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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: Recent legislation empowering providers to embrace the electronic exchange of health information leaves the healthcare industry increasingly vulnerable to cybercrime. The objective of this systematic review is to identify the biggest threats to healthcare via cybercrime. OBJECTIVE: The rationale behind this systematic review is to provide a framework for future research by identifying themes and trends of cybercrime in the healthcare industry. METHODS: The authors conducted a systematic search through the CINAHL, Academic Search Complete, PubMed, and ScienceDirect databases to gather literature relative to cyber threats in healthcare. All authors reviewed the…articles collected and excluded literature that did not focus on the objective. RESULTS: Researchers selected and examined 19 articles for common themes. The most prevalent cyber-criminal activity in healthcare is identity theft through data breach. Other concepts identified are internal threats, external threats, cyber-squatting, and cyberterrorism. CONCLUSIONS: The industry has now come to rely heavily on digital technologies, which increase risks such as denial of service and data breaches. Current healthcare cyber-security systems do not rival the capabilities of cyber criminals. Security of information is a costly resource and therefore many HCOs may hesitate to invest what is required to protect sensitive information.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Virtual reality gaming environments may be used as a supplement to the motor performance assessment tool box by providing clinicians with quantitative information regarding motor performance in terms of movement accuracy and speed, as well as sensory motor integration under different levels of dual tasking. OBJECTIVE: To examine the feasibility of using the virtual reality game `Timocco' as an assessment tool for evaluating goal-directed hand movements among typically developing children. METHODS: In this pilot study, 47 typically-developing children were divided into two age groups, 4-6 years old and 6-8 years old. Performance…was measured using two different virtual environment games (Bubble Bath and Falling Fruit), each with two levels of difficulty. Discriminative validity (age effect) was examined by comparing the performance of the two groups, and by comparing the performance between levels of the games for each group (level effect). Test-retest reliability was examined by reassessing the older children 3-7 days after the first session. RESULTS: The older children performed significantly better in terms of response time, action time, game duration, and efficiency in both games compared to the younger children. Both age groups demonstrated poorer performance at the higher game level in the Bubble Bath game compared to the lower level. A similar level effect was found in the Falling Fruit game for both age groups in response time and efficiency, but not in action time. The performance of the older children was not significantly different between the two sessions at both game levels. CONCLUSIONS: The discriminative validity and test-retest reliability indicate the feasibility of using the Timocco virtual reality game as a tool for assessing goal-directed hand movements in children. Further studies should examine its feasibility for use in children with disabilities.
Keywords: Virtual reality, goal-directed hand movement, children, assessment, Timocco, feasibility
Abstract: Breast cancer is the second threatening tumor among the women. The effective way of reducing breast cancer is its early detection which helps to improve the diagnosing process. Digital mammography plays a significant role in mammogram screening at earlier stage of breast carcinoma. Even though, it is very difficult to find accurate abnormality in prevalent screening by radiologists. But the possibility of precise breast cancer screening is encouraged by predicting the accurate type of abnormality through Computer Aided Diagnosis (CAD) systems. The two most important indicators of breast malignancy are microcalcifications and masses. In this study, framelet transform, a…multiresolutional analysis is investigated for the classification of the above mentioned two indicators. The statistical and co-occurrence features are extracted from the framelet decomposed mammograms with different resolution levels and support vector machine is employed for classification with k-fold cross validation. This system achieves 94.82% and 100% accuracy in normal/abnormal classification (stage I) and benign/malignant classification (stage II) of mass classification system and 98.57% and 100% for microcalcification system when using the MIAS database.
