Posts Tagged ‘Latest medical Technology’

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Barco’s New Breast Tomosynthesis Monitor

Barco’s New Breast Tomosynthesis Monitor

Barco’s New Breast Tomosynthesis Monitor

Visualization specialist Barco has launched the Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP, the first display system that has been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for breast tomosynthesis. The display comes with some groundbreaking technologies specifically developed for multi-modality mammography.

“Breast tomosynthesis provides radiologists with three-dimensional images of the breast for better lesion visibility. These multi-frame images give rise to a need for solutions to optimize reading and interpretation. That’s why Barco developed the Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP, a display system for digital breast imaging”, says Albert Xthona, Product Manager at Barco Healthcare.

“Its unique technologies for brighter and faster tomosynthesis visualization enable detection of the smallest details, providing radiologists with a new degree of diagnostic confidence and performance. With the Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP, images are displayed more efficiently and more clearly so the radiologist can make the most effective diagnosis”, Xthona concludes.

Precise results

The Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP efficiently displays high-quality multi-modality images. Barco’s proprietary RapidFrame™ technology speeds pixel refresh when reviewing multi-frame image sequences such as tomosynthesis or breast MRI, eliminating blurring or ghosting. Combined with Barco’s patented Per Pixel Uniformity™ (PPU) to remove disturbing screen noise, the display renders mammograms with the best image quality, helping radiologists make accurate diagnoses while speeding up their workflow.

Equipped with the powerful DuraLight Nova™ backlight, the Mammo Tomosynthesis display offers twice the calibrated brightness (1,000 cd/m²) of conventional displays, while more than doubling the lamp lifetime (50,000 hours). This luminance enables radiologists to see fine details in dense breast tissue and renders near skin-line details more clearly. The display also provides an I-Luminate™ ‘hot light’ button for extra brightness, which can reveal subtle details, even in dark areas.

Comfortable reading

The Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP comes with an adjustable dual-head stand and allows users to angle the displays to their preferred position for optimum viewing. Additionally, the display can be viewed from a wide angle, without sacrificing contrast or black level. Images can now be read from any seat at the reading station, allowing radiologists to discuss the images with colleagues in the room or use them for educational purposes.

The display system’s intrinsic brightness reduces eye fatigue and enables reading in a more pleasant ambient room light, preserving visibility of low-contrast details. It also includes the integrated I-Guard™ sensor which automatically checks contrast and luminance. This provides radiologists with an optimal work environment, boosting diagnostic performance and productivity.

Guaranteed compliance

To ensure long-lasting image quality and high-grade Quality Assurance, Barco’s Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP is bundled with MediCal QAWeb, an innovative web-based tool for automated and worry-free calibration. Together with I-Guard, the system guarantees consistent DICOM accuracy and uptime of all displays throughout the facility to ensure a consistent diagnostic outcome.

The standard of care

The Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP is covered by a 5-year warranty and demonstrates that precision and productivity can go hand in hand. Equipped with the ultra-fast 10-bit MXRT display controller and technologies to enable consistent cost-effective workflow, the display for multi-frame mammography offers a high return on investment and the best standard of care.

Barco at SBI 2011

Barco’s Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP will be showcased at SBI 2011 – booth #200 – in San Antonio, USA, from 18 to 20 May, 2011. Commercial availability is planned for the third quarter of 2011.

About Barco

Barco, a global technology company, designs and develops visualization products for a variety of selected professional markets. Barco has its own facilities for Sales & Marketing, Customer Support, R&D and Manufacturing in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. Barco (NYSE Euronext Brussels: BAR) is active in more than 90 countries with about 3,500 employees worldwide. Barco posted sales of 897 million euro in 2010.

Optimized for digital breast tomosynthesis

Barco’s Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP has been developed to optimize reading and interpretation of digital breast tomosynthesis, a groundbreaking imaging modality that significantly improves accuracy of breast cancer detection. Its unique technologies for tomosynthesis visualization increase conspicuity of the smallest details, providing radiologists with a new degree of diagnostic confidence.

The Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP is the first display system available for breast tomosynthesis. It is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in standard and multi-frame digital mammography as well as breast tomosynthesis.

Quick readings, exceptional results

The Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP ensures instant delivery of images without motion blur, increasing correct diagnosis and swift workflow.

Bright images, more details

Featuring twice the brightness of conventional systems and lasting twice as long, the Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP offers unrivalled image precision and visibility of the most subtle details.

Less noise, improved accuracy

Screen noise often hides subtle details. That’s why the Mammo Tomosynthesis 5MP ensures pixel-perfect images without disturbing screen noise, offering clearer visibility of differences in tissue density.

Guaranteed compliance, diagnostic confidence

Automated checks of contrast and luminance, in combination with an online calibration service, result in an optimal working environment and worry-free readings.

Barco has just received the first ever FDA approval for a computer monitor to be used for viewing breast tomosynthesis imagery. Tomosynthesis involves sequential movie-like playback of images of the breast taken from different angles, so the monitor has to properly render each frame quickly and with precision.

From the product page:

RapidFrame ™: vq34sdff Barcos New Breast Tomosynthesis MonitorRapidFrame technology counteracts motion blur when scrolling through a stack of images due to a high pixel refresh rate.

Per Pixel Uniformity™: PPU measures and adjusts the luminance of each pixel, making every pixel permanently DICOM compliant.

SmoothGray™: SmoothGray generates ultra-precise representations of grayscale images and eliminates quantization artifacts, reducing the overall noise in the images.

DuraLight Nova™: the DuraLight Nova backlight ensures a diagnostic luminance of 1,000 cd/m². In addition, they last twice as long without increasing power consumption.

