Google Patents A Needle-Free Blood Drawing Smartwatch

By Arielle Duhaime-Ross writing for The Verge

Google has filed for a patent for a needle-free blood draw device that can be incorporated into a wearable, such as a smartwatch, and monitor blood glucose levels.
Google’s New Patent Application

At present, if you have diabetes, you have it for the rest of your life. But although there is no cure, it can be managed—there is treatment. To stay healthy, people who have this condition have to regularly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin. This typically means at least three tests a day, everyday.

The tests require individuals to draw blood from themselves. It’s not a lot of blood; it’s just a small finger prick. But then you have to put the blood on a strip, insert it into a machine, wait to see what your levels are like, and then administer the required insulin.

Not the end of the world, but definitely not a convenience. Now, Google may have a way to change.

Current personal electronic devices already do much more than what the original versions did in yesteryear. For example, smartwatches do more than just tell time. They can also collect data about heart rate, how much exercise you do, and your stress levels. Google seems to intend to add another novel feature—taking your blood.

The tech giant filed a patent application for a “needle-free blood draw” device that can be implanted in a wearable

http://futurism.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/qscswxa9hmwkuxqlybvh.jpg

Vampire Wearable

As shown in the patent, the proposed device makes use of a gas-powered microparticle that it fires into the skin. It then draws a small vial of blood into a pressurized container. The device comes in different configurations, such as a the aforementioned wearable smartwatch, and it can be used to measure glucose levels.

This may be a better way to take blood than some current methods, as for many people, pricking themselves can be bothersome. In order to lessen the pain involved , very small needles are used in some devices. Unfortunately, they may fail to completely pierce the skin, resulting in a slight prick but no blood. This is why Google suggests the use of microparticles propelled by gas.

However, there is no telling if the device will actually be realized. The company told The Verge that they “hold patents on a variety of ideas—some of those ideas later mature into real products or services, some don’t. Prospective product announcements should not necessarily be inferred from our patents.”

Source: http://futurism.com/links/google-just-filed-patent-needle-free-blood-drawing-smartwatch/

The Rise of Medical Tourism

Rise of Medical TourismComparative advantages between countries creates opportunities for sick people needing treatment. In many government run health care systems it can be cheaper to travel to another country and be treated there. You jump the waiting queue and the costs are much more affordable where you are required to pay some or all of the cost.

Traveling from the USA to Mexico for treatments such as dental care and other small procedures is well known. Thailand is well known as a Medical Tourist destination with excellent facilities and extremely cost effective. Singapore is well known as a destination for advanced procedures for wealthy Indonesians and Africans.

As more government run healthcare systems become bogged down by regulation, burgeoning costs, under-resourcing and underfunding, even governments will see Medical Tourism as a partial solution to their problems. A health insurance provider will examine the local cost to perform say, a hip replacement or heart bypass surgery) and offer their insured the choice – stay and wait for the surgery or take you and your partner on an all expenses holiday (airfares, hotel, hospital & surgery and recovery time) to Thailand, Mexico or India.

For government they relieve political pressure as it gets the waiting lists reduced, saves money and frees up the healthcare system. It introduces competition for medical services that helps to put a brake on healthcare costs, especially for doctors fees. For consumers, you get immediate attention to your health issue, a holiday (with or without your partner) and reduce your out of pocket expenses.

All that’s needed now is for doctors, politicians and bureaucrats is to let go of their hubris and ensure the requisite healthcare standards are in place so people can become medical tourists. Easy!

Small is beautiful. The Nano future is coming

Advances in nanotechnology will be a key enabler of technological advance in the next decade. The integration of information technology, biotechnology, materials sciences, and nanotechnology will generate a dramatic increase in innovation. Read this Alert to see how your personal and business life might be affected pretty soon.
What is changing?

