Cutting Edge Health Technology Review April 2019 Edition: Surgical Robots, Brain AI, VR Training and more

With health technology changing on a daily basis, DocWire’s Future of Medicine (FOM) section covers these updates, trial results and product launches.  Check out below for some of our favorites cutting edge health technology (tech) advances from April 2019.

Surgical Robot Successfully Navigates Itself Through Heart

A team of bioengineers from Boston Children’s Hospital have recently created a robot that can navigate independently inside the body. This robotic catheter was programmed to maneuver along the walls of an animal heart (swine) with no human guidance in a model of cardiac valve repair.

Published in the journal Science Robotics, this study was led by Pierre Dupont, PhD, chief of Pediatric Cardiac Bioengineering at Boston Children’s Hospital, and marks a significant milestone in integrating robotics into surgery. Surgeons have been operating robots through controllers in procedures for several years and magnetism has been shown to steer tiny robots through the body; however, Dupont states this is the first documented study in which a robot successfully self-navigated through the body.

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Artificial Intelligence Diagnoses Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Using Voice Analysis

The use of an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm can accurately distinguish between the voices of those with or without post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with almost 90 percent accuracy, according to a study published in Depression and Anxiety.

PTSD is typically diagnosed based on the results of clinical interviews or self-reports. However, these approaches are problematic as they are subject to under-and over-reporting of symptoms. To develop an objective and precise diagnostic modality, the researchers designed what they described as a “classifier of PTSD based on objective speech-marker features that discriminate PTSD cases from controls.”

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How Osso VR is Reshaping the Surgical Training Process

Performing an operation for the first time is a very daunting task for a surgeon. Training opportunities at this early career stage are limited. At best, first-time surgeons were able to perform the surgery on a cadaver once prior to the real procedure, after which point the safety of the live patient was fully in their hands. The need for improved surgical training procedures is evident, and one company that aims to potentially fill this void is Osso VR, previously covered on DocWire News, using virtual reality (VR) to reshape the surgical training process by providing life-like simulations of many operations.

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Giving Voice to the Voiceless Using Decoded Brain Signals

Decoded brain signals can be transformed into spoken words and sentences to provide a potential solution for people who have lost the ability to speak or gesture as a result of neurological impairments, according to a study published in Nature.

“Finding a way to restore speech is one of the great challenges in neurosciences,” says Dr. Leigh Hochberg, a professor of engineering at Brown University who wasn’t associated with the study, in an article published by NPR. “This is a really exciting new contribution to the field.”

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