Posts Tagged ‘human body’

Flexible Nanogenerators to Power Implantable Microdevices

Flexible Nanogenerators to Power Implantable Microdevices

Flexible Nanogenerators to Power Implantable Microdevices

The KAIST and GIT team developed a power generation technology using bendable thin film nano-materials

IMAGE: Flexible thin film nanomaterials produce electricity.

Can a heart implanted micro robot operate permanently? Can cell phones and tiny robots implanted in the heart operate permanently without having their batteries charged?

It might sound like science fiction, but these things seem to be possible in the near future.

The team of Prof. Keon Jae Lee (KAIST, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering) and Prof. Zhong Lin Wang (Georgia Institute of Technology, Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering) has developed new forms of highly efficient, flexible nanogenerator technology using the freely bendable piezoelectric ceramic thin film nano-materials that can convert tiny movements of the human body (such as heart beats and blood flow) into electrical energy.

The piezoelectric effect refers to voltage generation when pressure or bending strength is applied to piezoelectric materials. The ceramics, containing a perovskite structure, have a high piezoelectric efficiency. Until now, it has been very difficult to use these ceramic materials to fabricate flexible electronic systems due to their brittle property.

The research team, however, has succeeded in developing a bio-eco-friendly ceramic thin film nanogenerator that is freely bendable without breakdown.

Nanogenerator technology, a power generating system without wires or batteries, combines nanotechnology with piezoelectrics that can be used not only in personal mobile electronics but also in bio-implantable sensors or as an energy source for micro robots. Energy sources in nature (wind, vibration, and sound) and biomechanical forces produced by the human body (heart beats, blood flow, and muscle contraction/relaxation) can infinitely produce nonpolluting energy.

Prof. Keon Jae Lee (KAIST) was involved in the first co-invention of “High Performance Flexible Single Crystal Electronics” during his PhD course at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This nanogenerator technology, based on the previous invention, utilized the similar protocol of transferring ceramic thin film nano-materials on flexible substrates and produced voltage generation between electrodes.

Prof. Zhong Lin Wang (Georgia Tech, inventor of the nanogenerator) said, “This technology can be used to turn on an LED by slightly modifying circuits and operate touchable flexible displays. In addition, thin film nano-materials (‘barium titanate’) of this research have the property of both high efficiency and lead-free bio compatibility, which can be used in future medical applications.”

The piezoelectric generation of perovskite BaTiO3 thin films on a flexible substrate has been applied to convert mechanical energy to electrical energy for the first time. Ferroelectric BaTiO3 thin films were deposited by radio frequency magnetron sputtering on a Pt/Ti/SiO2/(100) Si substrate and poled under an electric field of 100 kV/cm. The metal-insulator (BaTiO3)-metal-structured ribbons were successfully transferred onto a flexible substrate and connected by interdigitated electrodes. When periodically deformed by a bending stage, a flexible BaTiO3 nanogenerator can generate an output voltage of up to 1.0 V. The fabricated nanogenerator produced an output current density of 0.19 ?A/cm2 and a power density of 7 mW/cm3. The results show that a nanogenerator can be used to power flexible displays by means of mechanical agitations for future touchable display technologies.

More and more sensors and devices are being implanted into the human body, however powering them remains a tough problem in many cases. Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a flexible nanogenerator that converts small movements of the human body into electricity. It uses freely bendable piezoelectric ceramic thin film nano-material, which generates voltages when pressure or bending forces are applied. Apart from medical applications, it might also be used to power personal mobile electronics or micro robots. Many different energy sources, such as wind, vibration and sound, but also heart beats, blood flow and muscle contraction, can be used with this technology. Here’s a short video demonstrating this technology in action.

