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The Cuban National Health System has at its Disposal  an Industry with 25 years of Eperiencey
Medical equipment for cardiology and clinical neurophysiology services, some in the final phase of testing before production is begun, are among the products developed by a Cuban industry born 25 years ago.

This industry is composed basically of the Cuban Neuroscience Center (CNC) and the Central Institute for Digital Research (ICID), both part of the West Havana Scientific Complex.

The devices and equipment produced have been installed within the network of Cubas national health system hospitals, where they contribute to improving the populations quality of life, and are sold in a number of countries where they are sought for their excellence and competitive pricing.

Fernando Arrojas, general director of the ICID, informed Granma International that 5,647 items created by the Institute have been placed in hospitals and polyclinics across the country, 1,948 are in the hands of Cuban internationalist health professionals overseas and that more than 10,000 have been sold during the last five years. Currently the Institute has contracts to produce more than 4,000 items which will be used within the national health network and for export.

The ICID has developed a line of devices for cardiology services, prominent among which are the portable electrocardiogram, CARDIOCID BB, to monitor and analyze heart rhythms, and the EXCORDE, a system for the study of the electrocardiogram patterns of patients engaged in daily activities over a 24 hour period. Its improved versions, according to engineer Fernando Arrojas, are already in the final phase of testing prior to production. The CARDIODEF 2, a modern defibrillator-monitor used in resuscitation, and the HIPERMAX, an ambulatory monitor that allows for the medication and recording of a patients blood pressure and heartbeat over the course of 24 hours, are also among the products created.

The DOCTUS VI used for the monitoring of physiological parameters was conceived for intensive care units, and an improved version has recently been introduced into the national health system.

Also produced at the ICID is the TERAPLUS (a therapeutic electro-stimulator) and the ERGOCID-AT PLUS, based on a PC that allows for the evaluation of the physiological response of healthy people or those with medical problems to physical effort, by analyzing the electrocardiogram, as well as the flow and concentration of gases in air inhaled and exhaled.

This equipment is sold by the company COMBIOMED, which has two affiliates abroad, one in Venezuela and the other in Algeria, countries which have made large-scale purchases, and three branches in Cuba: Havana, Santa Clara and Las Tunas, fundamentally to provide technical services.

For its part, the CNC has developed another line of equipment for the specialty of clinical neurophysiology, which includes the latest advances in the field of neuroscience.

Dr. Mitchell Valdés Sosa, CNC director, recalled the centers creation in 1990 at the initiative of President Fidel Castro and discussed the work of specialists there, the results of which include the MEDICID (a digital electro-encephalograph) and the AUDIX (which records electrical brain activity and allows for the detection of hearing loss and its extent).

Valdés Sosa, also the president of NEURONIC S.A., which commercially distributes the CNCs medical products and technology, informed Granma International that the MEDICID is being used in brain research projects in Spain and in Mexico.

Valdés Sosa emphasized the usefulness of the AUDIX in Cuba in detecting deafness in very young children who could be candidates for cochlear implants, the insertion of an electronic device where the sound receiving auditory organ is found, allowing these patients a normal life.

The AUDIX is also being used in China, Venezuela, Colombia, Spain and Italy, according to his statement.

NEURONIC S.A. exports its products to more than six countries, reported Valdés Sosa, pointing out that the group is working on a monitor that measures the effect of anesthesia on an individual, in collaboration with the University of Oriente, as well as on methods to detect and diagnose learning disabilities with more precision.

In relation to the important international project to map the human brain, he said that Cuba is working independently since the United States is funding the effort and has prevented Cubas official participation. Scientists involved, however, collaborate regularly with specialists in the country.

Cubas program will serve to describe the brain development of Cubans from infancy through to an advanced age, explained the scientist and commented that, at this point, more than 300 people in the Havana municipality of La Lisa have been studied using a variant of the MEDICID that has 132 channels, allowing for the measurement of electrical activity at 132 points on the skull, as opposed to the usual 19 to 22 channels used, along with magnetic resonance techniques.

The MEDICID 03 was the first Cuban medical device to be exported and the first of its kind in the world.

The digital electro-encephalograph with 24 channels to measure electrical activity at 24 points on the skull performs specific tests and a cartographic analysis of brain activity. It includes as well the MICROCID 02, the first computer developed by the Central Institute for Digital Research (ICID)

The multidisciplinary group which developed the device included doctors and specialists at that time members of the Neuroscience Board of Directors of the National Scientific Research Center (CNIC) with ICID engineers and technicians.

The birth of the industry in Cuba took place in 1982.

(Granma International)

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