Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Tethered Endoscope for Photographing the Esophagus

Unlike conventional endoscopes and camera pills, the system does not require an expensive external support system, batteries, memory, or processing electronics.

Conventional endoscopes are the “gold standard” for investigating and evaluating mucosal disease of the esophagus. Free-swimming camera pills are large because they must carry camera, batteries, memory, illumination, and some level of image processing power on board. A typical camera pill may measure 11 x 26 mm and may be priced at $1500 per pill — and the pill is not reusable. Camera pills are difficult if not impossible to steer from outside the body. Both camera pills and conventional endoscopes require an expensive external support system. Camera pills may not return information for over 24 hours, until the body eliminates them.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Bio-Medical, Diagnostics, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Downsizing, Imaging and visualization, Diagnosis, Medical equipment and supplies, Product development
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Isolation of the 'Paenibacillus phoenicis', a Spore-Forming Bacterium

A microorganism was isolated from the surfaces of the cleanroom facility in which the Phoenix lander was assembled. The isolated bacterial strain was subjected to a comprehensive polyphasic analysis to characterize its taxonomic position. Both phenotypic and phylogenetic analyses clearly indicate that this isolate belongs to the genus Paenibacillus and represents a novel species.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Imaging, Bio-Medical, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Bacteria, Spacecraft
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Cell Radiation Experiment System

Cells can be irradiated under conditions that approximate those in living tissues.

The cell radiation experiment system (CRES) is a perfused-cell culture apparatus, within which cells from humans or other animals can (1) be maintained in homeostasis while (2) being exposed to ionizing radiation during controlled intervals and (3) being monitored to determine the effects of radiation and the repair of radiation damage. The CRES can be used, for example, to determine effects of drug, radiation, and combined drug and radiation treatments on both normal and tumor cells. The CRES can also be used to analyze the effects of radiosensitive or radioprotectant drugs on cells subjected to radiation. The knowledge gained by use of the CRES is expected to contribute to the development of better cancer treatments and of better protection for astronauts, medical-equipment operators, and nuclear-power-plant workers, and others exposed frequently to ionizing radiation.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, TSP, Briefs, TSP, Imaging, Bio-Medical, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Human factors, Radiation, Radiation protection, Test equipment and instrumentation, Test procedures
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Monolithically Integrated, Mechanically Resilient Carbon-Based Probes for Scanning Probe Microscopy

These probes can be used in medical applications for bacteria or protein imaging.

Scanning probe microscopy (SPM) is an important tool for performing measurements at the nanoscale in imaging bacteria or proteins in biology, as well as in the electronics industry. An essential element of SPM is a sharp, stable tip that possesses a small radius of curvature to enhance spatial resolution. Existing techniques for forming such tips are not ideal. High-aspect-ratio, monolithically integrated, as-grown carbon nanofibers (CNFs) have been formed that show promise for SPM applications by overcoming the limitations present in wet chemical and separate substrate etching processes.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Imaging, Bio-Medical, Diagnostics, Medical, Microscopy, Bacteria, Nanotechnology
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2010 Create the Future Design Contest Medical Category Winner

(Winner of an HP Workstation)

IDEA Enhanced Pulse Oximetry

Rodrigo Teixeira, Alton Reich, and Stephen MalinHuntsville, AL

Stroke volume, or how much volume of blood the heart pumps with each beat, demonstrates the organ’s efficiency and health, but the performance is often measured invasively using a Swan-Ganz catheter or ultrasound echocardiography. IDEA Enhanced Pulse Oximetry technology, however, measures light absorption by blood as it pulses. By analyzing the light pulses’ shape and evolutions, the technology gathers information about the patient’s cardiovascular system, including stroke volume and cardiac output. The Intelligent Data Extraction Algorithm, or IDEATM, analyzes noisy pulse signals and interprets them in a real-time physiological context.

Posted in: Articles, Medical, Mathematical models, Sensors and actuators, Cardiovascular system, Medical equipment and supplies
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Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene Technology for Minimally Invasive Devices

Ultra-thin film and fiber are suitable for implantable cardiovascular devices.

Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has been used for decades as a biomaterial in joint replacements. Recently, this technology was refined to serve the needs of minimally invasive surgical applications, particularly cardiovascular implants. UHMWPE fiber can be shaped into a range of textile constructions, including braids and woven tubes, while the film can be used as a very thin barrier or cover. As such, the medical-grade UHMWPE film and fiber are suitable for enhancing the design of various implantable cardiovascular devices, including stent grafts and covered stents.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Bio-Medical, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, Cardiovascular system, Prostheses and implants, Fibers, Polymers
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Circulatory Assist Pump for Implantable Artificial Heart Device

This ventricular-assist pump can be used before and after surgery.

When a patient’s heart disease cannot be treated, heart transplantation is required, but only a few people can receive transplants. These rare opportunities for transplantation have created a demand for artificial hearts.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Mechanical Components, Bio-Medical, Medical, Cardiovascular system, Prostheses and implants, Pumps
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Ultrasonic Echo Probe With Measurement of Contact Pressure Distribution

This probe can measure tissue inside living bodies non-invasively using a thin-film piezoelectric pressure sensor.

This ultrasonic echo apparatus can measure tissue inside living bodies, non-invasively. The developed probe has a film-like piezoelectric sensor installed on the contact surface of an ordinary medical ultrasonic probe, and it can measure the contact pressure distribution between the probe and living bodies. Since it can measure, with an ultrasonic echo image, the deformation of living bodies when a probe is pressed against them dynamically, it can calculate the distribution of mechanical impedance within living bodies by using information on contact pressure at the contact surface.

Posted in: Features, MDB, Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical, Sensors, Measurements, Sensors and actuators, Medical equipment and supplies, Acoustics
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Modifying Polyethylene Oxide for Melt-Processability

Water-soluble packaging, disposable articles, and transdermal patches are possible applications for products made using water-soluble PEO.

Generally, high-molecular-weight polyethylene oxide (PEO) can present processing challenges due to its high melt viscosity and poor melt drawability; it can be difficult to form into fine-gauge film or small-diameter fibers. There is the alternative technology of solution casting, which has occasionally been utilized to cast thin films; however, solution casting may not always be practical for large-scale, economically viable film production.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Bio-Medical, Medical, Casting, Materials properties, Resins
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Topical Compositions and Glove for Protection and Shielding Against Radiation Exposure

These technologies have applications in military, nuclear energy, and emergency preparedness.

Over the past several decades, there has been a proliferation of medical diagnostic and treatment devices that involve the use of X-rays, beta rays, gamma rays, and radioactive isotopes. In addition, there has been recent concern regarding possible radiation exposure from nuclear weapons and terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities. Thus, there is a need for devices that can protect areas of the body that may be exposed to damaging radiation without hindering the user’s dexterity or loss of touch sensation.

Posted in: Briefs, MDB, Briefs, Coatings & Adhesives, Materials, Bio-Medical, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Medical equipment and supplies, Protective clothing, Radiation protection
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