Ultrasound Solves an Important Clinical Problem in Diagnosing Arrhythmia

Columbia Engineering researchers have used an ultrasound technique they pioneered a decade ago–electromechanical wave imaging (EWI)–to accurately localize atrial and ventricular cardiac arrhythmias in adult patients in a double-blinded clinical study. They evaluated the accuracy of EWI for localization of various arrhythmias in all four chambers of the heart prior to catheter ablation: the results showed that EWI correctly predicted 96% of arrhythmia locations as compared with 71% for 12-lead ECGs.

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Addition of MRI-Targeted Biopsy Leads to More Reliable Diagnosis of Aggressive Prostate Cancer

Using a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to target and sample suspicious prostate tissue, along with a standard prostate biopsy, is significantly more likely to detect the most aggressive prostate cancers than standard biopsy alone. This finding, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, could allow a higher percentage of prostate cancer patients to avoid unnecessary treatment for slow-growing prostate cancers that are not likely to spread.

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Robot Uses Artificial Intelligence and Imaging to Draw Blood

Rutgers engineers have created a tabletop device that combines a robot, artificial intelligence and near-infrared and ultrasound imaging to draw blood or insert catheters to deliver fluids and drugs. Their research results, published in the journal Nature Machine Intelligence, suggest that autonomous systems like the image-guided robotic device could outperform people on some complex medical tasks.

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‘Brain Surfing’: Ultrasound waves focused on prefrontal cortex elevate mood and change brain connectivity in human volunteers

A team of researchers at the University of Arizona has found that low-intensity ultrasound waves directed at a particular region of the brain’s prefrontal cortex in healthy subjects can elevate mood, and decrease connectivity in a brain network that has been shown to be hyperactive in psychiatric disorders. The method uses transcranial focused ultrasound (‘tFUS’), a painless, non-invasive technique to modulate brain function comparable to transcranial magnetic stimulation (‘TMS’), and transcranial direct current stimulation (‘tDCS’). This study shows, for the first time, a correlation between tFUS-induced mood enhancement, and reorganization of brain circuits.

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Guidelines for Thyroid Surgery Published in Annals of Surgery

The first set of comprehensive, evidence-based clinical guidelines for surgical treatment of thyroid disease – developed by an expert panel assembled by the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons (AAES) – was published today by Annals of Surgery. The journal is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

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New Robot Does Superior Job Sampling Blood

In the future, robots could take blood samples, benefiting patients and healthcare workers alike. A Rutgers-led team has created a blood-sampling robot that performed as well or better than people, according to the first human clinical trial of an automated blood drawing and testing device.

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Ultrasound Selectively Damages Cancer Cells When Tuned to Correct Frequencies

Doctors have used focused ultrasound to destroy tumors without invasive surgery for some time. However, the therapeutic ultrasound used in clinics today indiscriminately damages cancer and healthy cells alike. Researchers have now developed a low-intensity ultrasound approach that exploits the properties of tumor cells to target them and provide a safer option. Their findings, reported in Applied Physics Letters, are a new step in oncotripsy, the singling out and killing of cancer cells based on their physical properties.

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Ultrasound Techniques Give Warning Signs of Preterm Births

Ultrasound can be used to examine cervix tissue and improve diagnostics, which is essential for predicting preterm births, and ultrasound data is used to compare two techniques for evaluating changes in cervical tissue throughout pregnancy. Researchers are looking at ultrasonic attenuation coefficients that can help scientists characterize cervical changes throughout pregnancy and in preparation for birth before other symptoms, such as contractions or dilation, occur. They will discuss their work at the 178th ASA Meeting.

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