Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Abstract Count: 56400

Biomedical and Biological Engineering

Study of a Cross-Flow Membrane to a Kidney Encapsulation Engineering Structures for Immunosuppression Filter
The kidneys perform an important role in the human hormones that regulate the blood pressure, produce an active form of vitamin D and control the production of red blood cells. Kidney disease can cause health problems, such as heart disease. Also, increase the chance of having a stroke or heart attack. There are mainly to types of treatments for kidney disease, dialysis, and kidney transplant. For a better quality of life, the kidney transplant is desirable. However, kidney transplant can cause antibody reaction and patients’ body would be attacked by immune system of their own. For solving that issue, patients with transplanted kidney always take immunosuppressive drugs which can hurt kidney as side effects. Patients willing to do a kidney transplant have a waiting time of 3.6 years in average searching to find an appropriate kidney, considering there are almost 96,380 patients waiting for kidney transplant. There is a promising method to solve these issues: bioartificial kidney. Our membrane is specially designed with unique perforations capable to filter the blood cells separating the white blood cells from red blood cells. White blood cells will not pass through the encapsulated kidney preventing the immune system to attack the new organ and eliminating the need of a matching donor. It is possible to construct life-time long encapsulation without needing pumps or a power supply on the cell’s separation method preventing futures surgeries due the Cross-Channel Flow inside the device. This technology allows the possibility to use an animal kidney, prevent cancer cells to spread through the body, arm and leg transplants in the future. This project aims to improve the quality of life of patients with kidney disease.
Dynamic Web-Based 2D Medical Image Visualization and Processing Software
In the course of recent decades, medical imaging has been dominated by the use of costly film media for review and archival of medical investigation, however due to developments in networks technologies and common acceptance of a standard digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM) another approach in light of World Wide Web was produced. Web technologies successfully used in telemedicine applications, the combination of web technologies together with DICOM used to design a web-based and open source DICOM viewer. The Web server allowance to inquiry and recovery of images and the images viewed/manipulated inside a Web browser without need for any preinstalling software. The dynamic site page for medical images visualization and processing created by using JavaScript and HTML5 advancements. The XAMPP ‘apache server’ is used to create a local web server for testing and deployment of the dynamic site. The web-based viewer connected to multiples devices through local area network (LAN) to distribute the images inside healthcare facilities. The system offers a few focal points over ordinary picture archiving and communication systems (PACS): easy to introduce, maintain and independently platforms that allow images to display and manipulated efficiently, the system also user-friendly and easy to integrate with an existing system that have already been making use of web technologies. The wavelet-based image compression technique on which 2-D discrete wavelet transform used to decompose the image then wavelet coefficients are transmitted by entropy encoding after threshold to decrease transmission time, stockpiling cost and capacity. The performance of compression was estimated by using images quality metrics such as mean square error ‘MSE’, peak signal to noise ratio ‘PSNR’ and compression ratio ‘CR’ that achieved (83.86%) when ‘coif3’ wavelet filter is used.
Evaluation of the Synergistic Inhibition of Enterovirus 71 Infection by Interferon-α Coupled with Pleconaril in RD Cells
It is well known that enterovirus 71 (EV71) causes recurring outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and encephalitis leading to complications or death in young children. And, several HFMD of EV71 with high mortalities occurred in Asia countries, such as Malaysia (1997), Taiwan (1998) and China (2008). Thus, more effective antiviral drugs are needed to prevent or reduce EV71-related complications. As reported, interferon-α protects mice from lethal EV71 challenge by the modulation of innate immunity and then degrade enterovirus protease 3Cᵖʳᵒ. On the other side, pleconaril by targeting enterovirus VP1 protein and then block virus entry and attachment. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the synergistic antiviral activity of interferon-α and pleconaril against enterovirus 71 infection. In a preliminary study showed that pleconaril at concentrations of 50, 100 and 300 µg/mL reduced EV71-induced CPE to 52.0 ± 2.5%, 40.2 ± 3.5% and 26.5 ± 1.5%, respectively, of that of the EV71-infected RD control cells (taken as 100%). Notably, 1000 IU/mL of interferon-α in combination with pleconaril at concentrations of 50, 100 and 300µg/mL suppressed EV71-induced CPE by 30.2 ± 3.8%, 16.5 ± 1.3% and 2.8 ± 2.0%, respectively, of that of the pleconaril alone treated with the infected RD cells. These results indicated that interferon-α 1000 IU/mL combination with pleconaril (50, 100 and 300µg/mL) inhibited EV71-induced CPE more effectively than treated with pleconaril alone in the infected RD cells.
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.
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.
