Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Trans-Skull Ultrasound Scanner for Diagnosis of Rhino-Sinusitis

This system eliminates the need for CT or x-ray imaging. Rhino-sinusitis, or sinus infection, is an inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, which can be caused by different conditions (bacterial, fungal, viral, allergic, or autoimmune). Bacterial rhino-sinusitis is currently assessed by puncture or imaging techniques (x-ray or CT) in order to detect the presence of an air-fluid level within the paranasal sinuses. The absence of this level is significant enough to rule out bacterial infection. The system presented in this innovation provides a reliable, non-invasive, and low-cost procedure to evaluate the presence of fluid inside the paranasal sinuses by means of an ultrasound scan.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Diagnostics


Microfluidic Extraction of Biomarkers Using Water as Solvent

Terahertz modulation of permittivity of water would enable solvation of molecules of interest. A proposed device, denoted a miniature microfluidic biomarker extractor (μ-EX), would extract trace amounts of chemicals of interest from samples, such as soils and rocks. Traditionally, such extractions are performed on a large scale with hazardous organic solvents; each solvent capable of dissolving only those molecules lying within narrow ranges of specific chemical and physical characteristics that notably include volatility, electric charge, and polarity. In contrast, in the μ-EX, extractions could be performed by use of small amounts (typically between 0.1 and 100 μL) of water as a universal solvent.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Electronics, Patient Monitoring


Identifying and Inactivating Bacterial Spores

Problems associated with, and new strategies for, inactivating resistant organisms like Bacillus canaveralius (found at Kennedy Space Center during a survey of three NASA cleanrooms) have been defined. Identifying the particular component of the spore that allows its heightened resistance can guide the development of sterilization procedures that are targeted to the specific molecules responsible for resistance, while avoiding using unduly harsh methods that jeopardize equipment.

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


Crashworthy Seats Would Afford Superior Protection

Adjustments enable optimization of support for different body sizes and shapes. Seats to prevent or limit crash injuries to astronauts aboard the crew vehicle of the Orion spacecraft are undergoing development. The design of these seats incorporates and goes beyond crash-protection concepts embodied in prior spacecraft and racing-car seats to afford superior protection against impacts. Although the seats are designed to support astronauts in a recumbent, quasi-fetal posture that would likely not be suitable for non-spacecraft applications, parts of the design could be adapted to military and some civilian aircraft seats and to racing-car seats to increase levels of protection.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, TSP, Briefs, TSP


Droplet-Based Production of Liposomes

A process for making monodisperse liposomes having lipid bilayer membranes involves fewer, simpler process steps than do related prior methods. First, a microfluidic, cross-junction droplet generator is used to produce vesicles comprising aqueous-solution droplets contained in single-layer lipid membranes. The vesicles are collected in a lipid-solvent mix that is at most partially soluble in water and is less dense than is water. A layer of water is dispensed on top of the solvent. By virtue of the difference in densities, the water sinks to the bottom and the solvent floats to the top. The vesicles, which have almost the same density as that of water, become exchanged into the water instead of floating to the top. As there are excess lipids in the solvent solution, in order for the vesicles to remain in the water, the addition of a second lipid layer to each vesicle is energetically favored.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives


Using Fluorescent Viruses for Detecting Bacteria in Water

A method of detecting water-borne pathogenic bacteria is based partly on established molecular-recognition and fluorescent-labeling concepts, according to which bacteria of a species of interest are labeled with fluorescent reporter molecules and the bacteria can then be detected by fluorescence spectroscopy. The novelty of the present method lies in the use of bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) to deliver the fluorescent reporter molecules to the bacteria of the species of interest. Bacteriophages that selectively infect that species are selected, and fluorescently labeled virus probes (FLVPs) are prepared by staining these bacteriophages with a fluorescent dye. The FLVPs are immobilized on an optical substrate, which could be a window or a waveguide.

Posted in: Briefs


Anaerobic Digestion in a Flooded Densified Leachbed

A document discusses the adaptation of a patented biomass-digesting process, denoted sequential batch anaerobic composting (SEBAC), to recycling of wastes aboard a spacecraft. In SEBAC, high-solids-content biomass wastes are converted into methane, carbon dioxide, and compost.

Posted in: Briefs


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