Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Finite Element Analysis Used to Examine the Healing of Animal Bones

The effectiveness of using stabilization pins and external skeletal fixators was determined by FEA analysis. When a dog or cat breaks a bone, veterinarians often mend the fracture with a combination of stabilization devices called intra-medullary (IM) pins and external skeletal fixators (ESFs), a technique that is employed daily across the U.S. Research conducted at the University of Georgia under the direction of Dennis Aron, DVM, using ALGOR finite element analysis software, is helping to establish better guidelines for how these stabilization devices can best be used to promote healing of animal fractures.

Posted in: Briefs

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Multisensor Instrument for Real-Time Biological Monitoring

Multiple parameters can be measured simultaneously by use of a single compact sensor head. The figure schematically depicts an instrumentation system, called a "fiber optic-based integration system" (FOBIS), that is undergoing development to enable real-time monitoring of fluid cell cultures, bioprocess flows, and the like. The FOBIS design combines a micro flow cytometer (MFC), a microphotometer (MP), and a fluorescence-spectrum- or binding-force-measuring micro-sensor (MS) in a single instrument that is capable of measuring multiple biological parameters simultaneously or sequentially. The fiber-optic-based integration system is so named because the MFC, the MP, and the MS are integrated into a single optical system that is coupled to light sources and photometric equipment via optical fibers. The optical coupling components also include a wavelength-division multiplexer and diffractive optical elements. The FOBIS includes a laser-diode- and fiber-optic-based optical trapping subsystem ("optical tweezers") with microphotometric and micro-sensing capabilities for noninvasive confinement and optical measurement of relevant parameters of a single cell or other particle.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, TSP

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Software Simulates Chewing Biomechanics for Anthropology Study

Research could lay the groundwork for studies of extinct early humans. Fossils of primates and early humans exhibit great diversity in the size and shape of the jaw, teeth, and facial skeleton. Anthro- pologists theorize that these different skull forms were evolutionary adaptations to chewing different types of food. Dr. David S. Strait, anthropologist and assistant professor at the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine of the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), is testing these theories by simulating the chewing biomechanics of living primates with ALGOR finite element analysis (FEA) software. Dr. Strait’s research may help to explain why there is such diversity among living primates, and could lay the groundwork for future studies of extinct early humans.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs

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Improved Interactive Medical-Imaging System

Complex surgery can be simulated collaboratively at multiple locations in real time. An improved computational-simulation system for interactive medical imaging has been invented. The system displays high-resolution, three-dimensional-appearing images of anatomical objects based on data acquired by such techniques as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI). The system enables users to manipulate the data to obtain a variety of views — for example, to display cross sections in specified planes or to rotate images about specified axes. Relative to prior such systems, this system offers enhanced capabilities for synthesizing images of surgical cuts and for collaboration by users at multiple, remote computing sites.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs

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Spore-Forming Bacteria That Resist Sterilization

A report presents a phenotypic and genotypic characterization of a bacterial species that has been found to be of the genus Bacillus and has been tentatively named B. odysseensis because it was isolated from surfaces of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft as part of continuing research on techniques for sterilizing spacecraft to prevent contamination of remote planets by terrestrial species. B. odysseensis is a Gram-positive, facultatively anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium that forms round spores. The exosporium has been conjectured to play a role in the elevated resistance to sterilization. Research on the exosporium is proposed as a path toward improved means of sterilization, medical treatment, and prevention of biofouling.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Fluorescent Quantum Dots for Biological Labeling

Fluorescence is effectively turned on by enzymes specific to cells of interest. Fluorescent semiconductor quantum dots that can serve as "on/off" labels for bacteria and other living cells are undergoing development. The "on/off" characterization of these quantum dots refers to the fact that, when properly designed and manufactured, they do not fluoresce until and unless they come into contact with viable cells of biological species that one seeks to detect. In comparison with prior fluorescence-based means of detecting biological species, fluorescent quantum dots show promise for greater speed, less complexity, greater sensitivity, and greater selectivity for species of interest. There are numerous potential applications in medicine, environmental monitoring, and detection of bioterrorism.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP

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Growing Three-Dimensional Corneal Tissue in a Bioreactor

This method could help overcome the shortage of donated corneal tissue. Spheroids of corneal tissue about 5 mm in diameter have been grown in a bioreactor from an in vitro culture of primary rabbit corneal cells to illustrate the production of optic cells from aggregates and tissue. In comparison with corneal tissues previously grown in vitro by other techniques, this tissue approximates intact corneal tissue more closely in both size and structure. This novel three-dimensional tissue can be used to model cell structures and functions in normal and abnormal corneas. Efforts continue to refine the present in vitro method into one for producing human corneal tissue to overcome the chronic shortage of donors for corneal transplants: The method would be used to prepare corneal tissues, either from in vitro cultures of a patient's own cells or from a well-defined culture from another human donor known to be healthy.

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