I-Luminate™: a push on the ‘hot light’ I-Luminate button will temporarily boost display brightness, allowing inspection of subtle details or comparison of digital exams with film-based priors.

I-Guard™: the integrated I-Guard sensor continually guards and adjusts the luminance output of the display, ensuring continuous compliance with the DICOM standard.

QAWeb: the innovative MediCal QAWeb system is an easy-to-use, web-based tool for automated calibration and Quality Assurance.

Adjustable dual-head stand: the dual-head stand allows users to angle the displays to fit their preferred position for optimum viewing.

Source : http://www.barco.com/en/News/Press-releases/barco-launches-first-display-system-for-breast-tomosynthesis.aspx

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Arstasis AXERA Femoral Access Device Launched in U.S.

Arstasis AXERA Femoral Access Device Launched in U.S.

Arstasis AXERA Femoral Access Device Launched in U.S.

REDWOOD CITY — Arstasis is pleased to announce the U. S. launch of its latest commercial product — the AXERA™ Access Device. The AXERA Device enhances insertability into the femoral artery and overall procedural usage while continuing to deliver the clinical benefits of the implant-free Arstaotomy Procedure.

Since 1959, physicians have been using the Modified Seldinger Technique for femoral artery access. At the end of every such case, patients are left with a substantial hole in the femoral artery which can command significant effort and cath lab resources to close. The AXERA™ Access Device is a breakthrough femoral artery access tool that quickly creates a longer and shallower angle arteriotomy, the Arstaotomy, resulting in significant tissue-upon-tissue overlap through the artery. Upon sheath removal at the end of the procedure, arterial pressure is decreased across this longer Arstaotomy channel intended to provide an excellent environment for clot formation and rapid femoral artery hemostasis.

The AXERA Device’s Arstaotomy Procedure requires only minimal manual compression to provide secure closure with no foreign body implants – eliminating the risk of infections and thromboembolic events related to a vascular implant. The Arstaotomy Procedure promotes rapid hemostasis resulting in excellent patient comfort with decreased bed rest and quicker ambulation.

“The AXERA Access Device delivers a truly unique way to gain access into the femoral artery for diagnostic and cath-possible procedures,” commented Dale Wortham, MD from the University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville. “Unlike vascular closure implants, the AXERA Device delivers rapid arterial hemostasis but does not deposit any foreign material into the patient. Our results have been excellent with patients generally sitting up in 15 minutes and ambulating in 1 hour. It really has improved our cath lab throughput and patient satisfaction.”

Physicians have also been noting that the new AXERA Device allows them to perform Arstaotomy procedures in almost all patients, instead of having to potentially exclude patients with complex anatomy. “In my opinion, all patients are candidates for the AXERA Access Device. The new AXERA Device is sturdier and allows me to more easily gain femoral artery access, even in the more complicated patient subsets of the obese and those with heavily diseased vessels,” said Dr. Greg Sampognaro, a practicing interventional cardiologist at the P&S Surgical Hospital in Monroe, Louisiana.

Patient enrollment continues in the RECITAL study, a multi-center, prospective registry that is overseen by a medical monitor and anticipated to enroll up to 500 patients in at least seven U.S. hospitals.

ABOUT ARSTASIS

Arstasis, Inc., headquartered in Redwood City, California, is a medical device manufacturer dedicated to bringing innovative arterial access devices to cardiologists, interventional radiologists, their staffs, and patients. Detailed information about the AXERA Access Device and the Arstaotomy procedure is available at www.arstasis.com.

Since 1959, physicians have been using the Modified Seldinger Technique to insert flexible catheters into the femoral artery of patients for the purpose of performing procedures in the patient’s arterial-vascular system. The most prevalent such procedure, diagnostic angiography, is thought to be performed more than half a million times per month worldwide. At the end of every such case, each patient is left with a substantial hole in his/her femoral artery (upper inner thigh) which typically takes significant effort and cath lab resources to close.

The AXERA Device was designed to safely maximize patient comfort. The device is deployed seamlessly at the beginning of the procedure, to provide access to the vasculature via the new Arstaotomy™ procedure—a longer and shallower angle arteriotomy that results in significant tissue-upon-tissue overlap. At the end of the procedure the access sheath is removed and minimal compression closes the Arstaotomy site. Within seconds, normal intra-arterial pressure works in concert with minimal manual compression to form a strong bond and seal the access site naturally, without leaving any implant in the patient.

Arstasis out of Redwood City, CA, having received FDA 510(k) clearance for its Arstasis One last May, is finally releasing the low angle femoral artery access device to the U.S. market. The idea is to improve healing and possibly decrease the number of femoral hematomas post puncture thanks to an increased tissue overlap when entering at a shallower angle.

2983jfad Arstasis One Device Now Available in United States

Since 1959, physicians have been using the Modified Seldinger Technique to insert flexible catheters into the femoral artery of patients for the purpose of performing procedures in the patient’s arterial-vascular system. The most prevalent such procedure, diagnostic angiography, is thought to be performed more than half a million times per month worldwide. At the end of every such case, each patient is left with a substantial hole in his/her femoral artery (upper inner thigh) which typically takes significant effort and cath lab resources to close. With the Arstasis One Access Device, however, physicians create a shallow-angle needle pathway through the wall of the femoral artery. At the end of the procedure, when the sheath is withdrawn, the shallow-angle pathway collapses from the normal pressure of the patient’s femoral artery blood flow from below and approximately 3-4 minutes of mild, non-occlusive finger-pressure from above, resulting in a quickly sealing access site.

