Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Lithium Batteries for Medical Applications

Recent advances in lithium technology have increased the variety of commercially available batteries. The element lithium possesses fundamental properties that make it ideal for use as the anode in both primary and rechargeable batteries. Vendors have paired the popular lithium anode with a variety of cathode and electrolyte materials, resulting in the wide choice of different chemistries available today. This article discusses the types of primary lithium batteries commonly used for medical applications and introduces a new type based on recent innovations in materials and manufacturing processes. Information about the basic properties, advantages, and disadvantages are provided for each battery type.

Posted in: Electronics, Manufacturing & Prototyping, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Batteries

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‘Soft X-Ray’ Detector Could Improve Breast Cancer Imaging

New X-ray technology minimizes harmful exposure and allows better breast imaging. While clear imaging is extremely important in diagnosing breast cancer from mammograms, there is also concern about exposing the patient to too much radiation from repeated X-rays. But that may soon change, says Krishna Mandal, an associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of South Carolina (USC), Columbia, who led the team that built a new type of Xray detector that offers tremendous potential in breast cancer detection and treatment.

Posted in: Imaging & Diagnostics, Monitoring & Testing, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs, Diagnostics, Patient Monitoring

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VA Developing New Heat- Enhanced Pulse Ox Device

Probe improves accuracy in reading blood oxygen saturation levels in patients who are harder to read due to low core temperature. Pulse oximetry has gained widespread clinical acceptance as a standard patient vital sign measurement because it can give clinicians an early warning of low arterial blood oxygen saturation levels, or hypoxemia. Conventional pulse oximetry is subject to technological limitations that reduce its effectiveness and the quality of patient care. To mitigate the limitations of current technologies, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a novel device that provides reliable pulse oximetry measurements of oxygen saturation and heart rate in patients with low body temperature due to vasoconstriction and low blood perfusion.

Posted in: Electronics, Imaging & Diagnostics, Monitoring & Testing, Bio-Medical, Briefs, Briefs

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Wideband Single-Crystal Transducer for Bone Characterization

These transducers have uses in medical ultrasound imaging and room-temperature ultrasonic flow meters. The microgravity conditions of space travel result in unique physiological demands on the human body. In particular, the absence of the continual mechanical stresses on the skeletal system that are present on Earth cause the bones to decalcify. Trabecular structure decreases in thickness and increases in spacing, resulting in decreased bone strength and increased risk of injury. Thus, monitoring bone health is a high priority for long-term space travel. A single probe covering all frequency bands of interest would be ideal for such measurements, and this would also minimize storage space and eliminate the complexity of integrating multiple probes.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, TSP

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Extreme Ionizing-Radiation-Resistant Bacterium

Deinococcus phoenicis sp. nov. can be used as an indicator for sterilization processes in food, aerospace, medical, and pharmaceutical applications. There is a growing concern that desiccation and extreme radiation-resistant, non-spore-forming microorganisms associated with spacecraft surfaces can withstand space environmental conditions and subsequent proliferation on another solar body. Such forward contamination would jeopardize future life detection or sample return technologies. The prime focus of NASA’s planetary protection efforts is the development of strategies for inactivating resistance-bearing microorganisms. Eradication techniques can be designed to target resistance-conferring microbial populations by first identifying and understanding their physiologic and biochemical capabilities that confers its elevated tolerance (as is being studied in Deinococcus phoenicis, as a result of this description). Furthermore, hospitals, food, and government agencies frequently use biological indicators to ensure the efficacy of a wide range of radiationbased sterilization processes. Due to their resistance to a variety of perturbations, the non-spore forming D. phoenicis may be a more appropriate biological indicator than those currently in use.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs

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Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting of Live Versus Dead Bacterial Cells and Spores

Commercial applications include hospital operating room cleanliness validation assays, pharmaceutical development, and semiconductor development. This innovation is a coupled fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and fluorescent staining technology for purifying (removing cells from sampling matrices), separating (based on size, density, morphology, and live versus dead), and concentrating cells (spores, prokaryotic, eukaryotic) from an environmental sample.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs, TSP

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Nonhazardous Urine Pretreatment Method

This method can be used as a means for safe urine storage on ships, planes, and recreational vehicles, or in conjunction with portable restrooms. A method combines solid phase acidification with two non-toxic biocides to prevent ammonia volatilization and microbial proliferation. The safe, nonoxidizing biocide combination consists of a quaternary amine and a food preservative. This combination has exhibited excellent stabilization of both acidified and unacidified urine.

Posted in: Bio-Medical, Briefs

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