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Vol. 10 No. 18, August 28, 2013


Psychotherapy via Internet
Does psychotherapy via Internet work? For the first time, clinical researchers from the University of Zurich have studied whether online psychotherapy and conventional face-to-face therapy are equally effective in experiments. Based on earlier studies, the Zurich team assumed that the two forms of therapy were on a par. Not only was their theory confirmed, the results for online therapy even exceeded their expectations.
Six therapists treated 62 patients, the majority of whom were suffering from moderate depression. The patients were divided into two equal groups at random and assigned to one of the therapeutic forms. The treatment consisted of eight sessions with different established techniques that stem from cognitive behavior therapy and could be carried out both orally and in writing. Patients treated online had to perform one predetermined written task per therapy unit - such as querying their own negative self-image. They were known to the therapist by name.
At the end of the treatment, no more depression could be diagnosed in 53% of the patients who underwent online therapy - compared to 50% for face-to-face therapy. Three months after completing the treatment, the depression in patients treated online even decreased whereas those treated conventionally only displayed a minimal decline: no more depression could be detected in 57% of patients from online therapy compared to 42% with conventional therapy.


Tiny Microfluidic Device Detects Early Malarial Infections
Malaria has several stages of development and once it passes the ring stage, the cells that it infects are noticeably stiffer and magnetically responsive. This fact has been used to diagnose the disease in humans, but while the Plasmodium is in its early development it remains elusive. An MIT research team has developed a device that may end up being developed into a portable malaria detector. By running whole blood across an electrode, the device detects the impedance (resistance to an applied current) of each cell as it passes by. Since malaria infected cells have a slightly different electrical properties from their healthy counterparts, the detector can essentially spot the diseased cells in real-time.
Swiss, French and German Scientists Develop Miniature Artificial Insect Eyes
Scientists in Switzerland, Germany and France explored how the insect eye works and designed and built the first fully-functional miniature curved artificial compound eyes. The "CURVACE" project received €2 million in EU funding to develop the miniature "insect" eyes, which have high industrial potential in mobile robotics, smart clothing and medical applications. In the future, the artificial compound eye could be used in areas where panoramic motion detection is primordial.

Italy: Device Saves Lives in Case of Fall of the Elderly
The latest version of Vigi'Fall, a device that sends out a distress signal in case its wearer has fallen in hospital or home environment will be launched for use in individual households in October 2013. The device was developed by the Fallwatch consortium having also received funds from the European Union for its development.
France: e-RCP Connects General Practitioners to Hospitals
As of 22 July 2013 e-RCP, a Lorraine software tool supporting the organization of Multidisciplinary Coordination Meetings (Réunions de Concertation Pluridisciplinaires – RCP, in French), has allowed patients to send the full RCP dossier to their treating doctor electronically and securely at the end of each meeting. The new tool constitutes a new feature, long expected by general practitioners, which allows doctors to be alerted immediately concerning hospital RCP reports. This transfer of information from the hospital to general practitioners simplified by the auto-completion module of the treating doctor.

Augmented Reality iPad App Guides Surgeons during Tumor Removal
A new iPad app from Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing MEVIS in Germany is using augmented reality technology to help surgeons excise liver tumors without damaging critical vessels within the organ. A CT scan is performed before the surgery and the imaged vessels are identified within software, all of which is then transferred to the iPad. During the procedure the surgeon can navigate the imaged liver to see where the vessels are, and if the camera is turned on and pointed at the exposed liver the app automatically superimposes the vessel structure of the organ onto the live picture. Notably, the app is not simply a concept, but was already tested successfully during a liver tumor removal at Asklepios Klinik Barmbek in Hamburg.

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