Weekly roundup: January 10, 2020

An astronaut aboard the ISS, whose identity has been withheld, was diagnosed with a blood clot also known as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in their jugular vein. The asymptomatic clot (which means the patient had no visible symptoms) was found by the astronaut while performing an ultrasound on their neck for a study on the distribution of body fluids in zero gravity.

NASA contracted Stephan Moll, MD, a DVT expert on how to treat the astronaut. NASA doctors along with Moll chose to treat the clot with blood thinners despite the additional risks faced in outer space. Normally the protocol for treating a patient with DVT would be to start them on blood thinners for at least three months to prevent the clot from getting bigger and to lessen the harm it could cause if it moved to a different part of the body such as the lungs.

Despite the limited supply of meds on board the space station and the additional risks, Moll remotely treated his first space-patient for over 40 days with a low dose of blood-thinning medication before NASA could send an alternate treatment via a supply rocket. The astronaut was treated for a total of 90 days, preforming regular ultra-sounds on themselves to monitor the DVT and stopped treatment four days before returning to Earth, to reduce the risks associated with the medication when retentring the atmosphere, taking into account the toll it takes on the human body.

Sinai Health System, a Chicago healthcare provider, is the latest organization in the medical field to suffer a cybersecurity attack. Hackers gained access to the company’s email by means of phishing, with patient records stored in the mail accounts placing their sensitive information at risk. The breach has been connected to two employee email accounts which held details such as patients’ dates of birth, names, health insurance information, Social Security numbers, and addresses.

In a statement, the organization spoke about the attack saying, “forensic information technology experts determined that patient information could be at risk after an unknown third party gained unauthorized access to two employee email accounts. Experts performed an investigation and found no evidence that any patient information was removed from Sinai Health System’s email accounts or systems. Further, Sinai is not aware of any misuse of any patient’s information and has seen no indication that any patient’s information is in the hands of someone it should not be as a result of this incident.”

A new Smart Cane is changing the lives of the blind. The WeWalk cane utilizes the users Smartphone and GPS to for directions. By telling the mobile device where they would like to go, the cane and phone work to together to direct the user to their chosen location, just like maps on your phone. The WeWalk cane is also equipped with ultrasonic sensors that scan the path for any obstacles or people, with the handle vibrating when something is in the way.

The MarsCat is a completely autonomous feline designed to mimic the best and worst qualities we all about our real-life furry friends. Created by Elephant Robotics, this hairless pet is made from silicone and is battery-operated. Each “interactive” cat is created to be unique from personality, eye color, and body. Designed with some extra qualities most cats don’t have, the MarsCat will listen to instructions such as “stop”, “quiet,” and “come here.” It will also play with toys and bury litter, meow, knead and stretch.

According to the company website, this robot kitty is “a purrfect cat who enjoys spending quality time playing with you. She can feel you, hear you and comfort you in her own way. Interactions are joyful. She can be a good companion.”