Posts Tagged ‘Medical Gadgets’

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Human Eye Muscle Movement

Human Eye Muscle Movement

Robot Vision: Muscle-Like Action Allows Camera to Mimic Human Eye Movement

Researchers from Georgia Tech recently presented novel, bio-inspired camera motion technology at the IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics in Rome, Italy. The camera’s eye movement is activated using a complicated piezoelectric mechanism that involves many small actuators that work in synchronicity much like muscle cells in our own eyes.

The research team hopes that the new technology, which is also considerably more energy efficient than common motor driven camera actuators, will be useful for a variety of medical applications such as MRI guided surgery, rehabilitation, and all kinds of assistive robots of the future.

Using piezoelectric materials, researchers have replicated the muscle motion of the human eye to control camera systems in a way designed to improve the operation of robots. This new muscle-like action could help make robotic tools safer and more effective for MRI-guided surgery and robotic rehabilitation.

Key to the new control system is a piezoelectric cellular actuator that uses a novel biologically inspired technology that will allow a robot eye to move more like a real eye. This will be useful for research studies on human eye movement as well as making video feeds from robots more intuitive. The research is being conducted by Ph.D. candidate Joshua Schultz under the direction of assistant professor Jun Ueda, both from the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

“For a robot to be truly bio-inspired, it should possess actuation, or motion generators, with properties in common with the musculature of biological organisms,” said Schultz. “The actuators developed in our lab embody many properties in common with biological muscle, especially a cellular structure. Essentially, in the human eye muscles are controlled by neural impulses. Eventually, the actuators we are developing will be used to capture the kinematics and performance of the human eye.”

Details of the research were presented June 25, 2012, at the IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics in Rome, Italy. The research is funded by National Science Foundation. Schultz also receives partial support from the Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Foundation.

Ueda, who leads the Georgia Tech Bio-Robotics and Human Modeling Laboratory in the School of Mechanical Engineering, said this novel technology will lay the groundwork for investigating research questions in systems that possess a large number of active units operating together. The application ranges from industrial robots, medical and rehabilitation robots to intelligent assistive robots.

“Robustness against uncertainty of model and environment is crucial for robots physically interacting with humans and environments,” said Ueda. “Successful integration relies on the coordinated design of control, structure, actuators and sensors by considering the dynamic interaction among them.”

Piezoelectric materials expand or contract when electricity is applied to them, providing a way to transform input signals into motion. This principle is the basis for piezoelectric actuators that have been used in numerous applications, but use in robotics applications has been limited due to piezoelectric ceramic’s minuscule displacement.

The cellular actuator concept developed by the research team was inspired by biological muscle structure that connects many small actuator units in series or in parallel.

The Georgia Tech team has developed a lightweight, high speed approach that includes a single-degree of freedom camera positioner that can be used to illustrate and understand the performance and control of biologically inspired actuator technology. This new technology uses less energy than traditional camera positioning mechanisms and is compliant for more flexibility.

“Each muscle-like actuator has a piezoelectric material and a nested hierarchical set of strain amplifying mechanisms,” said Ueda. “We are presenting a mathematical concept that can be used to predict the performance as well as select the required geometry of nested structures. We use the design of the camera positioning mechanism’s actuators to demonstrate the concepts.”

The scientists’ research shows mechanisms that can scale up the displacement of piezoelectric stacks to the range of the ocular positioning system. In the past, the piezoelectric stacks available for this purpose have been too small.

“Our research shows a two-port network model that describes compliant strain amplification mechanisms that increase the stroke length of the stacks,” said Schultz. “Our findings make a contribution to the use of piezoelectric stack devices in robotics, modeling, design and simulation of compliant mechanisms. It also advances the control of systems using a large number of motor units for a given degree of freedom and control of robotic actuators.”

In the study, the scientists sought to resolve a previous conundrum. A cable-driven eye could produce the eye’s kinematics, but rigid servomotors would not allow researchers to test the hypothesis for the neurological basis for eye motion.

Some measure of flexibility could be used in software with traditional actuators, but it depended largely on having a continuously variable control signal and it could not show how flexibility could be maintained with quantized actuation corresponding to neural recruitment phenomena.

“Each muscle-like actuator consists of a piezoelectric material and a nested hierarchical set of strain amplifying mechanisms,” said Ueda. “Unlike traditional actuators, piezoelectric cellular actuators are governed by the working principles of muscles – namely, motion results by discretely activating, or recruiting, sets of active fibers, called motor units.

“Motor units are linked by flexible tissue, which serves a two-fold function,” said Ueda. “It combines the action potential of each motor unit, and presents a compliant interface with the world, which is critical in unstructured environments.”

The Georgia Tech team has presented a camera positioner driven by a novel cellular actuator technology, using a contractile ceramic to generate motion. The team used 16 amplified piezoelectric stacks per side.

The use of multiple stacks addressed the need for more layers of amplification. The units were placed inside a rhomboidal mechanism. The work offers an analysis of the force-displacement tradeoffs involved in the actuator design and shows how to find geometry that meets the requirement of the camera positioner, said Schultz.

“The goal of scaling up piezoelectric ceramic stacks holds great potential to more accurately replicate human eye motion than previous actuators,” noted Schultz. “Future work in this area will involve implantation of this technology on a multi-degree of freedom device, applying open and closed loop control algorithms for positioning and analysis of co-contraction phenomena.”

Future research by his team will continue to focus on the development of a design framework for highly integrated robotic systems. This ranges from industrial robots to medical and rehabilitation robots to intelligent assistive robots.