Source : http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-11/tkai-nfo111010.php

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Hyperspectral Imaging Coming to Medical Applications

Hyperspectral Imaging Coming to Medical Applications

Hyperspectral Imaging Coming to Medical Applications

A powerful color-based imaging technique is making the jump from remote sensing to the operating room—and a team of scientists* at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have taken steps to ensure it performs as well when discerning oxygen-depleted tissues and cancer cells in the body as it does with oil spills in the ocean.

microarrayer

Microarrayer machines (A) now can mix colors and deposit them on microscope slides, which can be used to calibrate hyperspectral imagers (HSI) for use in medical applications. The finished slides can be custom-colored (B) to calibrate HSIs to find specific types of tumors or disease tissue. Close up, they resemble dot-matrix printwork (C).

Credit: Clarke/NIST

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The technique, called hyperspectral imaging (HSI), has frequently been used in satellites because of its superior ability to identify objects by color. While many other visual surveying methods can scan only for a single color, HSI is able to distinguish the full color spectrum in each pixel, which allows it to perceive the unique color “signatures” of individual objects. Well-calibrated HSI sensors have been able to discern problems from diseases in coral reefs to pollution in the atmosphere as determined by the distinct spectral signature at a location.

“Because diseased tissues and cells also have distinct spectra, scientists have been trying to use HSI for medical applications as well,” says NIST physicist Jeeseong Hwang. “But any time you tell a machine to scan for something, you need to be sure it is actually looking for what you want, and you have to make sure that the image analysis algorithm extracts the correct color information out of a complex multicolor data set. We decided to create a way to calibrate an HSI device and to test its algorithm as well.”

Matthew Clarke, a former National Research Council-supported postdoctoral fellow in Hwang’s group who is currently working in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., wrote new software for a device called a microarrayer, so named because it is capable of laying down hundreds of tiny sample droplets in specific places on a microscope slide’s surface. Normally a microarrayer creates DNA arrays for genetic research, but the team remade it into an artistic tool, programming it to select chemicals of different hues and lay them down on the slide’s surface.

The results, which look a bit like dot-matrix printing, can be used to calibrate medical HSI devices and image analysis algorithms. When combined with HSI in a medical imaging application, this effort could allow a surgeon to look for cells with a specific chemical makeup, as determined by the cells’ color.

“Scientists and engineers can create a custom slide with the exact colors representing the chemical makeup they want the HSI devices to detect,” Hwang says. “It could be a good way to make sure the HSI devices for medical imaging perform correctly so that surgeons are able to see all of a tumor or diseased tissue when operating on a patient.”

This project is part of a larger effort to evaluate and validate optical medical imaging devices, led by the NIST team members, David Allen, Maritoni Litorja, Antonio Possolo, Eric Shirley and Jeeseong Hwang. Hwang adds that the special issue** of Biomedical Optics Express in which the team’s findings appear is the output of a recent NIST-supported international workshop on the topic.

*M.L. Clarke, J.Y. Lee, D.V. Samarov, D.W. Allen, M. Litorja, R. Nossal and J. Hwang. Designing microarray phantoms for hyperspectral imaging validation. Biomedical Optics Express, Vol. 3(6), pp. 1291-1299 (June 2012), doi: 10.1364/BOE.3.001300.

The design and fabrication of custom-tailored microarrays for use as phantoms in the characterization of hyperspectral imaging systems is described. Corresponding analysis methods for biologically relevant samples are also discussed. An image-based phantom design was used to program a microarrayer robot to print prescribed mixtures of dyes onto microscope slides. The resulting arrays were imaged by a hyperspectral imaging microscope. The shape of the spots results in significant scattering signals, which can be used to test image analysis algorithms. Separation of the scattering signals allowed elucidation of individual dye spectra. In addition, spectral fitting of the absorbance spectra of complex dye mixtures was performed in order to determine local dye concentrations. Such microarray phantoms provide a robust testing platform for comparisons of hyperspectral imaging acquisition and analysis methods.

Hyperspectral imaging (HSI) is a technique that analyzes a wide spectrum of light coming into a camera. Instead of assigning individual pixels to primary colors (usually red, green, and blue), the light coming into individual pixels is broken down into many more bands, providing more information of what’s being observed. Hyperspectral imaging has particularly been useful for satellites monitoring the environment on Earth, but now researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are working on bringing this technology to image the human body for disease.

