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Google Glass to help patients in remote areas

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Source: Google images
Source: Google images
Source: Google images

New York: Google Glass may be used to effectively extend bedside consults to distant healthcare facilities such as community and rural hospitals to diagnose and manage patients, researchers suggest.

“Glass is positioned perfectly as an emergency medicine telemedical device. It is small, hands free and portable, so you can bring it right to the bedside and have a real-time specialist with you when you need one,” said Peter R. Chai from University of Massachusetts medical school.

Traditional telemedicine devices usually consist of large desktop or laptop computers affixed to a big cart that has to be rolled from one exam room to another exam room.

This limits both access and functionality in a busy emergency room setting.

Through the glass, the physicians can stream video of an exam, take and enlarge photos and consult with remote specialists.

In the study, emergency medicine residents at UMass Memorial Medical Centre performed 18 toxicology consults with Google Glass.

Physicians wearing Google Glass evaluated the patients at bedside while a secure video feed was sent to the toxicology supervising consultant. The supervising consultant then guided the resident through text messages displayed on the Glass.

With Google Glass, consulting toxicologists were more confident in diagnosing specific toxidromes.

Additional data collected showed that the use of Google Glass also changed management of patient care in more than half of the cases seen.

Specifically, six of those patients received antidotes they otherwise would not have.

“Placing an expert at the virtual bedside of the patient has huge advantages. It brings a specialist to patients that might not otherwise have access to that kind of expertise,” Chai said.

Because Google Glass is relatively unobtrusive to patients, can be operated hands free and is extremely portable, it has a distinct advantage over traditional telemedicine platforms,” he added.

The study was published in the Journal of Medical Toxicology.

(IANS)

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Wearable Technology Google Glass Teaches Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Google Glass listens to conversations and prompts the user with an appropriate reply

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Google Glass
Google Glass. IANS

Toronto, Sep 16, 2017: An app to be used with wearable technology such as Google Glass — a head-mounted display in the shape of eyeglasses — can coach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in everyday social interactions, new research has found.

A defining feature of ASD is difficulties with social communication — which can include initiating and maintaining conversations with others.

“We developed software for a wearable system that helps coach children with autism spectrum disorder in everyday social interactions,” said Azadeh Kushki, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in Canada.

“In this study, we show that children are able to use this new technology and they enjoy interacting with it,” Kushki added.

Children with autism spectrum disorder are often drawn to technological devices and find them highly motivating tools for delivering interventions designed to help them.

Also Read: Technology Takes a Major Leap: Self-Driving Boats May Soon Be Reality Because ‘Humans get Distracted, Humans get Tired’ 

The problem with existing technology, however, is that using human-to-computer interaction to teach social skills can have the opposite effect to its goal, in that the user becomes socially isolated.

“The interesting thing about our new technology is that we are not trying to replace human-to-human interactions; instead, we use this app to coach children who are communicating with people in real-world situations,” Kushki explained.

“Children can practice their skills outside of their normal therapy sessions and it can provide them with increased independence in everyday interactions,” Kushki added.

Kushki and her colleagues developed the app, named Holli, to be used with wearable technology such as Google Glass. It listens to conversations and prompts the user with an appropriate reply.

For example, if the user is greeted by a person who says ‘Welcome’, Holli will provide various responses to choose from, such as ‘Hey’, ‘Hello’ or ‘Afternoon’.

When Holli recognises the user’s response, the prompts disappear and Holli waits for the next exchange in conversation.

To assess the usability of the prototype software, the researchers asked a small group of children with ASD to be guided by Holli when interacting socially.

They saw that Holli could complete most conversations without error, and that children could follow the prompts to carry on a social interaction.

In fact, Holli was often able to understand what the user was saying before/he she finished saying it, which helped the conversation to flow naturally, the study said.

“This study shows the potential of technology-based intervention to help children with ASD,” Kushki said.

“These systems can be used in everyday settings, such as home and school, to reinforce techniques learned in therapeutic settings,” she added. (IANS)

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Patients who Survive Ebola often Continue to Face Numerous Health Problems: Study

They have to face numerous health problems

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Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone
Laboratory technician Mohamed SK Sesay, who survived Ebola but saw many of his colleagues die and now has joint and muscle pains and loss of sight, holds the child of one of his work colleagues who died of the disease, in Kenema, Sierra Leone. VOA
  • Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016
  • Many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months
  • They show some quite distinct scarring patterns

Sierra Leone, West Africa, August 25, 2017: Patients who survive infection with the Ebola virus often continue to face numerous health problems. New research finds 80 percent of Ebola survivors suffer disabilities one year after being discharged from the hospital.

Approximately 11,000 people died in the Ebola outbreak that hit West Africa from 2014 to 2016; tens of thousands more who were infected survived.

