Wednesday, 9 May 2012

GE Healthcare: DoseWatch DEMO

Friday, 9 December 2011

Biomedical Researcher turns HP TouchPad Tablet to MRI Lab

Biomedical Researcher turns HP TouchPad Tablet to MRI Lab

We know that the PCs and other electronics equipment is kept away from the magnet room to achieve minimal interference with the MRI equipment, since, there are very few devices which can withstand the strong magnetic field.
Now, the interesting part is that a Stanford Bioengineering Research Associate Andrew B. Holbrook has developed a promising solution to this problem with the help of HP webOS devices that can help takeInterventional MRI in strong magnetic field.
The idea is the use minimum metal and more of plastic material along with very less glue which is basically forms the HP Touchpad (obviously metal parts such as vibration motors, speakers etc. were removed.) TouchPad hardware engineers assisted him in the modification process.
“Before this we’d either have a very clunky in-room display with ten keys to control things, or one person would be in the magnet room holding the transducer in place, and another would run the test and interpret the results from afar. With this, I can connect to the transducer, prescribe the test, run it, and then view the data after it was run—all without leaving the transducer’s side.”

Advantages of the HP Touchpad MRI Lab

  • High-powered PC server system which is MR-safe (running hybrid-PDK apps)

  • An app to control an InSightec ExAblate Conformal Bone System HIFU transducer to run an ultrasound test commonly run in the scan room.

  • View respiratory activity & HIFU information using bellows app running on a portable webOS device.

  • MRI applications that allow scanning in the magnet scan room using a platform called RTHawk, a real time MRI control system for GE scanners.

  • Apps that can control slice positioning and MRI scan parameter adjustment in MRI scans.

  • The various multi-tasking features, multi-touch gestures, controlling image positions and so many others with this TouchPad for MRI control.

  • Dr. Holbrook sees continued opportunity for MRI projects in the webOS platform including phones and the TouchPad. This is certainly going to take the radiology and imaging to a next level with such easy and intuitive control of the various systems of an interventional procedure.

  • Sunday, 12 September 2010

    Brain Signals: Scientists Decode Words

    “We have been able to decode spoken words using only signals from the brain with a device that has promise for long-term use in paralyzed patients who cannot now speak,” says Bradley Greger, an assistant professor of bioengineering. 

    Because the method needs much more improvement and involves placing electrodes on the brain, he expects it will be a few years before clinical trials on paralyzed people who cannot speak due to so-called “locked-in syndrome.” 

    The University of Utah research team placed grids of tiny microelectrodes over speech centers in the brain of a volunteer with severe epileptic seizures. The man already had a craniotomy – temporary partial skull removal – so doctors could place larger, conventional electrodes to locate the source of his seizures and surgically stop them. 

    Using the experimental microelectrodes, the scientists recorded brain signals as the patient repeatedly read each of 10 words that might be useful to a paralyzed person: yes, no, hot, cold, hungry, thirsty, hello, goodbye, more and less. 

    Later, they tried figuring out which brain signals represented each of the 10 words. When they compared any two brain signals – such as those generated when the man said the words “yes” and “no” – they were able to distinguish brain signals for each word 76 percent to 90 percent of the time. 

    When they examined all 10 brain signal patterns at once, they were able to pick out the correct word any one signal represented only 28 percent to 48 percent of the time – better than chance (which would have been 10 percent) but not good enough for a device to translate a paralyzed person’s thoughts into words spoken by a computer. 

    “This is proof of concept,” Greger says, “We’ve proven these signals can tell you what the person is saying well above chance. But we need to be able to do more words with more accuracy before it is something a patient really might find useful.” 

    People who eventually could benefit from a wireless device that converts thoughts into computer-spoken spoken words include those paralyzed by stroke, Lou Gehrig’s disease and trauma, Greger says. People who are now “locked in” often communicate with any movement they can make – blinking an eye or moving a hand slightly – to arduously pick letters or words from a list. 

    University of Utah colleagues who conducted the study with Greger included electrical engineers Spencer Kellis, a doctoral student, and Richard Brown, dean of the College of Engineering; and Paul House, an assistant professor of neurosurgery. 

    The study used a new kind of nonpenetrating microelectrode that sits on the brain without poking into it. These electrodes are known as microECoGs because they are a small version of the much larger electrodes used for electrocorticography, or ECoG, developed a half century ago. 

    For patients with severe epileptic seizures uncontrolled by medication, surgeons remove part of the skull and place a silicone mat containing ECoG electrodes over the brain for days to weeks while the cranium is held in place but not reattached. The button-sized ECoG electrodes don’t penetrate the brain but detect abnormal electrical activity and allow surgeons to locate and remove a small portion of the brain causing the seizures. 

    Last year, Greger and colleagues published a study showing the much smaller microECoG electrodes could “read” brain signals controlling arm movements. One of the epileptic patients involved in that study also volunteered for the new study.

    Because the microelectrodes do not penetrate brain matter, they are considered safe to place on speech areas of the brain – something that cannot be done with penetrating electrodes that have been used in experimental devices to help paralyzed people control a computer cursor or an artificial arm. 

