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Scientists develop ways to detect early forms of prevalent diseases

March 11, 2014

Digital devices have revolutionized senior living, from the way seniors make their coffee in the morning to how they start their cars. One area in which these technological innovations have made a significant impact is within the medical field, where researchers continue to harness the power of these devices into lifesaving procedures. Whether they're using the latest gear in surgery or finding new ways to conduct research, scientists continue to take advantages of new technology within their work.

Test may detect dementia risk
A newly developed blood test may be able to detect a person's risk for developing Alzheimer's, reported a new study published in the journal Nature. According to scientists, certain biomarkers in one's blood have the ability to let doctors know whether they're at risk for developing the disease within two or three years. Researchers tested a group of 525 individuals, and they found that the test was 90 percent accurate in distinguishing between those who will contract dementia and those who will not. While there exists no commonly accepted treatment for the disease yet, Simon Lovestone, a neuroscientist at the University of Oxford, said to Nature News that the test would be crucial for helping patients.

"We desperately need biomarkers which would allow patients to be identified - and recruited into trials - before their symptoms begin," Lovestone said. 

While scientists emphasized that the test was conducted in a small trial, they were confident that the test would be crucial for identifying the disease early. They plan to conduct a larger trial with a more expansive group of participants. 

Apple's iWatch may monitor blood flow patterns
While the tech giant may not be known for its medical advances, Apple announced last month that it would be looking into incorporating a blood flow monitor into its new device, the iWatch. The company has been secretive about this new project, revealing little about its final plans. However, some developers have spoken out to reveal what consumers can expect from the product.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the iWatch may be fitted with technology that could identify heart attack risk. The wrist watch would be able to measure the sound blood makes as it flows through one's veins, meaning that it could identify which noises indicated blocked arteries or lower flow. Bill Kreher, an analyst with Edward Jones Investments, told the source that Apple's new iWatch would be incredibly bold to make it stand out from other products already on the market. 

"It could be part of a larger portfolio of solutions aimed at the broader ecosystem of health care," Kreher said. "That would be fascinating to watch."