Scanner detects fat deposits

Federal regulators have approved the use of a laser scanner that can detect fatty deposits in blood vessels. These fat deposits are largely responsible for causing heart attacks.
This innovative device is called the LipiScan Coronary Imaging System, and consists of a computer system that analyzes and displays data, in addition to the LipiScan laser catheter, which accumulates the data for assessment.

The device was developed by InfraRdDx, a privately held company based in Burlington, Mass. The company believes that the device will aid doctors in placing stents — tubes that provide support after a surgery — in appropriate locations in the blood vessels.

Using the LipiScan Coronary Imaging System will prevent doctors from placing stents in potentially harmful locations, decreasing chances of cardiac arrest.

Source: The New York Times

Pacemaker reduces depression

Studies show that the “brain pacemaker,” a device implanted in the chest that sends electrical signals to brain, can treat depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

Manufactured by Medtronic Inc., the pacemaker works on a technique called deep brain simulation. It has helped patients with the most severe form of depression.

The studies were led by Ali Rezai, head of neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic. During the research, 17 patients who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder were followed for a year after implementing the technique. These patients showed an overall improvement in mood.

A similar test was conducted with OCD patients, when 26 patients were observed for three years and showed immense improvement.

Source: Reuters

Heparin triggers deaths

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have claimed that a contaminant in the blood thinner heparin may have been the cause of a number of heparin-related deaths.

Samples of heparin containing a component known as oversulfated chondroitin sulfate have been linked to a number of side effects. Some of these include allergic reactions causing nausea, shortness of breath, and low blood pressure.

The FDA has traced 81 deaths to the heparin contamination. Most deaths occurred when the patients were given very high doses of heparin.

Source: CNN

Lasik surgery reviewed for safety

Lasik surgery for the eyes has been confirmed to have a number of side effects. The procedure is normally performed to correct the vision of people who wear glasses, so they no longer have to wear them.

Although most people undergoing the surgery benefit from it and have 20/20 vision, it can be detrimental to a small fraction. The surgery has shown to be harmful to around 1 percent of the population undergoing the surgery.

Side effects of the surgery include worsened vision, dry eyes, and an inability to drive at night. Ophthalmologists therefore recommend that the FDA and health providers warn people of the risks of Lasik surgery beforehand.

Source: MSNBC