Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

Better health with smartphone apps

Downloadable software programs, or apps, for smartphones and tablet computers can help people monitor and improve their health. Apps collect information on the user that can be used to support healthy behaviors. Apps may also provide access to health information, such as healthy diets and workout routines. Some apps enable the user to share information with other users or with health care providers. Scientific proof that using apps actually improves health is sparse right now. They work best when the user is strongly motivated to change. (Locked) More »

How to choose and use a heart rate monitor

Heart rate monitors help people exercise at the right intensity, allowing them to safely reach their fitness goals. During an exercise session, healthy people should try to spend 20 minutes in their target range. Target heart rates range from 65% to 80% of the person’s maximum heart rate (220 minus age in years). Handgrip heart rate monitors found on fitness equipment may not be accurate; monitors with straps that circle the chest are a better choice. More advanced models offer programming options and additional data, but they aren’t needed to get a healthy workout.  (Locked) More »

The evolution of artery-opening stents

The tiny wire-mesh tubes called stents that prop open arteries cleared during an angioplasty have undergone a series of improvements since they were first developed 30 years ago. Early bare-metal stents were prone to clogging up, a problem known as restenosis. Drug-eluting stents prevented that problem but led to another: blood clot formation. Today’s third-generation stents address that issue but still require the use of blood-thinning drugs after a stent placement. Researchers are working on bioabsorbable stents that would gradually disappear and not require as much use of blood thinners.  (Locked) More »

Top 10 cardiovascular advances of 2014

In 2014, the top 10 advances to treat and prevent heart disease and stroke include novel drugs to lower LDL cholesterol, treat heart failure, and prevent blood clots; procedures and devices that include a non-surgical treatment to replace aortic valves and a sensor to monitor people with heart failure; improvements in and newfound benefits from weight-loss surgery and a therapy for sleep apnea; and improvements to speed up treatments for stroke and guidelines for preventing recurrent stroke. More »

What's new with the LVAD?

A left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is a battery-driven pump implanted in the chest to support the pumping action of the heart’s ventricles. The rapidly evolving device has become a valuable asset in treating people severely ill with heart failure. Within the next few years, LVAD technology may advance to the point where the devices are a viable long-term alternative to heart transplantation.  (Locked) More »

Choose a hearing aid that works for you

People with impaired hearing may be able to follow conversations fairly well, but with a lot of effort. Even if someone can still make do without a hearing aid, using one can make life a lot easier. High-tech miniaturized hearing aids are marketed aggressively. These devices try to adjust their volume to meet different conditions, but may fail to do so consistently. This leads to frustration as well as great expense, since high-tech hearing aids cost a lot more. A better option for some people may be a larger behind-the-ear model that supplies more volume and the ability to more easily control it. It is possible to purchase hearing aids without an audiologist serving as an intermediary. But audiologists offer more personalized service and can respond more quickly when adjustments and repairs are needed. (Locked) More »