JANUARY 15, 2008


Countdown to the top 10 gadgets of 2007

Drumroll, please. Here are the 10 medical devices we think were the most innovative, useful or just plain cool from 2007.

Asthma sensor predicts attacks
Photo: Dr Alexander Star / University of Pittsburgh

10) Asthma 'breathalyzer' predicts attacks
Your patients can predict an asthma attack weeks before it happens by blowing into this nanosensor, and medicate accordingly, say University of Pittsburgh researchers. The hand-held device spits out a nitric oxide reading. The gas levels spike as the airways become inflamed with asthma.


The FibroScan
Image courtesy of EchoSens

9) Ouchless liver biopsies have arrived
Spare your patients painful biopsies — the FibroScan assesses liver damage in minutes by sending out elastic waves through the liver. Fast-travelling waves mean healthy tissue, while slower waves indicate cirrhosis.


The LATITUDE system
Courtesy of Guidant.com

8) Remote cardiac control
Cardiologists can monitor their defibrillator implant patients from a distance with LATITUDE. The device downloads patient data — heart rate, rhythm, delivered treatment, weight and blood pressure — when the patient stands next to it. Docs then access the data by logging onto a secure website.


SilhouetteMobile PDA for wounds
Photo credit: Aranz Medical

7) Wounds ready for their close up
Keep picture records of your patient's wound as it heals with SilhouetteMobile, a handheld computer with camera attachment. It takes the guess-work out of measuring tissue damage and extent of injury, and the pix can be stored in your EHR system.


Detection of West Nile virus using the GreeneChip
Photo credit: Image courtesy of Dr W Ian Lipkin

6) GreeneChip IDs infections in a flash
Patient with a rare infection? No worries, the GreeneChip will identify it. This tiny lab-on-a-slide has 30,000 samples of genetic material from viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Just add a sample of your patient's urine, stool or blood and presto! You've got your diagnosis.


3D heart scan produced by CT Brilliance
Photo credit: BBC News/ Philips Medical Systems

5) CT heart slice 'n' dice
The Philips Brilliance 256-slice CT scanner produces 3D body images in under a minute — and cuts your patient's exposure to x-rays by 80%. Images can be rotated and examined from different angles so docs can look for tumours.


    The Motion M5
    Photo: Courtesy of Intel

4) Mini-computer brings EHR into 21st century
The light-weight Motion M5 mini-computer allows instant access to patient records, checks vital signs wirelessly and has a built-in camera to help you monitor your patient's progress.


The SmartPill capsule, complete with pH meter
Source: SmartPill Corp

3) Fantastic Voyage for tummy troubles
The multivitamin-sized SmartPill has sensors and a radio transponder inside. Once ingested, it travels through the GI tract gathering data on pH, mechanical pressure and temperature, then sends it to a receiver worn by the patient. Download the data on your computer and diagnose your patient in minutes.


Pneumothorax detector gives quick read
Source: Integrated Sensing Systems Inc

2) Collapsed lung pinpointed in seconds
Electrosonics Medical Inc's pneumothorax detector is a portable device that uses micropower-impulse radar technology to scout air pockets around the lungs. It would help EMT units spot a collapsed lung within seconds.




And the most innovative, useful and cool gadget of 2007 is

New and improved, and just plain nifty
Image courtesy HD Medical Group Ltd

1) Old faithful stethoscope gets high-tech makeover
The battery-powered ViScope comes loaded with an LCD screen, an adjustable volume and a signal amplifier. It monitors cardiac activity by bouncing low voltage radio waves off the heart, then translates the outcome into audio and video signals.



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