Monday, July 5, 2004

Very cool medical toys

Wired News: Medical -- 2 July 2004

1) Say, "Aaaahhh."

A camera encased in a pill is giving doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital a look at their young patients' entire digestive tracts -- about 90 percent of which had gone unseen before.

The Given Imaging M2A Capsule was developed in the mid-1990s. It is equipped with flash bulbs and takes 50,000 pictures over the course of eight hours, or the amount of time it takes the pill to work its way through the gastrointestinal tract.

2) Heart to Heart to ER

Unveiling a three-month trial of the new system, doctors said they had distributed some 20 "cardiotelephones" across the [Italian] island [of Capri] to pharmacists, shopkeepers and others who had received training to act as the first point of contact for emergencies far from the nearest doctor or hospital.

The phone is a kind of electrocardiograph and transmitter rolled into one. It measures electrical currents associated with heart muscle activity and transmits the data to a call center where the information is analyzed and then sent back to the patient and to a cardiologist allowing for speedy diagnosis and action.

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