Innovation

  • Older technologies will continue lateral ‘sidewise development’ into new markets and applications .
  • Current high-visibility investments and technology breakthroughs will be needed to realize the full potential of nanotechnology.
  • Technologies like nanotechnology will be used to establish a maintenance free environment (i.e. self -cleansing glass, self-repairing concrete).
  • Nanotechnology will produce new goods with new properties at a smaller scale that may use far less resources.

Health

  • Future uses of genetic data, software, and nanotechnology will help detect and treat disease at the genetic or molecular level.
  • Modern healthcare technologies and prevention strategies will have the potential to extend the life expectancy of people.
  • Molecular ‘robots’ could be designed to enter the body and eat plaque.
  • Nanotechnology will enable lives to be saved by digestible cameras and machines made from particles 50,000 times as small as a human hair.
  • Smart nano-materials will facilitate the development of textiles that detect biotoxins.

Business

  • The global market for nanotechnologies will reach $1 trillion or more within 20 years.
  • Progress in nanotechnology will depend heavily on R&D investments.
  • Robotics, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and molecular manufacturing really will lead to an explosion of wealth and resource availability.
  • Printed electronics and electrics will be a $335 billion business in twenty years i.e. 2029
  • Bioscience, information technology, and nanotechnology will be applied to meet agricultural and food challenges.
  • There will be 400,000 jobs in the nanotech sector across the European Union this year.
  • Nanotechnology, 3D printing, smart materials and a new generation of composites will be a $1.3trn (£805.8bn) global manufacturing battleground this year.
  • In the coming future nanotechnology will certainly have a colossal effect on the ceramics, metals, polymers, and biomaterials industries.
Implications

Transformations

  • As personalized medicine becomes more affordable expect to see the coming of age for genomics, nanotechnology, robotics, and other innovations.
  • The use of nanotechnology could herald an ‘exciting’ breakthrough for patients with heart disease.
  • Nanotechnology could completely transform conventional economic activity from healthcare and renewable energy technology to food production.
  • Applications that are likely to be widely diffused in 2025 will combine different technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, materials technology and information technology.
  • New applications and reinventions will trigger market take-off and shape further development of collaborative technologies for governance and policy modelling.
  • Nanotechnology is expected to have a major impact on sustainability in the near future.

Electronics

  • Nano- technology will enable different types of electronics.
  • Nanotechnology will allow chip manufacturers to continue upholding Moore’s Law.
  • Nanoscale piezoelectric materials could provide the lowest possible power consumption for on/off switches in MEMS and other types of electronic computing systems.
  • Relying on nano-sized robotics will eventually become commonplace.

Development

  • Advances in nanotechnology will require long time horizons and continued investments in materials, platforms, and applications across manufacturingindustries.
  • Expect the greater use of new materials with an emphasis on not just boosting performance but also improving efficiency.
  • Materials and nanotechnology will enable the development of new devices with unforeseen capabilities.
  • Nanotechnology will replace most current wearable technology.
  • Discoveries in nanotechnology will lead to unprecedented understanding and control over the fundamental building blocks of all physical things.
  • Nanotechnology could be used to help reduce battery weight and lighten other products.
  • The U.S. Air Force believes that nanotechnology will have a direct application for both flight and space travel.
  • Nanotechnologies will pave the way for developing hybrid energy solutions.
  • Nanotechnology could provide solutions for sensing.
  • Nanotechnology will also spawn new technologies for manipulating DNA.

Risks             

  • Biotechnology and nanotechnology will provide greater potential for destruction.

Learn more
To find the sources and more resources on Shaping Tomorrow about ‘The Future of Your Workplace’ some of which were used in this Trend Alert, Small is beautiful – Nano futures surround you, or ask us for a customised, in-depth GIST report on this or any other topic of interest to you.  Also, click here to find out how Shaping Tomorrow can help your organization rapidly assess and respond to these and other key issues affecting your business.

Source: http://www.shapingtomorrow.com/summary/insights/423760

The Rise of Modern Eugenics

By Peter Twigg
One of the most thrilling and terrifying prospects in the 21st century is the ascendency of medical technology combined with the political ideology of progressivism multiplied by consumer demand.

