December 13-15, 2019

MedTech Impact 2019

Venetian/Palazzo Resort

Las Vegas, NV

(561) 893-8633

info@medtechimpact.com

Category: Medical Devices

Linking Life Expectancy & Innovation

Recent data and statistics demonstrate that overall American life expectancy has dropped for the first time in a decade, spurring an urgent and pressing need for the advent and proliferation of medical technology—coupled with scientific progress and laws to encourage innovation.

While the research points to specific factors that have lowered rates of mortality, including increased obesity, long-term unemployment, and a resurgence of chronic diseases, the studies incontrovertibly suggest the critical need to provide enhanced ‘life-saving and life-prolonging’ therapies and treatments.

There is no specific way to address the divergence of issues regarding lowered life expectancy, but there are particular measures that must be undertaken. These include enacting evidence-based policies that spur innovation, and further eliminating any roadblocks to America’s inventors.

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The World’s First Digital Medicine

U.S. regulators recently approved what is being termed the ‘world’s first digital medicine’: a pill with an inbuilt sensor that can be tracked inside the stomach, and communicates data surrounding whether—and when—patients have taken critical medication. The Food and Drug Administration are permitting the device to be used in an antipsychotic medication, with the overall goal of increased medication adherence, and the hope that the data can be used to help both doctors and patients better manage treatment.

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The Financial Potential of Digital Health

New research indicates that digital health has the potential to save up to $46 billion in annual healthcare spending, according to a new report from IQVIA (Quintiles/IMS Health). Murray Aitken, Executive Director of the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science, describes a new landscape of healthcare, in which a model that looks across five different patient population groups has seen a proven reduction in acute care utilization–typically hospitalization–when consumer mobile apps are used.

“Diabetes prevention, diabetes care, asthma, cardiac rehabilitation, and pulmonary rehabilitation: in each of those five areas we took the results from published research and modeled that to estimate that if these available apps today were used by all patients who could benefit from them, the US healthcare system could save $7 billion per year. So that’s just for five areas. If that level of savings was achievable across all disease areas, we’re looking at annual savings of something like $46 billion.”

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Physical Activity & Psychological Health

While research has long confirmed the strong correlation between exercise and psychological health, a recent study utilizing cellphone data to track activities and moods has confirmed that people who move are overall more content than people who sit.

While previous epidemiological studies have found that people who are active are less prone to depression and anxiety than sedentary people, the majority of these studies solely focused on negative moods. They generally relied on people recalling how they had felt, in addition to how much they had moved or sat in the previous weeks—with little concrete, tangible data to support their recollections.

The new study used a different approach, focusing on correlations between movement and the most positive emotion: happiness. The researchers also looked at what people reported about their respective activities, comparing it with objective measures of movement.

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A Miracle Medical Chip: Devices that Heal

Researchers at Ohio State University have taken the first step in creating a medical chip that could ultimately heal almost any injury or disease.

The development of a small, dime-sized silicone device—known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT)—uses nanotechnology to actively reprogram a person’s cellular makeup. By simply placing the chip on a wound, the device sends an electrical pulse designed to convert living cells into whatever necessary cells the body requires. The pulse “opens a small window into the cell,” allowing the chip to transmit an entirely new genetic code. Moreover, the entire process takes less than one second.

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Fighting Pain Without Painkillers

Statistics indicate that 140 people die each day from drug overdoses in the United States—most of them linked to opioids and painkillers. Due to the increasingly severe public health crisis, companies are now manufacturing new devices to replace addictive painkillers, and innovators are looking to technology for groundbreaking, inventive ways to tackle the increasingly critical opioid crisis.

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have founded Biobot Labs, merging a research collaboration between the departments of biological engineering and urban studies and planning. The ultimate goal was to design technology that “analyzes human waste flowing through the sewers at various points throughout the system,” and to test the wastewater systems for metabolized traces of various substances in order to isolate the places with the highest concentrations of opioid—or any drug—users. Co-founder and CEO of Biobot Labs Newsha Ghaeli has stated that the goal is to shift data collection away from overdose and death, and instead focus on overdose prevention and early detection.

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Smartphones: Accurately Testing Sperm Count

Smartphones now have the capability to accurately test for sperm count, led by a team of researchers at Harvard who work on developing new tools for patient care. According to the World Health Organization, low sperm count is one of the primary markers for male infertility, which is a globally neglected health issue.

The scientists have developed a rapid infertility diagnostic tool that attaches to a smartphone; the attachment itself is compatible with an app created to count the numbers of sperm and measure motility: markers for infertility. While the team at Harvard is not the first to develop an at-home fertility test designed for men, they are the first to successfully determine sperm concentration in addition to motility.

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Help & Hope for the Hearing-Impaired

Recently emerging advancements in the field of medical technology have offered new hope to those who have historically suffered from profound hearing loss.

Specific hearing implants—including cochlear and/or auditory brainstem implants—have ‘revolutionized’ the overall management of hearing loss and impairment. While these surgically implanted devices do not actually amplify sounds like conventionally created hearing aids, they instead provide users with a sense of sound through direct stimulation of the hearing nerves, or the part of the brain involved with hearing.

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