Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Articulating Support for Horizontal Resistive Exercise

Supports can be optimized for a variety of prescribed exercises.A versatile mechanical device provides support for a user engaged in any of a variety of resistive exercises in a substantially horizontal orientation. The unique features and versatility of the device promise to be useful in bed-rest studies, rehabilitation, and specialized strength training. The device affords a capability for selectively loading and unloading of portions of the user’s body through its support mechanisms, so that specific parts of the body can be trained with little or no effect on other parts that may be disabled or in the process of recovery from injury. Thus, the device is ideal for rehabilitation exercise programs prescribed by physicians and physical therapists. The capability for selective loading and support also offers potential benefits to strength and conditioning trainers and athletes who wish to selectively strengthen selected parts.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Stroboscopic Goggles for Reduction of Motion Sickness

The view is presented to wearer in snapshots to suppress retinal slip.A device built around a pair of electronic shutters has been demonstrated to be effective as a prototype of stroboscopic goggles or eyeglasses for preventing or reducing motion sickness. The momentary opening of the shutters helps to suppress a phenomenon that is known in the art as retinal slip and is described more fully below.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Ex Vivo Growth of Bioengineered Ligaments and Other Tissues

Lifelike mechanical loads cause cell cultures to grow into lifelike structures.A method of growing bioengineered tissues for use in surgical replacement of damaged anterior cruciate ligaments has been invented. An anterior cruciate ligament is one of two ligaments (the other being the posterior cruciate ligament) that cross in the middle of a knee joint and act to prevent the bones in the knee from sliding forward and backward relative to each other. Anterior cruciate ligaments are frequently torn in sports injuries and traffic accidents, resulting in pain and severe limitations on mobility. By making it possible to grow replacement anterior cruciate ligaments that structurally and functionally resemble natural ones more closely than do totally synthetic replacements, the method could create new opportunities for full or nearly full restoration of functionality in injured knees. The method is also adaptable to the growth of bioengineered replacements for other ligaments (e.g., other knee ligaments as well as those in the hands, wrists, and elbows) and to the production of tissues other than ligaments, including cartilage, bones, muscles, and blood vessels.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Tissue Engineering Using Transfected Growth-Factor Genes

Cells, matrices, and bioreactors are tailored to promote functional tissue engineering of cartilage. A method of growing bioengineered tissues includes, as a major component, the use of mammalian cells that have been transfected with genes for secretion of regulator and growth-factor substances. In a typical application, one either seeds the cells onto an artificial matrix made of a synthetic or natural biocompatible material, or else one cultures the cells until they secrete a desired amount of an extracellular matrix. If such a bioengineered tissue construct is to be used for surgical replacement of injured tissue, then the cells should preferably be the patient’s own cells or, if not, at least cells matched to the patient’s cells according to a human-leucocyte-antigen (HLA) test. The bioengineered tissue construct is typically implanted in the patient’s injured natural tissue, wherein the growth-factor genes enhance metabolic functions that promote the in vitro development of functional tissue constructs and their integration with native tissues. If the matrix is biodegradable, then one of the results of metabolism could be absorption of the matrix and replacement of the matrix with tissue formed at least partly by the transfected cells.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Articulating Support for Horizontal Resistive Exercise

Supports can be optimized for a variety of prescribed exercises. A versatile mechanical device provides support for a user engaged in any of a variety of resistive exercises in a substantially horizontal orientation. The unique features and versatility of the device promise to be useful in bed-rest studies, rehabilitation, and specialized strength training. The device affords a capability for selectively loading and unloading of portions of the user’s body through its support mechanisms, so that specific parts of the body can be trained with little or no effect on other parts that may be disabled or in the process of recovery from injury. Thus, the device is ideal for rehabilitation exercise programs prescribed by physicians and physical therapists. The capability for selective loading and support also offers potential benefits to strength and conditioning trainers and athletes who wish to selectively strengthen selected parts.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Automation of Vapor-Diffusion Growth of Protein Crystals

High-throughput experiments are accelerated through automation of routine operations.Some improvements have been made in a system of laboratory equipment developed previously for studying the crystallization of proteins from solution by use of dynamically controlled flows of dry gas. The improvements involve mainly (1) automation of dispensing of liquids for starting experiments, (2) automatic control of drying of protein solutions during the experiments, and (3) provision for automated acquisition of video images for monitoring experiments in progress and for post-experiment analysis.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Probe for Sampling of Interstitial Fluid From Bone

An apparatus characterized as both a membrane probe and a bone ultrafiltration probe has been developed to enable in vivo sampling of interstitial fluid in bone. The probe makes it possible to measure the concentration of calcium and other constituents of the fluid that may be relevant to bone physiology. The probe could be especially helpful in experimental studies of microgravitational bone loss and of terrestrial bone-loss disease states, including osteoporosis.

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