    EEG electrodes used on the skull to record brain waves are too big and record too many brain signals to be used easily for decoding speech signals from paralyzed people. 

    In the new study, the microelectrodes were used to detect weak electrical signals from the brain generated by a few thousand neurons or nerve cells. 

    Source:;  University of Utah

    Wednesday, 25 August 2010

    Flushing: Preventing Heart Problems While Keeping a Cool Head

    The reason for this is that treatment with nicotinic acid has an unpleasant but harmless side-effect: the drug makes patients turn quite red in the face. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research have now discovered the mechanism behind this effect, which is known as flushing. This will enable the development of flush inhibitors.

    The treatment of lipid metabolic disorders is one of the important measures used in the prevention of cardio-vascular disease. Cholesterol is the key molecule here and LDL cholesterol is the type of cholesterol most widely discussed in this context. This "bad" cholesterol is one of the most important risk factors for the emergence of cardio-vascular diseases. The higher the blood-plasma concentration of LDL cholesterol, the higher an individual's risk of suffering cardiac arrest or peripheral vascular disease. The opposite applies to the "good" HDL cholesterol: the higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the lower the risk of contracting these diseases. For this reason, the strategy of increasing HDL plasma concentration through medication has become more prevalent of late.

    "The main problem with treatment using nicotinic acid – which has nothing to do with the nicotine in tobacco, by the way – is flushing," says Stefan Offermanns, Director of the Department of Pharmacology at the Max Planck Institute. "Just a short time after taking nicotinic acid, the patient experiences strong flushing of the face and upper body for up to one and a half hours. This is caused by the dilation of blood vessels in the skin." The flushing symptoms are completely harmless. However, patients often abandon the treatment on account of these symptoms.

    Offermanns and his colleagues had already succeeded in identifying a specific receptor for nicotinic acid that conveys the desired effects of nicotinic acid. Tests on mice showed, however, that the receptor is also responsible for the nicotinic-acid-induced flushing reaction. "We have now succeeded in demonstrating that the receptor exists both in the main cells of the top layer of the skin or epidermis, which are called keratinocytes, and the immune cells, known as Langerhans cells, also found in the epidermis," reports Offermanns.

    By studying mouse strains in which the receptor in either the Langerhans cells or keratinocytes is blocked, the researchers were able to show that the first phase of the flushing reaction is triggered by the activation of Langerhans cells. In contrast, the second and longer phase results from the activation of the keratinocytes. In both phases, different prostaglandins are formed. "The flushing phenomenon can be prevented by inhibiting prostaglandin formation or blocking the prostaglandin receptors in the skin, while the desired effects of the nicotinic acid on lipid metabolism remain unaffected."

    Molecular Imaging: Identification of High-risk Patients

    A study finds that molecular imaging—a non-invasive imaging procedure—can identify high-risk patients with potentially life-threatening cardiovascular conditions and help physicians determine which patients are best suited for implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) therapy.

    "If the molecular imaging techniques are used for appropriate selection of ICD candidates, not only overuse but also underuse of ICD could be avoided and the assessment may be shown to be more cost-effective," said Doctor Kimio Nishisato, a physician in the cardiology division of Muroram City General Hospital, Muroram, Japan, and corresponding author for the study.

    According to researchers from Sapporo University, Sapporo, Japan, the study shows that molecular imaging can play an important role in diagnosing and guiding the treatment strategy for arrhythmia, coronary artery disease and heart failure.

    "This research holds significant potential for the detection, diagnosis and treatment of many common cardiovascular conditions," said Doctor Tomoaki Nakata, an associate professor at the Sapporo Medical University. "With molecular imaging, physicians can improve patient care by pinpointing the precise location of the disease in order to eliminate the need for invasive medical devices and unnecessary surgical techniques." Nakata adds that molecular imaging can also reduce unnecessary medical costs by better targeting treatment for each individual patient.

    In this study, researchers hypothesized that both the impairment of myocardial perfusion and/or cell viability and cardiac sympathetic innervations are responsible for heart arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death. However, there was no established reliable method, including a molecular imaging technique which is highly objective, reproducible and quantitative.

    The researchers investigated prognostic implications of cardiac pre-synaptic sympathetic function quantified by cardiac MIBG activity and myocyte damage or viability quantified by cardiac tetrofosmin activity in patients treated with prophylactic use of ICD, by correlating with lethal arrhythmic events which would have been documented during a prospective follow-up. Based on these aspects, the study is the first to show the efficacies of the method for more accurate identification of patients at greater risk of lethal arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD).

    "Sudden cardiac death due to lethal arrhythmia represents an important health care problem in many developed countries," said Doctor Ichiro Matsunari, director of the clinical research department at the Medical & Pharmacological Research Center Foundation, Hakui, Japan. "While implantable cardioverter defibrillator therapy is an effective option over anti-arrhythmic medications to prevent SCD, the balance of clinical benefits, efficacy and risks is still a matter of discussion."

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