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Leicester scientists deploy space-age technologies at science-fiction style 'sick bay'
Date:9/1/2011

skin inside the body and detect whether the blood contains enough oxygen is or oxygen-poor and whether circulation in the extremities is shutting down due to medical shock etc. Also early stage bruising and skin cancers should be detectable.

Some of the monitoring equipment, for example the cardio-vascular monitors surrounding the bed, are already in use but, Professor Sims says, they are rarely combined in such a comprehensive way - normally only one such type of monitor is used at a time. Even though nearly all the technologies employed in the Unit have been used in one way or another, they have never all been used in an integrated manner and with a large pool of patients.

"Ultimately in the longer term we would aim to work towards something like the "tricorder" device seen in futuristic science series like Star Trek. What we are developing so far is more like a first attempt at the medical bed in the sci-fi series," he said.

According to Professor Coats, early disease detection often leads to better outcomes. This technology could make for quicker and more patient-specific diagnoses.

He says: "I am a specialist in emergency medicine and we are starting the project in this area. But it could also be valuable elsewhere in hospitals and in GP surgeries and perhaps even in a future generation of ambulances. We are talking to industrial partners who might get involved in commercialising this work as the project matures."

Professor Sims added: "It is hard to predict how this work will develop. But ten years from now it could be routine for diagnostic technology to be combined in this way."


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Contact: University of Leicester Press Office
pressoffice@le.ac.uk
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University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert

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