Developing Biocompatible Iridium Oxide Electrodes for Bone-Guided Extra-Cochlear Implant
Recently, various bioelectronic devices have been developed for neurologic disease treatments via electro-stimulations such as cochlear implants and retinal prosthesis. Since the electric signal needs electrodes to be transmitted to an organism, electrodes play an important role of stimulations. The materials of stimulation electrodes affect the efficiency of the delivered currents. The higher the efficiency of the electrodes, the lower the threshold current can be used to stimulate the organism which minimizes the potential damages to the adjacent tissues. In this study, we proposed a biocompatible composite electrode composed of high-charge-capacity iridium oxide (IrOₓ) film for a bone-guide extra-cochlear implant. IrOₓ was exploited to decrease the threshold current due to its high capacitance and low impedance. The IrOₓ electrode was fabricated via microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) photolithography and examined with in-vivo tests with guinea pigs. Based on the measured responses of brain waves to sound, the results demonstrated that IrOₓ electrodes have a lower threshold current compared with the Platinum (Pt) electrodes. The research results are expected to be beneficial for implantable and biocompatible electrodes for electrical stimulations.
Role of Autophagic Lysosome Reformation for Cell Viability in an in vitro Infection Model
Introduction: Autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved lysosome-dependent degradation pathway, which can be induced by extrinsic and intrinsic stressors in living systems to adapt to fluctuating environmental conditions. In the context of inflammatory stress, autophagy contributes to the elimination of invading pathogens, the regulation of innate and adaptive immune mechanisms, and regulation of inflammasome activity as well as tissue damage repair. Lysosomes can be recycled from autolysosomes by the process of autophagic lysosome reformation (ALR), which depends on the presence of several proteins including Spatacsin. Thus ALR contributes to the replenishment of lysosomes that are available for fusion with autophagosomes in situations of increased autophagic turnover, e.g., during bacterial infections, inflammatory stress or sepsis. Objectives: We aimed to assess whether ALR plays a role for cell survival in an in-vitro bacterial infection model. Methods: Mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) were isolated from wild-type mice and Spatacsin (Spg11-/-) knockout mice. Wild-type MEFs and Spg11-/- MEFs were infected with Staphylococcus aureus (multiplication of infection (MOI) used was 10). After 8 and 16 hours of infection, cell viability was assessed on BD flow cytometer through propidium iodide intake. Bacterial intake by cells was also calculated by plating cell lysates on blood agar plates. Results: in-vitro infection of MEFs with Staphylococcus aureus showed a marked decrease of cell viability in ALR deficient Spatacsin knockout (Spg11-/-) MEFs after 16 hours of infection as compared to wild-type MEFs (n=3 independent experiments; p < 0.0001) although no difference was observed for bacterial intake by both genotypes. Conclusion: Suggesting that ALR is important for the defense of invading pathogens e.g. S. aureus, we observed a marked increase of cell death in an in-vitro infection model in cells with compromised ALR.
Multiscale Syntheses of Knee Collateral Ligament Stresses: Aggregate Mechanics as a Function of Molecular Properties
Knee collateral ligaments play a significant role in restraining excessive frontal motion (varus/valgus rotations). In this investigation, a multiscale frame was developed based on structural hierarchies of the collateral ligaments starting from the bottom (tropocollagen molecule) to up where the fibred reinforced structure established. Experimental data of failure tensile test were considered as the principal driver of the developed model. This model was calibrated statistically using Bayesian calibration due to the high number of unknown parameters. Then the model is scaled up to fit the real structure of the collateral ligaments and simulated under realistic boundary conditions. Predications have been successful in describing the observed transient response of the collateral ligaments during tensile test under pre- and post-damage loading conditions. Collateral ligaments maximum stresses and strengths were observed near to the femoral insertions, a results that is in good agreement with experimental investigations. Also for the first time, damage initiation and propagation were documented with this model as a function of the cross-link density between tropocollagen molecules.
Performance Evaluation of Distributed Computing Platforms for Massive Genome Data Analysis
The advancement of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) and high throughput technologies, the discovered genome dataset (i.e. DNA/RNA dataset) is growing exponentially doubling after every 18 months. Timely analysis of the genome dataset is very important for the understanding of biological activities and drug development. However, due to huge amounts of sequences and complex structure of genome dataset, the storage and timely analysis of genome dataset is becoming a challenging issue for traditional bioinformatics analysis techniques. Distributed and cluster computing platforms are becoming major computing platforms for big data analytics. These computing platforms are now required in the field of bioinformatics and computational biology. In this paper, we compared and analyzed the performance of two widely used distributed based big data analytics platforms i.e. Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark from aspects of efficiency, speed up, and scalability. For the purpose of performance evaluation, we parallelized the K-mer algorithm with the varied size of genomic datasets. The experimental results revealed that Apache Spark performed better than Apache Hadoop in case of computation efficiency on benchmark datasets. Furthermore, the experimental results showed that Apache Spark is a highly scalable platform for big data processing.