Source : http://www.arstasis.com/company/pr4.php

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Vascular Turbine Generates Power From Arterial Blood Flow

Vascular Turbine Generates Power From Arterial Blood Flow

Vascular Turbine Generates Power From Arterial Blood Flow

Vascular turbine could generate enough power to recharge pacemakers; blood clots a potential problem

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Coaches admire athletes for showing a lot of heart, and poets praise the organ’s passions, but engineers see the human cardiovascular system otherwise. The heart is a pump in a prime location, brimming with energy for the taking, says biomedical engineer Alois Pfenniger. So together with colleagues at the University of Bern and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, in Switzerland, Pfenniger has tested small turbines designed to fit inside a human artery, like an implantable hydroelectric generator.

“The heart produces around 1 or 1.5 watts of hydraulic power, and we want to take maybe one milliwatt,” Pfenniger explains. “A pacemaker only needs around 10 microwatts.” At the Microtechnologies in Medicine and Biology conference in Lucerne, Switzerland, earlier this month, Pfenniger presented results from a trial in which a tube is designed to mimic the internal thoracic artery, a millimeters-wide vessel that doctors sometimes cannibalize for surgery because it is redundant. The most efficient of the three off-the-shelf turbines he tested produced around 800 microwatts, which could run devices much more power hungry than today’s pacemakers.

Blood-pressure sensors, drug-delivery pumps, or neurostimulators could all benefit from an independent power supply. These devices are already implanted in many people, but each requires a replaceable battery or a cable to keep the power flowing. Miniaturizing such devices and eliminating cables could allow surgeons to implant them in ways that improve blood flow, reduce side effects, and add new functions. Self-contained devices could also monitor vital signs with unprecedented continuity, Pfenniger suggests.

But attendees at the meeting raised a heart-stopping possibility: Could the turbine’s turbulence provoke a blood clot? When blood gets trapped in eddies, it starts to coagulate. Pfenniger’s research showed that all three turbines produced some turbulence, though in differing amounts, and he and his colleagues acknowledge that they’ll have to address turbulence to avoid blood clots. They may try a different design or tweak an existing design, using computer simulations to improve it.

A competing design by electrophysiologist Paul Roberts of Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust avoids that problem because it does not have a rotating part in the path of the blood flow. Instead, it’s attached to a pacemaker lead, and it works by using the blood pressure changes of a heart beating to move a magnet back and forth. But a prototype tested in a pig produced only about one-fifth of the energy a pacemaker needs—much less than Pfenniger’s turbine. Roberts has discussed commercializing his device with potential business partners; he is currently seeking government funding to improve it.

Similarly, Dan Gelvan, CEO of Sirius Implantable Systems, acquired a patent for extracting energy from the circulatory system in 2005. But Gelvan’s device, which was also tested in animals, uses a piezoelectric transducer located alongside moving organs instead of inside an artery. Gelvan says that for systems such as his, “the most important challenge is that you’re working with low-frequency, highly variable systems.”

Other research groups are experimenting with still more ways of scavenging energy from the pulse of arteries, the temperature gradients inside the body, and other neglected power sources. “The drive for all of this is to potentially reduce sizes of devices,” Roberts says, “and equally to accommodate increasing demands placed on devices, such as more diagnostics and wireless communications.”

A correction to this article was made on 23 May 2011.

About the Author

Lucas Laursen is a freelance journalist based in Zurich. In the September 2010 issue of IEEE Spectrum, he wrote about a computer system that warns farmers when laying hens are going to start murderous rampages.

Swiss scientists designed a small blood-powered turbine that would fit in arteries and power internal electronics like a pacemaker. Each turbine can produce 800 microwatts of energy which is far greater than the ten microwatts used by a pacemaker.

This Is a Blood-Powered Heart Turbine The implantable device would function like a mini hydroelectric generator that uses your blood instead of water. As long as your heart is beating, the turbine will generate an endless supply of power. Eventually, this technology could replace battery-powered pacemakers which have a limited life span. Don’t worry about having to give up a major blood vessel as the device would be placed in the thoracic artery, an extra blood vessel often removed in heart surgery.

Though promising, the mini-turbines have one major drawback — life-threatening blood clots! The team is looking at ways to cut the risk of blood clots, but that would be one heck of a side effect to have to list on the product information sheet.

Researchers from the University of Bern and the Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland, are working on small turbines designed to fit inside a human artery, like an implantable hydroelectric generator. They could potentially power pacemakers and other electrical devices within the human body. The device in its current iteration produces 800 microwatts of electricity and fits within a regular sized artery. A major concern, as with any intravascular device, is avoiding coagulation and thrombus formation due to the turbulence caused by the device. Testing still happens in the laboratory, so it will be a few years before we will be able to implant anything like this in humans. From IEEE Spectrum:

“The heart produces around 1 or 1.5 watts of hydraulic power, and we want to take maybe one milliwatt,” Pfenniger explains. “A pacemaker only needs around 10 microwatts.” At the Microtechnologies in Medicine and Biology conference in Lucerne, Switzerland, earlier this month, Pfenniger presented results from a trial in which a tube is designed to mimic the internal thoracic artery, a millimeters-wide vessel that doctors sometimes cannibalize for surgery because it is redundant. The most efficient of the three off-the-shelf turbines he tested produced around 800 microwatts, which could run devices much more power hungry than today’s pacemakers.

Blood-pressure sensors, drug-delivery pumps, or neurostimulators could all benefit from an independent power supply. These devices are already implanted in many people, but each requires a replaceable battery or a cable to keep the power flowing. Miniaturizing such devices and eliminating cables could allow surgeons to implant them in ways that improve blood flow, reduce side effects, and add new functions. Self-contained devices could also monitor vital signs with unprecedented continuity, Pfenniger suggests.

