Wednesday November 21, 2018

Butterfly IQ : The iPhone-based Portable Ultrasound Machine to Detect Cancer

Developed by Connecticut-based start-up Butterfly Network, the pocket sized device works by shooting sound into the body and capturing the echoes.

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Butterfly IQ
There is a new portable device that might be able to detect cancer. Pixabay
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New York, October 29, 2017 : A novel iPhone-based portable ultrasound machine that can help detect cancer easily at home has been developed by US researchers.

The device called Butterfly IQ is a scanner of the size of an electric razor that can display black-and-white imagery of the body, when paired with an iPhone.
Developed by Connecticut-based start-up Butterfly Network, the pocket sized device works by shooting sound into the body and capturing the echoes.
Usually, the sound waves are generated by a vibrating crystal. But Butterfly’s machine instead uses 9,000 tiny drums etched onto a semiconductor chip, reported the MIT Technology Review on Friday.
Earlier this year, John Martin, a US-based vascular surgeon and chief medical officer at Butterfly Network, discovered a cancerous mass in his own throat while testing the device.
Martin felt an uncomfortable feeling of thickness on his throat, thus he oozed out some gel and ran the probe along his neck.
On his smartphone, to which the device is connected, black-and gray images quickly appeared.
He found a 3 cm mass that was diagnosed as squamous-cell cancer — a form of skin cancer that develops in the cells of the outer layer of the skin.
Instead of vibrating crystals, Butterfly IQ uses “capacitive micro-machined ultrasound transducers”, or CMUTs, tiny ultrasonic emitters layered on a semiconductor chip a little larger than a postage stamp.
“The device gives you the ability to do everything at the bedside: you can pull it out of your pocket and scan the whole body,” Martin said.
The company now plans to combine the instrument with artificial-intelligence software that could help a novice position the probe, collect the right images, and interpret them.
By 2018, its software will let users automatically calculate how much blood a heart is pumping, or detect problems like aortic aneurisms, the report said.
The Butterfly IQ is the first solid-state ultrasound machine to reach the market in the US. The company plans to go on sale this year for $1,999-far less than any other model on the market. (IANS)
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High Exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation Increase Risk of Cancer

Interestingly, the team found that rats exposed to whole body RFR lived longer than rats unexposed to any radiation

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High exposure to radio frequency radiation linked to cancer. Pixabay

Exposure to high levels of radio frequency radiation (RFR) — used in 2G and 3G cell phones — can increase the risk of cancer tumours in the heart, brain and adrenal gland, researchers have warned.

The study, led by the US National Institutes of Health’s National Toxicology Programme (NTP), looked at the effects of exposing rodents to extremely high levels of radiofrequency throughout the entire body.

While high levels of RFR caused cancerous tumours in the heart (found very rarely in humans), brain and adrenal gland, of male rats, the findings on female rats were ambiguous.

“The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone. In our studies, rats and mice received radio frequency radiation across their whole bodies,” John Bucher, researcher from the NTP, said in a statement.

“By contrast, people are mostly exposed in specific local tissues close to where they hold the phone,” Bucher added.

For the study, the team housed the animals in chambers specifically designed for the study.

Exposure to RFR began in the womb for rats and at 5 to 6 weeks old for mice, and continued for up to two years, or most of their natural lifetime.

Breast Cancer
Cancer ribbon. Pixabay

However, the RFR exposure was intermittent — 10 minutes on and 10 minutes off — totalling about nine hours each day.

In addition, the RFR levels ranged from 1.5-6 watts per kilogram in rats, and 2.5-10 watts per kilogram in mice.

“We believe that the link between radio frequency radiation and tumours in male rats is real,” Bucher noted.

Interestingly, the team found that rats exposed to whole body RFR lived longer than rats unexposed to any radiation.

“This may be explained by an observed decrease in chronic kidney problems that are often the cause of death in older rats,” the researchers noted.

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According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), while animal studies contribute to discussions on the topic, “this study was not designed to test the safety of cell phone use in humans, so we cannot draw conclusions about the risks of cell phone use from it.”

Since the exposure levels and durations in the studies were greater than what people experience, “we agree that these findings should not be applied to human cell phone usage”, the FDA said on Thursday. (IANS)