Until now the problem has been calibrating an HSI device so that it spots the specific color signature of whatever is being looked for. The NIST team developed a method, which uses something called a microarrayer, to do this calibration by depositing substances that have the precise color they’re looking for and calibrating the HSI device against that.

More info from NIST’s press release:

“Because diseased tissues and cells also have distinct spectra, scientists have been trying to use HSI for medical applications as well,” says NIST physicist Jeeseong Hwang. “But any time you tell a machine to scan for something, you need to be sure it is actually looking for what you want, and you have to make sure that the image analysis algorithm extracts the correct color information out of a complex multicolor data set. We decided to create a way to calibrate an HSI device and to test its algorithm as well.”

Matthew Clarke, a former National Research Council-supported postdoctoral fellow in Hwang’s group who is currently working in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., wrote new software for a device called a microarrayer, so named because it is capable of laying down hundreds of tiny sample droplets in specific places on a microscope slide’s surface. Normally a microarrayer creates DNA arrays for genetic research, but the team remade it into an artistic tool, programming it to select chemicals of different hues and lay them down on the slide’s surface.

The results, which look a bit like dot-matrix printing, can be used to calibrate medical HSI devices and image analysis algorithms. When combined with HSI in a medical imaging application, this effort could allow a surgeon to look for cells with a specific chemical makeup, as determined by the cells’ color.

Source : http://www.nist.gov/pml/div682/hsi-061212.cfm

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Engineered Microvessel Structure Provides More Accurate Testbed for Studying Human Diseases

Engineered Microvessel Structure Provides More Accurate Testbed for Studying Human Diseases

Engineered Microvessel Structure Provides More Accurate Testbed for Studying Human Diseases

Mice and monkeys don’t develop diseases in the same way that humans do. Nevertheless, after medical researchers have studied human cells in a Petri dish, they have little choice but to move on to study mice and primates.

University of Washington bioengineers have developed the first structure to grow small human blood vessels, creating a 3-D test bed that offers a better way to study disease, test drugs and perhaps someday grow human tissues for transplant.

The findings are published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“In clinical research you just draw a blood sample,” said first author Ying Zheng, a UW research assistant professor of bioengineering. “But with this, we can really dissect what happens at the interface between the blood and the tissue. We can start to look at how these diseases start to progress and develop efficient therapies.”

Researchers made a functional microvessel that spells the letters ‘UW.’ The white bar measures 100 micrometers, about the width of a human hair.

Y. Zheng, U. of Washington

Researchers made a functional microvessel that spells the letters “UW.” The white bar measures 100 micrometers, about the width of a human hair.

During a period of two weeks, the endothelial cells grew throughout the structure and formed tubes through the mold’s rectangular channels, just as they do in the human body.

When brain cells were injected into the surrounding gel, the cells released chemicals that prompted the engineered vessels to sprout new branches, extending the network. A similar system could supply blood to engineered tissue before transplant into the body.

After joining the UW last year, Zheng collaborated with the Puget Sound Blood Center to see how this research platform would work to transport real blood.

Engineered microvessels can form bends and T-junctions, like this one. The blue dots are the nuclei of the cells in the vessel walls, and the red lines are the cell junctions. Smooth muscle cells (green) wrap and tighten around the vessels, just as they do in the human body.

Y. Zheng, U. of Washington

Engineered microvessels can form bends and T-junctions, like this one. The blue dots are the nuclei of the cells in the vessel walls, and the red lines are the cell junctions. Smooth muscle cells (green) wrap and tighten around the vessels, just as they do in the human body.

The engineered vessels could transport human blood smoothly, even around corners. And when treated with an inflammatory compound the vessels developed clots, similar to what real vessels do when they become inflamed.

The system also shows promise as a model for tumor progression. Cancer begins as a hard tumor but secretes chemicals that cause nearby vessels to bulge and then sprout. Eventually tumor cells use these blood vessels to penetrate the bloodstream and colonize new parts of the body.