Source : http://spectrum.ieee.org/biomedical/devices/swiss-scientists-design-a-turbine-to-fit-in-human-arteries

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Researchers stream braille patterns directly into a blind patient’s retina

Researchers stream braille patterns directly into a blind patient’s retina

For the very first time researchers have streamed braille patterns directly into a blind patient’s retina, allowing him to read four-letter words accurately and quickly with an ocular neuroprosthetic device. The device, the Argus II, has been implanted in over 50 patients, many of who can now see color, movement and objects. It uses a small camera mounted on a pair of glasses, a portable processor to translate the signal from the camera into electrical stimulation, and a microchip with electrodes implanted directly on the retina. The study was authored by researchers at Second Sight, the company who developed the device, and has been published in Frontiers in Neuroprosthetics on the 22nd of November.

“In this clinical test with a single blind patient, we bypassed the camera that is the usual input for the implant and directly stimulated the retina. Instead of feeling the braille on the tips of his fingers, the patient could see the patterns we projected and then read individual letters in less than a second with up to 89% accuracy,” explains researcher Thomas Lauritzen, lead author of the paper.

Similar in concept to successful cochlear implants, the visual implant uses a grid of 60 electrodes-attached to the retina-to stimulate patterns directly onto the nerve cells. For this study, the researchers at Second Sight used a computer to stimulate six of these points on the grid to project the braille letters. A series of tests were conducted with single letters as well as words ranging in length from two letters up to four. The patient was shown each letter for half a second and had up to 80% accuracy for short words.

“There was no input except the electrode stimulation and the patient recognized the braille letters easily. This proves that the patient has good spatial resolution because he could easily distinguish between signals on different, individual electrodes.” says Lauritzen.

According to Silvestro Micera at EPFL’s Center for Neuroprosthetics and scientific reviewer for the article, “this study is a proof of concept that points to the importance of clinical experiments involving new neuroprosthetic devices to improve the technology and innovate adaptable solutions.”

Primarily for sufferers of the genetic disease Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), the implant Argus II has been shown to restore limited reading capability of large conventional letters and short words when used with the camera. While reading should improve with future iterations of the Argus II, the current study shows how the Argus II could be adapted to provide an alternative and potentially faster method of text reading with the addition of letter recognition software. This ability to perform image processing in software prior to sending the signal to the implant is a unique advantage of Argus II.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/Researchers-stream-braille-patterns-directly-into-a-blind-patients-retina.aspx

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Researchers create 3D map of rod sensory cilium architecture affected by mutation

Researchers create 3D map of rod sensory cilium architecture affected by mutation

Using a new technique called cryo-electron tomography, two research teams at Baylor College of Medicine (www.bcm.edu) have created a three-dimensional map that gives a better understanding of how the architecture of the rod sensory cilium (part of one type of photoreceptor in the eye) is changed by genetic mutation and how that affects its ability to transport proteins as part of the light-sensing process.

Almost all mammalian cells have cilia. Some are motile and some are not. They play a central role in cellular operations, and when they are defective because of genetic mutations, people can go blind, have cognitive defects, develop kidney disease, grow too many fingers or toes or become obese. Such mutations cause cilia defects known in the aggregate as ciliopathies.

“The major significance of this report lies in our being able to, for the first time, look in three dimensions at the structural alterations in ciliopathies,” said Dr. Theodore G. Wensel (http://www.bcm.edu/biochem/index.cfm?pmid=3795), chair of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM and corresponding author of the report that appears in the journal Cell (www.cell.com). The report is spotlighted on the issue’s cover.

In collaboration with the National Center for Macromolecular Imaging (http://ncmi.bcm.edu/ncmi/), led by Dr. Wah Chiu (http://www.bcm.edu/biochem/index.cfm?pmid=3715), professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at BCM, Wensel and his colleagues established such three dimensional images for cilia in three examples of mice known to have cilopathies.

These mice have genetic mutations that lead to defects in the structure of the rod outer segment. The rod outer segment is part of the photoreceptor in the retina called a rod. The rod outer segment contains photosensitive disk membranes that carry rhodopsin, the biological pigment in photoreceptor cells of the retina responsible for the first events that result in the perception of light.

Using cryo-electron tomography, the scientists compared the structures of the rod outer segment in the mutant mice to those in normal mice.

“This is one of the few places in the world where you could do this,” said Wensel. The Center, run by Chiu, has powerful cryo-electron microscopes that make tomography possible. To achieve the three-dimensional reconstruction, Dr. Juan T. Chang (http://www.bcm.edu/pda/index.cfm?PMID=8208) in Chiu’s Center froze the photoreceptors purified by then-graduate student Jared Gilliam in a special way that made it possible to perform electron microscopy. During the microscopy session, the frozen samples were carefully tilted allowing the researchers to take many two-dimensional images that were used in the computer reconstruction of the three-dimensional map.

The light-sensing outer segments of photoreceptors in the retina are connected to the machinery responsible for protein production in the inner segment by a thin cylindrical bundle of microtubules known as the connecting cilium.

“There is a huge flux of material from the inner segment to the outer segment of the photoreceptor,” said Wensel. “When there is a defect, then the animal or patient goes blind.”

The three-dimensional structure showed that there are vesicles (small sacs) tethered to membrane filaments.

“It looks as though these vesicles that are tethered contain material that will fuse to the plasma membrane and go up the membrane to the outer segment,” said Wensel.

