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NewSplash Archive – April 2017

Issue 16 – 4/25
GE working to improve 3D printing of organ models
Engineers at GE Healthcare are hard at work speeding up the process of 3D printing model organs for doctors and patients to review before and after surgeries. The process involves taking data from a CT scan and making a 3D print from that information.

Scientists create brain-like structures using human stem cells
Scientists in Luxembourg have taken human stem cells from skin samples and used them to create three-dimensional brain-like clusters. The cells within these clusters function as those in the human midbrain, which is of particular interest to researchers studying Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers develop artificial blood for transfusions
There isn’t always enough blood available for transfusions but researchers developed a promising substitute using hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of blood. The report found that modified hemoglobin was an effective oxygen carrier and also scavenged for potentially damaging free radicals.

Scientists discover two-drug combination that halts Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Researchers discovered that a combination of two drugs could safely counter neurodegenerative brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In the study, it was found that protein production rates in mice diagnosed with prion diseases were reinstated.

Secret hospital inspection data may soon become public
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) wants to require private healthcare accreditors to publicly detail problems they find during inspections of hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as the steps being taken to remedy them. The CMS believes that making this information available to the public will enable consumers to make informed decisions about their healthcare providers.

CDC issues health advisory for drug-resistant Shigella
The CDC has issued a health advisory to clinicians regarding drug-resistant Shigella strains. The advisory details that certain strains of Shigella carry a gene that provides drug resistance to certain antibiotics.

The Joint Commission on-site survey process
The objectives of The Joint Commission on-site survey are to evaluate the organization, as well as provide education and guidance that will help to continually improve the facility’s performance.


Issue 15 – 4/18
Scientists discover how to make body cells resistant to HIV
A groundbreaking discovery by researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California created a cell culture that is resistant to the HIV virus, bringing the scientific community one step closer to finding the cure for AIDS. Researchers explained that the procedure works by attaching HIV-fighting antibodies to immune cells, a form of “cellular vaccination.”

Komodo dragon blood produces new antibiotic compound
Researchers used a molecule with antimicrobial properties detected in the blood of Komodo dragons to create a synthetic compound that expedites the healing process of infected wounds in mice, according to a study published in npj Biofilms and Microbiomes.

FDA to develop miniature organ systems on micro-engineered chips for research
The FDA has entered into a multiyear research and development agreement to evaluate new testing technology that creates human organ systems in miniature form on micro-engineered chips that are about the size of a AA battery. This technology can help scientists gain a better understanding of the effects of medicines, disease-causing bacteria in foods, chemicals, and other potentially harmful materials on the human body.

Family-led team inspired by sci-fi wins prestigious medical device competition
A family-led team took the top prize in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition for consumer medical device inspired by Star Trek. Over four years of development, Final Frontier Medical Devices created DxtER, an artificial intelligence-based engine that learns to diagnose medical conditions by integrating learning from clinical emergency medicine with data analysis from actual patients.

Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade shows patient safety improvements, but work remains
The Leapfrog Group recently announced new grades for the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, the first and only national health care rating focused on errors, accidents, and infections. The program has been assigning letter grades to general acute-care hospitals in the U.S. since 2012.

Medical innovations to watch for, part 4
In the final installment of the series on Elsevier’s list of medical innovations on the horizon, we  will hear from Michelle Troseth, MSN, RN. Troseth states that healthcare practitioners will be educated together as a collaborative team and not in individual silos.

Improve your center’s infection control & prevention processes
By Lisa Waldowski, MS, APRN, CIC
Ambulatory surgery centers are among the top group of The Joint Commission accredited facilities challenged with breaches in high-level disinfection (HLD) and sterilization, which is the greatest threat to patient health and safety in these organizations.


Issue 14 – 4/11
Biosensing contact lens could someday measure blood glucose and other bodily functions
Transparent biosensors embedded into contact lenses could soon allow doctors and patients to monitor blood glucose levels and a host of other telltale signs of disease without invasive tests. Scientists say the biosensing lenses, based on technology that led to the development of smartphones with more vivid displays, also could potentially be used to track drug use or serve as an early detection system for cancer and other serious medical conditions.

Man uses device that stimulates spinal cord to move paralyzed legs
Mayo Clinic researchers used electrical stimulation on the spinal cord, along with intense physical therapy, to enable a man to move his paralyzed legs, stand, and make step-like motions for the first time in three years. The 26-year-old patient injured his spine three years ago and cannot move or feel anything below the middle of his torso.

Wearable device improves survival rate in brain cancer patients
A wearable, battery-powered device that delivers alternating electric fields via electrodes that are attached to the scalp has been shown to extend the survival rate of newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiform patients by nearly five months. The study’s lead author, Dr. Roger Stupp, MD, explained that the device, called Optune, is the first survival benefit reported in glioblastoma in 12 years.

Medical innovations to watch for, part 3
For the third installment on our series where we review Elsevier’s list of medical innovations on the horizon, we’ll hear from Dr. Jonathan Teich, MD, PhD, FHIMSS, ACMI Fellow. He believes the future of medicine will be dependent upon health information technology and patient self-management.

Maryland hospital NICU reopens 4 months after investigation into bacteria outbreak
The neonatal intensive care unit at Prince George’s Hospital Center in Cheverly, Md., reopened Monday, four months after federal investigators started looking into how a potentially deadly bacteria entered the unit.

Example of a Sterile Processing Best Practices Audit Tool
Clinical practices and infection control guidelines change as our understanding of risk factors for infection and prevention strategies increases. Technological advancements change the way procedures are performed, as well as how instruments, equipment, and supplies are reprocessed.


Issue 13 – 4/4
Brain implant enables paralyzed man feed himself using his thoughts
Recent research by BrainGate, a consortium of researchers who test brain-computer interface technology that is designed to provide paralyzed individuals with more mobility, made it possible for a paralyzed man in Cleveland to feed himself. This is something he hasn’t been able to do since his cycling accident eight years ago.

Common antibiotic could treat or prevent PTSD
British and Swiss scientists determined that a common antibiotic called doxycycline can disrupt the formation or negative thoughts and fears and may be useful in treating or preventing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the study, healthy volunteers were given either the drug or a placebo, and those who were given doxycycline had a 60% lower fear response than those who were not.

Researchers find new method to fight against antibiotic-resistant infections
Researchers from the University of Birmingham and Newcastle University have discovered a new treatment method for antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infectious diseases. The study involved two patients with bronchiectasis, a respiratory infection associated with the bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is known to be multidrug resistant.

Medical innovations to watch for, part 2
Continuing our series where we review Elsevier’s list of medical innovations on the horizon, this issue we’ll hear from Fred Bazzoli, editor of Health Data Management. Bazzoli believes patients will be at the center of care.

Dirty endoscope used at PA hospital
Pennsylvania Health Department investigators say a nurse who didn’t realize flexible endoscopes must undergo high-level disinfection between cases used a dirty scope during a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) performed at Chester-Crozer Medical Center in Chester, PA.

The Joint Commission Ambulatory Care Conference attendee Q&A
Let’s take a look at a question from an attendee at The Joint Commission Ambulatory Care Conference, answered by Lisa Waldowski, MS, APRN, CIC. Lisa is The Joint Commission’s infection control specialist.