Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Graphene-Based Sensor for Improved Evaluation, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Asthma

This device detects and measures inflammation in the lungs.

Asthma, which causes inflammation of the airway and obstructs airflow, affects about 300 million people worldwide. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Other serious lung ailments include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which encompasses emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Artificial “Wrist” Enables Design of Wearable Blood Pressure Monitors

This wearable device monitors blood pressure continuously, 24 hours a day.

Unfortunately, blood pressure (BP) measurements currently require the use of a cuff that temporarily stops blood flow. A wearable BP “watch” using today’s technology would squeeze the wrist every few minutes, making it impractical to use. A better method might gauge subtle pressure changes at the surface of the skin above one of the main wrist arteries — the radial artery — without regularly cutting off circulation. But before this new technology can be developed, there is a need to understand what the pressure inside a blood vessel looks like on the surface of the skin. This requires a physical model that can be used to test wearable devices in a laboratory.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Digital-to-Analog Transformation and Reconstruction of ECG Data

This technology allows rapid, automated, second interpretation of 12-lead ECG data.

The innovators at NASA Johnson Space Center have developed a new method and device for specialized digital-to-analog conversion (DAC) and reconstruction of multichannel electrocardiograms (ECGs), including 12-lead ECGs. Current devices do not have the functionality that allows for the transmission of stored digital ECG data collected from one manufacturer’s ECG machine to another for an automated second opinion. With this technology, the physician has the opportunity to compare results by transferring the ECG data to another ECG machine — regardless of location — when a patient’s results are difficult to interpret for a second opinion. The technology also allows for the use of less expensive 12-lead ECG front ends or analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) hardware that is advantageous when in remote locations or with patients who are mobile during research studies. The digital-to-analog transformation and reconstruction of ECG data technology is available for licensing.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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Miniaturized Chemical Detectors for Point-of-Care Diagnosis

Applications include disease biomarkers and diagnostics, monitoring wound health for infections, and exposure to bacteria, viruses, and toxins.

This chemical detector, based on a miniaturized, pulse-discharged ionization detector (mini-PDID), makes it possible to diagnose illnesses by identifying volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with certain diseases and infections on a patient’s breath, or in the headspace of biological fluids.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical
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PTC Heater Brings Greater Control for Hand-held Medical Devices and Disposables

Point of Care diagnostics devices, whether handheld or single-use, often require a brief application of tightly controlled heat. The disposable nature of these devices requires a low-cost component capable of delivering that heat reliably and safely. Heatron's new PTC heater solution uses a polymer-based heater technology that controls heat to within ±2°C of the target temperature, and reduces unit cost by eliminating sensors and applied controls.

Posted in: White Papers, Briefs, TSP, Electronics & Computers, Thermoelectrics, Medical, Medical equipment and supplies, Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC), Polymers
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High-Quality Tissue Formation Method

This technology could be used in research and development, pharmaceutical development, regenerative medicine, and drug screening and testing.

NASA's Johnson Space Center seeks interested parties for the commercialization of the High Density Spot Seeding (HDSS) method to create 2D and 3D tissue models. This method can potentially be used to develop tissue models for a variety of applications, including wound treatment, therapy, and tissue modeling of skeletal muscle, cardiac muscle, nerve, and bone. The HDSS technique has an easy four-step method that does not require expensive reagents, such as specialized serum or growth factors, and compared to traditional methods, HDSS has the potential to yield superior-quality tissue samples.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Anatomy, Biological sciences, Medical equipment and supplies, Forming
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Filtering Molecules with Nanotube Technology

Innovators at NASA's Johnson Space Center have developed a filtration device to eliminate contaminants from water supplies. Originally developed to purify waste-water for reuse aboard the International Space Station, the innovation is applicable to numerous situations on Earth where there is a need to collect potable, medical-grade water from a contaminated water supply. The unique aspect of the technology is its use of acoustics, rather than pressure, to drive water through small-diameter carbon nanotubes. The invention requires less power than conventional filtration systems, and is well-suited to a variety of water processing needs.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Water reclamation, Nanotechnology, Acoustics
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3D Biomimetic Platform

This technology can be used for cell culture and drug discovery.

NASA's Langley Research Center has developed a method and apparatus to be used for cell culture that combines the effects of microgravity and low-dose radiation. The technology has been developed to simulate the effects of microgravity and chronic radiation exposure to cell culture experiments conducted on the International Space Station (ISS).

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Scale models, Biological sciences, Test equipment and instrumentation, Spacecraft
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Automated Behavior and Cohesion Assessment Tools (ABCAT)

An important consideration of long-duration spaceflight operations is interpersonal dynamics that affect crew cohesion and performance. Flight surgeons have stated the need for unobtrusive monitoring to help detect if crews are having difficulties coping with long-duration spaceflight environments.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Human factors, Psychiatry and psychology, Collaboration and partnering, Personnel, Spacecraft
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Algorithm Measures Range of Motion and Applies Eccentric and Concentric Loads During Exercise

Microprocessor-controlled exercise equipment that uses a servomotor has the capability to adjust the applied resistive load based on position, velocity, and acceleration. One method of applying the resistive load consists of applying a greater load during the eccentric phase of the exercise motion (muscles actively lengthening) than during the concentric phase of the motion (muscles actively shortening). This technique, called eccentric overloading, can improve the benefits of a strength training session significantly. Although the exercise device can alternate between concentric and eccentric loading based solely on the direction of the bar movement, this is undesirable for several reasons. First, when the velocity is close to zero, the system would rapidly switch between the eccentric and concentric loads. Second, if the exerciser is unable to complete a lift with the concentric load and wishes to lower the bar, the system would apply the high eccentric load, which is highly undesirable. Thus, it is necessary for the system to know the limits of the movement (range of motion, ROM) so that the system can identify when the user has completed the lift and the eccentric load can be properly applied.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical, Mathematical models, Computer software and hardware, Medical, health, and wellness, Biomechanics
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