In studies of a mouse model of a disease called Bardet Biedl syndrome, developed by the laboratory of Dr. James Lupski (http://www.bcm.edu/genetics/index.cfm?pmid=10944) professor of molecular and human genetics at BCM, Wensel and first author Gilliam saw something that was almost shocking – a huge accumulation of these vesicles. The Bardet Biedl genes contain the code for a BBsome that forms a membrane coat that makes transport possible through the connecting cilium to the outer coat.

“We would now surmise that the BBsome coat is required for fusion of the plasma membrane or transport up to the outer segment,” said Wensel. “It gives us a whole new model for how this works. We need to do more now to nail it down.”

“It suggests that aberrant trafficking of proteins is responsible for photoreceptor degeneration,” said Gilliam, who is now a postdoctoral associate at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/Researchers-create-3D-map-of-rod-sensory-cilium-architecture-affected-by-mutation.aspx

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NICE recommends Bispectral Index EEG-based monitor for measuring depth of anaesthesia

NICE recommends Bispectral Index EEG-based monitor for measuring depth of anaesthesia

Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices, today announced that the UK-based National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends the use of electroencephalography (EEG)-based monitors, specifically the Bispectral Index (BIS™) monitor, as an option for measuring depth of anaesthesia.

“The NICE assessment and recommendations provide clear guidance to anaesthesia professionals regarding the use of depth of anaesthesia monitoring that will greatly improve patient care and safety for individuals at higher risk for adverse reactions to general anaesthesia”

The recommendation specifies that the BIS monitor should be used with all patients receiving total intravenous anaesthesia and during any type of general anaesthesia with patients considered at high risk of adverse outcomes. This includes patients at high risk of unintended awareness and patients at high risk of excessively deep anaesthesia. The Covidien BIS Brain Monitoring System helps clinicians assess patient consciousness levels through electrical activity in the brain.

The NICE guidance specifically recommends the BIS system as an option in the care of patients at high risk for unintended awareness (consciousness) or excessively deep anaesthesia levels during surgery. Both can lead to serious short- and long-term health risks, including post-traumatic stress disorder, heart attack, and stroke and in older patients, cognitive dysfunction or “brain fog.”

Patients at high risk for unintended awareness include older patients as well as those with morbid obesity, poor cardiovascular function, presence of two or more chronic diseases, high opiate or alcohol use, intravenous anaesthesia techniques and certain types of surgical procedures.

The recommendation for BIS monitoring as an option in patients receiving total intravenous anaesthesia was made because it is cost effective and because it is not possible to measure anaesthetic concentration in these patients.

“The NICE assessment and recommendations provide clear guidance to anaesthesia professionals regarding the use of depth of anaesthesia monitoring that will greatly improve patient care and safety for individuals at higher risk for adverse reactions to general anaesthesia,” said Scott Kelley, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Respiratory and Monitoring Solutions, Covidien. “With BIS brain monitoring technology, anaesthetists, in combination with their other standard practices, can accurately determine consciousness and tailor anaesthesia dosing to ensure optimal patient experience and minimize risks.”

The NICE Diagnostics Guidance is based on extensive clinical evidence and an assessment report prepared by the University of Southampton’s Southampton Health Technology Assessment Centre and input from a number of professional organisations and device manufacturers. Other brain monitoring technologies assessed as part of the clinical research include the GE Healthcare E-Entropy and Schiller Narcotrend-Compact M.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/NICE-recommends-Bispectral-Index-EEG-based-monitor-for-measuring-depth-of-anaesthesia.aspx

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UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

UPC teams conduct research in biomedical engineering to improve people’s health

Systems to improve patient rehabilitation, methods that help detect diseases, and smart biomaterials for optimising treatments—scientific advances in the field of biomedical engineering are unstoppable. A number of leading UPC teams are carrying out research aimed at harnessing technology to improve people’s health.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s. Optimising treatment and rehabilitation of the people it affects and improving their quality of life is the goal of Joan Cabestany and Andreu Català, researchers at the Technical Research Centre for Dependency Care and Autonomous Living (CETpD) of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC).

The two engineers are heading up a European project known as REMPARK (Personal Health Device for the Remote and Autonomous Management of Parkinson’s Disease), which has a budget of €4.73 million. The objective is to develop a pioneering wearable monitoring system that can be used to identify and quantify, in real time and with high reliability, the motor status of Parkinson’s patients during their everyday lives. The system will act automatically—though always under medical supervision—in response to the situations that are most incapacitating for patients, intervening in the least invasive and most effective way possible. Other participants in this ambitious project coordinated by the UPC include the Teknon Medical Centre, Telefónica R&D, the European Parkinson’s Disease Association, and a number of research centres and companies based in Germany, Portugal, Italy, Israel, Ireland, Sweden and Belgium.

The system being developed consists of two elements: a bracelet equipped with a sensor for measuring tremor in patients and a smart device the size of a mobile phone, which is worn at the waist on a belt made of biocompatible material. The device is equipped with a set of sensors and has the capacity to process and wirelessly transmit all the information collected and processed.

When a gait-freezing episode occurs, the REMPARK system will act to synchronise the patient’s movements. This will be achieved by means of auditory, visual or haptic (touch-related) cueing devices, a pump for regulated subcutaneous drug delivery, and a functional electrical stimulation (FES) system. “The device will make it possible to quantify the effects of a drug in a particular patient and adjust the dose accordingly,” says Joan Cabestany, stressing that REMPARK is “a personalised system that adapts to each person’s needs.”

