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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: The adoption of healthcare technology is arduous, and it requires planning and implementation time. Healthcare organizations are vulnerable to modern trends and threats because it has not kept up with threats. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this systematic review is to identify cybersecurity trends, including ransomware, and identify possible solutions by querying academic literature. METHODS: The reviewers conducted three separate searches through the CINAHL and PubMed (MEDLINE) and the Nursing and Allied Health Source via ProQuest databases. Using key words with Boolean operators, database filters, and hand screening, we identified 31…articles that met the objective of the review. RESULTS: The analysis of 31 articles showed the healthcare industry lags behind in security. Like other industries, healthcare should clearly define cybersecurity duties, establish clear procedures for upgrading software and handling a data breach, use VLANs and deauthentication and cloud-based computing, and to train their users not to open suspicious code. CONCLUSIONS: The healthcare industry is a prime target for medical information theft as it lags behind other leading industries in securing vital data. It is imperative that time and funding is invested in maintaining and ensuring the protection of healthcare technology and the confidentially of patient information from unauthorized access.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The development of resin dental composite restorative materials (RDCRM) with antimicrobial activity may prevent the problem of secondary caries and consequently prolong longevity of RDCRM. OBJECTIVE: This study explored antibacterial activity and hydrolytic stability of RDCRM containing chitosan. METHODS: The antibacterial activity of microhybrid and flowable RDCRM containing 0, 0.25, 0.5 and 1% wt/wt chitosan (CS) against Lactobacilli casei bacteria was investigated using agar diffusion test and direct contact methods. Hydrolytic stability of experimental RDCRM was evaluated using gravimetric analysis. RESULTS: The control and experimental…flowable and microhybrid RDCRM exhibited no growth inhibition zone in the lawn growth of Lactobacilli casei . The direct contact test revealed that colony forming unit count of Lactobacilli casei was comparable among the experimental and control RDCRM. The water sorption and solubility values of control as well as experimental flowable and microhybrid RDCRM were found to be within the ISO accepted range. There was statistically no significant difference in water sorption and solubility of different experimental RDCRM groups. CONCLUSIONS: The one percentage of CS into experimental RDCRM have no antibacterial activity against Lactobacilli casei . The hydrolytic stability of RDCRM containing CS was acceptable.
Keywords: Resin dental composites, chitosan, antibacterial activity, water sorption, water solubility
Abstract: PURPOSE: The primary objective of this study was to establish if there would be inter-limb crossing of strength from trained quadriceps muscles of unaffected limb to the untrained homologous group of muscles in subjects with knee osteoarthritis. METHODS: Twenty-one patients with knee osteoarthritis were recruited for the study. The affected knee was not trained while the unaffected quadriceps group of muscles was trained for 6 weeks using isometric contraction exercises. The patients sat on a quadricep bench with knee flexed to 90° as starting position. An ankle strap was used to fasten the required weight for…isometric training at the lower one-third of the unaffected limb. Each patient extended the unaffected knee until the leg was fully straightened, maintaining quadriceps isometric contraction for 3 to 5 seconds; and then slowly returned to the starting position; 12 repetitions and 3 sets were performed thrice a week for 6 weeks. The peak isometric quadricep strengths of both limbs were quantified with spring balance at baseline and after 6 weeks. During quantification, all the patients were verbally motivated to achieve maximum voluntary contraction at extension. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics of mean, standard deviation and percentages. Parametric inferential statistics of dependent t-test (paired) was used to compare the pre and post values obtained. RESULTS: The peak isometric quadriceps strength of the affected limb with knee osteoarthritis without training at baseline was 132.67 ± 42.26 N while at the 6th week it was 159.30 ± 49.33 N showing a significant increase of 20% (p = 0.001). For the trained unaffected knee, at onset and at 6th week, the peak isometric quadricep strengths were 158.83 ± 43.28 N and 192.00 ± 47.31 N respectively. There was significant increase of 21% in the quadriceps muscle strength of the unaffected knee after training (p = 0.001). However, there was no significant difference in the increments observed between the peak isometric quadriceps strengths of both limbs (p = 0.06). CONCLUSION: We concluded that there was cross training effect on the contralateral quadriceps muscle when only the ipsilateral (unaffected) homologous muscle was strengthened.