Some details of the new technology:

“For a robot to be truly bio-inspired, it should possess actuation, or motion generators, with properties in common with the musculature of biological organisms,” said Schultz. “The actuators developed in our lab embody many properties in common with biological muscle, especially a cellular structure. Essentially, in the human eye muscles are controlled by neural impulses. Eventually, the actuators we are developing will be used to capture the kinematics and performance of the human eye.”

Piezoelectric materials expand or contract when electricity is applied to them, providing a way to transform input signals into motion. This principle is the basis for piezoelectric actuators that have been used in numerous applications, but use in robotics applications has been limited due to piezoelectric ceramic’s minuscule displacement.

The cellular actuator concept developed by the research team was inspired by biological muscle structure that connects many small actuator units in series or in parallel.

The Georgia Tech team has developed a lightweight, high speed approach that includes a single-degree of freedom camera positioner that can be used to illustrate and understand the performance and control of biologically inspired actuator technology. This new technology uses less energy than traditional camera positioning mechanisms and is compliant for more flexibility.

“Each muscle-like actuator has a piezoelectric material and a nested hierarchical set of strain amplifying mechanisms,” said Ueda. “We are presenting a mathematical concept that can be used to predict the performance as well as select the required geometry of nested structures. We use the design of the camera positioning mechanism’s actuators to demonstrate the concepts.”

The scientists’ research shows mechanisms that can scale up the displacement of piezoelectric stacks to the range of the ocular positioning system. In the past, the piezoelectric stacks available for this purpose have been too small.

“Our research shows a two-port network model that describes compliant strain amplification mechanisms that increase the stroke length of the stacks,” said Schultz. “Our findings make a contribution to the use of piezoelectric stack devices in robotics, modeling, design and simulation of compliant mechanisms. It also advances the control of systems using a large number of motor units for a given degree of freedom and control of robotic actuators.”

Source : http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=138981

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AFC-330 – Automated Fundus Camera

AFC-330 – Automated Fundus Camera

FREMONT, Calif. and JACKSONVILLE, Fla., May 15, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — NIDEK, a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and distribution of ophthalmic equipment, announces the FDA 510(k) Clearance for the AFC-330, their most automated fundus camera yet.

Features

  • All in one with built-in camera and computer
  • Five automated functions for enhanced ease-of-use
  • Monitor and indicator for operator assist
  • Navigation of stereo and panorama photography
  • Low flash intensity and quiet shutter sound

Detailed Information

All in one with built-in camera and computer

The AFC-330 has an integrated CCD camera and microcomputer in one compact unit without requiring an external camera and PC. It is virtually “ready to use out of the box”.

Five automated functions for enhanced ease-of-use

With five automated functions – 3-D auto tracking, auto focus, auto switching from anterior eye to fundus, auto shot, and auto print / export – the AFC-330 enables seamless photography from start to finish.

Five automated functions

Monitor and indicator for operator assist

The anterior eye monitor allows an operator to constantly verify alignment. The focus split indicator shows the amount of focus deviation in the fundus observation screen.

Monitor and indicator

Navigation of stereo and panorama photography

The AFC-330 navigates stereo and panorama photography with target marks displayed on observation screen*.

Navigation of stereo and panorama photography

* Stereo image observation and panorama composition are available with the NAVIS-EX software.

Low flash intensity and quiet shutter sound

The AFC-330 reduces flash intensity by 40% and sound of the shutter by 50% compared to its predecessor, the AFC-230 / 210.

A photo accompanying this release is available athttp://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=12900

“The AFC-330 represents NIDEK’s 3rd generation of automated fundus camera. We are both proud and excited to be leading the way designing and producing fundus cameras that are faster, easier, and more versatile than ever. We anticipate increasing our fundus camera market share with our market expansion with MARCO Ophthalmic.”

Motoki Ozawa, President and CEO of NIDEK

“We couldn’t be more excited about adding the Nidek AFC-330 automated fundus camera to our full product line of diagnostic technologies. The AFC-330 fits perfectly into Marco’s successful model of increasing efficiency with the kind of powerful, easy-to-use, and high-quality instrumentation that our customers have come to expect.”

David Marco, President and CEO of MARCO

The AFC-330 makes quantum leaps improving the operator and patient interface, simplicity, automation, and total practice efficiencies. This camera offers an all in one compact design, auto alignment on the X-Y-Z axis, and a wide range of automated features including auto stereo for Glaucoma Management. The lower flash intensity and sound-dampening internal movements mean less retakes and improved patient comfort. No other Non-Mydriatic camera provides both this level of advanced automation and image quality.

While NIDEK will continue to sell to the Ophthalmology market in the United States, MARCO, the leader in Vision Diagnostics, will sell the NIDEK AFC-330 to the Optometry market. This market expansion is to increase the distribution channels and better serve new and existing customers for both companies.

About NIDEK:

Founded in Gamagori, Japan in 1971, NIDEK continues to be a global leader in research and development, design, manufacture and distribution of ophthalmic equipment. The United States subsidiary based in Silicon Valley, California, provides sales and service for ophthalmic lasers, refractive lasers, and many advanced diagnostic devices.

The Nidek Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=1006

About MARCO:

Founded in Jacksonville, FL, in 1967, MARCO continues to expand its position as ‘The Leader in Vision Diagnostics’ with a product line that encompasses classical lane equipment and NIDEK high-tech, automated refractive and retinal instrumentation. MARCO continues to provide unparalleled training and support to its expanding United States customer base.

The photo is also available at Newscom, www.newscom.com, and via AP Photo Express.

