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Technology and Health Care is intended to serve as a forum for the presentation of original articles and technical notes, observing rigorous scientific standards. Furthermore, upon invitation, reviews, tutorials, discussion papers and minisymposia are featured.
The following types of contributions and areas are considered:
1. Original articles:
Technology development in medicine: New concepts, procedures and devices associated with the use of technology in medical research and clinical practice are presented to a readership with a widespread background in engineering and/or medicine.
Significance of medical technology and informatics for healthcare: The appropriateness, efficacy and usefulness deriving from the application of engineering methods, devices and informatics in medicine and with respect to public health are discussed.
2. Technical notes:
Short communications on novel technical developments with relevance for clinical medicine.
3. Reviews and tutorials (upon invitation only):
Tutorial and educational articles for persons with a primarily medical background on principles of engineering with particular significance for biomedical applications and vice versa are presented.
4. Minisymposia (upon invitation only):
Under the leadership of a Special Editor, controversial issues relating to healthcare are highlighted and discussed by various authors.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Previous studies have not used neurophysiological methodology to explore the damping effects on induced soft-tissue vibrations and muscle responses. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to investigate the changes in activation of the musculoskeletal system in response to soft-tissue vibrations with different applied compression conditions in a drop-jump landing task. METHODS: Twelve trained male participants were instructed to perform drop-jump landings in compression shorts (CS) and regular shorts without compression (control condition, CC). Soft-tissue vibrations and EMG amplitudes of the leg within 50 ms before and after touchdown were collected synchronously. RESULTS:…Peak acceleration of the thigh muscles was significantly lower in CS than in CC during landings from 45 or 60 cm and 30 cm heights (p < 0.05), respectively. However, the damping coefficient was higher in CS than in CC at the thigh muscles during landings from 60 cm height (p < 0.05). Significant decrease in EMG amplitude of the rectus femoris and biceps femoris muscles was also observed in CS (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Externally induced soft-tissue vibration damping was associated with a decrease in muscular activity of the rectus femoris and biceps femoris muscles during drop-jump landings from different heights.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The rise of chronic and degenerative diseases in developed countries has become one critical epidemiologic issue. Telehealth can provide one viable way to enhance health care, public health, and health education delivery and support. OBJECTIVE: The study aims to empirically examine and evaluate the success factors of community-based telehealth system adoption. METHODS: The valid 336 respondents are the residents of a rural community in Taiwan. The structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to assess the proposed model applied to telehealth. RESULTS: The findings showed the research model had good…explanatory power and fitness. Also, the findings indicated that system quality exerted the strongest overall effect on intention to use. Furthermore, service quality exerted the strongest overall effect on user satisfaction. The findings also illustrated that the joint effects of three intrinsic qualities (system quality, information quality, and service quality) on use were mediated by user satisfaction and intention to use. CONCLUSION: The study implies that community-based telehealth service providers should improve three intrinsic qualities to enhance user satisfaction and intention to use, which in turn can lead to increase the usage of the telehealth equipment. The integrated community-based telehealth system may become an innovative and suitable way to deliver better care to the residents of communities.
Keywords: Information success model, integrated community-based telehealth
Abstract: BACKGROUND: When using upper limb exoskeletons that assist the movement of physically weak people, safety should be the most important index. OBJECTIVE: In this paper, a passively safe, cable-driven upper limb exoskeleton with parallel actuated joints, which perfectly mimics human motions, is proposed. METHODS: Compared with the existing upper limb exoskeletons which are mostly designed only considering the realization of functional properties, and having poor wearabity, a passively safe prototype for motion assistance based on human anatomy structure has been developed in our design. This design is based on the prior exoskeleton structure…with the adoption of a gravity balanced device. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: The gravity balanced mechanism was confirmed in theory and simulation, showing it has a positive effect on balance.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Induction heating devices using the induction coil and magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) are the way that the magnetic hyperthermia is heading. OBJECTIVE: To facilitate the induction heating of in vivo magnetic nanoparticles in hyperthermia experiments on large animals. METHODS: An induction heating device using a planar coil was designed with a magnetic field frequency of 328 kHz. The coil's magnetic field distribution and the device's induction heating performance on different concentrations of magnetic nanoparticles were measured. RESULTS: The alternating magnetic field produced in the axis position 165 mm away…from the coil center is 40 Gs in amplitude; magnetic nanoparticles with a concentration higher than 80 mg. mL-1 can be heated up rapidly. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that the device can be applied not only to in vitro and in small animal experiments of magnetic hyperthermia using MNPs, but also in large animal experiments.
