Brand Beat: Sony to Market Operating Room System in U.S.
The FDA has given Sony Electronics the green light to market its NUCLeUS Operating Room, Imaging Management, and Collaboration Control platform. The NUCLeUS provides a streamlined workflow for operating rooms and other clinical spaces with direct access to imaging data from an easy-to-use central dashboard on 4K resolution screens. The system has been installed in more than 500 operating rooms across Europe, including the U.K., Belgium, and Sweden. The secure, managed access offered by the system allows professionals to capture and manage video and audio content in near real time for collaboration and teaching purposes.
“We are eager to put NUCLeUS in the hands of doctors, nurses, and OR managers in the U.S. so they can experience first-hand how the platform can dramatically improve surgical collaboration and potentially contribute to better patient outcomes,” said Theresa Alesso, President of Sony Electronics’ Pro division, in a statement. “With the ongoing development of unique ‘smart applications,’ NUCLeUS will continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the OR.”
The NUCLeUS is capable of giving doctors and hospitals an encrypted means of recording, archiving, distributing, and managing surgical video and other types of medical imaging and patient data. The software behind the operating system can be updated remotely at any time and limits hardware requirements so inexpensive screen equipment can be installed to service additional rooms at any time.
TeleMed Texts: Fake News Helps to Spread Disease
A new study finds that “fake news,” or circulating false information, can impact the spread of disease and intensify outbreaks. Researchers from the University of East Anglia (UEA) used sophisticated computer models to simulate an outbreak of the flu, monkeypox, and nanovirus in differing scenarios of a population sharing misinformation online. The research team not only asserts that stopping the sharing of misinformation and harmful advice on social media could save lives, but that the theory could easily be applied to the current coronavirus outbreak.
“Misinformation means that bad advice can circulate very quickly—and it can change human behavior to take greater risks,” COVID-19 (Coronavirus) expert Professor Paul Hunter from UEA states. The team finds that populations with distrust in authority are more likely to spread baseless information. “Worryingly, research has shown that nearly 40% of the British public believe at least one conspiracy theory, and even more in the U.S. and other countries,” Hunter explains.
Dr. Julii Brainard, leader of the UEA study, states, “We found that misinformation during epidemics of infectious disease could make those outbreaks more severe. We tested strategies to reduce misinformation. In our first study, focusing on the flu, monkeypox, and norovirus, we found that reducing the amount of harmful advice being circulated by just 10%—from 50% to 40%—mitigated the influence of bad advice on the outcomes of a disease outbreak. Making 20% of the population unable to share or believe harmful advice—or ‘immunizing’ them against fake news, had the same positive effect.”
Doctor Docs: Doctors Reach Out to Teens on TikTok
Doctors aren’t leaving social media outreach to the pharma marketers. Instead, to reach teens with health information they need and probably aren’t getting from school curriculums, physicians are turning to TikTok. The social media platform is especially popular among young adolescents. Doctors have begun to post short, silly, but informative videos about subjects that are often not touched upon but are highly relatable to teens and that the generation may be too shy to ask a doctor about in person.
@Dr.Jess’ videos about vaping and signs of depression (which racked up 987,000 views). @mamadoctorjones posts videos with quick and expert medical advice about real teen worries, such as what to do when your condom breaks. “We know that the majority of young people are consuming their news online,” Rose Marie Leslie (@DrLeslie), MD, a resident at the University of Minnesota Family Medicine told Masahble. “Because of this, it is absolutely critical for physicians and public health experts to be reaching out to this population in online spaces.”
Despite the forward-thinking and good intentions behind this dissemination of important information, there is no regulation to what an individual can post. Some medical professionals have received criticism for their content. A nurse known as @DRose on TikTok seemingly mocked patients who fake their symptoms in one video, earning backlash from a large community of patients who have been unfairly dismissed when communicating with medical professionals. In a space where doctors are dancing or making funny faces in social media clips, it is important to remain trustworthy.
Another, @NurseHolly, often relates her health content to her Christian faith. In one controversial video, she suggested the best way to completely avoid STIs is to abstain until marriage. Many felt that this dismissed cases of STIs resulting from rape or infidelity and accused Nurse Holly of relying on a religion-based solution in a clinical setting. Both nurses have publicly responded that they’re primary intent was not to accuse or convert their audience, but to make their knowledge viral.
“Social media is absolutely an important space for medical professionals to have conversations around things like public education, trying to combat some of the misinformation and the pseudoscience that’s just running rampant on all these different platforms,” said Sarah Mojarad, a lecturer at the University of Southern California and science communications expert, to CNN. When done correctly, sending out educational messages to a population who is not receiving it in school and may not be able to ask a professional is a tool for good.
Discoveries/Innovations: Studying DNA with Computer-Generated Genomes
Global digital genome databases have allowed scientists to access over 200,000 microbial genomes and study how they come together to form DNA molecules. In fact, all the genome sequences we know today are stored in a database belonging to the National Center for Biotechnology Information in the United States.
With this information, scientists have been able to sequence genes to synthesize DNA of microbes that we use in medicine, general chemistry processes, and agriculture. Now, Beat Christen, Professor of Experimental Systems Biology in the Christen Lab, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, has combined his own digital genome algorithm with chemical DNA synthesis to physically produce artificial genomes. Christen and his team have already produced the world’s first computer-generated genome—Caulobacter ethensis-2.0. While this is not living microbe, the researchers found that the computer produced 580 functional artificial genes out of 680, demonstrating promise that the method can produce designer genomes. This means that the DNA was replicated and reproduced by the computer’s algorithm, but it did not synthesize the living organism to which the DNA belongs. Caulobacter ethensis-2.0 is the genome of Caulobacter crescentus, a harmless freshwater bacterium found in most of our spring water.
The digital genome map that is found in the U.S. database was completed 11 years ago. It took 10 years, 20 scientists, and $40 million to complete, making the computer-generated genome a revolution in the way scientists can study and replicate genomes today.
The FDA made an Rx to OTC switch for three major drugs: Voltaren Arthritis Pain for the temporary relief of arthritis pain; Pataday Twice Daily Relief for the temporary relief of itchy and red eyes due to everyday allergies; and Pataday Once Daily Relief for the temporary relief of itchy eyes due to everyday allergies. GlaxoSmithKline’s Voltaren and Alcon’s allergy drugs received non-prescription status after proving that the drugs are safe and effective for use in self-medication as directed in proposed labeling, and that consumers can understand how to use the drug safely and effectively.
The FDA approved Merck’s Dificid tablets for the treatment of Clostridioides difficile-associated diarrhea (CDAD) in children of six months and older. This children’s diarrheal illness causes almost 500,000 infections annually in the U.S. and is associated with approximately 29,000 deaths within 30 days of the initial diagnosis.
Epizyme’s Tazverik received accelerated approval from the FDA as the first treatment solely for epithelioid sarcoma. Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare form of soft tissue sarcoma that often occurs in young adults. This type of sarcoma usually begins in the soft tissue under the skin of an extremity. Surgical removal is considered the main treatment when the cancer is localized to one area of the body. Tazverik may help avoid this by blocking activity of the EZH2 methyltransferase, which may keep the cancer cells from growing.
Medical Device Approvals
The FDA granted Contura International approval to market the Bulkamid Urethral Bulking System—a single-use kit that includes sterile syringes filled with the Bulkamid gel. Bulkamid is a thick, permanent gel inserted into the wall of the urethra by a doctor to treat women who have stress urinary incontinence due to weak pelvic floor muscles.