Yes to the ability to control and defeat many kinds of illnesses, to extend quality of life and life itself. New emerging medical technologies including genomic technologies will allow scientists to read organism genomes faster than ever before and also write more complex changes into those genomes, creating organisms with new capabilities. And no to the merger of state driven progressive policy mating with the new sciences. Consumers will demand gene engineering so that their children may be smarter, more athletic and more beautiful as well along with the vast healing potential genomic therapies offer the sick and the aging.

It’s been tried before of course. It was called ‘Eugenics’ and was practiced in America, Germany and Sweden in the 1930’s and 40’s. The practice of eugenics was first recorded at the time of Ancient Sparta when unfit and undesirable children were killed at birth. Selective breeding, military training and excellence allowed Sparta to become the dominant military power. A simple Wikipedia definition defines Eugenics from the Greek εὐγενής eugenes, meaning “well-born” from εὖ eu, “good, well” and γένος genos, “race”). It is the belief and practice of improving the genetic quality of the human population.

Sanctioned at government levels, it was the progressive attitude and justification used to promote mass sterilization, institutionalization, social segregation and infanticide. The term eugenics fell out of favour in light of the Nazi abuses. The fact is that it still plays a role in both science and government policy as it ever did. Only the names have changed.

Instead of “eugenics” and “racial hygiene,” the scientific community now promotes “social biology” and “sociobiology.” “Deficient” genes now replace the term “inferior” genes. “Family planning” now replaces “abortion” and “sterilization.” Eugenics was misapplied disastrously in the 1930s and 1940s. Eugenics programs were often race-based, as opposed to being simply based on “inferior genetics” across the board.

Juan Enriquez, a writer, investor, and managing director of Excel Venture Management speaking at Technology Review’s EmTech conference this year, says our newfound ability to write the code of life will profoundly change the world as we know it. Because we can engineer our environment and ourselves, humanity is moving beyond the constraints of Darwinian evolution. The result, he says, may be an entirely new species.

Enriquez proposes a new human species is one that begins to engineer the evolution of viruses, plants, animals, and itself. As we do that, Darwin’s rules get significantly bent, and sometimes even broken. By taking direct and deliberate control over our evolution, we are living in a world where we are modifying stuff according to our desires.

Considering the fact that Enriquez is in favour of the creation of a “new ethics,” this statement alone, if his philosophy gains any traction, is quite a concern. Although improved in terms of implementation and public perception, we have seen this system before and, unfortunately, what Juan Enriquez labels a “new ethics” is not very new at all.

In light of the increase in propaganda masquerading as science and being peddled by scientists, there is no doubt the world’s population is being prepped for a eugenics-based future. This time the system will be assisted by a much more sophisticated technological machine, and thus, a much more efficient system of eugenics. After years of non-stop television, media repetition, and “experts” who tout the benefits of merging man and machine, as well as the cost of inheriting “inferior” genes, there is little doubt that the world’s population will march into this future willingly.

What is clear is the new technology, as it emerges, will change virtually everything in society as we know it – economically, socially, morally and politically. In fact a new human species, able to engineer viruses, plants, animals and itself. A new world order indeed.

Just as it lacked an ethical and moral framework in the 30’s and 40’s, ethicists and scientists are a long way from being able to put such a framework into effect. And of course the scientists innovating this new technology will want to appoint themselves as the ‘Gene Kings’, the arbiter of the technology, prices and who should be able to receive this technology. Yet, the demands of consumers for new solutions to age old problems, the push of new technologies offering unrivaled solutions makes this a much coveted prize for humanity.

For governments it also means answers to many of the pressing social and economic issues created by burgeoning populations. Governments continue to sponsor and promote eugenics as a means of solving many of the world’s problems. Demographics, food production, healthcare provision can all be controlled from a eugenics standpoint.

Politics in the 20th and 21st centuries is a progressive affair. The illusion of left and right, capitalism, liberalism etc, has been eviscerated systematically over the last 100 years.

