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As we head towards the new year, it’s hard not to look back at what has been a challenging year for the medical technology industry. While the results of multiple Covid-19 vaccine trials suggest that the preliminary challenges of this pandemic may be on the way out, new issues, such as long-term Covid symptoms, look set to create new hurdles for the industry moving forward.

The idea of overcoming severe long-term physical symptoms is something that Dr Peter Scott-Morgan is very familiar with. After receiving a terminal motor-neuron disease diagnosis in 2017, he began his pursuit of a way to defeat the condition – using technology to combat the physical limitations that come hand-in-hand with the disease.

Three years on, Scott-Morgan is well on his way to becoming the first human cyborg thanks to a range of innovative technologies that could spell change for a patient demographic that is often left behind. To find out what this venture could mean for the future of motor neuron disease treatment, we take a look at Scott-Morgan’s efforts and the technologies being used to help improve his quality of life.

Plus, we examine calls for a materials revolution in healthcare tech, debate whether biobanks should be obliged to inform patients if undiagnosed conditions are uncovered during research, find out how technology is helping to transform communication in clinical settings and much more.


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In this issue

The ins and outs of the SABA asthma inhaler
A recent study by leading respiratory healthcare professionals has confirmed a link between reliever inhalers and increased asthma attacks, which could affect millions of people in the UK and impact their risk of asthma attack. Chloe Kent looks back at the history of the device, from its invention to current concerns.
Read the article here.

Can you hear me now? The tech transforming clinical communication
Clear communication is crucial in a clinical setting, where mishearing an instruction can have life or death consequences. But when practitioners are required to don multiple layers of PPE, this clear communication becomes increasingly difficult to achieve. Chloe Kent takes a look at how technology is being used to improve communications in clinical settings.
Read the article here.

Should biobanks release diagnostic data to patients?
A study of over 200,000 blood samples from the UK Biobank has identified more than 2,000 undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes. The UK Biobank follows the health and well-being of 500,000 volunteer participants and provides health information – but how ethical is it to withhold from someone that they have a life-altering disease? Our journalists, Chloe Kent  and Chris Lo, take up the debate.
Read the article here.

Defeating motor neuron disease: Scott-Morgan’s mission to become the first human cyborg
After being diagnosed with terminal MND in 2017, Dr Peter Scott-Morgan was determined to both survive and thrive with the help of cutting-edge technology. To do this, Scott-Morgan enlisted the help of technology companies to turn him into the world’s first human cyborg, as well as demonstrate the ability of technology to transform the lives of anyone with disabilities. Allie Nawrat finds out more.
Read the article here.

Miracle metal: could copper clothing help fight infection?
Copper has been used for medical purposes since ancient times, and more recent research has confirmed its antimicrobial properties. But can clothing infused with the metal be a realistic alternative to antibiotics and even play a role in fighting Covid-19? Natalie Healey speaks to Copper Clothing’s Rory Donnelly to find out more.
Read the article here.

LexaGene’s new automated testing platform
Massachusetts-based LexaGene is preparing to launch MiQLab, the company’s flagship product, which provides automated pathogen testing in one platform. The unit can screen samples for up to 27 different targets at once and has been designed in an open-access way, so that users can customise their own tests. Abi Millar spoke to the firm about the launch of this new tech and how it could change diagnostic procedures.
Read the article here.

Recurrent fainting: could a new pacemaker provide a solution?
Biotronik has announced positive results from the largest study of its kind – looking into the efficacy of treating syncope with a dual-chamber pacemaker incorporating closed loop stimulation. The study found that, after two years, syncope recurrence rate was reduced by 77% compared to the control group. Abi Millar spoke to Biotronik to find out more about this innovative system.
Read the article here.

Kickstarting AI and smart data in resource-limited health systems
Low and middle-income countries have the most to gain from the public health benefits of AI and digital tech, but also the most to lose. That’s the conclusion of a report led by the Novartis Foundation and Microsoft, which sets a roadmap for AI maturity in global healthcare. Chris Lo speaks to Novartis Foundation head Ann Aerts about how best to accelerate the AI revolution in resource-limited settings.
Read the article here.

Next issue preview

In the first issue of 2021, we take a look at some of the tech set to shape the future of the medical industry over the coming year. We start by delving into the paramedic toolkit to find out how advancements in technology are helping front line staff to assess, triage and transport patients in the field. Following this, we go behind bars to examine how medical technology and devices are changing healthcare for prisoners in the UK.

Also in the next issue, we ask if the British medical industry will ever part ways with pager technology, take a look at a new wearable said to aid erectile dysfunction treatment, and investigate the potential of neuromodulation as a long-term treatment for tinnitus.

Plus, we find out how virtual reality is being used to transform mental health treatments, examine the state of device manufacturing in Scotland, and unpack ways that CRISPR is helping diagnose the novel coronavirus.