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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
Feature January/February 2021
New Advances in Neurostimulation for Chronic Pain
Around 50 million people in the United States live with—and suffer from—chronic pain. While some pain patients receive relief from physical therapy, medication, or surgery, others aren’t helped by these treatments. “It’s a debilitating situation,” says Ryan Lakin, divisional vice president of R&D at Abbott. “Patients have trouble just living a normal life, doing a lot of things that we take for granted.”... Read more
Feature January/February 2021
New Vaccine-Manufacturing Methods Are Moving Away From the Egg
With seasonal influenza, Ebola, shingles, pneumonia, human papillomavirus, and other pathogens—combined now with the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)—the world’s demand for vaccines is on a steep incline. New vaccine development is progressing rapidly, as seen with recent announcements of coronavirus options [1], [2], but what about their manufacture?... Read more
Feature January/February 2021
The Brain on COVID-19
In March 2020 —still the early days of the U.K.’s COVID-19 crisis—Rhys Thomas, a neurologist at Newcastle University, got a call at home from a concerned colleague. The colleague’s cousin was hospitalized, critically ill with COVID-19, and had developed brainstem encephalitis, a severe inflammatory condition of the brain causing a suite of symptoms, from eye problems to balance problems and drowsiness. He wanted to know if Thomas knew anything about these conditions. At the time, the research coming out of Wuhan, China, only suggested a mild whiff of neurological ­symptoms—headache, dizziness, and the loss of taste and smell... Read more
Feature November/December 2020
The Biology Behind Eating Disorders
For many decades, the popular narrative surrounding anorexia nervosa was that it was an emotional disorder springing from profound cultural pressures combined with dysfunctional family dynamics. Teenage girls, typically, would refuse to eat in an obsessive bid to lose weight. They would imagine themselves to be fat, even if mirrors and scales demonstrated otherwise. Because of the surfeit of images of rail-thin preteen models cluttering the pages of trendy fashion magazines, it was easy to imagine this theory to be true. It made sense if some clinicians regarded anorexia as the inevitable result of a “you-can-never-be-too-rich-or-too-thin” culture... Read more
Feature November/December 2020
A Devastating Disorder, Poorly Understood
James Greenblatt, functional psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham, MA, has noticed a disturbing trend in the patient population he sees. “We didn’t take 11- and 12-year-olds, five or 10 years ago,” he says. “They were much fewer, and they could be treated outpatient. But the ages of onset are getting younger and the symptoms are getting more severe.”... Read more
Feature November/December 2020
One Shot Wonder: A Vaccine Against All Coronaviruses
As the current pandemic continues to affect populations around the globe, the search for a viable vaccine for coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) continues. However, rather than constantly scrambling to generate a vaccine after an outbreak happens, some researchers are working on what they see as a better approach: developing a broad-acting “pan-coronavirus” vaccine that provides protection from any coronavirus, present or future... Read more
Feature November/December 2020
Predictive Models on the Rise, But Do They Work for Health Care?
Predictive models are designed to remove some of the subjectivity inherent in medical decision-making and to automate certain health-related services with the idea of improving the accuracy of diagnosis, providing personalized treatment options, and streamlining the health care industry overall. More and more of these models using approaches including machine learning are showing up for use in doctor’s offices and hospitals, as well as in telemedicine applications, which have become prevalent with the growing demand for online alternatives to office visits... Read more