When the researchers added to their system a signaling protein for vessel growth that’s overabundant in cancer and other diseases, new blood vessels sprouted from the originals. These new vessels were leaky, just as they are in human cancers.

“With this system we can dissect out each component or we can put them together to look at a complex problem. That’s a nice thing—we can isolate the biophysical, biochemical or cellular components. How do endothelial cells respond to blood flow or to different chemicals, how do the endothelial cells interact with their surroundings, and how do these interactions affect the vessels’ barrier function? We have a lot of degrees of freedom,” Zheng said.

The system could also be used to study malaria, which becomes fatal when diseased blood cells stick to the vessel walls and block small openings, cutting off blood supply to the brain, placenta or other vital organs.

“I think this is a tremendous system for studying how blood clots form on vessels walls, how the vessel responds to shear stress and other mechanical and chemical factors, and for studying the many diseases that affect small blood vessels,” said co-author Dr. José López, a professor of biochemistry and hematology at UW Medicine and chief scientific officer at the Puget Sound Blood Center.

Future work will use the system to further explore blood vessel interactions that involve inflammation and clotting. Zheng is also pursuing tissue engineering as a member of the UW’s Center for Cardiovascular Biology and the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine.

Other co-authors are UW physics senior Samuel Totorica; Abraham Stroock, Michael Craven, Nak Won Choi, Michael Craven, Anthony Diaz-Santana and Claudia Fischbach at Cornell; Junmei Chen at the Puget Sound Blood Center; and Barbara Hempstead at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the Human Frontier Science Program and Cornell University.

It’s a fairly common practice when studying a disease, testing a new drug, or developing new medical technology to do murine or simian studies to measure efficacy or to look for certain issues like side effects. However, we know that mice and monkeys don’t develop diseases the same way that humans do, so they often don’t make for the most ideal test subjects.

A University of Washington bioengineer has succeeded in creating a 3D structure of human blood vessels that can not only smoothly transport human blood, but can also react similarly to human blood vessels when subjected to chemicals and proteins found in the body. The structure consists of a scaffold made of collagen, the body’s most abundant protein, and human epithelial cells (found in the lining of human blood vessels), which grew to form a network of tubes capable of transporting blood cells.

As we mentioned, the engineered blood vessels act amazingly similar to human blood vessels when exposed to certain substances. When brain cells were injected into the surrounding collagen scaffolding, the cells released a chemical which caused the blood vessels to sprout new branches. Treating the vessels with an inflammatory compound caused them to form clots, much like actual inflamed blood vessels. When a signaling protein that’s found to be abnormally abundant in cancer was added to the system, new, leaky blood vessels formed. That’s similar to the way cancer metastasizes; chemicals are secreted from a tumor that cause surrounding blood vessels to bulge and sprout and help spread cancerous cells to other parts of the body.

The system will eventually be used to study inflammation, clotting, and diseases such as malaria. Someday, we may even use to test drugs and devices and help grow human tissue.

Source : http://www.washington.edu/news/2012/05/28/engineered-microvessels-provide-a-3-d-test-bed-for-human-diseases/

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GE Healthcare Receives FDA Clearance of Discovery MR750w 3.0T with GEM Suite of Coils

GE Healthcare Receives FDA Clearance of Discovery MR750w 3.0T with GEM Suite of Coils

GE Healthcare Receives FDA Clearance of Discovery

MR750w 3.0T with GEM Suite of Coils

  • Features a new sophisticated design to humanize MRI
  • This system offers a 70 cm bore for enhanced patient comfort and 50 cm field of view with uncompromised image quality over large anatomies
  • GEM Suite of Coils embraces the patient, helping to minimize anxiety and motion during an exam by naturally following the contours of the human body

WAUKESHA, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GE Healthcare (NYSE:GE) today announced it has received FDA clearance of the Discovery* MR750w wide bore 3.0T system with GEM (Geometry Embracing Method) Suite of Coils.

