• Are Silver-Based Antimicrobial Catheters Falling Short of Expectations?

    Silver-based antimicrobials may not be living up to their reputation when it comes to combating hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), Gertrude Gutierrez, a microbiologist at Innova Dynamics (San Francisco), speculated in a conference presentation at MD&M West this week. While silver-based antimicrobial technologies demonstrate promise for reducing instances of catheter-acquired urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), their efficacy remains questionable in the face of unimpressive study results...
  • Researchers Develop 3-D Visualization System for Designing Medical Devices

    Art Erdman, director of the Medical Devices Center at the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), and Daniel Keefe, UM professor in the department of computer science, have developed a 3-D visualization system that could improve how medical devices are designed and tested. Whereas medical device design currently relies on the use of a long and iterative process known as computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD/CAM), the new method could eventually streamline the design phase,...
  • Weekly Vitals: Stryker CEO Resigns, New Technologies Unveiled at AAOS, and More

    In honor of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting this past week, Medtech Pulse has dedicated the weekly vitals roundup to the top orthopedics news. In addition to launches from DePuy Orthopaedics and product demos, the annual meeting proved to be a showcase for innovations in social media marketing and apps for surgeons. Of course, coinciding with AAOS was the announcement that Stryker chairman, president, and CEO Stephen P. MacMillan was ending his nine-year reign at the...
  • Growth-Factor Coating Shown to Improve Healing of Bones Around Implants

    An experimental growth-factor method developed by University of Wisconsin-Madison biomedical engineer William Murphy for attaching implants to bones produced strong, healthy bone as the bone healed around a metal implant in an animal model (right). The implant on left was performed with conventional surgery techniques and produced less bone and more scar tissue (white areas). Implants are the large black areas. Image: University of Wisconsin-Madison/nanowerk.com Orthopedic implants dip-coated...
  • California's Biomed Industry Stalls, Report Finds

    According to the California Biomedical Industry 2012 Report, published by the California Healthcare Institute (La Jolla, CA), BayBio (South San Francisco, CA), and PwC US (New York City), employment in California's biomedical industry has stalled. This slowdown takes place as the nation's most populous state has struggled to recover from financial shortfalls and the biomedical industry adapts to a sharp pullback in funding from risk-averse investors in an uncertain regulatory environment.Job...
  • All-Metal Hip Implants: The End of an Era or Primed for a Comeback?

    Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Horror stories about osteolysis, a widely publicized recall, a litany of lawsuits, and a full-scale media assault during the past few years have all contributed to causing what some might classify as irreparable damage to the reputation and public image of metal-on-metal (MoM) hip implants. But do several new research projects stand a chance at helping MoM implants overcome their safety stigma and restoring these all-metal hip implants to their former glory? Or...
  • Corrosion, Surface Characterization, and Nickel Leaching in Cardiovascular Metallic Implants

    FDA will be holding a a public workshop on "Cardiovascular Metallic Implants: Corrosion, Surface Characterization, and Nickel Leaching" on March 8 and 9, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST at the FDA White Oak Campus, 10903 New Hampshire Ave., building 31, room 1503, Silver Spring, MD 20993. The public workshop will also be viewable online via Webcast. The workshop will provide a forum for FDA, cardiovascular device manufacturers, test houses, and academia to discuss corrosion, surface...
  • Weekly Vitals: MDUFA Settled 'In Principle,' Medtech Bills Introduced, and More

    The heated debate concerning the reauthorization of the Medical Device User Fees that has had the medical device industry on the edge of its seat for more than a year may finally be winding down. FDA announced this week that it had reached an agreement 'in principle' with industry that would allow FDA to collect higher user fees of $595 million over five years in exchange for new goals for time frames for PMA and 510(k) submissions. On the heels of this news, House Democrats introduced a bill...
  • Should Patients Have Access to Implant Data? Medtronic, Boston Sci Weigh In

    It is often said that it only takes one person to initiate change. Hugo Campos, a tech-savvy patient outfitted with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), is trying to be that catalyst for change in the medical device industry through his crusade for access rights to the data collected by his implant. And while Campos's campaign for patients' rights is just beginning to gain momentum, it signifies a larger paradigm shift in healthcare that will likely force medical device...
  • Researchers Build Artificial Cardiac Tissue from Silk

    Coin-sized disks cut from the cocoon of the tasar silkworm grub provide a basic scaffold for heart muscle cells. Image: MPI for Heart and Lung ResearchBecause damaged human-heart muscle cannot be regenerated, scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research (Bad Nauheim, Germany) are seeking to restore cardiac function with the help of artificial cardiac tissue. They report that they have succeeded in loading cardiac muscle cells onto a three-dimensional scaffold created...
  • Weekly Vitals: Obama Champions U.S. Manufacturing, Breast Implant Honcho Gets Busted, and More

