Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Regulating Glucose and pH, and Monitoring Oxygen in a Bioreactor

Glucose and oxygen concentrations are monitored, and glucose concentration and pH are adjusted as needed.

Figure 1 is a simplified schematic diagram of a system that automatically regulates the concentration of glucose or pH in a liquid culture medium that is circulated through a rotating-wall perfused bioreactor. Another system, shown in Figure 2, monitors the concentration of oxygen in the culture medium.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Medical equipment and supplies, Test equipment and instrumentation

Implantable Wireless MEMS Sensors for Medical Uses

Sensors designed and fabricated according to the principles of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) are being developed for several medical applications in outer space and on Earth.The designs of these sensors are based on a core design family of pressure sensors, small enough to fit into the eye of a needle, that are fabricated by a “dissolved wafer” process. The sensors are expected to be implantable, battery-less, and wireless. They would be both powered and interrogated by hand-held radio transceivers from distances up to about 6 in. (about 15 cm). One type of sensor would be used to measure blood pressure, particularly for congestive heart failure. Another type would be used to monitor fluids in patients who have hydrocephalus (high brain pressure). Still other types would be used to detect errors in delivery of drugs and to help patients having congestive heart failure.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Microelectromechanical devices, Sensors and actuators, Prostheses and implants

Dehydrating and Sterilizing Wastes Using Supercritical CO2

A relatively low-temperature process for dehydrating and sterilizing biohazardous wastes in an enclosed life-support system exploits (1) the superior mass-transport properties of supercritical fluids in general and (2) the demonstrated sterilizing property of supercritical CO2 in particular. The wastes to be treated are placed in a chamber. Liquid CO2, drawn from storage at a pressure of 850 psi (˜5.9 MPa) and temperature of 0 °C, is compressed to pressure of 2 kpsi (˜14 MPa) and made to flow into the chamber. The compression raises the temperature to 10 °C. The chamber and its contents are then further heated to 40 °C, putting the CO2 into a supercritical state, in which it kills microorganisms in the chamber. Carrying dissolved water, the CO2 leaves the chamber through a back-pressure regulator, through which it is expanded back to the storage pressure. The expanded CO2 is refrigerated to extract the dissolved water as ice, and is then returned to the storage tank at 0 °C.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Waste management, Life support systems, Waste disposal, Waste materials

Multiaxis, Lightweight, Computer-Controlled Exercise System

This system offers unprecedented versatility for physical conditioning and evaluation

The multipurpose, multiaxial, isokinetic dynamometer (MMID) is a computer-controlled system of exercise machinery that can serve as a means for quantitatively assessing a subject’s muscle coordination, range of motion, strength, and overall physical condition with respect to a wide variety of forces, motions, and exercise regimens. The MMID is easily reconfigurable and compactly stowable and, in comparison with prior computer-controlled exercise systems, it weighs less, costs less, and offers more capabilities.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Human factors, Medical, health, and wellness

Production of Tuber-Inducing Factor

This substance regulates the growth of potatoes and some other plants.

A process for making a substance that regulates the growth of potatoes and some other economically important plants has been developed. The process also yields an economically important by-product: potatoes.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Fabrication, Chemicals, Agricultural vehicles and equipment

Vacuum-Assisted, Constant- Force Exercise Device

An important advantage over other exercise machines would be light weight.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Human factors, Human machine interface (HMI), Medical, health, and wellness

Studying Functions of All Yeast Genes Simultaneously

This method could accelerate research on treatment of some diseases.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Biological sciences, Diseases, Test procedures

Microfluidic Devices for Studying Biomolecular Interactions

These devices can be fabricated rapidly and inexpensively.

Microfluidic devices for monitoring biomolecular interactions have been invented. These devices are basically highly miniaturized liquid-chromatography columns. They are intended to be prototypes of miniature analytical devices of the “laboratory on a chip” type that could be fabricated rapidly and inexpensively and that, because of their small sizes, would yield analytical results from very small amounts of expensive analytes (typically, proteins). Other advantages to be gained by this scaling down of liquid-chromatography columns may include increases in resolution and speed, decreases in the consumption of reagents, and the possibility of performing multiple simultaneous and highly integrated analyses by use of multiple devices of this type, each possibly containing multiple parallel analytical microchannels.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Downsizing, Integrated circuits, Biological sciences, Product development, Test equipment and instrumentation

Neuro-Prosthetic Implants With Adjustable Electrode Arrays

Depths of penetration of electrodes would be adjusted to maximize received signals.

Brushlike arrays of electrodes packaged with application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) are undergoing development for use as electronic implants — especially as neuro-prosthetic devices that might be implanted in brains to detect weak electrical signals generated by neurons. These implants partly resemble the ones reported in “Integrated Electrode Arrays for Neuro-Prosthetic Implants” (NPO-21198), NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 27, No. 2 (February 2003), page 48. The basic idea underlying both the present and previously reported implants is that the electrodes would pick up signals from neurons and the ASICs would amplify and otherwise preprocess the signals for monitoring by external equipment.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Architecture, Integrated circuits, Nervous system, Prostheses and implants

Biomimetic/Optical Sensors for Detecting Bacterial Species

Bacteria in liquid samples could be detected in real time.

Biomimetic/optical sensors have been proposed as means of real-time detection of bacteria in liquid samples through real-time detection of compounds secreted by the bacteria. Bacterial species of interest would be identified through detection of signaling compounds unique to those species. The best-characterized examples of quorum- signaling compounds are acylhomoserine lactones and peptides. Each compound, secreted by each bacterium of an affected species, serves as a signal to other bacteria of the same species to engage in a collective behavior when the population density of that species reaches a threshold level analogous to a quorum.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Bio-Medical, Medical, Sensors and actuators, Bacteria, Identification, Test equipment and instrumentation

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