The Brain’s Attenuation Coefficient as a Potential Estimator of Temperature Elevation during Intracranial High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Procedures
Noninvasive image-guided intracranial treatments using high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) are on the course of translation into clinical applications. They include, among others, tumor ablation, hyperthermia, and blood-brain-barrier (BBB) penetration. Since many of these procedures are associated with local temperature elevation, thermal monitoring is essential. MRI constitutes an imaging method with high spatial resolution and thermal mapping capacity. It is the currently leading modality for temperature guidance, commonly under the name MRgHIFU (magnetic-resonance guided HIFU). Nevertheless, MRI is a very expensive non-portable modality which jeopardizes its accessibility. Ultrasonic thermal monitoring, on the other hand, could provide a modular, cost-effective alternative with higher temporal resolution and accessibility. In order to assess the feasibility of ultrasonic brain thermal monitoring, this study investigated the usage of brain tissue attenuation coefficient (AC) temporal changes as potential estimators of thermal changes. Newton's law of cooling describes a temporal exponential decay behavior for the temperature of a heated object immersed in a relatively cold surrounding. Similarly, in the case of cerebral HIFU treatments, the temperature in the region of interest, i.e., focal zone, is suggested to follow the same law. Thus, it was hypothesized that the AC of the irradiated tissue may follow a temporal exponential behavior during cool down regime. Three ex-vivo bovine brain tissue specimens were inserted into plastic containers along with four thermocouple probes in each sample. The containers were placed inside a specially built ultrasonic tomograph and scanned at room temperature. The corresponding pixel-averaged AC was acquired for each specimen and used as a reference. Subsequently, the containers were placed in a beaker containing hot water and gradually heated to about 45ᵒC. They were then repeatedly rescanned during cool down using ultrasonic through-transmission raster trajectory until reaching about 30ᵒC. From the obtained images, the normalized AC and its temporal derivative as a function of temperature and time were registered. The results have demonstrated high correlation (R² > 0.92) between both the brain AC and its temporal derivative to temperature. This indicates the validity of the hypothesis and the possibility of obtaining brain tissue temperature estimation from the temporal AC thermal changes. It is important to note that each brain yielded different AC values and slopes. This implies that a calibration step is required for each specimen. Thus, for a practical acoustic monitoring of the brain, two steps are suggested. The first step consists of simply measuring the AC at normal body temperature. The second step entails measuring the AC after small temperature elevation. In face of the urging need for a more accessible thermal monitoring technique for brain treatments, the proposed methodology enables a cost-effective high temporal resolution acoustical temperature estimation during HIFU treatments.
Prediction of B-Cell Epitope for 24 Mite Allergens: An in Silico Approach towards Epitope-Based Immune Therapeutics
Immunotherapy with allergy vaccines is of great importance in allergen-specific immunotherapy. In recent years, B-cell epitope-based vaccines have attracted considerable attention and the prediction of epitopes is crucial to design these types of allergy vaccines. B-cell epitopes might be linear or conformational. The prerequisite for the identification of conformational epitopes is the information about allergens' tertiary structures. Bioinformatics approaches have paved the way towards the design of epitope-based allergy vaccines through the prediction of tertiary structures and epitopes. Mite allergens are one of the major allergy contributors. Several mite allergens can elicit allergic reactions; however, their structures and epitopes are not well established. So, B-cell epitopes of various groups of mite allergens (24 allergens in 6 allergen groups) were predicted in the present work. Tertiary structures of 17 allergens with unknown structure were predicted and refined with RaptorX and GalaxyRefine servers, respectively. The predicted structures were further evaluated by Rampage, ProSA-web, ERRAT and Verify 3D servers. Linear and conformational B-cell epitopes were identified with Ellipro, Bcepred, and DiscoTope 2 servers. To improve the accuracy level, consensus epitopes were selected. Fifty-four conformational and 133 linear consensus epitopes were predicted. Furthermore, overlapping epitopes in each allergen group were defined, following the sequence alignment of the allergens in each group. The predicted epitopes were also compared with the experimentally identified epitopes. The presented results provide valuable information for further studies about allergy vaccine design.