    In his State of the Union Address this past week, President Obama focused on the importance of reinvigorating American manufacturing and the need to better incentivize companies to stay or set up operations in the U.S. rather than shipping jobs and business overseas. And while the medical device industry applauded this general mentality, many were quick to point out that the impending medical device tax was among the key drivers of medtech operations moving abroad. In other news, the former...
  • Buckling Carbon Nanotubes Show Promise for Stretchable Electronics

    Led by the Rogers Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a number of university research groups are pursuing the development of stretchable electronics for novel implantable medical devices and other applications. Adding to the exciting field is a team of researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh) that has exploited the sturdy, stable, and conductive properties of carbon nanotubes to create novel elastic conductors.Buckling carbon nanotubes...
  • Nano Loudspeakers May Enable Compact, Patient-Friendly MRIs

    A collaborative project between physicists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI; College Park, MD), the Neils Bohr Institute (Copenhagen, Denmark) and Harvard University (Cambridge, MA) has yielded a theoretical nanosized speaker-like technology capable of detecting weak electrical signals. These nano loudspeakers, if realized, could someday enable more patient-friendly MRI machines.Researchers have developed a theoretical nano loudspeaker that could lead to improved MRI machines. Image:...
  • Don't Believe the Hype: Boston Sci Isn't the Only One Experiencing Shrinkage

    Boston Scientific (Natick, MA) isn't exactly shrinking from recent criticism regarding instances of longitudinal stent deformation in its thin-strut Ion paclitaxel-eluting platinum-chromium (PtCr) coronary stent system. Instead, the medical device giant has posted an informative—though unlisted—video on YouTube titled, "Beyond the Hype: Longitudinal Stent Deformation," which emphasizes the rarity of longitudinal compression as well as the fact that all thin-strut drug-eluting stents are...
  • Researchers Develop Biochip for Measuring Glucose in Saliva

    Schematic shows glucose molecules dancing on the sensor surface illuminated by different colors of light. Changes in light intensity transmitted through the slit of each plasmonic interferometer yield information about the concentration of glucose molecules in solution. (Image by Domenico Pacifici)Late last year, Medtech Pulse reported that researchers at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) are developing a method for monitoring glucose levels using tears, not blood. Now, another group of...
  • Weekly Vitals: The Power of Defective Breast Implants, Newt Gingrich vs. FDA, and More

    This week in medtech, experts began to ponder the potential impact that the French breast implant scandal could have on U.S. regulation. The industry and its supporters often point to the quicker device clearance process in the European Union (EU) when criticizing FDA, for example. But the controversy that has erupted from a company's breast implants that leaked industrial silicone into patients has provided FDA and its supporters with a sizeable stock of ammo. “All the industry guys in the U.S...
  • Indiana Medical Device Industry Generates $10 Billion Annually, Report Finds

    Employing more than 20,000 people and generating more than $10 billion of annual economic output, the medical device industry in Indiana is one of the state’s most valuable economic assets, according to a new report from BioCrossroads (Indianapolis). The first report of its kind, "From Hearts to Hips: Indiana’s Leadership in Medical Devices," was compiled by FaegreBD Consulting and BioCrossroads to highlight the sector and identify upcoming challenges.With the fifth largest percentage of...
  • Control Issues: Next-Gen Pill Cameras Focus on Maneuverability

    As it turns out, the concept of capsule endoscopy has been relatively easy for physicians and patients alike to digest. In fact, the innovative pill camera technology, pioneered by Given Imaging in 2001, has proven to be a less-invasive and effective means of visualizing and diagnosing conditions or problems in the small intestine. But while the underlying diagnostic technology offers indisputable advantages, the gut feeling of healthcare providers is that these patient-friendly devices should...
  • Ford Expands Efforts to Develop Doctors Offices on Wheels

    Last year, our colleagues at Medical Electronic Design and Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry reported that Ford Motor Co. would be partnering with Medtronic to integrate medical devices into its cars. The automobile manufacturer's goal was to develop smartphone-like apps that could be integrated into the display panel in modern vehicles. Such applications would incorporate Bluetooth synchronizers for blood glucose meters and provide health-related data, such as pollen count and air quality...
  • Novel Microtweezers Expand MEMS Possibilities

    Microtweezers developed by researchers at Purdue University (Lafayette, IN) may facilitate the manufacture and assembly of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Capable of manipulating tiny structures, the microtweezers could contribute to the development of advanced sensors and may someday be suitable for working with live stem cell spheres in research settings as well.Purdue microtweezers can be used to assemble tiny polystyrene spheres, each with a diameter of 40 micrometers, at left, into...