Low-Cost Test That Detects Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs; however, it can also cause damage to other organs in the body like the liver and kidneys. At the moment doctors do not have a cure for the disorder. Today a person with cystic fibrosis has a life expectancy of about 40 years. This is actually an improvement from fifty years ago when children with the disorder rarely lived past 10 years. Early detection is one of the reasons why people with cystic fibrosis now live longer. Newborns are usually tested days after they are born so that they can receive treatment as soon as possible.

New Low-Cost Test

Scientists have recently developed a new low-cost test for cystic fibrosis. The two most popular ways to test for the disorder are genetic and sweat tests. Genetic tests can be very expensive, so sweat tests are the most popular option. The current sweat test is a labor-intensive process that is not always accurate due to human error. As a result some, cases go undetected. However, the new sweat test is much cheaper and more effective than previous tests. The new test will especially be important to developing countries that often don’t have access to more advanced tests.

Fluorescent Sensors

The new test uses a new sensor that produces fluorescent light. When the sensor detects chloride, though, it emits less light. Scientists compared their test with the current sweat test and found that the new test is just as accurate. Plus, compared with the current test, the new test is better at detecting a variety of chloride levels. One of the reasons why the older test is prone to errors is because it has trouble distinguishing chloride and others ions. Sometimes medications increase the level of ions like iodide. The new test doesn’t have this issue since it can detect the difference between chloride, iodide, and bromide.

Hospital Trip Vs Home Test

Researchers are working on making their test even more effective by giving patients the ability to conduct the test at home. The prototype involves plugging a device into a cellphone, and this device will detect the light change. This version of the test will save clinics and developing countries a significant amount of money. Researchers hope that their test will also be used to detect other disorders that affect chloride levels like Addison’s disease or ALS.

Healthcare and Cybersecurity

October is cybersecurity month. It’s a time for individuals and businesses to reflect on their online habits and make sure that they protecting themselves from any possible threats. As the healthcare industry begins to rely more and more on technology, it must make sure that its cybersecurity is as strong as possible. Earlier this year hackers attacked Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center and held it data hostage until a ransom was paid. The hospital ended up paying the hackers $17,000 in order to regain access. If the healthcare industry isn’t careful, events like this one will happen more frequently. In order to protect patients, the healthcare industry must take steps to protect their cybersecurity. Below are four cybersecurity tips that every healthcare organization should follow.

Security Culture

Healthcare professionals need to understand that cybersecurity is a big deal. Everyone should take precautions to protect the private data of patients. Organizations can accomplish this by offering required training to all members of their staff. When people understand what a security culture looks like, they’ll be less likely to make mistakes that could jeopardize patient data. Protecting patient data must be a priority of healthcare organizations. If this mindset is present from the beginning, mistakes will be less likely to occur.

Mobile Devices

Mobile devices like cell phones and laptops are easy to lose. They are also easy to steal. These devices pose a threat to privacy. Staff who use laptops must be aware of their setting. They must make sure that no unauthorized person can view the information on the screen. If data is transmitted over a mobile device, it should be encrypted to ensure its protection. Healthcare organizations also need to have policies about taking mobile devices out of the workplace. The device should be password protected so that access is limited to the appropriate person only.

Computer Habits

Computers must be properly maintained in order to ensure they are safe and function properly. This means that the computer should be set up properly. It should be password protected. It shouldn’t have unnecessary applications on its system. Staff shouldn’t download any unnecessary applications. The computer should be updated regularly to protect it from new threats. Some organizations use parental controls so that employees cannot download unnecessary files.

Anti-Virus Software

Every healthcare organization should employ anti-virus software on its devices. New viruses appear every day, and hackers routinely develop new methods to steal data. Even a new computer with the best hardware is vulnerable to viruses. Anti-virus software is relatively inexpensive and worth the investment. Every computer should be set up so that at the end of each day the software scans for viruses. Anti-virus software will monitor threats and prevent them from seriously jeopardizing patient data.