Keywords: Framelet, Haralick features, breast cancer, mammography, microcalcification and mass
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers with a high mortality rate among women. With the early diagnosis of breast cancer survival will increase from 56% to more than 86%. Therefore, an accurate and reliable system is necessary for the early diagnosis of this cancer. The proposed model is the combination of rules and different machine learning techniques. Machine learning models can help physicians to reduce the number of false decisions. They try to exploit patterns and relationships among a large number of cases and predict the outcome of a disease using historical cases stored in…datasets. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to propose a rule-based classification method with machine learning techniques for the prediction of different types of Breast cancer survival. METHODS: We use a dataset with eight attributes that include the records of 900 patients in which 876 patients (97.3%) and 24 (2.7%) patients were females and males respectively. Naive Bayes (NB), Trees Random Forest (TRF), 1-Nearest Neighbor (1NN), AdaBoost (AD), Support Vector Machine (SVM), RBF Network (RBFN), and Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) machine learning techniques with 10-cross fold technique were used with the proposed model for the prediction of breast cancer survival. The performance of machine learning techniques were evaluated with accuracy, precision, sensitivity, specificity, and area under ROC curve. RESULTS: Out of 900 patients, 803 patients and 97 patients were alive and dead, respectively. In this study, Trees Random Forest (TRF) technique showed better results in comparison to other techniques (NB, 1NN, AD, SVM and RBFN, MLP). The accuracy, sensitivity and the area under ROC curve of TRF are 96%, 96%, 93%, respectively. However, 1NN machine learning technique provided poor performance (accuracy 91%, sensitivity 91% and area under ROC curve 78%). CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that Trees Random Forest model (TRF) which is a rule-based classification model was the best model with the highest level of accuracy. Therefore, this model is recommended as a useful tool for breast cancer survival prediction as well as medical decision making.
Keywords: Breast cancer survival prediction, classification, machine learning models
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Epileptic onsets often affect the autonomic function of the body during a seizure, whether it is in ictal, interictal or post-ictal periods. The different effects of localization and lateralization of seizures on heart rate variability (HRV) emphasize the importance of autonomic function changes in epileptic patients. On the other hand, the detection of seizures is of primary interests in evaluating the epileptic patients. In the current paper, we analyzed the HRV signal to develop a reliable offline seizure-detection algorithm to focus on the effects of lateralization on HRV. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We assessed the HRV…during 5-min segments of continuous electrocardiogram (ECG) recording with a total number of 170 seizures occurred in 16 patients, composed of 86 left-sided and 84 right-sided focus seizures. Relatively high and low-frequency components of the HRV were computed using spectral analysis. Poincaré parameters of each heart rate time series considered as non-linear features. We fed these features to the Support Vector Machines (SVMs) to find a robust classification method to classify epileptic and non-epileptic signals. Leave One Out Cross-Validation (LOOCV) approach was used to demonstrate the consistency of the classification results. RESULTS: Our obtained classification accuracy confirms that the proposed scheme has a potential in classifying HRV signals to epileptic and non-epileptic classes. The accuracy rates for right-sided and left-sided focus seizures were obtained as 86.74% and 79.41%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The main finding of our study is that the patients with right-sided focus epilepsy showed more reduction in parasympathetic activity and more increase in sympathetic activity. It can be a marker of impaired vagal activity associated with increased cardiovascular risk and arrhythmias. Our results suggest that lateralization of the seizure onset zone could exert different influences on heart rate changes. A right-sided seizure would cause an ictal tachycardia whereas a left-sided seizure would result in an ictal bradycardia.
Keywords: Epileptic seizures, lateralization, HRV, support vector machines, classification
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hypertension rates are increasing in India, and prior research has not explored the perception of using mobile based SMS among urban hypertensive individuals living in slum settings in India. OBJECTIVE: To explore the perception of receiving SMS based health messages among hypertensive individuals in urban slums. METHODS: A cross sectional study was conducted during the period of December 2013 in an urban slum setting of South Delhi, New Delhi, India. Eligible study participants included: 45 individuals aged 30 years and above, with confirmed diagnosis of high blood pressure, owned a mobile phone/landline…and were willing to participate. RESULTS: Results of our study showed participants (n= 45) had an average age of 48 years (SD = 12), mostly female (64%, n= 29), and currently married (80%, n= 36). Their most common perceived hypertension risk factors included: worry/anxiety/stress (84%, n= 38), and high fat diet (68%, n= 30). Mobile calls were the most preferred mode of receiving lifestyle counseling among study participants (71%, n= 32). Majority preferred to receive counseling in Hindi language (67%, n= 30), and more than half were willing to pay for these services (60%, n= 27). CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest the need for innovations that utilize basic phone platforms, mobile calling feature, and language tailored interventions.