Keywords: Magnetic hyperthermia, magnetic nanoparticles, planar coil, power abortion, induction heating
Abstract: BACKGROUND: By using the conventional method of measuring two-points (systolic and diastolic) blood pressure, it is difficult to differentiate a heart disease-prone personality from normals. Recently, an oscillometric method that reflects the personalized trait of blood pressure was developed by one author. OBJECTIVE: By using this new measurement technique, this study intended to test the possibility of differentiating a heart disease-prone personality (type A or type D) from normal people. METHODS: TPA scale in MMPI-2 and DS14 were used for screening type A and D. Oscillometric waveforms created by the cuff pressure were…segmented into window blocks based on a single beat at a minimum, allowing this method to extract maximal top and bottom amplitudes in each window block. Then, a spectrogram using a short-time Fourier transform was applied to discriminate between character types in extracted blood pressure patterns with linear discriminant analysis. RESULTS: Compared to a normal personality, type A and type D personalities displayed a lower frequency response on STFT with maximum negative amplitudes than normals. In particular, the type D personality showed a lower frequency response than the type A personality. CONCLUSION: These results could provide a new qualitative method for measuring different biological indices between type A or D personalities and normals.
Keywords: Blood pressure oscillation pattern, cardiovascular disease, a short-time Fourier transform, type A, type D personality
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Coronary chronic total occlusions (CTO) are the most challenging lesions to treat percutaneously. Thus, consistent efforts are made to develop new approaches to treat CTO. OBJECTIVE: To explore the key points of a novel ``crowbar effect'' approach to improve the success rate of recanalization of CTOs. METHODS: One hundred and fifty-seven patients with CTO were treated with PCI using the regular antegrade guide wire approach. Of them, 36 patients (22.9%) showed that while the first guide wire was inserted into the CTO lesions, a small balloon had difficulty passing through the CTO…lesions. For those patients, the new crowbar effect technique was used to allow the balloon to pass through the lesions. RESULTS: The coronary CTO vessels in 35 patients (97.2%) were completely opened. Coronary perforation occurred in 5 patients (13.8%). This perforation was properly treated and did not lead to serious complications. CONCLUSION: The crowbar effect technique proved successful as an alternative antegrade method for opening CTO. The procedure of this novel method is easy to accomplish and success rates are high.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Although Pneumatic Artificial Muscle (PAM) has a promising future in rehabilitation robots, it's difficult to realize accurate position control due to its highly nonlinear properties. OBJECTIVE: This paper deals with position control of PAM. METHODS: To describe the hysteresis inside PAM, a polynomial based phenomenological function is developed. Based on the phenomenological model for PAM and analysis of pressure dynamics within PAM, an adaptive cascade controller is proposed. Both outer loop and inner loop employ BP Neural Network tuned PID algorithm. The outer loop is to handle high nonlinearities and unmodeled dynamics…of PAM, while the inner loop is responsible for nonlinearities caused by pressure dynamics. RESULTS: Experimental results show high tracking accuracy as compared with a convention PID controller. CONCLUSION: The proposed controller is effective in improving performance of PAM and will be implemented in a rehabilitation robot.
Keywords: Mckibben muscles, empirical modeling, BP neural network tuned PID, cascade position controller
Abstract: BACKGROUND: As an important part of the application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) in wireless capsule endoscopy (WCE), the efficient compressor is crucial for image transmission and power consumption. OBJECTIVE: In this paper, a complexity-efficient and one-pass image compression method is proposed for WCE with Bayer format images. The algorithm is modified from the standard lossless algorithm (JPEG-LS). METHODS: Firstly, a causal interpolation is used to acquire the context template of a current pixel to be encoded, thus determining different encoding modes. Secondly, a gradient predictor, instead of the median predictor, is designed to improve…the accuracy of the predictions. Thirdly, the gradient context is quantized to obtain the context index (Q). Eventually, the encoding process is achieved in different modes. RESULTS: The experimental and comparative results show that our proposed near-lossless compression method provides a high compression rate (2.315) and a high image quality (46.31 dB) compared with other methods. CONCLUSION: It performs well in the designed wireless capsule system and could be applied in other image fields.