Progressivism is the ideology where democratic government intervention is presumed to produce a better result than a voluntary society. It is an ideology with no basis in fact or logic. Despite its growing impact on social and economic policy, progressivism is all about those in power enjoying the rewards of position and power.

Progressivism is a form of utopianism where government laws and social conditions are perfect and beyond realisation. One consequence of utopianism is ruthlessness. This explains the racial hygiene of Nazism and why many progressive politicians exhibit ruthlessness as they push to achieve a utopian state of affairs. What ‘higher ideal’ than to do away with disease and to create a ‘heaven on earth’. The utopian element of progressivism however lends itself towards totalitarianism – the total state backed by the ultimate moral sanction of solving all human problems through the power (read force) of the state.

Every generation will bring upgrades as genomic technology improves and the “problems” resolved, much like computers today receive software upgrades every month or so. The process of getting it right will necessarily bring about many failures but as explained in the fervor of consumer demand and the progressive government push towards a utopian ideal these will be mere unintended consequences and a price worth paying.

There will be political abuses in achieving the aims of the state. Racial profiling will determine who will be eligible for gene therapies and who will not. People will be licensed according to their genes whether they are eligible to breed or not. People with congenital defects will simply not be allowed to reproduce with all the social, economic, medical and legal pressure applied by government to enforce compliance.

Government may even hold up a utopian ideal of a ‘one human race’ where all differences are bred out, thus offering the prospect of eliminating racial bigotry and the cause of so much human suffering through history. At the same time a one human race species destroys human bio-diversity and the ability of the human species to adapt and survive in the face of new challenges. Ooops! Even if humanity survived such challenges, Darwinism would also be finished and control would now reside with the hubristic politicians and scientists who mastermind the great human genome re-engineering.

You can be sure that, gene therapies will create a new genre of super corporations with their attendant level of political and economic influence arising from the control of such technology. These elite corporations along with political leaders will be able to affect greater government intervention and control to execute their progressive utopian ideal.

In an extreme social scenario of totalitarianism taken to extremes the potential to develop human sub classes – drones (slaves), elites, and soldier classes become some ‘Hunger Games’ style existence.

So we can conclude by saying the technology will happen and its impact on humanity and societies will be vast and in-calculable. As part of the process, despite the best attempts to get a moral and ethical framework that is sturdy enough to curb the level of abuse, the fact remains, there will be abuse by governments and consumers. Fortunes will be made. The rewards will prove to be equally amazing as many diseases will be eliminated, life extended and human potential enhanced.

The unintended consequences of the technology will also be vast in its consequences and reach into every facet of human endeavor. But consumers will demand modern eugenics, governments will mandate and exercise force in achieving it and humanity will plunge forward headlong into incredible change and growth. The way we view the world, people and our destiny is getting ready to change.

Sources:
Web article: Google: 20141025: nazi eugenics: The Horrifying American Roots of Nazi Eugenics http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/1796
Web article: Google: 20141025: eugenics: http://www.technologyreview.com/news/425804/emtech-get-ready-for-a-new-human-species/

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Hope for Humankind

Eugenics – the Emissaries of Death to Engineer Your Future

Eugenics – the Emissaries of Death to Engineer Your Future

By Sergey Baranov Guest Writer for Wake Up World

There is no putting the genie back into the bottle!

‘’Genetically engineering ‘ethical’ babies is a moral obligation, says Oxford professor’’

‘’Genetically screening our offspring to make them better people is just ‘responsible parenting’, claims an eminent Oxford academic’’

‘’By screening in and screening out certain genes in the embryos, it should be possible to influence how a child turns out’’

“If we have the power to intervene in the nature of our offspring — rather than consigning them to the natural lottery — then we should.”

“Whether we like it or not, the future of humanity is in our hands now. Rather than fearing genetics, we should embrace it. We can do better than chance.”(1)

Well, apparently, to me as a father, responsible parenting means something completely different from what it obviously means to an Oxford professor.

