Neurosurgery is about to change with the arrival of Neuro Arm, a new robot system developed by specialists of The Calgary University.

This device was designed by Garnette Sutherland, a neurosurgeon who worked the last 6 years to make the device that frees the surgeons of the possible faults caused by the human hand.

“Many of our microsurgery techniques come from the 60s, and have put to the surgeons the lack of the exactitude, precision, skills and resistance,” explained the professor of neurosurgery.

“Neuro Arm shows a spatial resolutions that allows neurosurgeons to operate with such precision tha we could speak of a cellular level.”

It is designed to be operated by a neurosurgeon from a workstation, the robot operates with a system of realtime images, offering a detail without precedent, and a better control of the equipment.

The surgical tests of Neuro Arm in the human patient are in process, and we hope that the first surgery with this device could be this summer,” added Sutherland.

This surgical device was designed and made in collaboration with MDA, a well-known company to participate with the NASA in the development of the robotic arm Canadarm2, used in the space shuttles. The project began in 2001, had a cost of 2 million dollars, mainly provided by B.J. and Don Seaman.

“The best surgeons can work in a space of 1/8 of inch, whereas this robot does possible to work in a space of the wide one of a hair,” explained Don Seaman.

Aquatic Wheelchair

An aquatic wheelchair that helps people in rehabilitation process (i.e. amputations) was created by students of the National Polytechnical Institute, Berenice Nieto Ávila and Miguel Ángel Herrera Ruiz.

This amphibious technology allows physiotherapists to do their job in a better environment and with less risk. It offers comfort, security and efficiency for the patients.

The structure of this device was made of nickel, floaters of polystyrene covered with fabric nylon and a mechanism that allow the necessary movements so that the patient can enter the bathtubs or pools, with no need of aid.

“With this chair the patient can move by himself without fear to sink or to hurt himsellf”, Miguel Ángel Herrera emphasized.

The approximated weight of the chair within the water is of 15 kilograms (30 pounds approx) and supports a maximum weight of 150 kilos (300 pounds approx).

The creators will start a company dedicated to design, constructe and implement this kind of devices, focusing in rehabilitation techniques. At the moment they look for financing to commercialize their product and other innovations of rehabilitation field. The amphibious wheelchair obtained the first place of the Seventh Encounter of Entrepreneurs.

Mexican medstudents learn with robots

They are patients in a hospital, but they don’t suffer, because they are robotized models that allow students to learn without having the consequences of a real medical emergency.

It’s been a year since the beginning of the Certification and Training Center of Medical Aptitudes in the Medicine Faculty of the UNAM, 179 robots have served 19,496 students to solve urgencies: from acute coronary syndromes to high risk childbirth.

“If they don’t do it right, the patients will “die”, and this is reflected in a real EKG”, said doctor Jose Alberto García Aranda, coordinator of the CECAM.

Prosthetic Arm developed by a Mexican engineer

Prosthetic arm

An articulated prosthesis that reproduces the seven basic movements of the human arm, using the electrical impulses of the human body, was developed by a student of the National Polytechnic Institute (Instituto Politécnico Nacional).

Simón Guerrero Castillo, who in in December finished his Engineering in Communications and Electronics career, will obtain its title with this device, which is formed by three adaptable modules at different levels from amputation, is light and tries to be of low cost, because it is done with mexican and easy to obtain components.

“The arm works with microelectrical signals that generates the body, which are registered by a group of 22 to 26 electrodes that are placed in a customized shoulder reinforcement according to the stature of each patient. This electrodes switch-on the commands of execution of the arm to control variables like position, speed and pressure”, details Simón Guerrero, of 25 years.

He constructed this single prototype, in its house and with an investment of $18,000 pesos ($1,800 dlls.)

The movements of this device are very similar to the natural ones: wrist (left, right, up, down); turn of the forearm; rotation of the forearm; elbow and shoulder (elevation, up, down); opening and closing of the hand. These movements are made with nine small motors that operate with two nickel-cadmium batteries of 12 volts.