The Low-Cost Design and 3D Printing of Structural Knee Orthotics for Athletic Knee Injury Patients
Knee orthotics play an important role in aiding in the recovery of those with knee injuries, especially athletes. However, structural knee orthotics is often very expensive, ranging between $300 and $800. The primary reason for this project was to answer the question: can 3D printed orthotics represent a viable and cost-effective alternative to present structural knee orthotics? The primary objective for this research project was to design a knee orthotic for athletes with knee injuries for a low-cost under $100 and evaluate its effectiveness. The initial design for the orthotic was done in SolidWorks, a computer-aided design (CAD) software available at Loyola Marymount University. After this design was completed, finite element analysis (FEA) was utilized to understand how normal stresses placed upon the knee affected the orthotic. The knee orthotic was then adjusted and redesigned to meet a specified factor-of-safety of 3.25 based on the data gathered during FEA and literature sources. Once the FEA was completed and the orthotic was redesigned based from the data gathered, the next step was to move on to 3D-printing the first design of the knee brace. Subsequently, physical therapy movement trials were used to evaluate physical performance. Using the data from these movement trials, the CAD design of the brace was refined to accommodate the design requirements. The final goal of this research means to explore the possibility of replacing high-cost, outsourced knee orthotics with a readily available low-cost alternative.
Blood Glucose Level Measurement from Breath Analysis
The constant monitoring of blood glucose level is necessary for maintaining health of patients and to alert medical specialists to take preemptive measures before the onset of any complication as a result of diabetes. The current clinical monitoring of blood glucose uses invasive methods repeatedly which are uncomfortable and may result in infections in diabetic patients. Several attempts have been made to develop non-invasive techniques for blood glucose measurement. In this regard, the existing methods are not reliable and are less accurate. Other approaches claiming high accuracy have not been tested on extended dataset, and thus, results are not statistically significant. It is a well-known fact that acetone concentration in breath has a direct relation with blood glucose level. In this paper, we have developed the first of its kind, reliable and high accuracy breath analyzer for non-invasive blood glucose measurement. The acetone concentration in breath was measured using MQ 138 sensor in the samples collected from local hospitals in Pakistan involving one hundred patients. The blood glucose levels of these patients are determined using conventional invasive clinical method. We propose a linear regression classifier that is trained to map breath acetone level to the collected blood glucose level achieving high accuracy.
Improved Blood Glucose-Insulin Monitoring with Dual-Layer Predictive Control Design
In response to widely used wearable medical devices equipped with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and insulin pump, the advanced control methods are still demanding to get the full benefit of these devices. Unlike costly clinical trials, implementing effective insulin-glucose control strategies can provide significant contributions to the patients suffering from chronic diseases such as diabetes. This study deals with a key role of two-layer insulin-glucose regulator based on model-predictive-control (MPC) scheme so that the patient’s predicted glucose profile is in compliance with the insulin level injected through insulin pump automatically. It is achieved by iterative optimization algorithm which is called an integrated perturbation analysis and sequential quadratic programming (IPA-SQP) solver for handling uncertainties due to unexpected variations in glucose-insulin values and body’s characteristics. The feasibility evaluation of the discussed control approach is also studied by means of numerical simulations of two case scenarios via measured data. The obtained results are presented to verify the superior and reliable performance of the proposed control scheme with no negative impact on patient safety.
Stochastic Modeling of Secretion Dynamics in Inner Hair Cells of the Auditory Pathway
Glutamate release of the cochlear inner hair cell (IHC) ribbon synapse is a fundamental step in transferring sound information in the auditory pathway. Otoferlin is the calcium sensor in the IHC and its activity has been related to many auditory disorders. In order to simulate secretion dynamics occurring in the IHC in a few milliseconds timescale and with high spatial resolution, we proposed an active-zone model solved with Monte Carlo algorithms. We included models for calcium buffered diffusion, calcium-binding schemes for vesicle fusion, and L-type voltage-gated calcium channels. Our results indicate that calcium influx and calcium binding is managing IHC secretion as a function of voltage depolarization, which in turn mean that IHC response depends on sound intensity.
Patient-Specific Design Optimization of Cardiovascular Grafts
Despite advances in modern surgery, congenital heart disease remains a medical challenge and a major cause of infant mortality. Cardiovascular prostheses are routinely used in surgical procedures to address congenital malformations, for example establishing a pathway from the right ventricle to the pulmonary arteries in pulmonary valvar atresia. Current off-the-shelf options including human and adult products have limited biocompatibility and durability, and their fixed size necessitates multiple subsequent operations to upsize the conduit to match with patients’ growth over their lifetime. Non-physiological blood flow is another major problem, reducing the longevity of these prostheses. These limitations call for better designs that take into account the hemodynamical and anatomical characteristics of different patients. We have integrated tissue engineering techniques with modern medical imaging and image processing tools along with mathematical modeling to optimize the design of cardiovascular grafts in a patient-specific manner. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis is done according to models constructed from each individual patient’s data. This allows for improved geometrical design and achieving better hemodynamic performance. Tissue engineering strives to provide a material that grows with the patient and mimic the durability and elasticity of the native tissue. Simulations also give insight on the performance of the tissues produced in our lab and reduce the need for costly and time-consuming methods of evaluation of the grafts. We are also developing a methodology for the fabrication of the optimized designs.