I’m glad I’m not a part of an academic establishment and my life does not depend on government grants. Thus, being a free thinker, I would rather say that genetically modified babies would mean the end of humanity as we know it.

I’m sure you are familiar with the term ‘’Eugenics’’, but just in case you aren’t, here is a brief overview.

What is Eugenics?

Eugenics is the bio-social movement which advocates practices to improve the genetic heritage of human species. It’s aimed to produce a more ‘’desirable’’ people thus, allegedly, improving the human race.

It began with Sir Francis Galton, a pioneer of eugenics who gave it a name in 1883. During the first decade of the 20th century, eugenics grew into a social movement and became an academic discipline. Galton was inspired by the work of his cousin Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. But even though Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest had a natural way of selection, Galton took it a step further and proposed selection by force. That has resulted in eugenics policies and programs like compulsory sterilization, birth control, marriage restrictions, racial segregation and forced abortions gone wild.

When the eugenics mindset was adapted by Hitler, who was obsessed with the idea of racial superiority and the Aryan race while inspired by the eugenics philosophy, genocide followed. His obsession resulted in the loss of millions of innocent lives. Certain ethnic groups were declared inferior and thus not worthy of living. The holocaust was one of the expressions of this sick mentality also known as racism.

Considering the historical facts, it would be nearly impossible to believe in eugenicists’ altruism. If the hijackers of science would have humanity’s best interest at heart, they would use it to improve life on Earth for everyone, not only for themselves. They would use science to tackle diseases, famine and poverty rather than targeting those who are affected by such calamities.

Deeming people unworthy of living and seen as unfit is the true face of the eugenic elite to which we the people are simply ‘’useless eaters’’ who need a gene hygiene.

Quite recently we saw a worldwide protest against Monsanto, whose genetically modified organisms, which some people call ‘’food’’, are posing a serious threat to our health and environment. (2) It would be bad enough if we would only see GM corn or soy beans on our menu. (3) But things have progressed much further. Genetically modified fish is now threatening to disrupt and distort the whole ecosystem. (4)

As the information is breaking loose and people are becoming more conscious and aware of the danger of genetically modified organisms released into the environment and causing all kinds of health problems including tumors and organ failure as the recent studies suggest (5), the corporate heads came up with ‘’solution’’. When our organs will fail due to the consumption of Frankenfood, we will be able to replace them with new ones, grown for us in pigs! Pigs, they say, are almost our relatives! (6)

Here is what they say: ‘’Next to apes, pigs are pretty good matches for humans, physiologically speaking‘’.

Well, when I look at pigs, I don’t see anything in common with humans, not physiologically, not emotionally, not mentally and most definitely not spiritually. The only thing we share in common is a desire to live – one feature seen among all living beings on Earth, which is hardly noticed by science, much less by the proponents of eugenics.

So they’ve got us covered! Like the food and pharmaceutical industries. One is damaging our health, another is selling us drugs to repair the damage, or shall we say to suppress the symptoms? But I digress. The point being is that if we think that Frankenfood is the peak of the madness, we should think about Frankensteins coming from the labs! (7)

Among other things, Dwight Eisenhower, the 34th President of the United States has warned us that:

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of scientific technological elite.” ~ Dwight Eisenhower (8) 

Is it not what we are witnessing today?

How much bigger should be our outrage when we learn about scientific proposals to genetically modify our kids? And this modification is only a beginning. Human-animal hybrids are already on the way! (9)

Don’t we realize that monsters are coming and human rights would likely be claimed by these new life-forms? So far as a society we can’t even protect the rights of humans, let alone clones. It’s also important to remember that the State will be the legal parent of these creatures. Just think about the implications!

What will happen to the human race, when it begins marrying and mixing with lab made human-animal hybrids? Do we realize that this scientific nightmare will not end soon after we devour our popcorn while watching a sci-fi movie on the big screen?

