One in 10 U.S. Residents Affected by Large Health Data Breaches

More than 1,000 medical record breaches involving 500 or more people have been reported to HHS since federal reporting requirements took effect nearly five years ago, according to HHS, Modern Healthcare‘s “Vital Signs” reports (Conn, “Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 6/13).

HHS has been tracking data breaches since September 2009, when the HIPAA breach notification rule Continue reading

Health Check on the Road

Safety in traffic depends on a number of factors. One decisive aspect is how fit the driver is. A research team at the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM), in collaboration with researchers at the BMW Group, managed to develop a sensor system integrated into the steering wheel that can monitor the driver’s state of health while driving. The driver can use his time behind the wheel for a minor health check. At the same time the device might be used recognize the onset fainting spells or heart attacks. Continue reading

Starving Yogi Astounds Indian Scientists

Starving Yogi Astounds Indian Scientists

MUMBAI – An 83-year-old Indian holy man who says he has spent seven decades without food or water has astounded a team of military doctors who studied him during a two-week observation period.

Prahlad Jani spent a fortnight in a hospital in the western India state of Gujarat under constant surveillance from a team of 30 medics equipped with cameras and closed circuit television.

During the period, he neither ate nor drank and did not go to the toilet.

“We still do not know how he survives,” neurologist Sudhir Shah told reporters after the end of the experiment. “It is still a mystery what kind of phenomenon this is.”

The long-haired and bearded yogi was sealed in a hospital in the city of Ahmedabad in a study initiated by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the state defence and military research institute.

The DRDO hopes that the findings, set to be released in greater detail in several months, could help soldiers survive without food and drink, assist astronauts or even save the lives of people trapped in natural disasters.

“(Jani’s) only contact with any kind of fluid was during gargling and bathing periodically during the period,” G. Ilavazahagan, director of India’s Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), said in a statement.

Jani has since returned to his village near Ambaji in northern Gujarat where he will resume his routine of yoga and meditation. He says that he was blessed by a goddess at a young age, which gave him special powers.

During the 15-day observation, which ended on Thursday, the doctors took scans of Jani’s organs, brain, and blood vessels, as well as doing tests on his heart, lungs and memory capacity.

“The reports were all in the pre-determined safety range through the observation period,” Shah told reporters at a press conference last week.

Other results from DNA analysis, molecular biological studies and tests on his hormones, enzymes, energy metabolism and genes will take months to come through.

“If Jani does not derive energy from food and water, he must be doing that from energy sources around him, sunlight being one,” said Shah.

“As medical practitioners we cannot shut our eyes to possibilities, to a source of energy other than calories.”

Researchers Test Smart Bandage for Wireless Vitals Monitoring

Researchers in Britain have begun a series of clinical trials of “smart plaster,” a disposable bandage with embedded sensors that measure vital signs and wirelessly transmit the readings to a monitoring device.

The first round of trials will test the accuracy of heart rate, body temperature and respiration rate, as measured by the basic bandage. A second set of tests will see how the devices perform when patients with minor conditions take a shower or get x-rays. In the final round, the bandages will monitor patients recovering from serious respiratory ailments. “We need to challenge the device a little bit and make sure it is reliable,” Dr. Nick Oliver, a clinical research fellow at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College in London, told the BBC.

Oliver and others involved in the trials believe the wireless monitors not only could free hospital patients from a tangle of wires, they could help monitor people at home, locate patients at risk of falling or even aid top athletes in their training.