Medical Devices & Technology

Medical Devices & Technology Articles

Can we reverse Alzheimer's?

Two new approaches to treating Alzheimer’s disease offer hope for meaningful treatment in the near future. One is PBT2, a drug that prevents metals in the brain from driving the production of plaques and tangles that kill neurons. Another is Neuro AD, a therapy that challenges a person to solve problems on a computer right after it uses noninvasive electromagnetic energy to stimulate the brain region required to give the answer. It doesn’t cure the disease, but it appears to make the brain circuits work better, which can lead to a striking improvement in cognitive abilities for daily tasks. More »

New wireless defibrillator approved

A newly approved wireless implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) may be alternative to a traditional ICD for people at risk for an infection of the wires placed into the heart or those with blocked or narrowed coronary veins. The new device, called a subcutaneous ICD (S-ICD), may also be useful for people who are at risk for a life-threatening arrhythmia, but who do not need the device to pace a slow or fast heart rhythm—capabilities the S-ICD does not have. (Locked) More »

Breakthrough in mitral valve treatment

When the structures surrounding the mitral valve deteriorate and loosen, the valve is no longer able to open and close properly. As a result, blood backs up in the heart and lungs, causing severe fatigue with minimal activity. New devices are enabling doctors to repair the mitral valve structures without the need for open- heart surgery. One of the many devices in development, MitraClip, is now being tested in clinical trials in the United States.   (Locked) More »

New devices compensate for foot drop

When stroke causes a person to have trouble lifting or moving a foot (foot drop), two new devices can help. Both stimulate the peroneal nerve so the weak foot lifts, rather than drags. One model reacts when the angle of the leg is changed, the other when the heel is raised in preparation for taking a step. Both are painless and can be worn all day. (Locked) More »

Reduce Parkinson's symptoms

Researchers now have better evidence that deep brain stimulation (DBS) improves the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease over the long term. A study in the June 20 issue of Neurology found that DBS reduced the symptoms for up to three years after implantation. DBS uses a surgically implanted medical device similar to a pacemaker to deliver electrical stimulation to areas of the brain that control movement, areas affected by Parkinson’s disease. DBS helps some symptoms very quickly, such as tremor. It also helps involuntary movements called dyskinesias. DBS helps rigidity and walking ability too, but the effect is slower. (Locked) More »

A pacemaker to prevent fainting

For people who faint because their heart rates suddenly plummet (a condition called cardioinhibitory syncope), a dual-chamber pacemaker has been shown to reduce fainting episodes by 57%. (Locked) More »

The promise of a total artificial heart

  A growing number of people with failing hearts are being given total artificial hearts as they wait for donor hearts to become available. To implant one of these, surgeons remove the recipient's heart and replace it with a mechanical one. Its portable driver allows the wearer to move about freely, without being tethered to a stationary pump. The total artificial heart beats 140 times a minute, restoring normal blood pressure and allowing organs to recover. By the time a donor heart is found, total artificial heart recipients are healthier and better able to withstand transplant surgery.   (Locked) More »