A sound treatment

University of Utah biomedical engineering assistant professor Jan Kubanek has discovered that sound waves of high frequency (ultrasound) can be emitted into a patient’s brain to alter his or her state. It’s a non-invasive treatment that doesn’t involve medications or surgery and has a unique potential to treat mental disorders including depression and anxiety and neurological disorders such as chronic pain and epilepsy.

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Video — More Than Baby Debuts: Ultrasound Is Used To Deliver Drugs, Treat Tremors

Ultrasound is probably most associated with a parent’s first glimpse of a baby in the womb. However, a new video from the Acoustical Society of America showcases the technology’s abilities to do more than show images of our insides. This video is the second in a series celebrating the International Year of Sound.

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Ultrasound-Assisted Molecule Delivery Looks to Preserve Blood for Years

Blood can typically be stored for only six weeks after donation, but a potential solution attempts to dry blood by using a sugar-based preservative. New work in ultrasound technology looks to provide a path to inserting these sugars into human red blood cells, allowing the molecule trehalose to enter the cells and prevent their degradation when dried for preservation. The researchers discuss their work in this week’s Biomicrofluidics.

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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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