Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Chromatid Painting for Chromosomal Inversion Detection

Applications include clinical cytogenetics, biomedical research, and biodosimetry. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Chromosomal inversions, such as those occurring following exposure to ionizing radiation, are especially difficult to detect by current techniques. Therefore, their true frequency and importance have been underappreciated. Even the impressive technology of whole genome sequencing, which is becoming more readily and rapidly available, is useless for the detection of many chromosomal rearrangements within a chromosome. Likewise, stateof- the-art cytogenetic mBAND analysis of irradiated normal human tissue can only occasionally reveal radiationinduced inversions. A novel and innovative approach called differential Genomic Hybridization (dGH) or chromatid painting has been developed to further explore, expand, and capitalize on this new frontier of molecular cytogenetics.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Guidelines for Meal Replacement Bars in a Space Food System

Emergency relief organizations, food banks, the military, and food service markets all have use for the bars due to their nutritional offering and long shelf life. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas To decrease the mass of the space food system and still maintain the nutritional intake of a mission crew, meal replacement bars and beverages are desired to supplement the menu and serve as meal alternatives. Nutritional requirements for such replacement products for breakfast and lunch have been established based on the current nutritional delivery of the International Space Station standard menu.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Retinal Light Processing Using Carbon Nanotubes

This chip can be used as an electrical or optical sensor for the retina. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California NASA has patented a new technology called the Vision Chip, an implantable device that has the potential to restore or supplement visual function in a diseased or damaged retina. This technology could benefit millions of people in the US and globally who suffer from degenerative diseases of the eye’s retina such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and, in some cases, diabetic retinopathy. The Vision Chip is targeted to treat AMD and other degenerative diseases of the retina by replacing a compromised retinal photoreceptor system with an array of equivalent external photoreceptors and carbon nanotube (CNT) “towers” (bundles of CNTs) that provide a pathway to transmit signals from the external photoreceptors to an active layer of retina.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Provision of Carbon Nanotube Buckypaper Cages for Immune Shielding of Cells, Tissues, and Medical Devices

This method may prevent the rejection of transplanted cells and tissue. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California NASA has patented a new technology that may prevent the rejection of transplanted cells and tissues. The human immune system identifies and rejects non-host cells and tissues with high efficiency. The new invention involves the fabrication and use of carbon nanotube buckypaper (CNTBP) “cages” for immune shielding. This approach promotes and supports a variety of useful biological processes that are difficult or impossible when cells or tissue are maintained in culture outside the body. It allows for the transplantation of cells or tissues from unrelated donors or from unrelated species (xenografts) into host subjects with dramatically reduced potential for rejection and/or the use of immunosuppressive therapies, which can be highly toxic. Current strategies for islet cell transplantation, for example, have shown marginal success due to limited graft survival, even with immunosuppressive therapy.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Rapid Polymer Sequencer

Maximum resolution will be improved at least 100-fold compared to biological ion-channel measurements. Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Solid-state, nanopore-based analysis of nucleic acid polymers is the only technique that can determine information content in single molecules of genetic material at the speed of 1 subunit per microsecond. Because individual molecules are counted, the output is intrinsically quantitative. The nanopore approach is more generalized than any other method, and in principle may be used to analyze any polymer molecule, including proteins. The approach to the development of a solid-state nanopore device is novel in the use of nanofabrication, nanoelectric components, and high-speed signal acquisition.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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High-Density, Homogenous Bacterial Spore Distributions on Test Surfaces

This method uses polycarbonate membrane to transfer spores onto a mirror surface. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California Thus far, spore transfer had been successful from the polycarbonate membrane onto stainless steel, aluminum, and to some extent, glass. In order to image the endospores under an ESEM (environmental scanning electron microscope), the spores were transferred onto a 4-mm-diameter, mirror-polished, stainless steel ESEM tab. For the spectroscopic and irradiation procedures in the Planetary Ice Group, it has also been necessary to transfer a highly concentrated, homogenous layer of spores onto a 1/2- or 1-in. (≈1.3- or 2.5-cm) aluminum mirror. Various other methods have been developed and tested for statistical spore deposition and transfer, but transfer was previously prone to uneven coverage due to poor contact, as well as visible microdroplets from over-saturation of the backing filter contact or non-homogeneity on a larger scale. A complete, reproducible method follows to avoid these issues and ensure quantitative predictions and uniformity.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Team Game and Simulation Control

Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia This technology is an offshoot of LaRC-developed technologies using physiological measures for assessing pilot stress, sustained attention, engagement, and awareness in a laboratory flight simulation environment. The technology allows modulation of player inputs to a video game or simulation from a user interface device based on the player’s psychophysiological state. It exploits current wireless motion-sensing technologies to utilize physiological signals for input modulation. These signals include, but are not limited to, heart rate, muscle tension, and brain wave activity. The invention is a technology for training teams to maintain functional states that are conducive to effective performance of manual tasks such as flight control, by physiologically modulating operator input devices to simulations. The invention also permits individuals who are physically challenged to participate in electronic game play by collaborating with a player who is able to manipulate controls that the challenged player cannot, and enables individuals with different skill sets and interests (physiological self-control vs. physical performance skills) to join together in rewarding game play. Besides gaming, this technology has application in athletic training and mind-body medicine.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical

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