CONTACT: NIDEK Inc.
         Frank Wood, MBA
         Marketing Manager
         800.223.9044 ext 762
         frank_wood@nidek.com

         MARCO Ophthalmic
         Michael J. Crocetta
         Executive Director of Marketing
         800.874.5274 ext 160
         mcrocetta@marco.com

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Disposable Vaginal Speculum Released At the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

Disposable Vaginal Speculum Released At the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

Skaneateles Falls, NY, May 7, 2012 –Welch Allyn, a leading global provider of medical diagnostic solutions, today introduced the industry’s first extra small, disposable vaginal speculum at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Annual Clinical Meeting in San Diego. Available for sale in August, the extra small KleenSpec® Disposable Vaginal Speculum joins the company’s suite of vaginal specula designed to work with the Welch Allyn Cordless Illumination System. They are made of smooth, molded acrylic that will not pinch or bind tissue, and their wider handles provide improved ergonomics, better balance, and are easier to manipulate during exams.

“We are proud to say we now offer every size disposable vaginal speculum needed for all types of patients,” says Tracy Bennett, manager, Physical Assessment at Welch Allyn. “Our new extra small disposable vaginal speculum will allow obstetricians, gynecologists and family physicians to perform a comfortable, safe exam with virginal and pediatric patients as well as post-menopausal and post-hysterectomy women. And since they are single-use, they eliminate the time and expense of reprocessing and help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.”

KleenSpec Disposable Vaginal Specula are designed to fit directly onto the Welch Allyn Cordless Illumination System—eliminating the worry of cords being cleaned, getting in the way or breaking during an exam. Featuring automatic on/off, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) provide a whiter, brighter light source that enhances visualization of the exam area with true tissue rendition and less heat than traditional lamps. In addition, the light pipe on the specula provides a homogeneous spot and eliminates glare-back, projecting light forward where it is needed most.

“Our Cordless Illumination System features a LED light source that’s whiter and brighter than conventional halogen systems,” added Bennett. “And because it’s cordless, our customers will have enhanced freedom of movement when performing pelvic exams. With continuous on-time of 80 minutes, and a rechargeable lithium ion battery, it’s a must-have for every physician’s office, hospital or clinic that cares about efficiency, safety and patient comfort.”

For more information about the Welch Allyn KleenSpec Disposable Vaginal Specula and Cordless Illumination System, please call 800.535.6663 or visit www.welchallyn.com.

About Welch Allyn
Founded in 1915 and headquartered in Skaneateles Falls, NY (USA), Welch Allyn is a leading global provider of medical diagnostic equipment and a complete range of digital and connected solutions. With 2,750 employees working in 26 different countries, Welch Allyn is a family-owned business that specializes in helping doctors, nurses, and other frontline practitioners across the globe provide the best patient care by developing innovative products, breakthrough technologies, and cutting-edge solutions that help them see more patients, detect more conditions, and improve more lives. More information about Welch Allyn and its complete line of connected products and solutions may be found at www.welchallyn.com.

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Researchers make living model of brain tumor

Researchers make living model of brain tumor

Not all cancers are created equal. While some are easy to study in the Petri dish, others don’t do well in vitro. They often will not grow without a supporting framework of angiogenic blood vessels that supply their high metabolism with nutrients and oxygen. Performing experiments on tumors such as glioma is a difficult proposition because they only wish to reside in the body and normally don’t survive when grown outside in a laboratory environment.Glioma

Researchers at Brown University have now managed to grow a three-dimensional glioma tumor, including the supporting proximal blood vessels, and are already using it to perform experiments testing a nanomedicine approach to tumor destruction.

From the announcement:

In a series of experiments, the team showed that iron-oxide nanoparticles ferrying the chemical tumstatin penetrated the blood vessels that sustain the tumor with oxygen and nutrients. The iron-oxide nanoparticles are important, because they are readily taken up by endothelial cells and can be tracked by magnetic resonance imaging.

Previous experiments have shown that tumstatin was effective at blocking endothelial cell growth in gliomas. The tests by the Brown researchers took it to another level by confirming, in a 3-D, living environment, the iron-oxide nanoparticles’ ability to reach blood vessels surrounding a glioma as well as tumstatin’s ability to penetrate endothelial cells.

“The 3-D glioma model that we have developed offers a facile process to test diffusion and penetration into a glioma that is covered by a blood vessel-like coating of endothelial cells,” said Don Ho, a graduate student in the lab of chemistry professor Shouheng Sun and the lead author of the paper in the journal Theranostics. “This assay would save time and money, while reducing tests in living organisms, to examine an agent’s 3-D characteristics such as the ability for targeting and diffusion.”

The tissue model concept comes from Jeffrey Morgan, a bioengineer at Brown and a corresponding author on the paper. Building on that work, Ho and others created an agarose hydrogel mold in which rat RG2-cell gliomas roughly 200 microns in diameter formed. The team used endothelial cells derived from cow respiratory vessels, which congregated around the tumor and created the blood vessel architecture. The advantage of a 3-D model rather than Petri-dish-type analyses is that the endothelial cells attach to the tumor, rather than being separated from the substrate. This means the researchers can study their formation and growth, as well as the action of anti-therapeutic agents, just as they would in a living organism.

The researchers created a glioma, or brain tumor, and the network of blood vessels that surrounds it. In a series of experiments, the team showed that iron-oxide nanoparticles ferrying the chemical tumstatin penetrated the blood vessels that sustain the tumor with oxygen and nutrients. The iron-oxide nanoparticles are important, because they are readily taken up by endothelial cells and can be tracked by magnetic resonance imaging.

Previous experiments have shown that tumstatin was effective at blocking endothelial cell growth in gliomas. The tests by the Brown researchers took it to another level by confirming, in a 3-D, living environment, the iron-oxide nanoparticles’ ability to reach blood vessels surrounding a glioma as well as tumstatin’s ability to penetrate endothelial cells.