Mathematical Modelling of the Effect of Glucose on Pancreatic Alpha-Cell Activity
Pancreatic alpha-cells participate on glucose regulation together with beta cells. They release glucagon hormone when glucose level is low to stimulate gluconeogenesis from the liver. As other excitable cells, alpha cells generate Ca2+ and metabolic oscillations when they are stimulated. It is known that the glucose level can trigger or silence this activity although it is not clear how this occurs in normal and diabetic people. In this work, we propose an electric-metabolic mathematical model implemented in Matlab to study the effect of different glucose levels on the electrical response and Ca2+ oscillations of an alpha cell. Our results show that Ca2+ oscillations appear in opposite phase with metabolic oscillations in a window of glucose values. The model also predicts a direct relationship between the level of glucose and the intracellular adenine nucleotides showing a self-regulating pathway for the alpha cell.
Fetal Movement Study Using Biomimics of the Maternal March
In premature births most babies have complications at birth, these complications can be reduced, if an atmosphere of relaxation is provided and is also similar to intrauterine life, for this, there are programs where their mothers lull and sway them; however, the conditions in which they do so and the way in they do it may not be the indicated. Here we describe an investigation based on the biomimics of the kinematics of human fetal movement, which consists of determining the movements that the fetus experiences and the deformations of the components that surround the fetus during a gentle walk at week 32 of the gestation stage. This research is based on a 3D model that has the anatomical structure of the pelvis, fetus, muscles, uterus and its most important supporting elements (ligaments). Normal load conditions are applied to this model according to the stage of gestation and the kinematics of a gentle walk of a pregnant mother, which focuses on the pelvic bone, this allows to receive a response from the other elements of the model. To accomplish this modeling and subsequent simulation Solidworks software was used. From this analysis, the curves that describe the movement of the fetus at three different points were obtained. Additionally, we could found the deformation of the uterus and the ligaments that support it, showing the characteristics that these tissues can have in the face of the support of the fetus. These data can be used for the construction of artifacts that help the normal development of premature infants.
Noninvasive Evaluation of Acupuncture by Measuring Facial Temperature through Thermal Image
Acupuncture, known as sensory simulation, has been used to treat various disorders for thousands of years. However, present studies had not addressed approaches for noninvasive measurement in order to evaluate therapeutic effect of acupuncture. The purpose of this study is to propose a noninvasive method to evaluate acupuncture by measuring facial temperature through thermal image. Three human subjects were recruited in this study. Each subject received acupuncture therapy for 30 mins. Acupuncture needles (Ø0.16 x 30 mm) were inserted into Baihui point (DU20), Neiguan points (PC6) and Taichong points (LR3), acupuncture needles (Ø0.18 x 39 mm) were inserted into Tanzhong point (RN17), Zusanli points (ST36) and Yinlingquan points (SP9). Facial temperature was recorded by an infrared thermometer. Acupuncture therapeutic effect was compared pre- and post-acupuncture. Experiment results demonstrated that facial temperature changed according to acupuncture therapeutic effect. It was concluded that proposed method showed high potential to evaluate acupuncture by noninvasive measurement of facial temperature.
Multifunctional Bismuth-Based Nanoparticles as Theranostic Agent for Imaging and Radiation Therapy
In recent years many studies have been focused on bismuth-based nanoparticles as radiosensitizer and contrast agent in radiation therapy and imaging due to the high atomic number (Z = 82), high photoelectric absorption, low cost, and low toxicity. This study aims to introduce a new multifunctional bismuth-based nanoparticle as a theranostic agent for radiotherapy, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We synthesized bismuth ferrite (BFO, BiFeO3) nanoparticles by sol-gel method and surface of the nanoparticles were modified by Polyethylene glycol (PEG). After proved biocompatibility of the nanoparticles, the ability of them as contract agent in Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was investigated. The relaxation time rate (R2) in MRI and Hounsfield unit (HU) in CT imaging were increased with the concentration of the nanoparticles. Moreover, the effect of nanoparticles on dose enhancement in low energy was investigated by clonogenic assay. According to clonogenic assay, sensitizer enhancement ratios (SERs) were obtained as 1.35 and 1.76 for nanoparticle concentrations of 0.05 mg/ml and 0.1 mg/ml, respectively. In conclusion, our experimental results demonstrate that the multifunctional nanoparticles have the ability to employ as multimodal imaging and therapy to enhance theranostic efficacy.