Disruption of Cancer Cell Proliferation by Magnetic Field
Static magnetic fields (SMF) are widely used in several medical applications, especially in diagnosis of tumors. However, biological effects of the SMFs on modulating cell physiology through the Lorentz force, which is highly frequency and magnitude dependent, remain to be elucidated. Specific patterns from SMFs of static MF, delivered by means of Halbach array magnets with a gradient increment of 6.857mT/mm from center to border, were found to have profound inhibitory effect on the growth rate of human cell line derived from Nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients. The SMFs, which were shown to be noncontact, selectively impact rapid dividing cells while quiescent cells stay intact. The phenomenon acts in two modes: the arrest of cell proliferation in the G2/M phase and destruction of cell mitosis in cell division. First mode is manifested by impacting the proper formation of mitotic spindle, whereas the second results in disintegration of the cancer cell. Both modes are demonstrated when SMF was applied for 24 hours to cancer cells, the results revealed that metaphase arrest during mitosis due to activation of DNA damage response (DDR), resulting in high expression of ATM-NBS1-CHEK signaling pathways and higher G2/M phase ratio compared with control group. Here, experimental data suggest that the SMFs cause activation of cell cycle checkpoints, which implies the MFs as a potential therapeutic modality as a sensitizer for radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
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.
TomoTherapy® System Repositioning Accuracy According to Treatment Localization
We analyzed the image-guided radiotherapy method used by the TomoTherapy® System (Accuray Corp.) for patient repositioning in clinical routine. The TomoTherapy® System computes X, Y, Z and roll displacements to match the reference CT, on which the dosimetry has been performed, with the pre-treatment MV CT. The accuracy of the repositioning method has been studied according to the treatment localization. For this, a database of 18774 treatment sessions, performed during 2 consecutive years (2016-2017 period) has been used. The database includes the X, Y, Z and roll displacements proposed by TomoTherapy® System as well as the manual correction of these proposals applied by the radiation therapist. This manual correction aims to further improve the repositioning based on the clinical situation and depends on the structures surrounding the target tumor tissue. The statistical analysis performed on the database aims to define repositioning limits to be used as security and guiding tool for the manual adjustment implemented by the radiation therapist. This tool will participate not only to notify potential repositioning errors but also to further improve patient positioning for optimal treatment.
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&rsquo;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&rsquo;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.
Adobe Attenuation Coefficient Determination and Its Comparison with Other Shielding Materials for Energies Found in Common X-Rays Procedures
Adobe is a construction material that fulfills the same function as a conventional brick. Widely used since ancient times, it is present in an appreciable percentage of buildings in Latin America. Adobe is a mixture of clay and sand. The interest in the study of the properties of this material arises due to its presence in the infrastructure of hospital´s radiological services, located in places with low economic resources, for the attenuation of radiation. Some materials such as lead and concrete are the most used for shielding and are widely studied in the literature. The present study will determine the mass attenuation coefficient of Adobe. The minimum required thicknesses for the primary and secondary barriers will be estimated for the shielding of radiological facilities where conventional and dental X-rays are performed. For the experimental procedure, an X-ray source emitted direct radiation towards different thicknesses of an Adobe barrier, and a detector was placed on the other side. For this purpose, an UNFORS Xi solid state detector was used, which collected information on the difference of radiation intensity. The initial parameters of the exposure started at 45 kV; and then the tube tension was varied in increments of 5 kV, reaching a maximum of 125 kV. The X-Ray tube was positioned at a distance of 0.5 m from the surface of the Adobe bricks, and the collimation of the radiation beam was set for an area of 0.15 m x 0.15 m. Finally, mathematical methods were applied to determine the mass attenuation coefficient for different energy ranges. In conclusion, the mass attenuation coefficient for Adobe was determined and the approximate thicknesses of the most common Adobe barriers in the hospital buildings were calculated for their later application in the radiological protection.
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.
Peruvian Diagnostic Reference Levels for Patients Undergoing Different X-Rays Procedures
Reference levels for common X-rays procedures have been set in many protocols. In Peru, during quality control tests, the dose tolerance is set by these international recommendations. Nevertheless, further studies can be made to assess the national reality and relate dose levels with different parameters such as kV, mA/mAs, exposure time, type of processing (digital, digitalized or conventional), etc. In this paper three radiologic procedures were taken into account for study, general X-rays (fixed and mobile), intraoral X-rays (fixed, mobile and portable) and mammography. For this purpose, an Unfors Xi detector was used; the dose was measured at a focus - detector distance which varied depending on the procedure, and was corrected afterward to find the surface entry dose. The data used in this paper was gathered over a period of over 3 years (2015-2018). In addition, each X-ray machine was taken into consideration only once. The results hope to achieve a new standard which reflects the local practice, and address the issues of the ‘Bonn Call for Action’ in Peru. For this purpose, the 75% percentile of the dose of each radiologic procedure was calculated. In future quality control services, those machines with dose values higher than the selected threshold should be informed that they surpass the reference dose levels established in comparison other radiological centers in the country.
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.