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Wed Sep 20 08:02:13 PDT 2023

Medgadget (Medical Technology) Daily Digest (Unofficial)


( Battery Charged by Tears for Smart Contact Lenses
Sep 19th 2023, 17:42

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a tiny, flexible battery that is intended for use in smart contact lenses. The device is as thin as the human cornea and can be charged by a saline solution, which is particularly useful in the eye, as it is full of salty tears. When the battery-equipped smart lens is not in use, such as at night, then it can be stored in a saline solution, helping to further recharge the battery. The device avoids materials that could cause damage to the eye, such as metal electrodes, and works through a glucose oxidase coating that generates current when it reacts with ions in tears, such as sodium and potassium.

Smart contact lenses that monitor our health and even treat disease could be just around the corner. However, without a reliable and safe power source, such lenses are not likely to see much use. The problem is that these lenses must be very thin, and it is also preferable to avoid materials that could cause damage to the eye if they became exposed to its naked surface. These factors put bulky, conventional batteries out of the picture.

To address this, these researchers have created a very thin battery that does not contain metal electrodes and which can actually harvest power from the eye itself, or at least the salty tears that bathe it. “The most common battery charging system for smart contact lenses requires metal electrodes in the lens, which are harmful if they are exposed to the naked human eye,” said Yun Jeonghun, one of the lead developers of the new battery. “Meanwhile, another mode of powering lenses, induction charging, requires a coil to be in the lens to transmit power, much like wireless charging pad for a smartphone. Our tear-based battery eliminates the two potential concerns that these two methods pose, while also freeing up space for further innovation in the development of smart contact lenses.”

The researchers have tested the device using a simulated human eye. So far, they have shown that the device can produce 45 microamperes in current with a maximum power of 201 microwatts, with the potential for up to 200 charge/discharge cycles.

“This research began with a simple question: could contact lens batteries be recharged with our tears?” said Lee Seok Woo, another researcher involved in the study. “There were similar examples for self-charging batteries, such as those for wearable technology that are powered by human perspiration. However, previous techniques for lens batteries were not perfect as one side of the battery electrode was charged and the other was not. Our approach can charge both electrodes of a battery through a unique combination of enzymatic reaction and self-reduction reaction. Besides the charging mechanism, it relies on just glucose and water to generate electricity, both of which are safe to humans and would be less harmful to the environment when disposed, compared to conventional batteries.”

Study in journal Nano Energy: ( A tear-based battery charged by biofuel for smart contact lenses

Via: ( Nanyang Technological University

( EEG Headset Could Spot Early Alzheimer’s Disease
Sep 19th 2023, 17:34

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have developed a technique that may spot the very early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, years before symptoms arise. The method may alert patients and clinicians to an increased risk of the disease, potentially allowing them to take steps to slow the disease progression. The method involves using a simple EEG headband while sleeping. The researchers have identified EEG signatures in aging adults that may indicate early Alzheimer’s pathology. These EEG phenomena relate to memory reactivation that occurs during sleep, and may reveal aspects of early-stage Alzheimer’s disease such as amyloid positivity and cognitive decline.

Alzheimer’s disease has significant consequences for those who experience it and those who care for them. Moreover, with our aging population, levels of Alzheimer’s disease are likely to significantly increase. Identifying the disease early is tricky, and many people are diagnosed when symptoms such as memory loss have already manifested. However, identifying the early stages of the disease may allow someone to take steps to slow its progression, and with the advent of new Alzheimer’s treatments in the future it may even be possible to avoid the disease altogether.

This latest technological development may provide such an early warning system for Alzheimer’s and has the bonus of being completely non-invasive. The system is based on simple EEG measurements that are taken during sleep, using a simple soft headband. These researchers have studied over two hundred aging adults, and correlated aspects of Alzheimer’s disease with EEG phenomena.  

“This digital biomarker essentially enables any simple EEG headband device to be used as a fitness tracker for brain health,” said Brice McConnell, MD, PhD, a researcher involved in the study. “Demonstrating how we can assess digital biomarkers for early indications of disease using accessible and scalable headband devices in a home setting is a huge advancement in catching and mitigating Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest stages.”

The EEG headband picks up phenomena during memory reactivation during sleep, which the researchers have correlated with aspects of Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, the University of Colorado team identified a relationship between slow wave-theta bursts and slow wave-sleep spindles found in EEG data with cognitive impairment, the presence of amyloid proteins and protein biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease that are found in the cerebrospinal fluid.  

“What we found is these abnormal levels of proteins are related to sleep memory reactivations, which we could identify in people’s brainwave patterns before they experienced any symptoms,” said McConnell. “Identifying these early biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease in asymptomatic adults can help patients develop preventative or mitigation strategies before the disease advances.”

Study in journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: ( Mapping sleep’s oscillatory events as a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease

Via: ( University of Colorado

( Cells Release Insulin in Response to Music
Sep 19th 2023, 17:27

Researchers at ETH Zurich have developed an insulin delivery system that relies on music as a trigger. The unusual technology is based on calcium ion channels that typically reside in the cell membrane. Such channels are sensitive to mechanical deformation and these researchers discovered that sound waves will activate the channels. When insulin-producing cells are genetically modified to express this channel, they will experience an influx in calcium ions when music is played close by, prompting them to release insulin. The concept could be useful as a treatment for diabetes, whereby such cells, housed in a specialized capsule, are implanted in patients who can then use music externally to trigger insulin release when required.

Researchers are developing an array of advanced implantable technologies that could remove the constant struggle of those living with diabetes. While an artificial pancreas sounds cool, what about just blasting “We Will Rock You” by Queen into your belly at full volume every time you need an insulin pick-me-up?

The idea sounds bizarre, but these researchers have discovered that their sound-responsive cells are highly attuned to specific pieces of music, with the winning piece, thankfully, being the aforementioned hit by Queen. The technology is still in its infancy, but may represent an alternative route to new treatments for diabetes.

The calcium ion channel in question derives from E. coli bacteria, and is highly responsive to mechanical deformation, in this case provided by the voice of Freddie Mercury. Once opened, the channel allows calcium ions to rush into the cell, which in turn causes insulin-filled vesicles to fuse with the cell membrane and release their contents into the external environment.

So far, so good, but what if a patient with such implanted cells is exposed to “We Will Rock You” or other loud noise while going about their everyday business? Thankfully, the system requires a speaker to be placed right over the location of the cell implant, and ambient noise is highly unlikely to trigger insulin release.

In tests so far, “We Will Rock You” triggered about 70% of the onboard insulin to be released within 15 minutes, whereas other tested music produced a more modest release. The technique still requires a lot of refinement before it is likely to see use in patients, but could represent a less complex and minimally invasive way to produce on-demand insulin release.  

Study in journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology: ( Tuning of cellular insulin release by music for real-time diabetes control

Via: ( ETH Zurich

Forwarded by:
Michael Reeder LCPC
Baltimore, MD

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