X-Ray Fluorescence Molecular Imaging with Improved Sensitivity for Biomedical Applications
X-ray Fluorescence Molecular Imaging (XFMI) holds great promise as a low-cost molecular imaging modality for biomedical applications with high chemical sensitivity. However, for in vivo biomedical applications, a key technical bottleneck is the relatively low chemical sensitivity of XFMI, especially at a reasonably low radiation dose. In laboratory x-ray source based XFMI, one of the main factors that limits the chemical sensitivity of XFMI is the scattered x-rays. We will present our latest findings on improving the chemical sensitivity of XFMI using excitation beam spectrum optimization. XFMI imaging experiments on two mouse-sized phantoms were conducted at three different excitation beam spectra. Our results show that the minimum detectable concentration (MDC) of iodine can be readily increased by five times via excitation spectrum optimization. Findings from this investigation could find use for in vivo pre-clinical small-animal XFMI in the future.
The Relevance of Bioinspired Architecture and Programmable Materials for Development of 4D Printing
Nature has long served as inspiration for humans, since various technologies present in society are a mirror of the natural world. This is due to the fact that nature has adapted for millions of years to possess the characteristics they have today. In this sense, man takes advantage of this situation and uses it to produce his own objects and solve his problems. This concept, which is known as biomimetics, is something relatively new, once it was only denominated in 1957. Nature, in turn, responds directly and consistently to environmental conditions. For example, plants that have touch sensitivity contract with this stimulus. Such a situation resembles a technology that has been gaining ground in the contemporary world of scientific innovation: 4D printing. 4D printing technology emerged in 2012 as a complement to 3D printing and presents numerous benefits since it provides a deficiency in the second kind of printing mentioned. This type of technology reaches several areas, since it is capable of producing materials that change over time, be it in its composition, form or properties and is such a characteristic that determines the additional dimension of the material. Precisely because of these factors, this type of impression resembles nature and is related to biomimetics. However, only certain types of ‘intelligent’ materials are generally employed in this type of impression, since only they will respond well to such stimuli, one of which is the hydrogel. The hydrogel is a biocompatible polymer that presents several applications, these in turn will be briefly mentioned in this article to exemplify its importance and the reason for choosing this material as object of study. In addition, aspects that configure 4D printing will be treated here, such as the importance of architecture, programming language and the reversibility of printed materials.
An Intelligent Steerable Drill System for Orthopedic Surgery
A steerable and flexible drill is needed in orthopaedic surgery. For example, osteoarthritis is a common condition affecting millions of people for which joint replacement is an effective treatment which improves the quality and duration of life in elderly sufferers. Conventional surgery is not very accurate. Computer navigation and robotics can help increase the accuracy. For example, In Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA), robotic surgery is currently practiced mainly on acetabular side helping cup positioning and orientation. However, femoral stem positioning mostly uses hand-rasping method rather than robots for accurate positioning. The other case for using a flexible drill in surgery is Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Reconstruction. The majority of ACL Reconstruction failures are primarily caused by technical mistakes and surgical errors resulting from drilling the anatomical bone tunnels required to accommodate the ligament graft. The proposed new steerable drill system will perform orthopedic surgery through curved tunneling leading to better accuracy and patient outcomes. It may reduce intra-operative fractures, dislocations, early failure and leg length discrepancy by making possible a new level of precision. This technology is based on a robotically assisted, steerable, hand-held flexible drill, with a drill-tip tracking device and a multi-modality navigation system. The critical differentiator is that this robotically assisted surgical technology now allows the surgeon to prepare 'patient specific' and more anatomically correct 'curved' bone tunnels during orthopedic surgery rather than drilling straight holes as occurs currently with existing surgical tools. The flexible and steerable drill and its navigation system for femoral milling in total hip arthroplasty had been tested on sawbones to evaluate the accuracy of the positioning and orientation of femoral stem relative to the pre-operative plan. The data show the accuracy of the navigation system is better than traditional hand-rasping method.
An Inflatable and Foldable Knee Exosuit Based on Intelligent Management of Biomechanical Energy
Wearable robotics is a potential solution in aiding gait rehabilitation of lower limbs dyskinesia patients, such as knee osteoarthritis or stroke afflicted patients. Many wearable robots have been developed in the form of rigid exoskeletons, but their bulk devices, high cost and control complexity hinder their popularity in the field of gait rehabilitation. Thus, the development of a portable, compliant and low-cost wearable robot for gait rehabilitation is necessary. Inspired by Chinese traditional folding fans and balloon inflators, the authors present an inflatable, foldable and variable stiffness knee exosuit (IFVSKE) in this paper. The pneumatic actuator of IFVSKE was fabricated in the shape of folding fans by using thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) fabric materials. The geometric and mechanical properties of IFVSKE were characterized with experimental methods. To assist the knee joint smartly, an intelligent control profile for IFVSKE was proposed based on the concept of full-cycle energy management of the biomechanical energy during human movement. The biomechanical energy of knee joints in a walking gait cycle of patients could be collected and released to assist the joint motion just by adjusting the inner pressure of IFVSKE. Finally, a healthy subject was involved to walk with and without the IFVSKE to evaluate the assisting effects.
