Home Health Roundup: Korean researchers develop biosensors to track serotonin levels in real-time and...

Roundup: Korean researchers develop biosensors to track serotonin levels in real-time and more briefs

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Korean researchers develop biosensor to measure serotonin levels in real-time

A research team from the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology has developed a biosensor that can track serotonin levels in real time for the diagnosis of depression.

Depression, which affects over a million South Koreans, is believed to be partly caused by imbalances in the level of neurotransmitters in the human body, such as serotonin, which helps stabilise mood. Commonly, serotonin levels are analysed through mass spectrometry of blood samples which can be time-consuming.

To expedite this process, the KRIBB researchers developed a bio-probe that reacts selectively to serotonin and a nano biosensor that can detect even trace amounts of serotonin by combining it with highly conductive nanofibers.

The sensor reacts with serotonin and generates an electrical signal that is used to measure the concentration of serotonin. 

In an evaluation of its efficacy, the biosensor has shown a high level of reliability in detecting serotonin in artificial body fluids. Findings of the evaluation have been published in the journal Nano Convergence.

“Real-time monitoring of serotonin makes it possible for us to observe the effect of serotonin on the function of the body, as well as the change in secretion in response to harmful external stimuli,” said research lead Dr Oh-seok Kwon.


Lunit gets Taiwan’s nod for AI mammography solution

South Korean medical AI startup Lunit has received the approval of Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration for its AI mammography solution.

Its Lunit INSIGHT MMG has been cleared for commercial release in Taiwan as a class 2 medical device.

The solution uses AI to detect suspicious lesions in mammography images with 96% accuracy.

The company also receive similar regulatory approvals for INSIGHT MMG in the United States last year and in Canada in June this year.


Singapore’s National University Cancer Institute unveils cancer treatment cost calculator

The National University Cancer Institute in Singapore has teamed up with health technology startup Bot MD to create a chemotherapy and cancer treatment cost calculator.

The NCIS Chemotherapy Cost Calculator or ChemoCalc provides an instant estimate of a patient’s monthly out-of-pocket expenses based on their prescribed cancer treatment, residency status, means-testing tier and eligibility for various government subsidy schemes. 

The launch of this app comes ahead of the upcoming changes to the MediShield Life reimbursement model, which will only cover a positive list of clinically proven and cost-effective cancer drug treatments. 

“In light of the upcoming MOH policy changes, we wanted to create a simple and effective tool that would help our patients understand the cost of their treatment, so that they can be empowered to make decisions on their care, factor these costs into their budgets, and seek help early if costs are prohibitive for them,” explained Dr Jen Wei Ying, an associate consultant at the NCIS Department of Haematology-Oncology.

Chinese insurtech firm Waterdrop launches AI virtual assistant for insurance providers

Beijing-based insurance tech company Waterdrop has recently unveiled an AI-powered virtual assistant for insurance providers.

According to a press release, the Waterdrop Assistant is a human-like digital assistant that helps online insurance service teams with tasks, including data processing and analysis, online user management, and customer services. 

It is able to conduct simple conversations with customers, and record and collate their protection needs and intention to purchase insurance. According to the company, the digital assistant is well-versed with over 100 insurance products on Waterdrop’s data library.

Since its launch, Waterdrop Assistant has processed 86% of user sessions with 97% accuracy for intention recognition, helping free up around 37% of customer service manpower and increase policy renewal rate.


Medical imaging company United Imaging Healthcare debuts in Shanghai

Chinese medical imaging devices and equipment provider United Imaging Healthcare has gone public in China through a listing on the Science and Technology Innovation Board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Net proceeds from its $1.6 billion initial public offering will go to its research and development of next-generation products, industrialisation projects, and marketing service network projects.

United Imaging’s products have been adopted by medical and research institutions in more than 40 countries worldwide, including the United States, Japan, Italy, and New Zealand.

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