Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Medical Device Awards: Gold Electrode Awards for 2006

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

Apparently these awards were established in 2004 by Neurotech Reports [http://www.neurotechreports.com]. The awards are categorized as follows:

1. Best New Product
2. Most promising start-up firm
3. Neurotechnology Researcher of the Year
4. Most valuable non - profit organization
5. Most useful financial professional

I guess the only award I had a problem with was the "useful" professional award. Useful seems to be a little derogatory, doesn't it? Well, you have to ask the Neurotech Report guys that.

Anyway, if you are in the Neurotech business, and as a start up, would like some publicity, you might want to compare, contrast and compete for the awards. You can find this year's recipients by reading the linked article on the title.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

Nepal's Mysterious Disease - Something you would like solved soon

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

People like mysteries, and I am no stranger to this emotion. However, there are some mysteries that spring up in unlikely locations. They are also unpleasant for those "suffering" the mystery.

Such is this strange affliction. Though the article itself does not provide a lot of information on the disease, I hope they follow up and let us know what is going on. I wish we had more forensic scientists - medicos, who would rapidly study and identify the disease, so that treatments will be more forthcoming!

I will follow up and write about anything I learn...

Follow Up:

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/255207.cms


Number of Patients: 500

Mortalities: 36

Location: Fattehpur Village - 23. Others in random locations.

Period of Infection: Under a week as on day of report (Oct. 31, 2006)

Symptoms: high fever, body ache and loss of consciousness

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Here is a new Medical Device Mystery for you

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

A medical device mystery. Encore is a company that Blackstone [Blackstone Capital Partners] wants to take private. Well that is clear. But why hide the name of the company they are buying? I guess it is some orthopedic company, and they don't want competition....

Or they think competition might undervalue or overvalue what they are buying. But is it fair to not disclose who or what is being purchased? Does privacy of the individual extend to companies? Well, I don't know, but I am sure the SEC does.

I don't know about you, I am just biting my nails, waiting for the finish line to this one.

Encore - http://www.encoremed.com/

Blackstone Capital Partners - http://www.blackstone.com/

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Friday, October 20, 2006

What are the longest, most well - survived organisms on the planet?

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

It looks like an episode out of StarTrek or some other strange Sci Fi program. A bacterial life form, on our own planet that braces itself against radiation and other tough circumstances and reproduces once in a very, long, long time..

Interesting life forms like this may exist elsewhere, on our very planet. They might provide us clues to life on other planets. They might also teach us how to fight radiation and other adversities. Adversities we ourselves could very well cause upon ourselves through pollution...

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Engineering Harry Potter - The Cloak is getting ready...

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

Metamaterials - an interesting concept. I would like to see this research proceed. It might be easy to dream up radiation of various kinds that you would want to deflect, however, is it possible. Can something deflect radiations on both ends of the spectrum?

Why be pessimistic? Waiting a while...maybe a long while might tell.

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Issue - Recycled Medical Devices: Are they for you?

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

Related Article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/10/AR2005121001213.html

Medical Devices are manufactured to stringent norms. Many people could lose their jobs if a patient loses a life over a device. Anyone who has been in the industry long enough knows of the trouble LifeScan got into after an erratic blood glucose monitor, an external guiding device failed and caused the death of a patient.

Given all this, how can we sit around and accept re-use of invasive medical devices? I worked on disposal myself, and the norms there are not any less stringent. Yes, they are so for many reasons, and device companies will readily comply because they don't want others to have access to their devices.

Yes, it may very well delay a visit to the landfill by many devices, but can we toy with human lives just because we are unable to make a statistical relation with the data you have?

Reusing, recycling and such efforts are what I live by. But there are situations where you cannot comply. Also there is the argument that if most of the stuff is biocompatible, it may also degrade well.

One simple question to proponents of reuse: Would you have it used on yourself or your family members? Even without being informed?

Me, personally, sorry I refuse to do so. I do have a good scientific reason: "We do not have an exact answer"

So, ask yourself. Do you want devices that have been in someone else's body used on you?

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Quick Update: Current State of the US Medical Device Industry

[Click on Post Title for Link to External Article]

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New Problems for Diabetics: Fake test strips!!!!

If you are a diabetic in the developed world, or have assimilated modern western medicine, then you have access to a blood glucose meter, a lancet, a few lances and test strips.

And you know the whole routine about how test strips help you test yourself, your blood glucose levels and help you watch out on how much you eat, or the quantity of insulin to take.

Well, if that was not enough, someone has been selling fake test strips!!! Its a really sad trend, where now people want to make money off sick people - especially, by harming them!

Well all moral tears aside, watch out, make sure you understand that, even when they are not fake, these meters - all of them can only be 90% accurate, and there is no real substitute to a regular visit to the clinic, your doctor and a very alert, healthy life style.

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Reader's Digest asks What is your Diabetes IQ?

[Click on the title for link to article]

It is a good all round quiz, except I disagree with the first question. Just like me to go disagree with the very first question. I do agree that obesity is a major risk, but I disagree with the assumption that it is the single most important risk indicator for Diabetes 2.

Take the quiz and see where you stand!

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Lysenkoism is defined as the obfuscation of science to ideology. Quite an interesting term!

This name arises after Trofim Denisovich Lysenko, a guy who conviced Joseph Stalin to ban the study of genetics in the United States.

While Scientific American (where I learnt this) proudly announces that this pushed back the Soviet Sciences by decades, they do not realize how many Lysenkos are walking about in their own country.