Deformation of Particle-Laden Droplet in Viscous Liquid under DC Electric Fields
Electric fields have proven useful for inducing droplet deformation and to structure particles adsorbed at droplet interfaces. In this experimental research, direct current electric fields were applied to deform particle-covered droplets made out of silicone oil and immersed in castor oil. The viscosity of the drop and surrounding fluid were changed by external heating. We designed an experimental system in such a way that electric field-induced electrohydrodynamic (EHD) flows were asymmetric and only present on one side of the drop, i.e., the droplet adjoined a washer and adhered to one of the electrodes constituting the sample cell. The study investigated the influence of viscosity on the steady-state deformation magnitude of particle-laden droplets, droplet compression, and relaxation, as well as particle arrangements at drop interfaces. Initially, before the application of an electric field, we changed the viscosity of the fluids by heating the sample cell at different temperatures. The viscosity of the fluids was varied by changing the temperature of the fluids from 25 to 50°C. Under the application of a uniform electric field of strength 290 Vmm⁻¹, electric stress was induced at the drop interface, yielding drop deformation. In our study, we found that by lowering the fluid viscosity, the velocity of the EHD flows was increased, which also increases the deformation of the drop.
Low-Cost Robotic-Assisted Laparoscope
Laparoscopy is a surgical operation, well known as keyhole surgery. The operation is performed through small holes, hence, scars of a patient become much smaller, patients can recover in a short time and the hospital stay becomes shorter in comparison to an open surgery. Several tools are used at laparoscopic operations; among them, the laparoscope has a crucial role. It provides the vision during the operation, which will be the main focus in here. Since the operation area is very small, motion of the surgical tools might be limited in laparoscopic operations compared to traditional surgeries. To overcome this limitation, most of the laparoscopic tools have become more precise, dexterous, multi-functional or automated. Here, we present a robotic-assisted laparoscope that is controlled with pedals directly by a surgeon. Thus, the movement of the laparoscope might be controlled better, so there will not be a need to calibrate the camera during the operation. The need for an assistant that controls the movement of the laparoscope will be eliminated. The duration of the laparoscopic operation might be shorter since the surgeon will directly operate the camera.
Electric Field-Induced Deformation of Particle-Laden Drops and Structuring of Surface Particles
Drops covered by particles have found important uses in various fields, ranging from stabilization of emulsions to production of new advanced materials. Particles at drop interfaces can be interlocked to form solid capsules with properties tailored for a myriad of applications. Despite the huge potential of particle-laden drops and capsules, the knowledge of their deformation and stability are limited. In this regard, we contribute with experimental studies on the deformation and manipulation of silicone oil drops covered with micrometer-sized particles subjected to electric fields. A mixture of silicone oil and particles were immersed in castor oil using a mechanical pipette, forming millimeter sized drops. The particles moved and adsorbed at the drop interfaces by sedimentation, and were structured at the interface by electric field-induced electrohydrodynamic flows. When applying a direct current electric field, free charges accumulated at the drop interfaces, yielding electric stress that deformed the drops. In our experiments, we investigated how particle properties affected drop deformation, break-up, and particle structuring. We found that by increasing the size of weakly-conductive clay particles, the drop shape can go from compressed to stretched out in the direction of the electric field. Increasing the particle size and electrical properties were also found to weaken electrohydrodynamic flows, induce break-up of drops at weaker electric field strengths and structure particles in chains. These particle parameters determine the dipolar force between the interfacial particles, which can yield particle chaining. We conclude that the balance between particle chaining and electrohydrodynamic flows governs the observed drop mechanics.
Evaluation and Fault Classification for Healthcare Robot during Sit-To-Stand Performance through Center of Pressure
Healthcare robot for assisting sit-to-stand (STS) performance had aroused numerous research interests. To author’s best knowledge, knowledge about how evaluating healthcare robot is still unknown. Robot should be labeled as fault if users feel demanding during STS when they are assisted by robot. In this research, we aim to propose a method to evaluate sit-to-stand assist robot through center of pressure (CoP), then classify different STS performance. Experiments were executed five times with ten healthy subjects under four conditions: two self-performed STSs with chair heights of 62 cm and 43 cm, and two robot-assisted STSs with chair heights of 43 cm and robot end-effect speed of 2 s and 5 s. CoP was measured using a Wii Balance Board (WBB). Bayesian classification was utilized to classify STS performance. The results showed that faults occurred when decreased the chair height and slowed robot assist speed. Proposed method for fault classification showed high probability of classifying fault classes form others. It was concluded that faults for STS assist robot could be detected by inspecting center of pressure and be classified through proposed classification algorithm.
