AI-powered smartphone app diagnoses ear infections

An image of the tympanic membrane. [Image courtesy of UPMC]

Physician-scientists at UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh found a way to use AI to accurately diagnose ear infections.

The AI-powered smartphone app that diagnoses acute otitis media (AOM) could help decrease unnecessary antibiotic use in young children. Researchers published their outcomes in JAMA Pediatrics.

AOM commonly has antibiotics prescribed to treat it, but can prove difficult to discern from other ear conditions without intensive training. This AI tool makes a diagnosis by assessing a short video of the eardrum captured by an otoscope connected to a smartphone camera. The researchers say this offers a simple and effective solution with potentially more accuracy than trained clinicians’ diagnoses.

“Acute otitis media is often incorrectly diagnosed,” said senior author Dr. Alejandro Hoberma, pro…

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Machine learning model flags patients with high risk of surgical complications

Improving the health of high-risk patients before their surgeries can lower mortality rates and cut healthcare costs. [Image by Gorodenkoff via Adobe Stock]

A newly developed machine learning model for surgical patients is automatically flagging those at high risk of complications to improve their odds of survival and reduce healthcare system costs.

Each day, the software reviews electronic medical records for patients scheduled for surgery and identifies those who might benefit from individualized coordinated care or prehabilitation to improve surgical results.

Researchers and physicians at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) trained their algorithm on medical records for more than 1.2 million surgical patients. To help predict whether patients might suffer from complications after surgery, they focused the model on deaths from strokes, heart attacks and other…

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Spinal cord stimulation helps with mobility after stroke, researchers say

[Screenshot obtained from Pitt video demonstration]

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University say spinal cord stimulation could improve arm and hand mobility.

This neurotechnology instantly improves arm and hand mobility in those affected by stroke. It could allow those affected by moderate to severe stroke to conduct normal daily activities more easily.

The researchers published their report in Nature Medicine.

According to a news story on the Pitt website, the researchers used a pair of thin, metal electrodes. They implant the electrodes, which resemble strands of spaghetti, along the neck. These electrodes engage intact neural circuits, allowing stroke patients to fully open and close their fist. Patients also may lift their arm above their head or use a fork and knife to cut a piece of steak.

“We discovered that electrical stimulation of specific spinal …

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This textile coating could repel viruses like COVID-19

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have developed a washable textile coating that repels viruses.

Textiles and materials used in personal protective equipment can absorb and carry viruses and bacteria and spread diseases without the healthcare worker knowing. Because PPEs are in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare workers are finding ways to provide better protection while allowing for the safe reuse of the protective equipment, according to the LAMP Lab researchers at the university.

“Recently there’s been a focus on blood-repellent surfaces, and we were interested in achieving this with mechanical durability,” lead author of the study Anthony Galante said in a news release. “We want to push the boundary on what is possible with these types of surfaces, and especially given the current pandemic, we knew it’d be important to test against viruses.”

The coating is made to withstand ultrasonic washing, scru…

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