“The 3-D glioma model that we have developed offers a facile process to test diffusion and penetration into a glioma that is covered by a blood vessel-like coating of endothelial cells,” said Don Ho, a graduate student in the lab of chemistry professor Shouheng Sun and the lead author of the paper in the journal Theranostics. “This assay would save time and money, while reducing tests in living organisms, to examine an agent’s 3-D characteristics such as the ability for targeting and diffusion.”

The tissue model concept comes from Jeffrey Morgan, a bioengineer at Brown and a corresponding author on the paper. Building on that work, Ho and others created an agarose hydrogel mold in which rat RG2-cell gliomas roughly 200 microns in diameter formed. The team used endothelial cells derived from cow respiratory vessels, which congregated around the tumor and created the blood vessel architecture. The advantage of a 3-D model rather than Petri-dish-type analyses is that the endothelial cells attach to the tumor, rather than being separated from the substrate. This means the researchers can study their formation and growth, as well as the action of anti-therapeutic agents, just as they would in a living organism.

“You want to see nanoparticles that diffuse through the endothelial cells, which is lost in 2-D because you just have diffusion into media,” Ho said.

Other 3-D tissue models have been “forced cell arrangements,” Ho said. The 3-D glioma model, in contrast, allowed the glioma and the endothelial cells to assemble naturally, just as they would in real life. “It more clearly mimics what would actually happen,” Ho explained.

The group then attached tumstatin, part of a naturally occurring protein found in collagen, to iron-oxide nanoparticles and dosed the mold. True to form, the nanoparticles were gobbled up by the endothelial cells. In a series of in vitroexperiments, the team reported the tumstatin iron-oxide nanoparticles decreased vasculature growth 2.7 times more than under normal conditions over eight days. “The growth is pretty much flat,” Ho said. “There’s no new growth of endothelial cells.” The next step is to test the tumstatin nanoparticles’ performance in the 3-D environment.

“This model has significant potential to help in the testing and optimization of the design of therapeutic/diagnostic nanocarriers and determine their therapeutic capabilities,” the researchers write.

Contributing authors include Nathan Kohler and Aruna Sigdel, in Brown’s chemistry department; Raghu Kalluri, from the Harvard Medical School, who first discovered tumstatin’s anti-blood vessel growth properties; and Chenjie Xu, who earned his doctorate in chemistry at Brown last May and is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Source:http://news.brown.edu/pressreleases/2012/02/glioma

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Patient Centered Medical Home

Patient Centered Medical Home

FutureMed featured back-to-back sessions from Paul Grundy, MD and Watson guru Marty Kohn, MD. We’ll give you a rundown of both of their presentations here:ibm-watson

Paul Grundy, MD, IBM’s global director of healthcare transformation, is a proponent of a primary-care model called the “Patient Centered Medical Home.” Dr. Grundy explained that he developed the model by looking for the pain and suffering in the current healthcare delivery system and working to change it in “profoundly different ways.”

Earlier, when looking at the U.S. healthcare system, Dr. Grundy came to the conclusion that “we in the United States were dead last and we were dead last at twice the price of any other civilized nation on the face of the earth. And it has just gotten worse since then.”

But he noticed that there were places around the United States where one was significantly more likely to get the level of care that one could get in, say, Switzerland or Australia. Dubuque, Iowa is an example of that, he said. Dubuque is one of the least expensive healthcare markets in the country.

Not surprisingly, Grundy explained that he had received questions from the IBM CFO about the regional cost of care in the United States, which the company was considering when deciding where to locate jobs. As it turns out, IBM decided to locate a call center in Dubuque, Iowa—partly as a result of the low healthcare costs there.

And when looking at the costs of various healthcare markets, Grundy noticed “tremendous waste.” Depending on which economist one listens to, administrative costs and overhead make up 19 to 30% of the healthcare costs, he said.

Fixing the Broken Delivery System: When asked what kind of healthcare they wanted, IBM employees stressed the importance of the relationship with physicians. “We decided that we really fundamentally wanted to change the covenant between the buyer and the provider of care,” Grundy said. “And that is happening today.”

While the United States has some of the best partial care in the world, the country is poor at coordinating care. “We do not know how to play as a team,” Grundy said.

As a solution, Grundy put forward the concept of the Patient-Centered Medical Home, which emphasizes collaboration. The system has been backed by Anthem, Wellpoint, and government agencies such as the Department of Defense.

Grundy explained that, in a recent study with IBM employees, the new delivery system model resulted in the following gains in efficiency, which he ascribes to “robust prevention in primary care:”

  • 36% drop in hospital days
  • 32% drop in ER use
  • 9.6% drop in total cost

Another study by CareMore that tried out the Patient-Centered Medical Home model found the following:

  • a hospitalization rate 24% below average
  • hospital stays 38% shorter
  • an amputation rate among diabetics 60% lower than average

Next, Marty Kohn, MD, chief medical scientist, care delivery systems at IBM Research, gave the audience at FutureMed an in-depth look at the medical applications of Watson, which famously bested human competition in Jeopardy! about a year ago.

“Our goal, with [Paul Grundy, MD]’s leadership, is to understand what is necessary to support the transformation of healthcare to the patient-centered evidence-based outcome-based system that actually makes people healthy and reduces cost,” Kohn said.

Kohn explained that Watson in healthcare could offer the following benefits:

  • improve quality of care
  • reduce errors
  • engage patients
  • improve audit trails
  • improve efficiency
  • better utilize skills

Watson was developed for Jeopardy! and, on the game show, could only access internal data. In the future, the system could be used to actively look for new data from multiple sources including the Internet. While Watson now only understands English, in the future it could understand multiple languages, which it can leverage to process even more data.

