• Cyberonics (Houston) reported FDA approval of its Demipulse and Demipulse Duo Generators for use in vagus nerve stimulation therapy. The generators are 43% smaller in volume than the Model 102 generators and incorporate greater functionality for the benefit of patients and their physicians, including continuous projection of time to end of service, improved diagnostics, such as direct lead impedance measurement, and faster communication with a programming system. The Demipulse generators also provide a platform for the introduction of additional features and functionality in the future. The Demipulse models, currently in limited release in Europe, are expected to be in limited commercial release in the U.S. late in the company’s fiscal second quarter at a premium to the Model 102 pricing, Cyberonics said.

• EXACT Sciences (Marlborough, Massachusetts) reported publication of a study which concluded that patients who are educated about, but inexperienced with, the various colorectal cancer (CRC) screening methods prefer stool-based DNA technology (sDNA) over other non-invasive methods. In the study, 263 subjects were educated about six CRC screening tests: colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy, FOBT, flexible sigmoidoscopy plus FOBT, double contrast barium enema and sDNA. The authors concluded that average risk patients who are inexperienced with screening prefer sDNA among non-invasive options and prefer colonoscopy, overall, due to its effectiveness. Importantly, the study also showed that most patients value a shared decision-making process with their physician when it came to test selection. Finally, the authors found that because colonoscopy and stool-based tests, particularly sDNA testing, are preferred over other options, it suggests that provider-patient decision making can be tailored to include fewer options. EXACT Sciences uses applied genomics to develop patient-friendly screening technologies for use in the detection of cancer.

A study published in the June issue of Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease demonstrates the accuracy and validity of a new mathematics-based memory assessment developed by Medical Care (Irvine, California), the company said, to detect early signs of memory impairment due to Alzheimer’s and other related disorders. The MCI Screen outperformed two widely used pen-and-paper tests, supporting the importance of regular memory assessments of people over 65 by primary care physicians, according to the study’s authors. The MCI Screen, a computer-based memory assessment, was 96% accurate in detecting impaired patients, while the MMSE was 72% accurate and the CDT 57%. The MCI Screen detected memory disorders from a variety of conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease (43%) to cerebrovascular disease (36%) to depression (3%). Of the 254 patients assessed, 20% were found to have underlying medical conditions. However, two-thirds had no subjective complaints of impairment and would not have received medical attention if they had not been screened for memory loss. Medical Care makes dementia care products.

• OmniGuide (Cambridge, Massachusetts) reported the commercial availability of its OtoBeam flexible CO2 laser fiber and intuitive handpiece product line for use in otology procedures. The clinical benefits of CO2 laser energy, namely precision cutting and coagulation with minimal thermal spread, previously had limited applications in otology due to the absence of a flexible delivery system, the company said. OmniGuide’s flexible CO2 laser fiber product for the first time allows this beneficial energy source to be placed at the surgeon’s fingertips for accurate control when operating on the delicate structures of the middle and inner ear, the company said. The company said CO2 laser energy has been established as a precise and safe laser wavelength due to rapid absorption by the water-like perilymph present in the inner ear, resulting in minimal thermal spread. These characteristics make the CO2 laser a desirable tool in stapedectomy procedures. OmniGuide specializes in products to assist otology, laryngology, head and neck surgery, and pulmonology procedures for which there is the potential to damage delicate untargeted structures.