How can we trust the scientists to mess with human DNA when only 3% of it is understood? The rest of it they have declared to be a ‘’DNA junk’’ – a label given to 97% of human DNA which function has not yet been identified.

Some scientists are saying that ‘’junk DNA has little specificity and conveys little or no selective advantage to the organism”.  However, there are others, who went even further by claiming that non-coding (junk) DNA was “selfish” and even detrimental since it was parasitic. In other words, that which hasn’t been understood by science is dismissed as invalid, declared as void and even deemed as harmful!

And these are the folks who are playing God?

In his article, oxford Professor Julian Savulescu, has made an attempt to separate himself from the eugenics movement by saying that people would have a choice:

‘’unlike the eugenics movements, which fell out of favour when it was adopted by the Nazis, the system would be voluntary and allow parents to choose the characteristics of their children.’’

But what choice do we have now that makes us think that more of it we’ll have in the future? Gorge Carlin has put it best…

George Carlin – The Illusion of Choice

George Carlin: The Illusion Of Choice

As we moving towards totalitarianism as a human society, it isn’t difficult to picture a future in which birth licenses would be issued and a mandatory embryo screening required, obligating the parents to do all necessary genetic modifications ‘’advised’’ by the medical doctors. There is already talk about whether the doctor should be able to override the parents:

‘’If the doctor feels that the parents’ decision is being made in unreasonable manner, he should be able to go to some other body with the authority to override the parents. I don’t think it should be just the doctor. A hospital ethics committee is better than a court, but a court is also a possibility’, proposes Peter Singer. (10)

So it well can be that like the one child policy in China, we soon will see a “no child policy unless genetically screened and modified”. In other words it would simply mean that no one would be allowed to have children unless approved by the government which will make it illegal to do it any other way. History is full of those examples.Among other states which implemented eugenics programs in the early 20th century, were North Carolina, which implemented it the longest, from 1929 to 1974 thousands of black and poor women were “persuaded” by the state and forced by other means to be sterilized. (11)

And as Mark Twain said: ‘’history rhymes’’ (meaning that history repeats itself), and we should be concerned about it.

In his speech the professor admits that ‘’by screening in and screening out certain genes in the embryos, it should be possible to influence how a child turns out. In the end, he said that “rational design” would help lead to a better, more intelligent and less violent society in the future.’’

But considering the fact that the ruling class is authoritarian and eugenics at heart, it’s highly unlikely that people will have any choice.

I wonder if I have to point out the likelihood of future generations being engineered as docile, obedient and apathetic at birth, guaranteeing that the status quo remains unchallenged. These clones would hardly have anything human other than human tissues. They would be artificial creatures devoid of humanness. I think the best way to understand this matter is to read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley or watch it here:

Brave New World (Full Version)

Brave New World(1980)-Full Length Movie.mp4

His brilliant work is the best testimony for what is coming if both mad scientists and the control freaks behind them are not stopped.

Bertrand Russell made a curious statement in ‘’The Impact of Science on Society’’ in 1951: “Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will become psychologically impossible. Even if all are miserable, all will believe themselves happy, because the government will tell them that they are so.”

Do Russell’s words sound any different than those of the Oxford professor? The only difference I see is in the methods of achieving the same exact goal.

Why not to leave us alone and let us, parents, to decide for ourselves what’s ethical and what are our moral obligations?

Often we see how evil is done in the name of the good, like the wars in Libya, Syria and Iraq, all has been sold to us as being ‘’humanitarian’’ missions rescuing people by delivering them democracy packed in the ‘’peace’’ bombs which are then kindly dropped on their heads for the sake of their freedom. It seems to me that same exactly pattern is re-appearing here — breeding us out of existence for our own good by using medical science for political gain.

After all, we are just a commodity. (12)

George Carlin on Freedom of Choice

George Carlin on Freedom of Choice

Source: http://wakeup-world.com/2014/10/19/eugenics-the-emissaries-of-death-to-engineer-your-future/

 

HIV and syphilis biomarkers: Smartphone, finger prick, 15 minute diagnosis

Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science
Medical researchers have developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers — HIV and syphilis — from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone.

