Bluetooth headsets for cellphones have become commonplace. These days, hardly anyone notices when a guy goes walking down the street talking to himself. But headsets could be do so much more than just be a wireless receiver for a telephone. That’s why Plantronics has announced its 2015 PLT Labs Application Innovation Contest. It is open to […]

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Movement Disorder Tracker Gets FDA Approval

Personal KinetiGraph

More than 6 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which is just one of many chronic movement disorders. The tremors and other uncontrolled movements can be treated using the medicine levodopa, which increases the amount of dopamine in the patient’s brain. One of the major challenges for healthcare professionals treating patients with such […]

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100 Million Patient Monitor Devices to Ship

our planet earth with communication links around

Where’s the money in the wearables market? One more report points again to the health and medical segments. A new report from ABI Research predicts that about 100 million wearable remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices will ship over the next five years. The forecast appears as part of the firm’s new report on  “The Remote Patient […]

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Printed Battery Powered by Sweat

Credit: Joe Wang, ACS

A group of scientists at the University of California San Diego have come up with a novel way to power wearable Health Tech devices: sweat. When you exercise your muscles, they produce lactate. The harder your muscles work, the more lactate they produce. Athletes and trainers monitor lactate production as a way to evaluate how […]

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New Family of Wearable Chips Cuts Power Use

Three weights

Remember your old “dumb” cellphone? The one that you could charge once or twice a week, depending on how much time you spent talking on calls? Now consider your smartphone; most people have to recharge theirs every day (or maybe even more often than that). Designers are caught in a dilemma; they can get longer […]

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Self-Winding Pacemaker

Heart watch

Nobody gives out medals for doing everything with electronics. Sometimes, an old-fashioned mechanical solution can work as well or better than some futuristic approach. We’ve reported here before about energy harvesting technology to provide long-term power for implanted pacemakers (Implant Harvests Energy), but a report in the European Society of Cardiology  Congress News 2014 describes a system […]

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So Where’s Our Coverage of Apple’s Announcement?

Apple Watch

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you might have missed the fact that Apple made some announcements on Tuesday this week. Over the past year or three, so much speculation has been written about these new products that it probably costs the total GDP of several small countries […]

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