For the first time in Europe, REMPARK will be tested on a hundred patients in their homes. “We want to use the technology to give Parkinson’s patients back their confidence, which is gradually eroded by the disease,” says Andreu Català. The project “will reduce the number of hospitalisations and improve patient treatment and rehabilitation,” adds the researcher, who works at the Vilanova i la Geltrú Campus.

Stress-free cells

The REMPARK project is set to run until 2015, but others are yielding results that are about to hit the market. This was clear at the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition, which was held in Boston (Massachusetts, United States) last June.

The UPC presented a number of patents at the event, including an automatic method for introducing substances such as drugs and DNA into cells (transfection). The method, known as in vitro electroporation, is more efficient and economical than existing approaches.

The technique, which is applied manually, is commonly used in gene therapy, cell-based therapies, and tumour treatment by electrochemotherapy. Cells are detached from the bottom of the plates where they are grown and put into suspension, i.e. into a mixture. They are then placed in a special cuvette with aluminium electrodes on its sides. The cuvette is loaded into a device (an electroporator) that creates a high-intensity electric field across the cells, causing the pores in the cell membrane to open. Substances can then be introduced through these pores.

The new system simplifies and automates this process. A microelectrode assembly is introduced directly into the culture plate and placed at a distance of 10 ìm (10 millionths of a metre) from the cells. A 20 V electric field is then applied (in the conventional process a 500 V field is used). The lower voltage reduces the cost of the devices used to carry out these biotechnological processes and subjects the cells to less stress. The low cost of the microelectrodes also makes it possible to produce single-use electroporators. This patent was developed by researcher Ramon Bragós and doctoral student Tomàs Garcia, who are attached to the Biomedical Engineering Research Centre (CREB), in collaboration with a team at the University of Barcelona (UB).

The UPC is also contributing to major advances in the development of medical devices and diagnostic imaging. The UPC’s Institute of Industrial and Control Engineering (IOC) and the Pulmonology Research Group of Bellvitge Hospital’s Institute for Biomedical Research have developed a virtual bronchoscopy system that improves the diagnosis of lung cancer. The technology provides doctors with information that enables them to decide with more confidence whether an actual bronchoscopy is necessary or not. This helps minimise risk and discomfort for patients.

The system is based on images provided by a virtual bronchoscopy using 2D computed tomography images. The novel feature of the system is that it takes into account the geometry and kinematic constraints of the bronchoscope.

The device is designed so that a pulmonologist can virtually navigate through a patient’s airways and simulate the movements that will later be executed when a flexible bronchoscope is used to perform the examination. It is a useful tool that facilitates “very realistic planning of the most feasible path from the trachea to peripheral pulmonary lesions,” says Jan Rosell, the researcher who carried out the project together with Paolo Cabras and Alexander Pérez, who also work with the IOC. “Doctors can also use the device to determine whether the end of the bronchoscope will reach a lesion, or, if not, how close it can be manoeuvred and what technique will need to be used to obtain a biopsy sample,” Rosell adds.

In addition to pursuing advances in diagnostic imaging, molecular biology and telemedicine, UPC researchers are also doing innovative work in another area of interest: metabolomics, the scientific study of chemical processes involving metabolites. It is in this field that another CREB team has patented an innovative software tool. The advanced program, based on a new algorithm, helps medical professionals make more accurate, automated predictions in disease diagnosis and drug screening.

Developed by Àlex Perera and Francesc Fernández in collaboration with researchers with the University of Barcelona’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science, the tool improves detection of biomarkers, the biological markers used to detect diseases.

Another advantage of the software is that it reduces prediction error in metabolomic analysis and testing (used to examine the small organic molecules in biological systems). Metabolomic analyses are based on biological samples of urine or blood, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Making predictions in this area is complex because it requires analysis of extensive data obtained from individual samples, but it is of vital importance in evaluating the effectiveness of new drugs, for example.

New test for tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is one of the diseases that accounts for the most morbidity and mortality worldwide. Despite this, there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the disease and many scientific challenges remain to be tackled. Daniel López Codina and Clara Prats of the UPC’s Discrete Modelling and Simulation of Biological Systems group have carried out research in this field in collaboration with a team at the Experimental Tuberculosis Unit of the Germans Trias i Pujol Health Sciences Research Institute Foundation.

The two teams have patented a new method that offers a fast, easy and reliable way to determine the virulence (ability to produce disease) of Koch’s bacillus. The technique allows specialists to make more accurate diagnoses.

López Codina’s team observed the tuberculosis bacillus (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in an in vitro culture and looked at the way it grows by forming clumps. Given the difficulty of applying conventional microbiological methods with this type of culture, the researchers used an alternative approach: microscopy and analysis with image processing techniques. “This is the first time we’ve been able to use a culture to observe two different strains of the bacterial parasite and the existence of a correlation between the characteristic clumping pattern and the virulence of the disease,” said the researcher.

The results have created a new business opportunity for companies involved in biomedical imaging and diagnostic testing.

Projects like these highlight the huge potential of engineering and medicine to continue delivering solutions that improve people’s quality of life.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121123/UPC-teams-conduct-research-in-biomedical-engineering-to-improve-peoples-health.aspx

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Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Tirofiban effectively prevents strokes in high risk patients

Scientists may have discovered a new way to prevent strokes in high risk patients, according to research from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW).

Work by a new research group, led by Professor Donald Singer, Professor of Therapeutics at Warwick Medical School and Professor Chris Imray from UHCW, has now been published in US journal Stroke.

The group is using ultrasound scanning to look at patients with carotid artery disease, one of the major causes of stroke. Clots can form on diseased carotid arteries in the neck. Small parts of these clots can released to form microemboli, which can travel to block key brain arteries and lead to weakness, disturbed speech, loss of vision and other serious stroke syndromes. Standard anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin may not prevent the formation of harmful microemboli.

