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Hopkins engineer students create devices to help keep babies alive

Johns Hopkins University Engineering students unveiled devices Monday that they hope will lower the number of still births and deaths from fever-related illnesses in developing countries.

FeverPoint is a screening test that uses a cotton thread and a drop of blood to check for causes of fevers related to malaria, bacterial pneumonia and other infections. The device works similar to a pregnancy test in that it does not require water or electricity, which are not readily available in some countries.

The device helps differentiate between bacterial, viral and malarial infections to come up with a more accurate diagnosis and help reduce overprescription of drugs.

BabyBeats is a fetal heart rate monitor powered by a rechargeable cellphone battery. It will allow doctors in developing countries to monitor the heart rate of a baby during labor and hopefully help cut back on stillbirths. The device at a cost of $10 is more affordable for hospitals in poorer countries.

The Hopkins students worked with maternal and newborn experts at Jhpiego, a non-profit organization affiliated with Hopkins that works to develops low-cost technology for medical workers in developing countries.

The students were from the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design. The devices were unveiled at the Johns Hopksins Biomedical Engineering Design Day. The devices will now be field-tested and the hope is eventually brought to market.

Other devices unveiled were machines that can stop a women from bleeding to death after birth and remove precancerous lesions on the cervix to help prevent cervical cancer.




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