Of those survivors, many battled vision problems and headaches that lasted for months.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, the UK and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK are studying what’s called post-Ebola syndrome. One of the senior authors of the study, Dr. Janet Scott, says researchers are unsure why survivors experience such disabilities.

“I’m not sure we’ve quite gotten to the bottom of it yet,” Scott said. “The idea that you go through something as horrific as Ebola and just walk away from that unscathed was always a bit of a vain hope. So, it could be the inflammatory response. It could be damage to the muscles, and it could be the persistence of the virus in some cases. It could be all of those things.”

Scott says problems found in Ebola survivors’ eyes may provide clues to what is happening elsewhere in the body.

“They show some quite distinct scarring patterns,” she said. “There’s definitely scar tissue there. We can see it in the eyes. We can’t see it in the rest of the body, but I’m sure it’s in the rest of the body because the patients are coming in with this huge range of problems.”

The disabilities were reported in past cases of  Ebola outbreak, as well. However, because past outbreaks were smaller and there were few survivors, researchers were not able to do major, long-term studies on the after effects.

ALSO READ: Indian-origin Scientist part of the team that discovered natural Human Antibodies to fight Ebola viruses

This time, said Scott, “There are 5,000 survivors or thereabouts in Sierra Leone, and more in Guinea and Liberia. So, it’s an opportunity from a research point of view to find out the full spectrum of sequelae … the things that happen after an acute illness.”

Military Hospital 34 in Freetown, Sierra Leone, also took part in the study, helping to recruit 27 Ebola survivors and 54 close contacts who were not infected. About 80 percent of survivors reported disabilities compared to 11 percent of close contacts.

“The problems we’re seeing in Ebola survivors, this is not due just to the tough life in Sierra Leone. This is more than likely down to their experience in Ebola,” Scott said.

The research was led by Dr. Soushieta Jagadesh, who said: “a year following acute disease, survivors of West Africa Ebola Virus Disease continue to have a higher chance of disability in mobility, cognition, and vision.”

“Issues such as anxiety and depression persist in survivors and must not be neglected,” she added.

Scott hopes the findings can be used to provide better care in the event of another Ebola outbreak, no matter where it is. In the West Africa outbreak, the first goal was to contain the epidemic, followed by reducing the death rate.

“If I was treating an Ebola patient again, it has to be more than just surviving,” Scott said. “You have to try to make people survive well. Surviving with half your body paralyzed or with your vision impaired and being unable to care for your family or earn a living isn’t really enough. So, what I would like to do is to focus on that aspect to make people survive better and survive well.” (VOA)

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Cardiology Society of India urges Patients with blockages of Coronary Arteries to try latest Interventional Heart Technologies

FFR and OCT are innovative tools that enable doctors for accurate diagnosis and deciding the right treatment strategy for the patient

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Research bodies estimate that the number of fragments of dead cells in the bloodstream increase with higher levels of pollution. Pixabay

New Delhi, May 31, 2017: Aiming to replicate the latest interventional heart technologies, the Cardiology Society of India on Wednesday urged patients with blockages of coronary arteries to undergo Fractional Flow Reserve (FFR) and Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as these help in better assessment for stent placement.

The new technique FFR measures the blood flow volume in the blocked artery and provides an assessment of the severity of a coronary artery lesion, while OCT provides a high quality image of the inside of coronary arteries to determine the anatomical characteristics of the vessel.

FFR and OCT are innovative tools that enable doctors for accurate diagnosis and deciding the right treatment strategy for the patient.

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“The integration of these technologies are also immensely beneficial for the patients as they primarily help in scientifically assessing and perfecting the treatment decision for the patient, resulting in long term clinical benefits,” said M.S. Hiremath, President, Cardiology Society of India, in a statement.

He said that the two techniques can contribute to more transparency in decision making and deciding whether stent placement is necessary and if stent is implanted optimally or not.

“FFR helps the cardiologist with a readily available technique for evaluating the seriousness of the blockage and take accurate decisions. This has a positive effect on patient outcomes and quality of life post treatment while OCT has high resolution and speed, giving clear views of the vessel blockage which can help in deciding upon the course of treatment,” he said.

According to national health statistics, of the 30 million heart patients in India, 14 million reside in urban areas and 16 million in rural areas. Cardiac hospitals in India perform over 2,00,000 open heart surgeries per year — one of the highest, worldwide.

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Doctors have sought a upgradation of quality of treatment in India, as globally, technology is changing. The next-generation technologies are helping physicians in making accurate treatment decisions.

“The advantages of the two techniques is that these guarantee correct blockages are identified and treated, which further helps in improved stent placement leading to better patient outcomes,” said Praveen Chandra, Chairman of Interventional Cardiology, Medanta – The Medicity, Gurugram. (IANS)

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