Photopolymerization of Dimethacrylamide with (Meth)acrylates
A photopolymerizable dimethacrylamide was synthesized and copolymerized with the selected (meth)acrylates. The polymerization rate, degree of conversion, gel time, and compressive strength of the formed neat resins were investigated. The results show that in situ photo-polymerization of the synthesized dimethacrylamide with comonomers having an electron-withdrawing and/or acrylate group dramatically increased the polymerization rate, degree of conversion, and compressive strength. On the other hand, an electron-donating group on either carbon-carbon double bond or the ester linkage slowed down the polymerization. In contrast, the triethylene glycol dimethacrylate-based system did not show a clear pattern. Both strong hydrogen-bonding between (meth)acrylamide and organic acid groups may be responsible for higher compressive strengths. Within the limitation of this study, the photo-polymerization of dimethacrylamide can be greatly accelerated by copolymerization with monomers having electron-withdrawing and/or acrylate groups. The monomers with methacrylate group can significantly reduce the polymerization rate and degree of conversion.
Understanding the Information in Principal Component Analysis of Raman Spectroscopic Data during Healing of Subcritical Calvarial Defects
Bone healing is a complex and sequential process involving changes at the molecular level. Raman spectroscopy is a promising technique to study bone mineral and matrix environments simultaneously. In this study, subcritical calvarial defects are used to study bone composition during healing without discomposing the fracture. The model allowed to monitor the natural healing of bone avoiding mechanical harm to the callus. Calvarial defects were created using 1mm burr drill in the parietal bones of Sprague-Dawley rats (n=8) that served in vivo defects. After 7 days, their skulls were harvested after euthanizing. One additional defect per sample was created on the opposite parietal bone using same calvarial defect procedure to serve as control defect. Raman spectroscopy (785 nm) was established to investigate bone parameters of three different skull surfaces; in vivo defects, control defects and normal surface. Principal component analysis (PCA) was utilized for the data analysis and interpretation of Raman spectra and helped in the classification of groups. PCA was able to distinguish in vivo defects from normal surface and control defects. PC1 shows that the major variation at 958 cm⁻¹, which corresponds to ʋ1 phosphate mineral band. PC2 shows the major variation at 1448 cm⁻¹ which is the characteristic band of CH2 deformation and corresponds to collagens. Raman parameters, namely, mineral to matrix ratio and crystallinity was found significantly decreased in the in vivo defects compared to surface and controls. Scanning electron microscope and optical microscope images show the formation of newly generated matrix by means of bony bridges of collagens. Optical profiler shows that surface roughness increased by 30% from controls to in vivo defects after 7 days. These results agree with Raman assessment parameters and confirm the new collagen formation during healing.
Discrimination and Classification of Vestibular Neuritis Using Combined Fisher and Support Vector Machine Model
Vertigo is a sensation of feeling off balance; the cause of this symptom is very difficult to interpret and needs a complementary exam. Generally, vertigo is caused by an ear problem. Some of the most common causes include: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere's disease and vestibular neuritis (VN). In clinical practice, different tests of videonystagmographic (VNG) technique are used to detect the presence of vestibular neuritis (VN). The topographical diagnosis of this disease presents a large diversity in its characteristics that confirm a mixture of problems for usual etiological analysis methods. In this study, a vestibular neuritis analysis method is proposed with videonystagmography (VNG) applications using an estimation of pupil movements in the case of an uncontrolled motion to obtain an efficient and reliable diagnosis results. First, an estimation of the pupil displacement vectors using with Hough Transform (HT) is performed to approximate the location of pupil region. Then, temporal and frequency features are computed from the rotation angle variation of the pupil motion. Finally, optimized features are selected using Fisher criterion evaluation for discrimination and classification of the VN disease.Experimental results are analyzed using two categories: normal and pathologic. By classifying the reduced features using the Support Vector Machine (SVM), 94% is achieved as classification accuracy. Compared to recent studies, the proposed expert system is extremely helpful and highly effective to resolve the problem of VNG analysis and provide an accurate diagnostic for medical devices.
A Machine Learning Framework Based on Biometric Measurements for Automatic Fetal Head Anomalies Diagnosis in Ultrasound Images
Fetal abnormality is still a public health problem of interest to both mother and baby. Head defect is one of the most high-risk fetal deformities. Fetal head categorization is a sensitive task that needs a massive attention from neurological experts. In this sense, biometrical measurements can be extracted by gynecologist doctors and compared with ground truth charts to identify normal or abnormal growth. The fetal head biometric measurements such as Biparietal Diameter (BPD), Occipito-Frontal Diameter (OFD) and Head Circumference (HC) needs to be monitored, and expert should carry out its manual delineations. This work proposes a new approach to automatically compute BPD, OFD and HC based on morphological characteristics extracted from head shape. Hence, the studied data selected at the same Gestational Age (GA) from the fetal Ultrasound images (US) are classified into two categories: Normal and abnormal. The abnormal subjects include hydrocephalus, microcephaly and dolichocephaly anomalies. By the use of a support vector machines (SVM) method, this study achieved high classification for automated detection of anomalies. The proposed method is promising although it doesn't need expert interventions.