While on Jeopardy!, Watson was only able to answer questions with a single answer, but the system can provide multiple answers to a question, assigning a confidence level to each.

This capability could be used to improve physicians’ ability to practice evidence-based care. It could also be employed to help physicians navigate the much-discussed and ever-increasing sea of data. Just looking at journal articles alone, there are 800,000 articles published each year, Dr. Kohn said.

What is unique about Watson, Dr. Kohn explained, is that it is interactive and will ask for more information when necessary to improve decision making. If a patient comes into a hospital complaining of feeling “dizzy,” Watson could suggest follow-up questions that the doctor could ask the patient to improve the chance of making the right diagnosis. “We know that patients use terminology that is very different than the way healthcare professionals use terminology. So, a patient says ‘I am dizzy,’ and, as a healthcare professional, I may think they mean ‘vertigo’ but they may mean something completely different. There are something like 150 different things a patient could be referring to when they complain of dizziness,” he said. “Well, Watson with its paraphrasing ability would understand that.”

When EHRs debuted, they were first hailed as a panacea for healthcare. “But they don’t help one prioritize information,” Dr. Kohn said. Watson could help clinicians sort through EHR data to find out what is the most relevant to improve patient care.

Watson also can help physicians overcome problems with self-reinforcing perception bias, which is normal but a source of errors, Dr. Kohn said. An example of this bias can be found when a patient comes in and a physician “systematically listens for things that support an original hypothesis and systematically suppresses information that is contrary to it,” he said. And, as a result of this, you come out with flawed or limited diagnoses.

By contrast, Watson first looks for possible responses. Then, it searches for evidence sources to evaluate the likelihood that the possible responses are relevant and to what extent. This could work in healthcare where Watson could sort through a long list of possible diagnoses and then use the evidence sources to make suggestions.

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    BOVIE MEDICAL CORPORATION RECEIVES 510 K CLEARANCES TO MARKET PATENTED J-PLASMA™ TECHNOLOGY

    BOVIE MEDICAL CORPORATION RECEIVES 510 K CLEARANCES TO MARKET PATENTED J-PLASMA™ TECHNOLOGY

    Bovie Medical received FDA clearance for its J-Plasma handpiece with retractable cutting feature for coagulating soft tissue during surgeries. It is available for both open and laparoscopic procedures.bovie-j-plasma1

    The device is powered by a previously approved Bovie GS electrosurgical generator.

    J-Plasma™ is formed by passing an inert gas, such as helium, over a sharp conductive point which is held at high voltage and high frequency, producing a luminous discharge beam. The sharp conductive point can also be in the form of a retractable surgical blade, providing multiple modes of operation in a single instrument. The extended surgical blade can be used for incisions and other cutting procedures, and when retracted, the blade is used to form the J-Plasma beam for coagulation. The extended blade can also be used in combination with the J-Plasma beam, providing an enhanced cutting capability with minimal impact on surrounding tissue.

    The Company, assisted by leading surgeons, will introduce J-Plasma™ at selected hospital beta sites including several university teaching facilities, in preparation for a market launch later this year by its independent sales distribution network.

    Melville, New York, February 1, 2012 – Bovie Medical Corporation (“Bovie” or the “Company”) (NYSE Amex: BVX), a manufacturer and marketer of electrosurgical products, today announced that the Company received 510k clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market its J-Plasma™ handpiece with retractable cutting feature for soft tissue coagulation during surgery. The handpiece will be powered by Bovie’s GS electrosurgical generator, which has prior 510k market clearance.

    J-Plasma™ is formed by passing an inert gas, such as helium, over a sharp conductive point which is held at high voltage and high frequency, producing a luminous discharge beam. The sharp conductive point can also be in the form of a retractable surgical blade, providing multiple modes of operation in a single instrument. The extended surgical blade can be used for incisions and other cutting procedures, and when retracted, the blade is used to form the J-Plasma beam for coagulation. The extended blade can also be used in combination with the J-Plasma beam, providing an enhanced cutting capability with minimal impact on surrounding tissue.

    The Company, assisted by leading surgeons, will introduce J-Plasma™ at selected hospital beta sites including several university teaching facilities, in preparation for a market launch later this year by its independent sales distribution network.

    Bovie continues to explore and review added applications for J-Plasma™ which include gynecology, dermatology, plastic surgery, infection control, use in robotics and other surgical techniques.

    Bovie Medical Corporation CEO Andrew Makrides commented, “This is a significant development toward Bovie becoming a leader in plasma surgery and achieving increased prominence in the electrosurgery marketplace.”

    Bovie recently announced the granting of a United States patent for a “Method to generate a plasma stream for performing electrosurgery”, adding to the Company’s J-Plasma™ patent portfolio. Bovie has four patents related to its J-Plasma™ technology with three additional patent applications pending.

    Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements

    Certain matters discussed in this news release and oral statements made from time to time by representatives of the Company may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and the Federal securities laws.  Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved.

    Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected.  Many of these factors are beyond the Company’s ability to control or predict.  Important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially and that could impact the Company and the statements contained in this news release can be found in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including the Company’s Report on Form 10‑K for the year ended December 31, 2010.  For forward-looking statements in this new release, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  The Company assumes no obligation to update or supplement any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

    Source:http://boviemed.com/stocknews.asp#020112

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    Cool Nano Loudspeakers Could Make for Better MRIs, Quantum Computers

    Cool Nano Loudspeakers Could Make for Better MRIs, Quantum Computers

    Researchers from Joint Quantum Institute (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland, College Park), the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Harvard University have described a theoretical system that may allow the detection of very small electrical signals by utilizing laser light.nanoloudspeakers

    The technology framework uses a nano scale mechanical membrane that vibrates in response to an electrical signal, with the frequency proportional to the signal strength. Shining a laser onto the membrane will let you measure the vibration frequency, identifying the nature of the original signal. Because these sensors can be very small and remain cool, it may be possible to reduce the size, energy requirements, and improve all sorts of characteristics of MRI machines when their superconducting magnets are no longer necessary.

    From the study abstract:

    We explore a method for laser cooling and optical detection of excitations in a room temperature LC electrical circuit. Our approach uses a nanomechanical oscillator as a transducer between optical and electronic excitations. An experimentally feasible system with the oscillator capacitively coupled to the LC and at the same time interacting with light via an optomechanical force is shown to provide strong electromechanical coupling. Conditions for improved sensitivity and quantum limited readout of electrical signals with such an “optical loud speaker” are outlined.

    A team of physicists from the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI), the Neils Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Harvard University has developed a theory describing how to both detect weak electrical signals and cool electrical circuits using light and something very like a nanosized loudspeaker.* If demonstrated through experiment, the work could have a tremendous impact on detection of low-power radio signals, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the developing field of quantum information science.

    The JQI is a collaborative venture of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the University of Maryland, College Park.

    “We envision coupling a nanomechanical membrane to an electrical circuit so that an electrical signal, even if exceedingly faint, will cause the membrane to quiver slightly as a function of the strength of that signal,” says JQI physicist Jake Taylor. “We can then bounce photons from a laser off that membrane and read the signal by measuring the modulation of the reflected light as it is shifted by the motion of the membrane. This leads to a change in the wavelength of the light.”

    Present technology for measuring the wavelength of light is highly sensitive, which makes it ideal for detecting the nanoscopic motions of the loudspeaker caused by extremely faint electrical signals.

    And the ability to detect extremely faint electrical signals may someday make MRI medical procedures much easier.

    “MRI machines are so big because they are stuffed with really powerful superconducting magnets, but if we can reduce the strength of the signals we need for a reading, we can reduce the strength, and the size, of the magnets,” Taylor says. “This may mean that one could get an MRI while sitting quietly in a room and forgo the tube.”

    The same setup could be used to generate information-carrying photons from one qubit to another, according to Taylor.

    One popular quantum information system design uses light to transfer information among qubits, entangled particles that will exploit the inherent weirdness of quantum phenomena to perform certain calculations impossible for current computers. The ‘nanospeaker’ could be used to translate low-energy signals from a quantum processor to optical photons, where they can be detected and transmitted from one qubit to another.

    Source:http://jqi.umd.edu/news/293-cool-nano-loudspeakers-could-make-for-better-mris-quantum-computers.html

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    ; Wireless Monitoring of Heart Rate and Respiration Using RADAR

    ; Wireless Monitoring of Heart Rate and Respiration Using RADAR

    Venture Beat recently named the “Quantified Self” movement as a top trend for 2012. That publication defined the movement as “self-knowledge through numbers” and cited a number of gadgets that enable their users to quantify everyday activities such as workouts, sleep, heart rate, and galvanic skin response.

    Hugo Campos is a proponent of this movement: He uses aFitBit device to keep track of his daily activity level, a Withings blood pressure monitor, a WiFi scale, and a Zeo sleep monitor. He cannot, however, access the data in his implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) because such data is off limit to patients. The data from his ICD can, however, be accessed by his physician and the device’s manufacturer.

    In his quest to learn about his condition and ICDs, Campos attends cardiology conferences, takes classes on how to program ICDs, and “does everything [he] can to raise [his] own level of health literacy,” as he explained in a recent TEDx talk. He firmly supports the e-patient movement, in which “networked patients are shifting from being just mere passengers to becoming responsible drivers of their care.”

    Campos explains in the talk that he wants “to paint a broader picture in high resolution of what [his] health looks like.” But Campos, who is at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, gets no data from his $30,000 ICD—which includes information on heart rhythm, variations in chest impedance, and battery life.

    Researchers at TNO, the Dutch Institute for Applied Science, have developed a vital signs monitor for measuring body motion, heart rate and respiration wirelessly at a distance of up to 10 meters. The system was presented at a Quantified Self meetup in Amsterdam.  It uses RADAR technology and allows continuous monitoring of motion, heart rate and respiration without the need for attaching sensors to the body. Radar pulses are emitted and reflected from the person (or cat) under observation. Based on the detection time and frequency of the reflected pulses, information can be derived about the movement of the body with a spatial resolution of  up to 1mm. According to the presentation it may also be possible to estimate sleep cycles based on the measured parameters.  The system is currently being trialled by TNO and further development is still required, however the team hopes to bring the system to market within the next 6-12 months.

    Here’s video of the presentation with a great technical overview of the system and a demo of it being used to monitor a sleeping infant from a distance.

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    InterVapor Endoscopic Thermal Ablative Treatment for Emphysema Gets CE Mark

    InterVapor, from Uptake Medical (Tustin, CA), is a non-surgical endoscopic lung volume reduction procedure that uses thermal ablation without leaving foreign materials in the lung. In clinical studies of patients with severe emphysema, InterVapor has demonstrated clinically meaningful improvements in breathing function, exercise capacity and quality of life. The company has now closed a Series C funding round, which will support commercialization of InterVapor for treatment of severe emphysema. This news comes on the heels of Uptake Medical receiving CE mark approval for InterVapor in September, completing the first commercial use of InterVapor in Germany in November, and recently announcing TGA approval for InterVapor to be marketed in Australia.

