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Since the late 1980s, vaginal mesh implants have been a common treatment for ailments such as urinary incontinence and vaginal prolapsed. But almost 30 years later, these flexible plastic scaffolds have been the subject of high-profile scandals after news broke that patients were experiencing life-altering complications as a result of transvaginal mesh implants. We take a look back at the use of surgical mesh to find out what went wrong.
Also in this issue, we review draft legislation from the US FDA for a new voluntary programme for medical devices, examine the MemorEM head device from NeuroEM Therapeutics which is claimed could reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients, and find out how manufacturers redesign devices to stay competitive.
Plus, we round up key areas where drones are being employed to help transport medical equipment, take a look at the world’s first diagnostic app for respiratory disease, find out how AI is being used to identify post-traumatic stress disorder, an ask if technology is moving us towards an age of diagnosis without doctors.
In this issue
Transvaginal mesh timeline: the gynaecological scandal that rocked the world Vaginal mesh implants were introduced in the late 1990s as a routine treatment for stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, common complications following childbirth. However, these flexible plastic scaffolds have led to life-altering complications for many women including nerve damage, chronic pain, and several reported deaths. Chloe Kent looks over the story of vaginal mesh, from the 90s to the present day. Read more.
Unwrapping the FDA’s voluntary programme for medical devices The US FDA is introducing a voluntary program for certain medical devices and device-led combination products that could improve the safety of currently available treatments. Chloe Kent takes a look at the draft legislation to see how the change will impact medical device manufacturers. Read more.
Reversing Alzheimer’s-related memory loss with electromagnetic waves NeuroEM Therapeutics made headlines in September 2019 with an early-stage study suggesting its MemorEM head device could reverse memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Could these encouraging results translate into an effective wearable device to treat the devastating chronic condition? Chloe Kent reports. Read more.
Medical devices: redesigning for success How do medical manufacturers go about redesigning older devices that need an update to remain on the market? Abi Millar spoke to Tom Ackrill of contract manufacturer ITL Group about what OEMs can do as their device components approach obsolescence. Read more.
Moving medical supplies: enter the drone Getting vital equipment and medicines from A to B is not always a straightforward process, especially in harsh environments like warzones or during environmental disasters. Consequently, drones are deployed to help speed up the delivery process. Chloe Kent rounds up key areas where drones are helping to get medical supplies where they are most needed. Read more.
A diagnostic tool for respiratory disease: machine learning coughs up ResApp uses machine-learning algorithms to analyse cough sounds and diagnose conditions such as asthma, pneumonia and bronchiolitis from a smartphone. Natalie Healey speaks to creator Professor Udantha Abeyratne to find out how the platform could help patients worldwide. Read more.
Blood will tell: a new diagnostic approach for PTSD Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a truly harrowing condition but improving diagnosis could mean more people receive the help they desperately need. Natalie Healey reports on a new blood test that hopes to determine the condition as accurately as a psychiatric assessment. Read more.
Is AI paving the way to doctorless diagnosis? AI-driven software now regularly outperforms humans in key diagnostic tasks, raising the prospect of doctorless diagnosis in the future. So where will the rise of AI leave human diagnosticians in decades to come, and how can man and machine best collaborate with one another? Chris Lo finds out. Read more.
Next issue preview
In the next issue of Medical Technology, out in January, we celebrate the New Year with a round-up of the biggest innovations and advancements in hearing aid technology, find out how 3D printing is revolutionising dentistry, and examine how regulators can ensure patient safety as the implant market expands.
Plus, we take a look at the world of biohacking and the future of medical implants, speak to Verita Healthcare Group about the use of technology in preventative personalised medicine, and find out how a computerised kidney is shedding light on dehydration.
Also, we investigate ways that digital and surgical developments could impact the profitable medical tourism industry and examine the potential benefits of combining wearables and pharmaceuticals to treat Alzheimer’s.