Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Silk Microneedles Deliver Controlled-Release Drugs Painlessly

Tiny needles deliver precise amounts of drugs over time without need for refrigeration. Bioengineers have developed a new silk-based microneedle system able to deliver precise amounts of drugs over time and without need for refrigeration. The tiny needles can be fabricated under normal temperature and pressure and from water, so they can be loaded with sensitive biochemical compounds and maintain their activity prior to use. They are also biodegradable and biocompatible.

Posted in: Drug Delivery & Dispensing, Treatment Devices, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Drug Delivery & Fluid Handling


Beat-to-Beat Blood Pressure Monitor

This invention is applicable to all segments of the blood pressure monitoring market, including ambulatory, home-based, and high-acuity monitoring. This device provides non-invasive beat-to-beat blood pressure measurements and can be worn over the upper arm for prolonged durations. Phase and waveform analyses are performed on filtered proximal and distal photoplethysmographic (PPG) waveforms obtained from the brachial artery. The phase analysis is used primarily for the computation of the mean arterial pressure, while the waveform analysis is used primarily to obtain the pulse pressure. Realtime compliance estimate is used to refine both the mean arterial and pulse pressures to provide the beat-to-beat blood pressure measurement.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Test & Measurement, Briefs, Patient Monitoring, Measuring Instruments, Monitoring


Developing Physiologic Models for Emergency Medical Procedures Under Microgravity

Several technological enhancements have been made to METI’s commercial Emergency Care Simulator (ECS) with regard to how microgravity affects human physiology. The ECS uses both a software only lung simulation, and an integrated mannequin lung that uses a physical lung bag for creating chest excursions, and a digital simulation of lung mechanics and gas exchange. METI’s patient simulators incorporate models of human physiology that simulate lung and chest wall mechanics, as well as pulmonary gas exchange.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, TSP, Diagnostics, Patient Monitoring


Improving Balance Function Using Low Levels of Electrical Stimulation of the Balance Organs

A device based on this technology may be used as a miniature patch worn by people with disabilities to improve posture and locomotion, and to enhance adaptability or skill acquisition. Crewmembers returning from long duration space flight face significant challenges due to the microgravity induced inappropriate adaptations in balance/sensorimotor function. The Neuroscience Laboratory at JSC is developing a method based on stochastic resonance to enhance the brain’s ability to detect signals from the balance organs of the inner ear and use them for rapid improvement in balance skill, especially when combined with balance training exercises. This method involves a stimulus delivery system that is wearable/ portable providing imperceptible electrical stimulation to the balance organs of the human body.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Rehabilitation & Physical Therapy, Sensors


Hands-Free Transcranial Color Doppler Probe

These probes enable full use of TCD technology for neurological diagnostics. Current transcranial color Doppler (TCD) transducer probes are bulky and difficult to move in tiny increments to search and optimize TCD signals. This invention provides miniature motions of a TCD transducer probe to optimize TCD signals.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Visualization Software, Diagnostics, Patient Monitoring, Surgical Robotics/Instruments


Portable Intravenous Fluid Production Device for Ground Use

This small, portable device with high output produces medical injection-grade sterile water from potable water sources. There are several medical conditions that require intravenous (IV) fluids. Limitations of mass, volume, storage space, shelf-life, transportation, and local resources can restrict the availability of such important fluids. These limitations are expected in long-duration space exploration missions and in remote or austere environments on Earth. Current IV fluid production requires large factory-based processes. Easy, portable, on-site production of IV fluids can eliminate these limitations. Based on experience gained in developing a device for spaceflight, a grounduse device was developed.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs


Adaptation of a Filter Assembly to Assess Microbial Bioburden of Pressurant Within a Propulsion System

A report describes an adaptation of a filter assembly to enable it to be used to filter out microorganisms from a propulsion system. The filter assembly has previously been used for particulates >2 μm. Projects that utilize large volumes of nonmetallic materials of planetary protection concern pose a challenge to their bioburden budget, as a conservative specification value of 30 spores/cm3 is typically used.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, TSP