Smartphone dongles performed a point-of-care HIV and syphilis test in Rwanda from finger prick whole blood in 15 minutes, operated by health care workers trained on a software app.

A team of researchers, led by Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, has developed a low-cost smartphone accessory that can perform a point-of-care test that simultaneously detects three infectious disease markers from a finger prick of blood in just 15 minutes. The device replicates, for the first time, all mechanical, optical, and electronic functions of a lab-based blood test. Specifically, it performs an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) without requiring any stored energy: all necessary power is drawn from the smartphone. It performs a triplexed immunoassay not currently available in a single test format: HIV antibody, treponemal-specific antibody for syphilis, and non-treponemal antibody for active syphilis infection.

Sia’s innovative accessory or dongle, a small device that easily connects to a smartphone or computer, was recently piloted by health care workers in Rwanda who tested whole blood obtained via a finger prick from 96 patients who were enrolling into prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission clinics or voluntary counseling and testing centers. The work is published February 4 in Science Translational Medicine. Sia collaborated with researchers from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health; the Institute of HIV Disease Prevention and Control, Rwanda Biomedical Center; Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University Medical Center; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Laboratory Reference and Research Branch, Atlanta; and OPKO Diagnostics.

“Our work shows that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory,” says Sia. “Coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain lab-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones. This kind of capability can transform how health care services are delivered around the world.”

Sia’s team wanted to build upon their previous work in miniaturizing diagnostics hardware for rapid point-of-care diagnosis of HIV, syphilis, and other sexually transmitted diseases. “We know that early diagnosis and treatment in pregnant mothers can greatly reduce adverse consequences to both mothers and their babies,” Sia notes.

They developed the dongle to be small and light enough to fit into one hand, and to run assays on disposable plastic cassettes with pre-loaded reagents, where disease-specific zones provided an objective read-out, much like an ELISA assay. Sia estimates the dongle will have a manufacturing cost of $34, much lower than the $18,450 that typical ELISA equipment runs.

The team made two main innovations to the dongle to achieve low power consumption, a must in places that do not always have electricity 24/7. They eliminated the power-consuming electrical pump by using a “one-push vacuum,” where a user mechanically activates a negative-pressure chamber to move a sequence of reagents pre-stored on a cassette. The process is durable, requires little user training, and needs no maintenance or additional manufacturing. Sia’s team was able to implement a second innovation to remove the need for a battery by using the audio jack for transmitting power and for data transmission. And, because audio jacks are standardized among smartphones, the dongle can be attached to any compatible smart device (including iPhones and Android phones) in a plug-and-play manner.

During the field testing in Rwanda, health care workers were given 30 minutes of training, which included a user-friendly interface to aid the user through each test, step-by-step pictorial directions, built-in timers to alert the user to next steps, and records of test results for later review. The vast majority of patients (97%) said they would recommend the dongle because of its fast turn-around time, ability to offer results for multiple diseases, and simplicity of procedure.

“Our dongle presents new capabilities for a broad range of users, from health care providers to consumers,” Sia adds. “By increasing detection of syphilis infections, we might be able to reduce deaths by 10-fold. And for large-scale screening where the dongle’s high sensitivity with few false negatives is critical, we might be able to scale up HIV testing at the community level with immediate antiretroviral therapy that could nearly stop HIV transmissions and approach elimination of this devastating disease.”

“We are really excited about the next steps in bringing this product to the market in developing countries,” he continues. “And we are equally excited about exploring how this technology can benefit patients and consumers back home.”

The study was funded by Saving Lives at Birth transition grant (USAID, Gates Foundation, Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank) and Wallace H. Coulter Foundation.

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150204144517.htm

Emergingevents Commentary: Here comes the revolution in medicine making doctors less relevant to the processes of medicine. This will happen very quickly now…..