It is truly sad that single individuals can influence Science and R&D so much.

Maybe in the future we will see a struggle for "scientific freedom". Many countries, including the US are in danger of being unable to rise above the noise of fabricated "ethics" and "religious opinions" especially if these emanate from people in high position.

What is the danger there? Well, the danger is that, pivotal techniques such as those involved in stem cells would fall in the wrong hands. Then we will have true ethical problems, not made up ghosts.

It is sad that we live in an age where science influences our very existence but we still need to advocate scientific "activism" to protect progress.

May someone exorcise Lysenko's ghost from many of us.

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Do any of my organs stop functioning when I sneeze?

This was posted by Padma, on my comments from yesterday's comments.

Interestingly, our eyes close every time we sneeze. The attributed reason is that the nasal nerves and occular nerves are very close to each other. So when the nose gets the trigger to sneeze, the eyes close. Another reason is that our eyes might close to protect tears, and also prevent bacteria from entering the eyes.

Not everyone has their eyes shut off, and some can even train and control themselves from falling prey to this reflex.

Hence it is quite possible that the function of the eyes closing might just have been an evolutionary slip.

And no, your heart doesn't stop when you sneeze. So you can go ahead and Bless the offending sneezers. Make sure your sneezing friends are not Japanese though! They don't like the "weakness" noticed!!!

While I try to think of other questions, why do some people sneeze when they look at the Sun directly?

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ImClone - from where you learn how not to run yourself?

First ImClone was in the news. Not for good reasons.

Then ImClone was in the news. Many times, still not for good reasons. (Like the failed patent suit)

Now ImClone is in the news. Again, not for good reasons.

Boards have been run down in the past by rich people, and that itself need not be news.

However, what is a board if it is not independent? What is it if it is "controlled" partially or fully by one person?

In this case, that itself might not be the root cause of trouble, but how much better can a company be run if there was atleast one interested buyer in the past.

As ImClone braces for a future filled with plenty of lessons for us, I hope we learn quicker than ImClone self - obliviates...

How much Hydrochloric Acid is produced in the stomach?

A friend put me to test over this. A little detective work produced a lot of reading. Here are the final answers to this problem:

1. "During a meal, secretion of gastric juices (containing HCl and pepsinogen) increases from a few mL / hour (the usual values between meals) to almost 1.5 L."

Reference: http://www2.ufp.pt/~pedros/qfisio/digestion.htm

2. "GASTRIC JUICE is produced at the rate of 1500 ml/day composed of 5600 mg. HCL, 1120 mg. Potassium Chloride and 175 mg. Sodium Chloride."

Reference: http://www.e-caps.com/za/ECP?PAGE=ARTICLE&ARTICLE.ID=298

While we are at it, how about this:

"Does the heart stop when we sneeze?"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

What is Israel's Hottest Medical Device Company?

Israel is another medical device powerhouse. A lot of innovation comes from that country, and many of Europe's patents are supposed to be owned by Israeli inventors.

And the winner is BrainsGate. It will eventually become important to stimulate the brain, and selectively access the blood brain barrier to infuse drugs, prevent stroke and perform other life saving functions.

This is one company with the right idea. It might be good to keep them in your radar screen.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

A strange penile implant: A sad one for the museums...

[Click on title for link to original article]

One day there will be a museum of horrendous medical practices that our great, great, great...grand children will visit and watch in shock and awe.

This penile implant will go down among those devices. After all, it is in the same class!

These devices and patients arise because of a lack of vision. There is always a thing with the conservative approach, "If ain't really broke, don't fix it".

Now if this person had waited for two years, if the FDA had paid closer attention to such implants, if the designers of the implants themselves had paid any close attention....

This is not a joke from the past, but a lesson that hits hard at anyone designing or using medical devices!

Genetic alteration of mosquitoes - a new dream

The future is here. It is slowly creeping up on us - and on mosquitoes.

If this experiment and program succeeds there will be more experiments - genetically engineered insects and animals will join the fore in man's fight for domination over nature.

However, will these mutations be stable? Where will the answers for very tough ethical questions come from? How will we regulate these things? What if technology such as this, falls in the hands of bad governments or terrorists?

There are a lot of "What ifs" and "How ifs" that need to be answered.

While, only time can tell, we have some exciting times ahead of us!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Medical Tourism has a new enemy....

Okay, first off, this post has been stolen blatantly from Fierce Healthcare (www.fiercehealthcare.com) What to do? The issue they brought to attention is so important, I cant just keep myself from posting.

So click on the title and read how a union prevented a happy medical honeymoon for an injured guy and his company trying to lower healthcare costs by shipping him to India plus awarding him a two day trip.

Now, where will all this end?

Adding to the existing outrage over increasing healthcare costs, how will healthcare companies hold out in justifying these heavy expenses?

Yes, there was this emotional article by a guy on NYTimes rambling about how everything is justified. I don't think the guys who are shelling the price feel that way though..now who is going to be responsible for all the explanations and the midwifery?

Oh by the way, another link by FierceHealthCare (Thanks Guys!)where a Miami Hospital is trying to pull off an India (if you know what I mean!)..


Boston's wireless monitoring system approved

Boston's defibrillators may be infamous because of their association with the word "Guidant". However, their wireless monitoring system is an example of an increasing level of application of the principles of wireless control and monitoring in the medical industry.

In the future we can envision automated observation (monitoring) systems, that will report irregularities and send alerts to both the physicians and the patient. If patients still continue to trust these devices, that is....