Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Using Molded Foam Makes Assembly a Snap

Today, medical devices are made using a variety of plastic materials and manufacturing processes. Advances in plastic processing make it possible to obtain virtually any shape, form, or function. In addition, the vast assortment of plastics available allows designers to design for the optimal balance of functionality, performance, and cost. Expanded polypropylene (EPP) is a plastic material that is starting to gain traction in the medical device market as product designers become more familiar with the multiple benefits it can provide.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Medical

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Diagnosing Wrist Problems in Motion with MRI

“Active-MRI” could diagnose wrist problems sooner. Moving images could be invaluable when it comes to diagnosing wrist problems say a group of researchers at University of California-Davis. The multi-disciplinary team of radiologists, medical physicists, and orthopaedic surgeons say that they have found a way to create “movies” of the wrist in motion using a series of brief magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Called “Active-MRI,” the technique could be used to diagnose subtle changes in physiology that indicate the onset of conditions such as wrist instability.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Medical

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Assessment of Microbial Bioburden Within Aerogel Matrices

A post-capture aerogel degradation via cryogenic grinding is compatible with downstream nucleicacid- based molecular modes of analysis. A makeshift apparatus has been designed composed of a sealed, hydrophobic 2-propanol/SiO2 aerogel component to filter outside air particles. Following verification and assessment, the apparatus was crafted with a Buchner funnel. Aerogel matrices were tightly fitted into filter housings and secured in side-arm flasks, which were then equipped to a vacuum pump to pull air through the aerogel matrices. Aerogels, both with and without fiberglass reinforcement, were used to collect airborne particulates for one- and three-hour increments. An untreated negative control aerogel, employing air collection from a laminar hood, and a positive aerogel matrix were seeded with endospores that verified the extraction from the matrices.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, TSP, Briefs, TSP, Medical

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Visual Image Sensor Organ Replacement

This innovation is a system that augments human vision through a technique called “Sensing Super-position” using a Visual Instrument Sensory Organ Replacement (VISOR) device. The VISOR device translates visual and other sensors (i.e., thermal) into sounds to enable very difficult sensing tasks.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical

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A Novel Protocol for Decoating and Permeabilizing Bacterial Spores for Epifluorescent Microscopy

This technique can be used in semiconductor, pharmaceutical, and food processing industries. Based on previously reported procedures for permeabilizing vegetative bacterial cells, and numerous trial-and-error attempts with bacterial endospores, a protocol was developed for effectively permeabilizing bacterial spores, which facilitated the applicability of fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) microscopy. Bacterial endospores were first purified from overgrown, sporulated suspensions of B. pumilus SAFR-032. Purified spores at a concentration of ≈10 million spores/mL then underwent proteinase-K treatment, in a solution of 468.5 μL of 100 mM Tris-HCl, 30 μL of 10% SDS, and 1.5 μL of 20 mg/mL proteinase-K for ten minutes at 35 ºC. Spores were then harvested by centrifugation (15,000 g for 15 minutes) and washed twice with sterile phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) solution. This washing process consisted of resuspending the spore pellets in 0.5 mL of PBS, vortexing momentarily, and harvesting again by centrifugation. Treated and washed spore pellets were then resuspended in 0.5 mL of decoating solution, which consisted of 4.8 g urea, 3 mL Milli-Q water, 1 mL 0.5M Tris, 1 mL 1M dithiothreitol (DTT), and 2 mL 10% sodium-dodecylsulfate (SDS), and were incubated at 65 ºC for 15 minutes while being shaken at 165 rpm.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Method and Apparatus for Automated Isolation of Nucleic Acids from Small Cell Samples

Advantages include reduced or eliminated use of toxic reagents and operator-independent extraction. RNA isolation is a ubiquitous need, driven by current emphasis on micro-arrays and miniaturization. With commercial systems requiring 100,000 to 1,000,000 cells for successful isolation, there is a growing need for a small-footprint, easy-to-use device that can harvest nucleic acids from much smaller cell samples (1,000 to 10,000 cells). The process of extraction of RNA from cell cultures is a complex, multi-step one, and requires timed, asynchronous operations with multiple reagents/buffers. An added complexity is the fragility of RNA (subject to degradation) and its reactivity to surface.

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

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Enabling Microliquid Chromatography by Microbead Packing of Microchannels

The microbead packing is the critical element required in the success of onchip microfabrication of critical microfluidic components for in-situ analysis and detection of chiral amino acids. In order for microliquid chromatography to occur, there must be a stationary phase medium within the microchannel that interacts with the analytes present within flowing fluid. The stationary phase media are the microbeads packed by the process discussed in this work. The purpose of the microliquid chromatography is to provide a lightweight, low-volume, and low-power element to separate amino acids and their chiral partners efficiently to understand better the origin of life.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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