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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: Soccer, one of the most popular and well-known sports worldwide, involves complex motions such as running, quick changes in direction, jumping, and landing, all of which have a high risk of injury. Among them, ankle injuries are the most frequent. OBJECTIVE: This study investigated the immediate effects of ankle balance taping (ABT) with kinesiology tape on the dynamic balance of young male soccer players with functional ankle instability (FAI). METHODS: Nine young male soccer players with FAI in their dominant ankle were randomly subjected to no-, placebo-, and real-ABT conditions. After…the appropriate treatment was administered, the dynamic balance was measured using the Star Excursion Balance Test (SEBT). RESULTS: In terms of the anterior and posterolateral reach distances on the SEBT, the real-ABT condition showed statistically significant increases compared to the no- and placebo-ABT conditions (p < 0.05), while in the case of posteromedial reach distances, the real-ABT condition showed a statistically significant increase (p < 0.05) compared to the no-ABT condition. CONCLUSION: ABT using kinesiology tape can be expected to improve the dynamic balance of young male soccer players with FAI.
Keywords: Ankle balance taping, dynamic balance, functional ankle instability, star excursion balance test, young soccer player
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Lumbar microdiscectomy is a widespread popular method of treatment. One major challenge is the spine level dependent different anatomy and the limited sight on the nerve root during the surgical procedure. OBJECTIVE: The aim was to analyze the specific anatomic relation of nerve root, intervertebral disc and intervertebral ganglion under determination of the specific nerve distances. Furthermore the relation between the disc and the corresponding nerve root was evaluated. METHODS: Regular human lumbar spine specimens of body donors were included in the study. Microscopic assisted dissection was performed. The topographical distances…between a defined disc measurement point (DP) and the corresponding nerve root shoulder (NS) were measured. The preganglionic distance from the caudal axilla point (AP) of the spinal nerve root and the center point (CG) of the spinal ganglion in the intervertebral foramen were determined. RESULTS: The AP-CG distance increased gradually in the caudal direction from L1 (7.25 ± 2.72 mm right side, 7.30 ± 2.85 mm left side) to a maximum for L5 (16.00 ± 3.39 mm right side, 16.50 ± 3.58 mm left side, p< 0.05). We found a significant reduction for S1 (14.88 ± 3.42 mm right side, 13.83 ± 2.47 mm, p< 0.05). In contrast the DP-AP distances showed a maximum for L1 (12.75 ± 2.78 mm right side, 13.70 ± 3.87 mm left side) with an increasing shortening in the caudal direction and even negative values for S1 (-2.63 ± 3.31 mm right side, -0.83 ± 2.84 mm left side, p< 0.01). CONCLUSION: The topographical anatomy changes each lumbar segment and demands therefore an exact preoperative planning using this specific knowledge to perform a successful microscopic spine surgery. The results of the study support a better understanding of the relevant anatomy and help to reduce incomplete herniated disc removal and to avoid surgical complications.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Socially assistive robotics (SAR) has been a major field of investigation during the last decade and, as it develops, the groups the technology can be applied to and all ways in which these can be assisted are rapidly increasing. OBJECTIVE: The main objective is to design and develop a complete robotic agent, so that it performs physical and mental activities for elderly people to maintain their healthy life habits and, as a final result, improve their quality of life. METHODS: LEGO Mindstorms NXT® robot's unique capacity for adaptability and engaging its…users to develop coaching activities and assistive rehabilitation for the elderly. Such activities will aim to enhance healthy habits and provide training in physical and mental rehabilitation. The robot is attached to an iPod Touch that acts as its interface. RESULTS: The robot has been tested by a voluntary group of residents, also from that retirement home. Results in the variables of the questionnaire show scores above 4 points out of 5 for all the categories. CONCLUSIONS: Based on the tests, an easy to use Robot is prepared to deliver basic coaching for physical activities as proposed by the client, the staff of La Misericordia, who confirmed their satisfaction regarding this aspect.
Keywords: Socially assistive robotics, elderly care, healthcare robotics, social assistance, fall prevention
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This manuscript presents oesophageal speech enhancement. Patients who have undergone a laryngectomy as a result of larynx cancer, that is, laryngectomees, have communication problems. Due to removal of the larynx, oesophageal speech has extremely low intelligibility. OBJECTIVE: Thus, it is necessary to process acoustical parameters, such as Harmonic to Noise Ratio (HNR) in order to increase intelligibility. METHODS: The research focused on oesophageal Spanish /a/ phoneme improvement. In order to enhance oesophageal speech two techniques were applied: Kalman filtering and an algorithm which stabilizes the vocal tract poles. Speech enhancement was…measured using the MDVP tool. The oesophageal voice database was compiled with the help of the local association of laryngectomees. RESULTS: The results show an average improvement of 4.2 dB in the HNR. Statistically, differences on average between the original and processed voices, (p < 0.001) for HNR parameter were proven to be significant and we therefore conclude that voice quality was improved due to evidence of a higher HNR on average. CONCLUSIONS: As a conclusion, the study confirms oesophageal voice enhancement since speech parameters are closer to the normal average range. Subjectively, the oesophageal breathing noise is reduced substantially, as is reflected in the MOS test.
Keywords: Medical informatics, rehabilitation engineering, signal processing, oesophageal speech, acoustical parameters enhancement