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Feature March/April 2021
The RADxSM Tech Process: Accelerating Innovation for COVID-19 Testing
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for rapid and accurate diagnostic testing across populations quickly became evident. In response, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was determined not only to invest heavily in this area but to change the process by which grant proposals were reviewed and funded in order to spur faster development of viable technologies. The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative was designed to speed innovation, commercialization, and implementation of potential COVID-19 diagnostic technology... Read more
Feature March/April 2021
New Apps Drive Health Care Innovation, Access to Care
With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones, apps are a regular part of our day-to-day lives. They are also becoming a larger presence in health care, where they have the ability to expand access to care, help people monitor health changes, provide support for people living with chronic conditions, and coordinate communication between patients and their doctors. From detecting skin cancer to helping people with diabetes, new apps aim to change how people think about their health... Read more
Feature March/April 2021
Filling a Cavity in Dental Care
About a decade ago, Dian Baker, a professor at Sacramento State School of Nursing, responded to a directive from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asking health care practitioners to do something about the thorny and serious problem of ventilator hospital-acquired pneumonia, which afflicts thousands of people each year. After consulting with colleagues on the issue, Baker noticed something interesting. Although hospital ventilators had been widely assumed to be the cause of this problem, the truth was that most people getting pneumonia in hospitals weren’t on ventilators. The true culprit may come as a surprise: Nurses were shirking the unpleasant task of brushing the teeth of seriously ill patients... Read more
Feature March/April 2021
Researchers Seek Answers for Millions With Long COVID-19
“I am now eight-and-a-half months into my journey with long COVID … My symptoms include diagnosed post-COVID tachycardia and acute fatigue. I also have chest tightness and breathlessness from time to time; anxiety; muscle aches and pains, especially in the evening; memory loss; and insomnia.”—38-year-old female from the U.K... Read more
Feature March/April 2021
New Advances in Transplants and Bioengineering Aid in Replacing the Womb
When Kayla Edwards turned 13, she began to wonder if she was different. It started as a seed of suspicion when her friends began their menstrual cycles, and hers never arrived. Her grandmother was late, she learned, but for Edwards, it still seemed odd. She had hit puberty’s other benchmarks—the hormones, the breasts—just no cycle... Read more
Feature March/April 2021
CRISPR Tech Behind Super-Sensitive, Smartphone COVID Test
Advanced CRISPR technology is part of a new test that determines within minutes whether a person has been infected with even very low levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19), and also quickly and directly measures the viral load, or how much replicating virus is in a person’s body [1]... Read more
Feature March/April 2021
The Search for a Drug to End Alzheimer’s
On November 6, 2020, researchers who have been laboring to find a drug that will treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dialed in to a public meeting of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee would review drug trials of Biogen’s aducanumab, and conclude with a vote on the drug’s safety and efficacy in treating AD. The independent advisors’ decision wouldn’t be the official one for aducanumab, but their vote usually mirrors the final FDA decision... Read more
Feature January/February 2021
Solving Unmet Needs With Innovative Pediatric Medical Devices
In the last decade, only 24% of class III life-saving devices approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were for pediatric use—and most of those were for children over 12. Of these, less than 4% were labeled for pediatric patients ages 0–2 years old and the number of approved devices is even lower for neonatal patients. For these young patients, adult medical devices are often manipulated by pediatric specialists in order to provide stop-gap solutions. However, these repurposed devices are not always able to fulfill the unique needs of children’s biology and growth patterns... Read more
Feature January/February 2021
Understanding the Long-Term Impacts of COVID-19 in Survivors
In mid-March 2020, as the novel coronavirus started making its way through the United States, Fiona Lowenstein (they/their) became ill. At that point, there was not yet any public health guidance on social distancing and wearing masks, and certainly no routine or readily accessible testing for COVID-19. Lowenstein was still interacting with others in person, and even led a yoga class. But when they became sick and were hospitalized, they were tested for SARS-CoV2 and received a positive diagnosis... Read more
Feature January/February 2021
A Step Closer to Mind Control for Everyday Life
Brain–computer interface (BCI) technology holds promise for providing functional support systems for people with neurological disorders and other disabilities. In experimental laboratory settings, BCIs have allowed patients to communicate with researchers and control external devices—all by simply imagining the actions of different body parts... Read more