Keywords: SMS, mobile phone, hypertension, lifestyle, urban poor
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Artificial cervical disc implants are meant to last for several decades and therefore it is of interest, how the cervical facet joints undergo physiological changes over the course of years. OBJECTIVE: The primary purpose of this study is to investigate an age dependent deformation in human cervical facet joints. MATERIAL AND METHODS: The motion segments C2 to Th1 were measured in the cervical X-rays of 131 patients, aged between 14 and 88 years. The cranial and caudal facet joint angles were determined for each segment. The linear regression between the facet joint…angle and age was determined. Furthermore the average as well as the standard deviation of the facet joint angle was determined for two groups, one group aged up to 57 years and the other group from 58 years upwards. The results were compared by means of the t-test. RESULTS: The angles of the cranial facet joint surfaces C3-C7 ranged from 54° to 64°, those of the caudal facet joint surfaces C3-C7 from 52° to 58°. The alignment of both, the cranial and the caudal facet joint surfaces flattened with increasing age. The group with the older patients had significant lower facet joint angles than the group with the younger patients. CONCLUSION: In conclusion, it should be taken into consideration, how the design of an artificial cervical disc needs to be adapted for a vertebral segment depending on the facet joint angle. Thus the articulation of a cervical motion segment can be optimized, so that it moves within a normal physiological manner.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Biomechanical behaviour evaluation of a suture is an important information for the surgeon to choose the best technique to perform. OBJECTIVE: To assess the biomechanical behavior of the native and mechanically sutured bronchi. METHODS: Ten bronchi were harvested from slaughtered pigs and then randomly separated in two groups, a control intact group and a sutured group where specimens were cut in half and sutured, to evaluate mechanical properties during a tensile test using a loading frame machine. In addition optoelectric motion tracking system was used to evaluate suture profile motion during…the test. RESULTS: Significant differences (p < 0.05) were found between the two groups for the parameters investigated. The control group showed a higher maximal stress resistance and stiffness than the suture group, while elongation at rupture was increased in the sutured group. All the sutures broke in symmetric manner, as the mean of the side difference of the sutured specimens was 0.93 ± 0.80 mm at rupture. CONCLUSIONS: Biomechanical behaviour of native and sutured bronchi was evaluated, giving highly reproducible parameters regarding mechanical properties that may help clinicians and bioengineers to rationalize the choice for a particular suture material or suture technique, increasing surgical outcomes.
Abstract: Posterior shoulder dislocation is a rare entity in clinical practice. The FARES (Fast, Reliable, Safe) method is a well-validated, effective, and rapid approach to achieve reduction of anterior shoulder dislocation, but its use for posterior shoulder dislocation has not been reported previously. A 46-year-old man was admitted to our hospital with acute posterior shoulder dislocation due to a fall experienced while inebriated. We used the FARES method to achieve successful reduction of this case of acute posterior shoulder dislocation without general anesthesia.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Heterotopic ossification (HO) is a common concominant condition in patients with traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). In this context, we report on patients with heterotopic ossification causing infection like symptoms as a first manifestation of HO subsequent to traumatic SCI. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to analyse possible ``early-indicator symptoms'' in patients suffering from heterotopic ossification following SCI with special focus on elevated serum CRP, serum CK and body temperature. METHODS: All eligible patients treated between January 2004 and December 2013 because of a SCI and heterotopic ossification have been…enrolled in this retrospective study. An age below 18 years and the absence of the combination of elevated serum CRP, CK and elevated body temperature (> 38.5°C) were defined as exclusion criteria. The presence of another infection, led to exclusion. Fifteen out of 235 patients (6.4%) met the inclusion criteria and were included in the final data analysis. RESULTS: The patient cohort consists of 13 male and two female patients with a mean age of 30.6 years (range from 18 to 56 years; SD = 13.5). The mean time interval between HO development and the injury was 49.4 days (range from 16 to 131 days; SD = 34.3). Focussing on laboratory parameters, mean serum CRP level was 10.2 mg/dl (range from 1.3 to 24.4 mg/dl; SD = 9.6). Mean serum CK was 1365 U/l (range from 255 to 4729 U/l; SD = 1491). Worth mentioning, in 9 cases (60%) serum CK was higher than 500 U/l. Mean body temperature was 38.7°C (range from 38.0 to 39.4; SD = 0.4). CT scans of the thorax, abdomen and pelvis revealed no further pathologies besides the heterotopic ossification. Urinary tract infections were ruled out, using urine tests as a standard procedure in all cases. CONCLUSIONS: Elevated levels of serum CRP, serum CK and high body temperature in acute SCI may be considered as indicators for a concominant HO diagnosis.