Apple ResearchKit: pocket-sized technology with worldwide potential

Pocket-sized technology with worldwide potential

From 3D printing to Google glass, technology continues to revolutionize medicine, finding more innovative and efficient ways to save lives and improve quality of life. Today Best Doctors looks at one of the latest contributions from Apple.

With the declaration that “now everybody can do their part to advance medical research,[i]” Apple has launched ResearchKit, an open-source research development platform. The first apps released are designed to track asthma, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. They allow iPhone users to submit data and even perform certain tests right from their device, with each app linked to a study led by a recognised medical centre. On the developer side, ResearchKit can be used by anyone with an iPhone to create their own medical research app. The patient experience ResearchKit aims to break down distance and bureaucratic barriers to Read more

A printer that can save lives

First used in the 1980s for car manufacturing prototypes, 3D printing has grown to have a significant impact on medicine today, where it can provide solutions for complex or high-risk situations.

How do doctors use 3D printers? After taking a scan, such as a CT or an MRI, of a particular area, a specialised computer graphics programme uses these results to create the exact dimensions for of the same area. These are sent to a 3D printer, which outputs the replica, in a variety of biocompatible materials. When a delicate touch is needed From Michigan, USA, where researchers printed a splint to hold open a section of a baby’s airway[i], to Hangzhou, China, where a 21 year old man with a rare spinal tumour was fitted with a custom-designed prosthesis to reinforce damaged vertebrae[ii], Read more

New treatments and progress against ALS

ALS / ELA

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) is a degenerative disease caused by the deterioration of the motor neurons in our nervous system. This process can lead to the death of these cells, causing muscular paralysis in the patient.

Of the ALS cases currently diagnosed, 10% are linked to genetic disorders, with 90% remaining a mystery to medical community. Research in this field therefore continues to be essential for improving prospects for ALS patients. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a highly disabling disease. Fortunately, advances in both medical treatments and specific technology have been made in recent years which allow for progressive improvement in patients’ quality of life. Present day treatments – looking toward the future The battle against ALS is currently focused around three main pillars: - Activities aimed at stopping the advance of ALS in its various stages. - Effective treatment of symptoms Read more