Georgia’s Researchers Reveal Their Healthcare Innovations

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Wendy Alpine

By Jeanie Lerche Davis

Georgia’s Researchers Reveal Their Healthcare Innovations By Alpine PR Associate Jeanie Lerche DavisCreative minds in Georgia are hard at work developing new medical devices, mobile device apps, and high-tech inventions that will change lives.

That’s the message from the recent Clinical Research in Georgia Conference—a gathering of researchers from biomedical think-tanks like Emory, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, and University of Georgia.

Facts of interest:

  • Over 3,000 clinical trials are currently underway in Georgia, a “cradle to rocker” scope that impacts every stage of life, from pediatrics to middle age to senior care.
  • A recently forged partnership between Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA) and Georgia Tech is a $20 million investment targeting the development of pediatric medical devices.

The event’s keynote speaker Ami Klin, MD, director of the Marcus Autism Center, has appeared in the national news recently—reporting on his work to improve early detection of autism. He and co-researcher Warren Jones, PhD, have authored a groundbreaking study on identifying signs of autism in the first months of life.

There’s nothing better than hearing a scientist’s report first-hand—and Klin’s passion for his work is evident.

A few more innovations that caught my attention:

  • The Virtual Medical Assistant™ is a high-tech device that monitors multiple vital signs without the need for adhesive sensor pads. In fact, it does not even come in contact with the patient – as the device panel can be installed on the ceiling or under the mattress. This type of technology will allow monitoring in the neonatal intensive care unit without putting the fragile skin of premature infants at risk, reported Kevin Maher, MD, director of Pediatric Cardiac Nanomedicine at Emory.

This device uses formerly military-classified Ultra Wide Band-based technology that “sees inside the body” – reporting micro-changes in the patient’s condition, and tracking trends when a patient has deteriorating heart and respiratory readings. Read more about The Virtual Medical Assistant™here.

  • DynaNail Ankle Arthrodesis Nail™ is a revolutionary device to correct ankle joint deformities and revise failed total ankle replacements, reported Ken Gall, PhD, Chief Technology officer at MedShape Solutions, Inc., and a Georgia Tech professor.

This titanium and shape memory alloy-based device was designed for adult patients who have a serious ankle joint deformity. DynaNail is the only device that naturally compresses and adjusts to the bones’ changes during fusion and healing – and does so for a longer period, compared to other nails used in this procedure. Read more about DynaNail Ankle Arthrodesis Nail™ here.

  • Virtual ping pong and ice hockey games are helping stroke patients regain use of their upper extremities, says Andrew Butler, PhD, PT, Acting Chair of Physical Therapy at Georgia State University.

While playing the virtual games, patients wear a robotic device on wrist and hand, which provides consistent, precise, repetitive therapy. The result is significantly improved hand function and range of motion – and a big boost in mood because it’s fun, Butler reported. Read more about robotic-assisted therapy for stroke victims here.

Breast cancer and diabetes patients are benefiting from new apps – and clusters of apps – customized for their smartphones and iPads. For cancer patients, apps help relieve stress after diagnosis, providing both education and support when patients are ready for it. For diabetics, a version of the game “Clue” helps them better understand their unhealthy lifestyles to prepare them for making changes.

Conference speakers were an all-star cast drawn from Georgia’s medical research community, brought together by the Atlanta Metro Chamber and the Georgia Department of Economic Development.

If you’re interested in attending next year’s conference, or simply want more information, go to

Jeanie Davis is president of Write2Health and is a former WebMD staff writer. She also is an associate of Alpine PR, providing content development and writing services for healthcare, health IT and medical device companies. For more information, you can reach Jeanie at
Wendy Alpine of
Wendy Alpine
Phone: 404-641-6170
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