Disease Detection, Prevention, and Treatment

Harnessing Another Tool for Treating Brain Cancer

Author(s): Cynthia Weber
Harnessing Another Tool for Treating Brain Cancer 1000 596 IEEE Pulse
In the United States alone, an estimated 700,000 people have been diagnosed and are living with a brain tumor, and it is estimated that approximately 84,000 people will receive a tumor diagnosis in 2021 [1]. Fortunately, the majority of these tumors will be benign; on average only 30% of all brain tumors are malignant. For patients with malignant tumors, the current five-year survival rate is 36% with an average 31% ten-year survival rate [2], but for those diagnosed with glioblastoma (GBM)—one of the most deadly and treatment-resistant cancers—the patient survival rate falls to a low 7.2% and the median life-span after diagnosis is only eight months. GBM is the most common primary malignant brain tumor, even as an increasing numbers of cancer patients are diagnosed with brain metastases (secondary brain tumors), where the cancer has traveled to the brain from another part of the body. read more

Probing the Future of Psychedelics for Mental Health

Author(s): Summer Allen
Probing the Future of Psychedelics for Mental Health 1000 822 IEEE Pulse
Mounting evidence suggests that psychedelics may be useful for treating a range of different neuropsychiatric conditions that currently have limited treatment options. On May 4–6, 2021, leaders from academia and industry discussed a variety of issues related to the development and adoption of psychedelic drugs for different conditions during the virtual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference. Selected topics from the conference are presented below. read more

Targeting the Gut to Treat the Brain

Author(s): Mary Bates
Targeting the Gut to Treat the Brain 1000 563 IEEE Pulse
Only ten years ago, the idea that bacteria in your gut could affect your brain and behavior was seen as a fringe theory. But today, it is well-established that the trillions of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract—collectively known as the gut microbiome—profoundly influence the brain. Now, researchers are working to harness the power of the gut microbiome to develop new treatments for brain disorders. read more

The Search for a Drug to End Alzheimer’s

Author(s): Sarah Campbell
The Search for a Drug to End Alzheimer’s 2139 1402 IEEE Pulse
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

From Face-to-Face to FaceTime

Author(s): Sarah Campbell
From Face-to-Face to FaceTime 2322 1290 IEEE Pulse
In a Jetsons episode from 60 years ago, Elroy, the youngest Jetson, tries to get out of taking a space calculus test at school by telling his mom he’s sick. “I think I have Venus Virus,” he says. His mom doubts him, but summons a doctor anyway. read more

COVID-19 Is Straining Mental Health—Could Technology Be the Answer?

Author(s): Summer Allen
COVID-19 Is Straining Mental Health—Could Technology Be the Answer? 2127 1409 IEEE Pulse
One of the most pernicious side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is a steep rise in stress and mental health problems. According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of American adults say that worry and stress about the pandemic is hurting their mental health. There are plenty of factors feeding into this phenomenon. read more

The Great Exhale: Using Breath Analysis to Detect Disease

Author(s): Leslie Mertz
The Great Exhale: Using Breath Analysis to Detect Disease 1000 750 IEEE Pulse
Your breath gives away a lot of information. Besides betraying that you’ve had garlic or onions for lunch, it also contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that provide quite telling biomarkers of disease. Building on the potential capability of VOCs to detect illness, the U.K. company Owlstone Medical is now developing a testing platform called Breath Biopsy [1] as a noninvasive diagnostic method and is collaborating with clinicians, researchers, and other biomedical companies around the world on its potential application for early detection of various cancers, respiratory illnesses, and immune diseases. read more

Chips Hold the Key to Reproductive Health

Author(s): Jim Banks
Chips Hold the Key to Reproductive Health 1000 666 IEEE Pulse
Female reproductive medicine may not have been entirely overlooked in the history of medical research, but it has never been given the attention that it deserves. There are signs, however, that the spotlight is turning toward the most essential of human processes. read more

Detecting Faces, Saving Lives How facial recognition software is changing health care

Detecting Faces, Saving Lives How facial recognition software is changing health care IEEE Pulse
Your phone scans your face to unlock its screen. A social media app offers suggestions of friends to tag in photos. Airline check-in systems verify who you are as you stare into a camera. These are just a few examples of how facial recognition technology (FRT) is now ubiquitous in everyday lives. The industries of law enforcement, Internet search engines, marketing, and security have long harnessed FRT, but the technology is becoming increasingly explored in the health care setting, where its potential benefit—and risks—are much greater. read more