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.

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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.

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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.

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Rehabilitation of Visual and Perceptual Dysfunction after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A new optical device could help those with TBI detect and avoid obstacles on the affected side. The aim of this work is to conduct preliminary evaluations of new rehabilitation strategies and new functional assessment methods for homonymous hemianopia (HH) and spatial neglect (SN), two disabling visual and cognitive perception conditions that commonly occur as a result of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) and stroke. Both HH and SN prevent detection of objects on completed the protocol: an 18-year-old male with left HH without SN, who has had HH for two years as a result of an arteriovenous malformation that required surgery.

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Implantable Spring for Knee Osteoarthritis

Spring absorbs excess load on knee joints while standing. Healthy joints and cartilage are exposed to mechanical loads during everyday motion and activity. While normal joint loading can help maintain joint tissues, high loading due to obesity, or abnormal loading due to anatomy or trauma can contribute to microfractures, bone thickening, and cartilage degradation. Many osteoarthritis (OA) therapies only provide short-term pain relief or repair focal cartilage damage. When the biomechanics behind joint overload are left untreated, however, the patient may suffer through several rounds of unsuccessful therapies until he or she is a candidate for knee replacement surgery.

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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.

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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.

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