The Vagus Nerve: A Back Door for Brain Hacking

Doctors stimulate a nerve in the neck to treat epilepsy, heart failure, stroke, arthritis, and a half dozen other ailments

8 min read
Illustration by Tavis Coburn
Illustration: Tavis Coburn

“This is a bottle of pills,” says J.P. Errico, showing me something that’s obviously not a bottle of pills.

Errico, who is cofounder and CEO of ElectroCore Medical, is holding the GammaCore, a noninvasive vagus nerve stimulator. If ElectroCore’s R&D work holds up, this device is about to turn decades of evidence about the importance of a single nerve into a new kind of medicine: an electrical therapy as benign as a morning swim and as straightforward as popping a pill with your coffee.

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Mayo Clinic Researchers Pump Up Wearable ECG Functions With AI

Single-lead ECG can detect ventricular dysfunction

3 min read
A closeup image of a person about to touch an apple watch screen showing a health app with their finger.
Istockphoto

–Mayo Clinic researchers have developed an artificial intelligence algorithm that can detect weak heart pump functioning from a single-lead electrocardiogram (ECG) on the Apple Watch. They say early results indicate it is as accurate as a medically-ordered treadmill stress test, but could be performed anywhere.

The single-lead AI algorithm was adapted from an existing algorithm that works by analyzing ventricular pumping data from a 12-lead ECG already in clinical use under an Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Dr. Paul Friedman, chair of the clinic’s department of cardiovascular medicine, said the new technology could signal a new era for patients for whom making repeated trips to a hospital or cardiologist’s office are, at the least, inconvenient, and possibly health-threatening.

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Engineers Are Working on a Solar Microgrid to Outlast Lunar Nights

Future lunar bases will need power for mining and astronaut survival

4 min read
A rendering of a lunar base. In the foreground are rows of solar panels and behind them are two astronauts standing in front of a glass dome with plants inside.
P. Carril/ESA

The next time humans land on the moon, they intend to stay awhile. For the Artemis program, NASA and its collaborators want to build a sustained presence on the moon, which includes setting up a base where astronauts can live and work.

One of the crucial elements for a functioning lunar base is a power supply. Sandia National Laboratories, a research and development lab that specializes in building microgrids for military bases, is teaming up with NASA to design one that will work on the moon.

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Modeling Microfluidic Organ-on-a-Chip Devices

Register for this webinar to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices using COMSOL Multiphysics

1 min read
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Comsol

If you want to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices, tune into this webinar.

You will learn methods for simulating the performance and behavior of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices and microphysiological systems in COMSOL Multiphysics. Additionally, you will see how to couple multiple physical effects in your model, including chemical transport, particle tracing, and fluid–structure interaction. You will also learn how to distill simulation output to find key design parameters and obtain a high-level description of system performance and behavior.

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