The scanning process can be used to find patients at very high risk of stroke because microemboli have formed despite prior anti-platelet drugs. Using scanning, the team has found that tirofiban, another anti-platelet drug designed to inhibit the formation of blood clots, can suppress microemboli where previous treatment such as aspirin has been ineffective. In their study, tirofiban was more effective than other ‘rescue’ treatment.

Professor Singer said: “These findings show that the choice of rescue medicine is very important when carotid patients develop microemboli despite previous treatment with powerful anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin. We now need to go on to further studies of anti-microemboli rescue treatments, to aim for the right balance between protection and risk for our patients.”

Professor Imray said: “These findings show the importance of ultrasound testing for micro-emboli in carotid disease patients. These biomarkers of high stroke risk cannot be predicted just from assessing the severity of risk factors such as smoking history, cholesterol and blood pressure.”

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/Tirofiban-effectively-prevents-strokes-in-high-risk-patients.aspx

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Multifunctional Polymer Adapts to Fight Infection, Filter Water, and More

Multifunctional Polymer Adapts to Fight Infection, Filter Water, and More

Multifunctional Polymer Adapts to Fight Infection, Filter Water, and More

WORKING IN THE LAB for the last few years, three generations of University of Akron polymer scientists say their mutual and passionate curiosity about science has led to their discovery of a first-of-its-kind, easily adaptable biocompatible polymer structure able to fight infection, filter water and perform a host of other functions.

Darrell Reneker, 82, distinguished professor of polymer science; Matthew Becker, 37, associate professor of polymer science; and Jukuan Zheng, a 25-year-old graduate student, developed what they call a one-size-fits-all polymer system that can be fabricated and then specialized to perform healing functions ranging from fighting infection to wound healing. The research, “Post-Assembly Derivatization of Electrospun Nanofibers via Strain-Promoted Azide Alkyne Cycloaddition,” is published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Material can be adapted to the need

The researchers devised a way to attach bioactive molecules to an electrospun polymer fiber mat, without compromising their biological functions. The possibilities for application should pique interest among developers and clinicians, say the scientists. Consider, for instance, Teflon-based vascular grafts used for aneurysm surgery since WWII being replaced by a strong, durable polymer structure with surface proteins that function as healthy blood vessels.

“We can design a blood vessel that can be put in different places and coated with different materials — specific for the heart, specific for vascular, specific for the brain,” Becker says.

Through the development, scientists for the first time place small molecules such as peptides, proteins, drugs and carbohydrates, which normally influence how cells behave, and attach therapeutic concentrations of chosen bioactive substances to the surfaces of an implant, after it has been fabricated. The bioactive efficacy and biocompatibility of the base surface then enables it to be implanted into the human body and perform healing functions that can save lives.

Process efficient and effective

“There have been many types of polymers used in biomaterials, but the challenge with that has been, every time you make a new product it requires a new process,” Becker explains. “This chemistry will be very useful in that you can manufacture many different implant products that contain the same kind of sites for attachment and put any of a wide variety of bioactive substances on the same kind of attachment site.”

An unlimited number of biologic molecule types can be attached to the surface of a fibrous system, from antibiotics to fracture-healing vitamins.

“Imagine an emergency combat medic carrying around a box of bulky bandages to provide exactly the needed function from a larger number of possible needs,” Reneker says. “This system provides choice without bulk.”

Jukuan adds that he envisions the multifunctional development transitioning into an easy-to-use formula.

“This material will make life easier,” he says. “People will just open a package, mix two ingredients and it will be ready to use.”

A primary amine-derivatized 4-dibenzocyclooctynol (DIBO) was used to initiate the ring-opening polymerization of poly(?-benzyl-l-glutamate) (DIBO-PBLG). This initiator yields well-defined PBLG polymers functionalized with DIBO at the chain termini. The DIBO end group further survives an electrospinning process that yields nanofibers that were then derivatized post-assembly with azide-functionalized gold nanoparticles. The availability of DIBO on the surface of the fibers is substantiated by fluorescence, SEM, and TEM measurements. Post-assembly functionalization of nanofiber constructs with bioactive groups can be facilitated easily using this process.

Scientists at the University of Akron have developed a new polymer system that can do everything from stopping bleeding to filtering water. In addition to the polymer’s impressive adaptability, the researchers say its preparation is amazingly simple: just open a package and mix two ingredients together.

The polymer’s adaptability comes from the fact that its structure is an “electrospun polymer fiber mat” in which virtually any small molecule can be attached. By attaching surface proteins, for example, the polymer can become a new type of vascular graft for use during aneurysm surgery. Attaching antibiotics could allow the polymer to filter water or fight a wound infection.

Take a look at the video below of three University of Akron polymer science professors explaining more about how their multifunctional polymer works:

source : http://www.uakron.edu/im/online-newsroom/news_details.dot?newsId=3d63a384-15bf-4394-b6cb-960549c27d45

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Project Aims for Medical Isotope Production Without Use of Nuclear Reactors

Project Aims for Medical Isotope Production Without Use of Nuclear Reactors

Project Aims for Medical Isotope Production Without Use of Nuclear Reactors

SASKATOON, SK – Producing medical isotopes safely, cheaply and reliably without using a nuclear reactor or weapons-grade uranium is the aim of a research project led by the Canadian Light Source (CLS) along with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes and medical researchers from the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Toronto’s University Health Network.

The CLS Medical Isotope Project will receive $10 million from the Government of Canada and $2 million from the Province of Saskatchewan to study the technical and economic feasibility of producing medical isotopes using high energy X-rays from a particle accelerator.