“My main motivation is to make a prosthesis that helps people in Mexico and that it has an accessible price, because unfortunately many arm amputations are suffered by people of low income that cannot pay a nice prosthesis”.

In order to install the arm to the patients surgery is not required.

Surgery Simulator

Via Wired News

Is it possible to train yourself in a virtual patient?

A short answer is Yes.

In India, Professor Suvranu De is developing a surgery simulator with help of this couple of devices:

cyberglove phantom
Cyberglove & Phantom devices

Sounds nice, but… I personally believe that you cannot train yourself in a virtual environment because there are not virtual patients nor virtual diseases. There are certain things that cannot be learned that way. Human body and human organs manifest in different ways in disease and wellness, as the number of people on earth.

Here is an example of the SimSurgery:

Have you ever seen a virtual fever or cancer? I don’t.

The basics of minimally invasive surgery skills could be learned in virtual environments (like learn for the first time the spatial skill in angle laparoscopes). From there to the point of learn certain procedure in a simulator, it’s a long way.

Perhaps this kind of technology can have some applications, but we don’t have to hurry and change what it has been proven for years… although somebody call us old fashioned.

What do you think about surgery simulators?

Dr. Jon Mikel Iñarritu


With new look, new content and new features appears the new ePOCRATeS Rx.

I’ve been trying this brand new version of ePOCRATeS and I think that it’s quite better than the previous version.

The main features are:

  • My Epocrates personalized homepage
    • Go straight to the drug monographs you recently viewed
    • Create shortcuts to get to your favorite applications faster
    • Launch MobileCME activities in your specialty
    • Edit your profile
My ePOCRATes My ePOCRATeS News and updates Lookup
  • New drug safety content
    • Therapeutic Drug Levels
    • Monitoring Parameters
    • Non-Interchangeable Forms
    • Pregnancy and lactation information
  • New decision support tools
    • Corticosteroid Converter
    • Narcotic Analgesic Converter
    • Heparin Dosing Protocol
    • INR Calc
    • Topical Corticosteroids
  • Memory Card support (this is nice)
  • More than 3,300 brand and generic drug monographs, searchable by name or class
  • Peer-reviewed drug content summarized from a wide range of authoritative sources
  • MultiCheck drug-interaction checker (30 drugs simultaneously)
  • Integrated health insurance formularies
  • MedMath* medical calculators, e.g., Body Mass Index, Creatinine Clearance
  • Ability to personalize the application to suit your needs
  • DocAlert messaging — relevant, timely clinical and specialty news
  • AutoUpdate

Give it a try.


Jon Mikel Iñarritu, M.D.

Mobile Data Visualization

At Quinn Lab, San Diego Supercomputer Center, doctor Quinn, has an outstanding project called Patient Notes with mobile devices.

The famous and enthusiastic project of Dr. Quinn and Dr. Wright, consists in the transmission of medical data to mobile devices such as PDAs and cell phones to enable medical workers in the field to instantaneously gain access to, view and prognosticate on complex medical visualizations.

With this software, medical notes and patient tests can be downloaded onto a cell phone or PDA in just minutes.

All the data on a phone is stored in the memory expansion slot. In these medical phones, however, Instead of music and digital pictures, it could hold a virtual scan of the body and much more.


Dr. Quinn's Patient Notes
The 3-D mobile medical data program should be available within a year.

This is a good start to revolutionize the way of getting access to medical information about our patients.
Its uses are endless: ambulance, emergency departments, office, etc.

What if an earthquake destroys Tlalpan?

At Mexico City The village of Tlalpan at the south of the city concentrates aproximately 80% of specialized medical atention in the country. At the image from a Satellital view are identified some very important hospitals that are at walking distance in a residential zone.
Satellital view:  Tlalpan, México City

Gerardo, M.D.

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