• Cotton Transistors Lead the Way to Wearable Electronic Devices

    This electrochemical transistor was made from cotton with nanoparticle-based coatings. Credit: Cornell UniversityA growing trend in portable diagnostic devices allows for sensing and reporting of glucose levels, heart rate, or blood pressure, but advances made in creating transistors from cotton may lead to the creation of clothing acting as medical devices. A collaborative effort between scientists and engineers from Cornell University (Ithaca, NY), Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Mines de...
  • This Week’s Most Popular Headlines

    Dominating readers’ attention this week has been MPMN’s feature highlighting five groundbreaking medical device technologies worth watching, including Medtronic’s leadless pacemaker, an Alzheimer’s patch from Clarimedix Inc., an all-in-one catheter developed by researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Abbott Laboratories' Absorb bioresorbable stent, and a noninvasive glucose monitor produced by researchers at the University of Missouri-St....
  • Design Flaw Poses Potential Threat to Shrinking Drug-Eluting Stents

    In the quest for increasingly thinner, smaller, and more-flexible stents, medical device designers may have compromised structural integrity in some current-generation drug-eluting stents (DES). And as the problem of longitudinal compression reaches buzz-worthy status, the design flaw could soon prove to be a distinct market disadvantage.Published online last month in the medical journal EuroIntervention, a case series conducted by two UK physicians brought the issue of longitudinal compression...
  • Wireless Patient Monitors Crowned Fastest-Growing Medical Device

    Wireless patient monitors are the fastest-growing medical devices based on revenue earned, according to "Remote and Wireless Patient Monitoring Markets," a recent report from market research firm Kalorama Information. Beating out such high-growth areas as minimally invasive surgical devices, specialty catheters, and defibrillators, wireless patient monitors have seen revenues doubled in the past four years and are forecasted to double again in the next four years as well.Driven by an aging...
  • Bacterial Communication Could Provide Key to Developing Nanoscale Medical Devices

    Over the next four years, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech; Atlanta) will be studying how bacteria communicate with one another on a molecular level. The scientists' goal is to determine whether the principles of bacterial communication can be applied to how nanodevices will one day communicate to form nanoscale networks.Headed by Ian Akyildiz, Georgia Tech professor of electrical and computer engineering, the research team hopes to pave the way for intelligent,...
  • Hexagonal Copper Crystal Films Grow Highest-Quality Graphene Sheets

    Graphene, a sheet of carbon just a single atom thick, has much potential in the future of electronics, but producing high-quality sheets for high- performance applications has been a challenge. Researchers at University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, IL) have discovered that the quality of graphene grown depends not on the surface finish, but on the crystal structure of the copper substrate on which it is grown.Copper has been a popular substrate for graphene growth because it is inexpensive...
  • Weekly Vitals: VCs and Medtech Companies Get Political, Erik Paulsen Wins Industry's Vote, and More

    As we head into an election year, venture capitalists (VCs) and the medical device industry are ramping up their political efforts and, in turn, opening up their wallets for candidates that support their interests, notably Congressman Erik Paulsen of Minnesota. And to no one's surprise, item number one on medtech insiders' political agenda is streamlining FDA's medical device clearance process. "As Congress considers reauthorizing a law that sets the fees for medical device makers, venture...
  • Hackable Medtronic Insulin Pump Leads to Company Probe

    When IBM security analyst Jay Radcliffe hacked into his own insulin pump at a conference over the summer, no one could deny that networked medical devices—like all networked electronic devices—can fall victim to cyber attacks. Now, the lid has been removed even further with last week's report from software security firm McAfee that at least one of Medtronic Inc.'s Paradigm insulin pumps exhibits software vulnerabilities that could render the device susceptible to hacks.McAfee exposed the...
  • This Week’s Most Popular Headlines

    The big attention grabber this week involved St. Jude Medical's chairman and CEO, Daniel Starks. When asked by an analyst about possible safety problems with one of the medtech firm's heart defibrillator leads, Starks went on a 10-minute salvo that involved biting remarks about rival Medtronic Inc. Defending the Riata lead, Starks referred to the recall of a Medtronic lead in 2007 due to catastrophic fractures and failures. In other Minnesota news, contract manufacturer Lake Region is...
  • Nontoxic and Biocompatible, Gallium Nitride Could Be Used in Medical Implants

    Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh) and Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) have shown that the semiconductor material gallium nitride (GaN) is nontoxic and is compatible with human cells. This discovery could open the door to the material’s use in a variety of biomedical implant technologies, including electrodes used in neurostimulation therapies to treat patients with Alzheimer’s disease and transistors used to monitor blood chemistry.A scanning electron...
  • The Medical Device Industry's "New Normal"

