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MedTech

Apps, gadgets, and other innovations that are advancing health and health science.

1 / Stomach Regulator

gastroenterology

One in five Americans suffers from chronic stomach issues, ranging from heartburn to severe gastric disorders. For thousands of years, Eastern medicine has treated tummy troubles by stimulating a small spot just below the bend in the wrist to regulate stomach function. Johns Hopkins researchers have now developed a device, worn like a wristwatch, which delivers a faint electrical impulse every five seconds to this same sensitive pulse point. A kind of pacemaker for the stomach, the device—now in clinical testing—gently jump-starts the organ’s slow waves back into a healthy rhythm.

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John S. Dykes

2 / Got Game?

fitness

The list of excuses not to exercise just got shorter. This new app can help you find a tennis partner, a fourth for golf, and a pickup basketball game in your area. Squadz, available for iPhone and Android, has the potential to be the OpenTable of recreational sports. Designed by a computer science student at Johns Hopkins, Squadz shows all user-scheduled games in the immediate area.

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Pui Yan Fong

3 / Mood Awareness

mental health

To treat depression, you first need to identify it. Aimed at teens and their parents, the mADAP app features short videos from experts about common symptoms associated with depression, such as appetite change and drug/alcohol use. The app, created by the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry, adapts the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, a curriculum used in schools across the country. The app also offers perspectives on treatment and information on seeking care.

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Mitch Blunt

4 / Heart Checker

cardiology

Current treatments for arrhythmia include implanting a small defibrillator, which jolts the heart back to a normal rhythm. The implant works, but it’s invasive, costly, and carries some risk. An interdisciplinary Johns Hopkins team has developed a noninvasive, 3-D virtual heart assessment tool to help doctors determine whether a particular patient faces a high risk of a life-threatening arrhythmia and would benefit from a defibrillator implant. In a proof-of-concept study, the team reported that its new digital approach yielded more accurate predictions than the imprecise blood-pumping measurement now used by most physicians.

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Courtesy of Natalia Trayanova

5 / Freezing Cancer

oncology

In rural South Africa, therapeutic options for breast cancer are few and literally far between, as standard treatments such as a mastectomy are expensive and are offered only at large regional hospitals. A Johns Hopkins radiologist and her students looked into ways to treat this deadly cancer in such poor, remote areas. They targeted cryotherapy, a treatment that uses extreme cold to kill cancer cells, and came up with a reusable probe that delivers throttled CO2 right to the tumor.

6 / Dementia Early Warning

neurology

Created by a Johns Hopkins neuropsychologist, Alzcast.org offers a free online assessment that evaluates dementia risk in as little as 10 minutes using an anonymous questionnaire and a brief memory test. The site gathers factors such as age, family history, physical health, and lifestyle to deliver feedback, which includes suggestions for maintaining brain health. High-risk individuals are encouraged to follow up with a clinical assessment, all in an effort to delay the onset of symptoms.

7 / On the Same Page

patient care

Just learned you need surgery and have a million questions? Start here. Based on Johns Hopkins’ pioneering use of safety checklists, Doctella.com and its mobile app provide patients with questions to ask before, during, and after a medical procedure. You can learn where and how big an incision will be, or approximate recovery time. The free service also allows physicians to answer specific queries, like how to change a dressing, and to remind patients to take their medications.

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