    Steven Kesten, Chief Medical Officer at Uptake Medical, answered our questions about the company and its technology:

    1.   How did the idea of InterVapor come about?

    The idea for Uptake Medical’s InterVapor™ technology was based on the body’s healing response to thermal energy. Early research was based on the hypothesis that if we were able to trigger a temporary Localized Inflammatory Response (LIR) that the associated healing process would ultimately develop a scar that would remodel and reduce the diseased lung tissue. Early experiments were conducted using various forms of heat energy, such as radio frequency, but the energy could not travel out to the diseased areas of the lung due to a lack of available lung mass. Experimentation ultimately lead to the discovery that heated water vapor (steam) was the optimal form of heat energy as it is in gas form and could easily travel through the airways to the diseased parenchyma. The development team made a prototype, proved the theory with ex-vivo animal lungs and this is the basic theory which has been ultimately proven in both animal and human clinical studies.

    2.   Can you describe the process of delivering the heated vapor to the diseased lung?

    In advance of the InterVapor procedure, a personalized treatment plan is developed specifically for the patient to be treated. A high-resolution CT of the patient’s lungs is analyzed by the Uptake Medical core lab. This analysis includes a quantitative assessment of several factors to determine the degree of heterogeneity and to identify the lung regions where the best opportunity for lung volume reduction may be successfully achieved. These recommendations are forwarded to the treating pulmonologist as an InterVapor Personalized Procedure Program™ (IP3™).

    For the procedure itself, a bronchoscope is inserted into the lungs and the physician, following the blue print provided by the IP3, reviews the patient’s lungs and determines the course of treatment. The InterVapor Catheter is inserted through the working channel of the bronchoscope into the targeted airway. The treatment time specific to the target airway is obtained from the IP3 and keyed into the InterVapor Generator. This airway is briefly occluded by the inflation of a balloon at the end of a catheter and a dose of heated water vapor is delivered to the lung tissue. The balloon is then deflated, the catheter is removed and additional airways are treated as appropriate. The entire procedure, on average, takes 30 minutes.

    InterVapor Mechanism of Action:

    Treatment: The delivery of heated water vapor triggers a temporary Localized Inflammatory Response (LIR) which sets the body’s natural healing process in motion.

    Healing: This LIR is usually resolved within 4-12 weeks as the lung begins the healing and remodeling process.

    Response: InterVapor has been shown to lead to clinical improvements in lung function, exercise capacity and health-related quality of life.

    3.   What meaningful clinical improvement above and beyond medical therapy can we expect with InterVapor, especially in terms of exercise function and quality-of-life?

    In the VAPOR trial patients received optimal medical management prior to treatment with InterVapor. InterVapor therapy resulted in clinically relevant improvements in lung function, quality of life and exercise tolerance in upper lobe predominant emphysema. At 6 months, airflow as assessed by FEV1, FEV1 improved by 141 ml, air trapping as assessed by residual volume (RV) was reduced by 406ml. Health-related quality of life, as assessed by the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score improved by 14.0 units with a 4 unit improvement having been reported as the minimal clinically important difference. Exercise capacity, as assessed by the 6-minute walk test, improved by 46.5 m and breathlessness, as measured by the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) dyspnea scale improved by 0.9 units. All of the above endpoints were associated with p values less than 0.05. The results were clinically and statistically significant.

    The results of the VAPOR trial are available online, ahead of publication, in the European Respiratory Journal. (Snell, G., et al. Bronchoscopic Thermal Vapor Ablation Therapy in the Management of Heterogeneous Emphysema. Eur Respir J 2012; DOI 10.1183/09031936.00092411)

    4.   Is this a one-time procedure or can this be repeated multiple times to different diseases segments of the lungs?

    The InterVapor System is intended for use in patients with heterogeneous severe emphysema to achieve bronchoscopic upper lobe lung volume reduction by the application of heated water vapor to the lung segments targeted for treatment. The clinical results observed in the VAPOR trial were achieved as a single, unilateral procedure. In a typical InterVapor treatment, 3-8 airways within a lung are treated.

    5.   Where is InterVapor therapy currently available? Is it available in any capacity in the United States?

    Uptake Medical has received the CE mark and TGA approval for InterVapor and we are focusing our commercial efforts in both Germany and Australia at this time. We plan to extend our commercialization throughout Europe during 2012. At this time InterVapor is not available in the US.

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    Roswell Park Launches Landmark Immunotherapy Vaccine Trial

    Roswell Park Launches Landmark Immunotherapy Vaccine Trial

    The Center for Immunotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is about to begin a very exciting new cancer clinical trial that will test a personalized immunotherapy to attack cancer cells.

    The new NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine will be produced “using a unique FDA-approved process — making RPCI the first research facility in the U.S. to use a custom-made barrier isolator for vaccine cell production, and the first in the world to use this system in an approved, government-regulated study,” according to the announcement.

    The vaccine to be produced at RPCI will be the first to incorporate a particular form of NY-ESO-1, antiDEC205-NY-ESO-1. “Armed with this specialized protein, the treated cells are then given back to the patient as a vaccine designed to recruit an army of killer immune cells that seek out and destroy cancer,” explains Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, Director of RPCI’s Center for Immunotherapy (CFI) and the study’s Principal Investigator.

