3 US Inventors Named 2017 European Inventor Award Finalists

The European Patent Office (EPO) announced its finalists for the 2017 European Inventor Award in the categories of Industry, Research, Non-EPO Countries, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and Lifetime Achievement. The Award, begun in 2006, aims to pay “tribute to the creativity of inventors the world over, who use their technical, scientific and intellectual skills to make a real contribution to technological progress and economic growth and so improve people’s daily lives.” While any member of the public can nominate someone for the award, the EPO and an international jury evaluate submissions based on technical originality as well as economic and social impact. The Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Venice, Italy on June 15th.

This year, three inventors from the United States were honored as finalists in the Non-EPO Countries category of the competition: Dr. James G. Fujimoto, Eric A. Swanson, and Dr. Waleed Hassanein.

Robert Huber

Dr. Fujimoto and Swanson are being honored together along with German Physicist Robert Huber for the development of optical coherence tomography (OCT). First prototyped in 1993,

James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson

OCT was the first medical imaging technique that allowed visualization of soft tissues in real-time with microscopic detail. Originally developed at MIT by Dr. Fujimoto and Swanson in order to diagnose glaucoma, the technology quickly expanded to cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and dermatological applications.

Dr. Fujimoto is currently a professor at MIT while Swanson received his MS from MIT in 1984; both have received numerous awards and recognition for their pioneering work on OCT.

Dr. Huber brought advances in imaging speed to cardiovascular OCT and joined the team at MIT from 2003 to 2005. He continues to advance OCT technology at his company Optores GmbH.


Dr. Waleed Hassanein is being honored for developing the Organ Care System (OCS), a technique for preserving human organs outside the body three times longer than traditional cold storage. Dr. Hassanein originally developed the technique to store human hearts at Georgetown University by focusing on using warm environments and surrounding the heart with nutrient-rich blood. Implemented clinically in 2007, OCS is now used for human lung and kidney storage as well.

The additional time that an organ remains viable due to OCS presents a significant breakthrough for transplants. With a longer duration of viability outside the human body, organs can now be transported further and doctors can now accurately assess the suitability of a new organ before re-implantation. Today, Dr. Hassanein is the CEO, President, and Director of TransMedics, the company he founded to commercialize the concept of “living organ transplants” for the improvement of clinical practice.

Link: European Inventor Award…

SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device Replicates Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Most medical devices are intended to fight diseases and/or reduce the symptoms. Klick Labs, part of Klick, a product development and marketing firm out of Toronto, Canada, has developed a proof-of-concept system that actually induces some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s. The goal is to promote empathy and understanding of a condition that can be hard to relate to.

The SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device looks a bit like a blood pressure cuff and is worn on the forearm arm by a healthy individual. An electromyography device, which seems to be the Myo, is placed around the forearm of a Parkinson’s patient and used to monitor and record that person’s muscle activity. The electromyograph is wirelessly connected to the SymPulse, which has a neurostimulator and a set of electrodes. Muscle contractions of the patient are immediately transferred to the SymPulse, which in turn recreates the muscle tremors and movements that the patient is experiencing. All this is meant to happen in real-time and when the two people are near each other. Hopefully the system will prove itself beneficial in helping family, caretakers, and others to build a more visceral understanding of how someone with Parkinson’s feels.

Here’s a demo of the SymPulse Tele-Empathy Device being used with twins, one of which is a Parkinson’s sufferer:

Via: Klick Labs…

Asynchrony EM: Code Stroke

New to Asynchrony EM? It's an asynchronous learning course in its third year at Brown EM, with digital content curated into topic modules following our curricular calendar. In the spirit of #FOAMed, we've started putting it out there for the EM professional community at large. Check out the theme song, the 'extras', and the discussion questions -- and leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

Click here for more about us and for other curated teaching modules!

Note: Brown EM residents must complete the modules (including discussion/quiz) in Canvas to obtain credit hours.


This week in Asynchrony, we discuss code stroke.   Recognition of stroke is something ED practitioners must become very good at, however it is hard --and sometimes making the call can be difficult! 

We have a LOT of great #FOAMed content listed -- take your time and enjoy. Stroke mimics, posterior strokes, tPA (both recent data and old controversies, main line and endovascular) -- we've got it all here for you!

But before we wade into the velvet sea of 'code strokes', take a listen to a musical selection that could be aptly described as self-induced stroke symptoms from the consumption of stimulants followed by...whatever:

From EM Docs: how to recognize stroke and develop your ddx highlighting stroke mimics 

From Life in the Fast Lane - a succinct review of must know data & review of literature

"Stroke and TIA: Pearls and Pitfalls", again from EM Docs. Excellent review that helps you organize the management steps of stroke and gives treatment options (along w literature references - BONUS!!) to help streamline your approach 

From REBEL EM - summary of avail  lit to date focusing on effects of TPA

Another option on the data and rational for TPA usage -  from Life in the Fast Lane


Endovascular TPA

a) Drastic changes came to the landscape in 2014, when one of the first major positive trials for endovascular therapy emerged – the Multicenter Randomized Clinical Trial of Endovascular Treatment for Acute Ischemic Stroke in the Netherlands (MR CLEAN). This study ushered in the new era in endovascular intervention.

Endovascular Stroke Therapy: The New Standard? - studies showing support for intravascular TPA

b) While the data may have been promising, the truth is that a limited population will actually benefit from the therapy. The trials focused on patients with severe strokes, with large vessel occlusions and salvageable brain tissue -- however this is a small portion of the stroke patients arriving to our EDs. 

A Word of Caution, from PulmCrit

c) Time to get a little wild & crazy... you think risk factors for vascular disease in our pediatric population are unlikely but they can have strokes too --BEWARE!!  - Pediatric Stroke: EM Focused Highlights (EM Docs)

d) The ever challenging and elusive posterior stroke - an EM Crit Podcast

e) Featuring HINTS and more on posterior strokes - Posterior Stroke and HINTS exam, EM Docs

f) HINTS Demo if you need it however if test of skew is your thing, then feel free to jump ahead!

HINTS Demonstration



a) New information, will our stroke management change soon?  Data on the approach via low dose TPA. From EM Crit: The Case of the Non Inferior Inferiority Continues.

b) A bit older information and data you probably know well.  The following links highlight the history of how TPA came to be an accepted treatment for stroke and the very evidence you use to justify your decision in administering this drug...

The Secret of NINDS, from the SGEM - excellent review of the NINDS study that started the whole TPA regime.

c) The fragility of the NINDS - from PulmCrit

d) From 2014, EM Crit  - an animated and entertaining review of NINDS trial and limitations of the trail that has served as the basis for TPA use.  (Discussion of consent.)

e) EM Cases: Information on the ABCD2 score (if you are using it:) and more!

That's it! See you next time in Asynchrony EM  -- happy #FOAMing!