Digital Imaging May Replace Microscopes in Pathology Labs

But now, GE has been able to cut down digitizing time to 30 seconds per slide, and advances in computer chip design have lowered the cost of storing information on computers. Images can even be screened over networks now. Pathology may now take the quantum leap that radiology has in recent years.

Boston Scientific Recalls Stent

Study: Coronary Stents Should Be Last Resort

It found some advantage to stenting in the first three years of treatment, but none thereafter. Its first installment, published last year, said stents were no better than a drugs/diet/exercise regimen when it came to preventing deaths and heart attacks. The research team concluded that stenting should only be used as a last resort when drugs, diet, and exercise have failed. An accompanying editorial questioned whether as many as one-third of the 1 million stents implanted in the United States each year are really necessary. Analysts don't think the news is going to be too damaging for the companies that make stents. The advantage in the first three years is a positive, and safety concerns have been addressed.

St. Jude Gets Neurostimulator for Chronic Pain Approved

This is another step in neurostimulation treatments going mainstream.

Brain-Dye Imaging Could Help Diagnose Alzheimer's

That could help doctors diagnose Alzheimer's while a patient is still alive, and begin drug therapy sooner. The dye helped the team correctly identify which of 10 patients had the telltale clusters when viewed with positron emission tomography scanners. The team published its findings in the online version of the Archives of Neurology. The next step is to perform large clinical studies.

Cardiac Resynchronization Devices Are Underused

The market leaders for resynchronization devices are Boston Scientific, Medtronic, and St. Jude Medical. Cost -- each device runs for about $33,000 -- and a lack of trained specialists who can implant the device are the main factors in the underuse. But they cut hospitalizations by 50% and deaths by 36%, according to previous clinical data. This may be a case of some doctors and hospitals being penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Maker of Pain-Relief Device Reinvents Itself

The company has renamed itself Empi Recovery Sciences Inc. and begun a new marketing campaign featuring NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino. The device, the Select TENS Pain Management System, has its ardent supporters, but has never caught on in the mainstream medical community. One reason is that it is much easier, and more lucrative, for doctors to write a prescription for a painkilling drug than to train staff and patients how to use and make adjustments to the TENS device. Doctors who prescribe TENS can only be reimbursed for an office visit. Another is that some doctors don't believe that electronic therapy is sound science -- though this is becoming less of an issue now that electrical stimulation therapies are gaining more acceptance. But the biggest reason is probably that there isn't a good way to determine whether TENS is going to work. It appears to work wonderfully on some patients, but not at all on others, and there isn't a good way to determine in advance what the case will be.

Bionic Eye Closer to Reality

But the Illinois team used a series of silicon photodetectors connected by thin metal wires, and encapsulated them in a thin film of polyimide plastic. This created a scaffold that could bend without breaking. The camera is limited to 256 pixels at the moment, but it will be scaled up.

Japan May Speed Up Regulatory Approval Process

But things may speed up a bit now that reforms are starting to be implemented, reports Finance and Commerce, a Minnesota publication. Modifications to the reimbursement system -- including a provision that gets innovative products onto the government's reimbursement list faster -- went into effect on April 1. That's a sign that the Japanese government knows its system creates excessive delays. And now the government and trade groups are negotiating on changes to the approval process.

Sterilization Pioneer Passes Away

He would answer questions on ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization for MD&DI readers -- some of which can be found here. The staff of MD&DI extends its deepest condolences to Gibson's wife, Jane, and the rest of his family.