First patient enrolled in Baxano iO-Flex study; Medtronic pledges to reduce burden of NCDs;

> The first subject has been enrolled in Baxano's post-market STRiDE trial. The study is comparing the effectiveness of the iO-Flex in treating patients with moderate to severe lumbar spinal stenosis with stable grade I degenerative spondylolisthesis versus the current standard of care. Baxano release

> To reduce the global burden of such noncommunicable diseases as cardiovascular disease and diabetes, Medtronic ($MDT) and the Medtronic Foundation are committing to improve healthcare systems and increase access to life-saving therapies. The initial focus will be on getting people in lower- and middle-income countries access to medical technologies. The commitment also includes $3.4 million in Medtronic Foundation grants to support international health programs to address prevention, treatment and control of NCDs. Medtronic release

> Edwards Lifesciences' ($EW) board of directors has authorized a new share repurchase program to acquire up to an additional $500 million of the company's outstanding common shares. Edwards Lifesciences release

> Cambridge Heart's HearTwave II system has been cleared for sale by Mexican regulatory authorities. In August 2010, Cambridge concluded an exclusive distribution agreement with Mayerick S.A. de S.V. to distribute the HearTwave II system, including the Microvolt T-Wave Alternans software and Micro-V Alternans sensors. Cambridge Heart release

> New diagnostic tools are being evaluated that would quickly indicate whether a patient has African sleeping sickness. The new tools could replace current methods of testing, which are slow and cumbersome. Story

> DJO Global has announced the launch of the Empi Active knee TENS system to treat knee pain, a condition that may affect more than 19 million Americans. DJO release

> Irvine, CA-based Neuroptics has released the VIP-200 Pupillometer, a handheld device to screen patients for refractive surgery. Item

> The George W. Bush Institute, U.S. State Department, PEPFAR, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS have unveiled the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon, a partnership to leverage public and private investment in global health to combat cervical and breast cancer--two of the leading causes of cancer death in women--in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. The initiative includes initial commitments from Merck, Becton Dickinson, QIAGEN, Caris Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline and IBM. UNAIDS release

And Finally... Penn State researchers have developed a novel self-propelled micromotor, which could one day swim through a patient's blood stream. These microbots could deploy drugs or repair blood vessels during their journey. Item