I Spy for Heart Disease
Week of August 30

Heart in chestHey Dave, remember the movie, Fantastic Voyage that came out in 1966? Yeah, it was pretty cool. A sub and crew were miniaturized and injected into a guy’s blood vessel so they could clear a clot and save his life. While we can’t shrink people, we can shrink technology and its capabilities are making sci-fi a reality.

Today’s miniature medical devices are lifesavers. You’re right. There’s the implantable telescope to improve vision; a vitamin-sized pacemaker; and now a miniature catheter to give surgeons a real-time look from inside the heart and blood vessels. This could potentially allow them to clear clots without major surgery. The device is smaller than the head of a pin with an ultrasound probe and a single chip processor. It can receive and transmit 3-D images on thirteen tiny cables down a flexible tube to a computer... More »

Sponges Save a Soldier
Week of August 23

Kitchen spongesThe number one priority to treating injuries on the battlefield is to stop the bleeding. But that’s challenging when wounds penetrate deep in the body. Of the 5,800 Americans killed in battle since 2001, the vast majority died from hemorrhages that were potentially survivable.

So the army is now testing a new tool called XStat that uses a pocket-sized injector to send ninety-two tiny sponges into a wound, stopping bleeding in fifteen seconds. It serves up two essential elements: pressure and clotting... More »

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