Development of Optimized Eye Mascara Packages with Bioinspired Spiral Methodology
In the present days, packages are considered a fundamental element in the commercialization of products and services. A good package is capable of helping to attract new customers and also increasing a product’s purchase intent. In this scenario, packaging design emerges as an important tool, since products and design of their packaging are so interconnected that they are no longer seen as separate elements. Packaging design is, in fact, capable of generating desire for a product. The packaging market for cosmetics, especially makeup market, has also been experiencing an increasing level of sophistication and requirements. Considering packaging represents an important link of communication with the final user and plays a significant role on the sales process, it is of great importance that packages accomplish not only with functional requirements but also with the visual appeal. One of the possibilities for the design of packages and, in this context, packages for make-up, is the bioinspired design – or biomimicry. The bio-inspired design presents a promising paradigm for innovation in both design and sustainable design, by using biological system analogies to develop solutions. It has gained importance as a widely diffused movement in design for environmentally conscious development and is also responsible for several useful and innovative designs. As eye mascara packages are also part of the constant evolution on the design for cosmetics area and the traditional packages present the disadvantage of product drying along time, this project aims to develop a new and innovative package for this product, by using a selected bioinspired design methodology during the development process and also suitable computational tools. In order to guide the development process of the package, it was chosen the spiral methodology, conceived by The Biomimicry Institut, which consists of a reliable tool, since it was based on traditional design methodologies. The spiral design comprises identification, translation, discovery, abstraction, emulation and evaluation steps, that can work iteratively as the process develops as a spiral. As support tool for packaging, 3D modelling is being used by the software Inventor Autodesk Inventor 2018. Although this is an ongoing research, first results showed that spiral methodology design, together with Autodesk Inventor, consist of suitable instruments for the bio-inspired design process, and also nature proved itself to be an amazing and inexhaustible source of inspiration.
Computational Study on Traumatic Brain Injury Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Based 3D Viscoelastic Model
Head is the most vulnerable part of human body and may cause severe life threatening injuries. As the in vivo brain response cannot be recorded during injury, computational investigation of the head model could be really helpful to understand the injury mechanism. Majority of the physical damage to living tissues are caused by relative motion within the tissue due to tensile and shearing structural failures. The present Finite Element study focuses on investigating intracranial pressure and stress/strain distributions resulting from impact loads on various sites of human head. This is performed by the development of the 3D model of a human head with major segments like cerebrum, cerebellum, brain stem, CSF (cerebrospinal fluid), and skull from patient specific MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The semi-automatic segmentation of head is performed using AMIRA software to extract finer grooves of the brain. To maintain the accuracy high number of mesh elements are required followed by high computational time. Therefore, the mesh optimization has also been performed using tetrahedral elements. In addition, model validation with experimental literature is performed as well. Hard tissues like skull is modeled as elastic whereas soft tissues like brain is modeled with viscoelastic prony series material model. This paper intends to obtain insights into the severity of brain injury by analyzing impacts on frontal, top, back, and temporal sites of the head. Yield stress (based on von Mises stress criterion for tissues) and intracranial pressure distribution due to impact on different sites (frontal, parietal, etc.) are compared and the extent of damage to cerebral tissues is discussed in detail. This paper finds that how the back impact is more injurious to overall head than the other. The present work would be helpful to understand the injury mechanism of traumatic brain injury more effectively.
A Study on Real-Time Fluorescence-Photoacoustic Imaging System for Mouse Thrombosis Monitoring
A near-infrared light source used as a light source in the fluorescence imaging system is suitable for use in real-time during the operation since it has no interference in surgical vision. However, fluorescence images do not have depth information. In this paper, we configured the device with the research on molecular imaging systems for monitoring thrombus imaging using fluorescence and photoacoustic. Fluorescence imaging was performed using a phantom experiment in order to search the exact location, and the Photoacoustic image was in order to detect the depth. Fluorescence image obtained when evaluated through current phantom experiments when the concentration of the contrast agent is 25μg / ml, it was confirmed that it looked sharper. The phantom experiment is has shown the possibility with the fluorescence image and photoacoustic image using an indocyanine green contrast agent. For early diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases, more active research with the fusion of different molecular imaging devices is required.