    The new study is also unique in that it’s the first to test a dendritic vaccine given in combination with rapamycin, a compound used to prevent rejection of solid-organ transplant. The study just launched will capitalize on a striking recent scientific discovery by Protul Shrikant, PhD, of the Department of Immunology at RPCI, who found that in low doses, rapamycin confers a previously unknown benefit — it prevents the immune system from using up its cancer-killing T-cells in one quick burst. “We have shown for the first time that rapamycin has the capacity to produce immune cells that have memory attributes,” explains Dr. Odunsi, who is also Chair of RPCI’s Department of Gynecologic Oncology. “The immune cells are trained to live longer and to always remember that cancer cells are bad and should be attacked and killed.”

    The ability to stretch out the attack for a long-term, durable response suggests that the vaccine may be effective in preventing disease recurrence. The new NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine is expected to show great promise in patients with bladder, brain, breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, hepatocellular, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate, sarcoma and uterine tumors.

    PLEASE NOTE: As expected, Roswell Park Cancer Institute continues to receive a very high volume of calls and emails from patients and their families regarding the vaccine clinical research study that was announced at our press conference, January 24. Many calls and emails (and even some in-person inquiries) are coming into all sectors of the Institute – from the clinics and Switchboard to Patient Access and the Cancer Resource Center. The staff and faculty of Roswell Park are making every effort to ensure that you receive the information you need quickly and efficiently. Therefore, we ask that you ONLY contact the ASK-RPCI information center. To reach the ASK-RPCI information center, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724), Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. or send an email to askrpci@roswellpark.org. Information about the trial is also included on the Roswell Park website at www.roswellpark.org. Thank you for both your cooperation and your interest in this important new study.

    Dendritic cells are the gatekeepers of the human immune system, defending against invaders like bacteria, viruses and cancer. The vaccine to be produced at RPCI will be the first to incorporate a particular form of NY-ESO-1, antiDEC205-NY-ESO-1. “Armed with this specialized protein, the treated cells are then given back to the patient as a vaccine designed to recruit an army of killer immune cells that seek out and destroy cancer,” explains Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, Director of RPCI’s Center for Immunotherapy (CFI) and the study’s Principal Investigator.

    The new study is also unique in that it’s the first to test a dendritic vaccine given in combination with rapamycin, a compound used to prevent rejection of solid-organ transplant. The study just launched will capitalize on a striking recent scientific discovery by Protul Shrikant, PhD, of the Department of Immunology at RPCI, who found that in low doses, rapamycin confers a previously unknown benefit — it prevents the immune system from using up its cancer-killing T-cells in one quick burst. “We have shown for the first time that rapamycin has the capacity to produce immune cells that have memory attributes,” explains Dr. Odunsi, who is also Chair of RPCI’s Department of Gynecologic Oncology. “The immune cells are trained to live longer and to always remember that cancer cells are bad and should be attacked and killed.”

    The ability to stretch out the attack for a long-term, durable response suggests that the vaccine may be effective in preventing disease recurrence. The new NY-ESO-1 dendritic cell vaccine is expected to show great promise in patients with bladder, brain, breast, esophageal, gastrointestinal, hepatocellular, kidney, lung, melanoma, ovarian, prostate, sarcoma and uterine tumors.

    The NY-ESO-1 vaccine, tailor-made for each patient, will be produced in RPCI’s Therapeutic Cell Production Facility (TCPF) under the direction of Yeong “Christopher” Choi, PhD, who notes: “We believe that our facility’s custom-made barrier isolator, the unit in which the vaccines are manufactured, is the first of its kind.” The barrier isolator — an Xvivo System processing chamber designed to RPCI’s specifications by BioSpherix, Ltd., Lacona, NY — maintains strict control of the unit’s temperature and atmospheric gases, critical for optimal production of dendritic cell vaccines.

    “Those conditions, and the sterile vaccine-manufacturing environment, are rigidly maintained throughout the entire process,” says Dr. Choi. “The Xvivo — which at about 70 square feet is basically a clean room in a box — acts as a physical barrier that protects the cell-therapy product from outside contaminants, resulting in a safer, more predictable manufacturing process.”

    The potential of therapeutic vaccines is attracting increasing interest in the field of oncology. Last year, the FDA approved the first therapeutic cancer vaccine, Provenge® (sipuleucel-T), for men with advanced prostate cancer. RPCI’s Center for Immunotherapy is awaiting FDA approval to launch additional cancer vaccine trials, including a vaccine for malignant glioma (a type of brain tumor) and another vaccine for patients with ovarian, fallopian tube, and primary peritoneal cancer.

    “This trial will be only the beginning of a very robust program of activity in the area of using the human immune system to fight cancer,” adds Dr. Odunsi. “Our production process holds tremendous potential for applications related to stem-cell therapy and regenerative medicine, and I believe we’re uniquely positioned at RPCI to have the tools, infrastructure and multidisciplinary collaboration to capitalize on these ideas and opportunities both effectively and efficiently.”

    The clinical research study will enroll 18-20 eligible patients whose tumors express a specific antigen, known as NY-ESO-1. Apart from the adult male testis, NY-ESO-1 is not expressed in normal tissues of the body, but is expressed in cancers. This may help decrease the risk of side effects from the vaccine, because it should target only the tissues that express NY-ESO-1.

    Dr. Odunsi, who developed the NY-ESO-1 vaccine, led previous trials evaluating its effectiveness in treating ovarian cancer. Christine Sable of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, enrolled on one of those studies in February of 2004, after undergoing surgery and chemotherapy for advanced-stage ovarian cancer. Although she faced a 75-80% chance that the cancer would return, her immune system responded strongly to the vaccine, and she has remained cancer-free in the seven years since then, with no side effects.

    Source:http://www.roswellpark.org/media/news/roswell-park-launches-landmark-immunotherapy-vaccine-trial

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