“Under that sleek exterior is some of the most advanced technology we’ve ever built into an MR”

This new wide bore 3.0 Tesla MR system addresses patient demand for a better and more comfortable scanning experience. In particular, the new patient-friendly design accommodates patients who are usually difficult to scan, such as larger, claustrophobic, elderly or very young patients, or those who are in pain and require a larger imaging system. Additionally, GE Healthcare’s Discovery MR750w, combines next-generation clinical applications and a full 50 x 50 x 50 cm field of view with excellent homogeneity and enables users to reduce exam time and scan large anatomies with fewer scans, compared to previous generation systems. It helps enable higher patient throughput and satisfaction.

Imaging technology is only as useful as the insight it provides clinicians. The thoughtfully-built Discovery MR750w provides the power of a 3.0T magnet with the open architecture of a 70cm wide bore. Through fully automated and independent RF pulse amplitude and phase control, MultiDrive RF Transmit produces consistently clear 3.0T images.

Gradient speed, accuracy and reproducibility often determine the success of demanding acquisitions like fMRI (functional MRI), and DTI (Diffusion Tensor Imaging). The Discovery MR750w gradient and RF performance is optimized to shorten TR’s and TE’s to produce sharp and clear images.

GE’s Optical RF (OpTix) offers high channel count, analog to digital-optical signal conversion inside the scan room to minimize noise and signal degradation but away from the patient to enhance comfort.

“Under that sleek exterior is some of the most advanced technology we’ve ever built into an MR,” said Jacques Coumans, General Manager, Premium MR, GE Healthcare. “Our goal has been to deliver a 3.0T system with a 70cm bore with no compromises.”

GE Healthcare’s advances in RF coil design are made possible through the use of thinner, lightweight, flexible material that can be used with a variety of body types, allowing easier patient positioning. Crafted to embrace the patient, these flexible coils make for a more relaxed scan experience. This also makes it easier for technologists to correctly position their patients without strain or difficulty.

The GE Healthcare GEM Suite includes a high density GEM Posterior Array embedded within the detachable Express patient table, the GEM Head & Neck Unit with comfort tilt, the GEM Anterior Array, and the GEM Peripheral Vascular/Lower Extremity Array. Covering 98 percent of all exam types, the GEM coils can be used individually or combined to provide head to toe patient coverage. The GEM suite enables automatic selection of the configuration that best fits the selected region of interest. It includes a total 205cm scanning range, feet first or head first scanning for all anatomies, and design features to embrace patients of a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

Intuitive Applications

The Discovery MR750w offers the latest advanced applications to help utilize the full potential of 3.0T MR imaging. GE-signature clinical applications portfolio provides visionary techniques that bring visible results and can help clinicians grow their practice. New breakthrough applications such as IDEAL IQ provides a quantitative fat content assessment in the entire liver, or MR Touch, an MR elastography-based imaging technique that helps evaluate tissue stiffness. Combined, these two rapid and completely non-invasive techniques have potential to aid in early detection and evaluation of diffuse and focal liver disease. These are just two of the many insightful applications available on the Discovery MR750w.

*Trademark of General Electric Company

About GE Healthcare

GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services that are shaping a new age of patient care. Our broad expertise in medical imaging and information technologies, medical diagnostics, patient monitoring systems, drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies, performance improvement and performance solutions services help our customers to deliver better care to more people around the world at a lower cost. In addition, we partner with healthcare leaders, striving to leverage the global policy change necessary to implement a successful shift to sustainable healthcare systems.

Our “healthymagination” vision for the future invites the world to join us on our journey as we continuously develop innovations focused on reducing costs, increasing access and improving quality around the world. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, GE Healthcare is a unit of General Electric Company (NYSE: GE). Worldwide, GE Healthcare employees are committed to serving healthcare professionals and their patients in more than 100 countries. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at www.gehealthcare.com.

For our latest news, please visit http://newsroom.gehealthcare.com

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