    In its annual "Pulse of the Industry" report released last month, Ernst & Young focused on the idea of "the new normal" as it applies to the medical device industry's situation in the current volatile economic climate. And while the 60-page report delves into such lightning-rod topics as the device tax, the difficult regulatory environment, and comparative effectiveness, a simple, chart-based spread labeled "The new normal: innovation at risk?" may just have the most profound impact by...
  • Preventing Medical Device Hacking, a Nightmare in the Making

    Cases of computer hacking grab headlines when they affect governments or big companies. But the hue and cry that accompanies the exploits of hackers when they target the likes of Google or the Pentagon has not been extended to the potential dangers facing patients with implantable medical devices. Although medical device security is not on everyone’s radar, the range of implantable devices that is susceptible to hacking is vast and the consequences profound, as was demonstrated not too long ago...
  • Researchers Grow Viruses to Mimic Complex Collagen Structures

    A benign virus could help researchers create materials with biomedical, mechanical, and optical properties that can be tuned, similar to collagen, chitin and cellulose basic building blocks. Collagen is the same material used in corneas, teeth, and skin, and the pattern of its fibers determines its hardness and texture. However, researchers haven’t been able to manipulate these structures, but a team at the University of California, Berkeley has created a model system to study growth patterns...
  • Weekly Vitals: Abbott Splits, Medical Device Industry Faces Pricing Pressures, and More

    Abbott stole the spotlight this week upon unveiling that it plans to split into two companies, separating its medical device and pharmaceuticals businesses. "Abbott will be one of the largest and fastest-growing global diversified medical products companies, with a compelling portfolio of durable growth businesses in medical technology, branded generic pharmaceuticals and nutritionals," says Abbott chairman and CEO Miles D. White. "We will continue to grow our product lines, market share and...
  • High-Performance Coatings for Medical Devices: Variants, Attributes, Applications

    Join Qmed and MPMN for a free Webcast event on October 25, 2011, at 2 pm EST. Lonny Wolgemuth, senior medical market specialist at Specialty Coating Systems (SCS; Indianapolis), will present "High-Performance Coatings for Medical Devices: Variants, Attributes, Applications," which will provide an overview of parylene coatings and their use in a variety of medical device applications.Coatings are utilized in the medical device industry to modify surfaces for many reasons, not the least of which...
  • This Week's Most Popular Headlines

    It’s been a busy week in the medical device arena. The hottest news involved Nalini Rajamannan, MD, who was terminated from Northwestern University as an associate professor of medicine for reporting through proper university channels that numerous patients had undergone the nonapproved surgical implantation of a heart device without their informed consent. And from the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we learn that although the United States for decades has led the global medical device...
  • Abbott's Bioresorbable Stent: Another Case of Innovation vs. FDA

    Abbott Laboratories claimed the top honor in the medical devices category of the Wall Street Journal's Innovation Awards this week with its highly anticipated bioresorbable vascular scaffold dubbed the Absorb. But this accolade for innovation inadvertently draws attention to a much larger debate currently dominating the medical device industry with just one sentence in the WSJ: "The company received approval this year to launch the stent in Europe and is aiming to get U.S. Food and Drug...
  • Scientists Marshal Silk Nanofibers to Repair the Optic Nerve

    While scientists have developed biomaterials capable of repairing peripheral nerves, central nerves represent a greater challenge. But now, a team of researchers at the University of Leipzig (Germany) and Tufts University (Medford, MA) are attempting to marshal the powers of silk to repair damage caused to the optic nerve.When the optic nerve is crushed or cut, the retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) that form the optic nerve degenerate. In such cases, glia cells lose their orientation and form scar...
  • Weekly Vitals: Former Medtronic CEO on the Move, Five Ways to Support FDA Reform, and More

    Some people just aren't suited for retirement. Former Medtronic CEO William Hawkins will come out of a short-lived retirement to join Georgia-based medical device company Immucor Inc. as CEO next week. "He knows this industry, and he's a respected leader in the sector," Adam Levine, a partner at TPG, the private equity firm that owns Immucor, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. In other news, Luke Timmerman at Xconomy wrote a polarizing piece recommending five things that industry can do to...
  • Sulfur-Coated Nanofibers Create Superior Rechargeable Lithium Battery Cathode

    A sulfur coating on hollow carbon nanofibers, combined with a special electrolyte additive, has allowed researchers at Stanford University (Stanford, CA) to overcome the energy storage limitations of lithium-ion batteries. Based on the previous work done by Stanford’s associate professor of materials science and engineering Yi Cui to make battery anodes with silicon nanowires, Chi’s team has now improved the cathode end of rechargeable lithium ion batteries by pairing the silicon nanowire...