The project, one of four being funded by Natural Resources Canada’s Non-reactor-based Isotope Supply Contribution Program (NISP), was announced by Minister of Natural Resources Christian Paradis at an event in Sherbrooke, QC and by Mr. Brad Trost, M.P. for Saskatoon-Humboldt, and Saskatchewan Innovation Minister Rob Norris at the CLS in Saskatoon.

“The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to partner with the Government of Canada to support this leading edge research in nuclear medicine,” says Minister Norris. “Saskatchewan’s investment represents a return by our province to the forefront of R&D in nuclear medicine at the University of Saskatchewan where the first use of cobalt-60 for cancer therapy was pioneered 60 years ago.”

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan for their leadership and support of our project,” says Mark de Jong, CLS Director of Accelerators and the project’s principal investigator. “This is an outstanding example of how the CLS and NRC, partnering with research and development leaders from industry and the academic community can solve problems of critical importance to the health of Canadians.”

The project will use a high energy linear accelerator to bombard coin-sized discs of molybdenum-100 with X-rays to produce molybdenum-99 isotope. The molybdenum-99 decays into technetium-99m, the isotope used in approximately 5500 diagnostic medical procedures in Canada every day.

“The National Research Council of Canada has a long history of solving critical S&T problems for Canadians”, says NRC President John R. McDougall. “This initiative holds the promise of a reliable, stable supply of medical isotopes for the needs of Canadians at an affordable cost. This is an excellent example of how partnerships between the private and public sector can drive innovation and pave the way to technological breakthroughs.”

The proposal calls for the construction and testing of a prototype production facility at the CLS to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the approach. NRC will provide design expertise as well as theoretical modeling and technical support, using an automated radionuclide separator from NorthStar to harvest the isotopes. Finally, clinical validation studies will be conducted by researchers with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the University Health Network in Toronto.

“The Heart Institute’s significant expertise as a national medical research facility will be put to work evaluating radiotracers labelled with technetium-99m produced with this new technology for its application in effectively diagnosing heart disease,” said Dr. Terrence Ruddy, Chief of Cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. “Our advanced technology in nuclear imaging will enable researchers to carry out preclinical and clinical validation studies leading to widespread application in patients.”

“Currently, there are only a handful of nuclear reactors globally that generate medical isotopes. With the breakdown of Chalk River’s nuclear reactor in 2009 there was a world-wide shortage,” notes Dr. Kieran Murphy, the University Health Network’s Deputy Chief of Radiology. “With high-energy particle accelerators we could produce medical isotopes in a much cheaper, cleaner and more efficient way. It would change the economics of nuclear medicine – not only in Canada or North America, but all over the world.”

The team’s preliminary calculations indicate that three facilities similar to the prototype to be built at the CLS would meet all of Canada’s demand for technetium-99m.

-30-

About the Canadian Light Source:

The Canadian Light Source is Canada’s national centre for synchrotron research and is a global leader and a recognized centre of excellence in synchrotron science and its applications. Since 2005 the CLS has hosted over 4,000 user visits from academic institutions, government, and industry, and delivered over 15,000 experimental shifts to users from across Canada and 16 countries. CLS operations are funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, National Research Council of Canada, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the University of Saskatchewan. www.lightsource.ca/media/quickfacts.php

About the National Research Council of Canada:

Recognized globally for research and innovation, the National Research Council of Canada is a leader in the development of an innovative, knowledge-based economy for Canada through science and technology. www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

About University Health Network:

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in cardiology, transplantation, infectious diseases, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, and genomic medicine. The Toronto General Research Institute has more than 350 scientists, students and support staff, more than $65 million in external funding, and its staff is published in more than 600 publications a year. University Health Network is a research and teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. www.uhn.ca

About University of Ottawa Heart Institute:

The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada’s largest and foremost cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding, treating and preventing heart disease. We deliver high-tech care with a personal touch, shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced, and revolutionize cardiac treatment and understanding. We build knowledge through research and translate discoveries into advanced care. We serve the local, national and international community, and are pioneering a new era in heart health. www.ottawaheart.ca

The supply of radioactive isotopes for medical use is regularly at risk due to a limited number of suppliers and the fact that nuclear reactors are involved. The Canadian government just allotted funds to sponsor a project which may lead to the generation of molybdenum-99 using X-rays powered by a linear accelerator.

From an announcement by the Canadian Light Source, which received C$12 million to fund the Medical Isotope Project:

The project will use a high energy linear accelerator to bombard coin-sized discs of molybdenum-100 with X-rays to produce molybdenum-99 isotope. The molybdenum-99 decays into technetium-99m, the isotope used in approximately 5500 diagnostic medical procedures in Canada every day.

The proposal calls for the construction and testing of a prototype production facility at the CLS to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the approach. NRC will provide design expertise as well as theoretical modeling and technical support, using an automated radionuclide separator from NorthStar to harvest the isotopes. Finally, clinical validation studies will be conducted by researchers with the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and the University Health Network in Toronto.

Image: Diagram of the proposed process. An electron beam from a linear accelerator is used to produce high-energy X-rays. X-rays shine on a target consisting of molybdenum-100 (Mo-100) discs. An X-ray strikes the nucleus of a Mo-100 atom, knocking away a neutron to create molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), which decays to become technetium-99m (Tc-99m). A radionuclide separator separates the Tc-99m from the Mo-100 so that it can be injected into patients undergoing medical tests. The Mo-100 can then be recycled into new targets.

Source : http://www.lightsource.ca/media/media_release_20110124.php

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