Keywords: Osteoarthritis, cross training effects, repetition maximum, quadriceps muscle strength
Abstract: INTRODUCTION: Dose evaluation with two Monte Carlo codes using patient specific voxel phantom is presented in this paper. We employ both MCNPX and DOSXYZnrc to perform dosimetry for mathematical voxel phantoms generated by our in-house developed voxel phantom generator and EGSnrc/CTCreate respectively. MATERIAL AND METHOD: Our case study was a 2.5 × 2.4 × 2.4 cm3 tumor in the middle lobe of right lung of a male patient exposed to 6MV parallel beam. In order to compare these Monte Carlo codes with together gross tumor volume (GTV) and organ at risks (OAR) doses…and dose volume histograms (DVH) were calculated. RESULTS: Comparing the mean absorbed dose results (in Gy) from both codes indicates that gross tumor volume, heart and spinal cord have 2% to 10% difference. The 10% difference between the codes were from the spinal cord region where was not in the therapy beam and it just received the scatter radiation. The dose volume DVH obtained from DOSXYZnrc results demonstrate a milder slope compared with MCNPX DVHs. CONCLUSION: It was revealed that MCNPX has some advantages in comparison to DOSXYZnrc, but it is important to consider that for equal precision in voxel dosimetry calculation, DOSXYZnrc runs faster than MCNPX and it is a great advantage.
Keywords: MCNPX, EGSnrc, voxel phantom, patient specific phantom, DOSXYZnrc, DVH
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In most simulations of intracranial aneurysm hemodynamics, blood is assumed to be a Newtonian fluid. However, it is a non-Newtonian fluid, and its viscosity profile differs among individuals. Therefore, the common viscosity assumption may not be valid for all patients. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to test the suitability of the common viscosity assumption. METHODS: Blood viscosity datasets were obtained from two healthy volunteers. Three simulations were performed for three different-sized aneurysms, two using measured value-based non-Newtonian models and one using a Newtonian model. The parameters proposed to predict an aneurysmal rupture obtained…using the non-Newtonian models were compared with those obtained using the Newtonian model. RESULTS: The largest difference (25%) in the normalized wall shear stress (NWSS) was observed in the smallest aneurysm. Comparing the difference ratio to the NWSS with the Newtonian model between the two Non-Newtonian models, the difference of the ratio was 17.3%. CONCLUSIONS: Irrespective of the aneurysmal size, computational fluid dynamics simulations with either the common Newtonian or non-Newtonian viscosity assumption could lead to values different from those of the patient-specific viscosity model for hemodynamic parameters such as NWSS.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Rapid voluntary stepping has been recognized as an important measure of balance control. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to assess the feasibility and convergent validity of a Rapid Stepping Test protocol utilizing a virtual reality SeeMeTM system (VR-RST) in elderly ambulatory and independent individuals living in a community residential home. METHODS: Associations between step execution times determined by the system and the Activities-specific Balance Confidence (ABC) Questionnaire, and clinical measures of balance performance in the MiniBESTest and Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, were established in 60 participants (mean age…88.2 ± 5.0 years). All participants completed the study. RESULTS: The correlations of the ABC questionnaire and the clinical tests with VR-RST forward and backward stepping were moderate (ρ rage 0.42-0.52), and weak to moderate with sideward stepping (ρ rage 0.32-0.52). Moderate to strong correlations were found across stepping directions (ρ rage 0.45-0.87). CONCLUSION: Findings support the test's feasibility and validity and confirm the utility of the VR-RST as an assessment tool in an elderly population.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: According to the World Health Organization, by the end of last year, about 37 million people throughout the world were diagnosed with AIDS and millions of people die each year from this disease. OBJECTIVE: To develop an appropriate model which depicts the mechanism of the dynamics involved in the interactions between HIV and immune system in peripheral bloodstream of HIV infected individuals by considering the phenomena of virus mutation and taking into account the role of latently infected cells in speared of infection and considering the effects of antiretroviral drugs and occurrence of drug resistance…in our model in order to assess the results obtained from applying different therapeutic methods. METHODS: Two-dimensional CA model with Moor neighboring was developed. Various agents which they were referring to peripheral bloodstream particles of HIV infected individuals were defined. Then the biological rules were extracted from both expert knowledge and the authoritative articles. The extracted rules were applied for updating the states of these agents. The effects of using antiretroviral drug treatment were considered by applying drug's effectiveness of both of protease and reverse transcriptase inhibitors as two separate inputs of model. RESULTS: Time evolution curves of concentrations of defined agents were shown as our results. In case of considering no treatment, our results showed that concentrations of healthy CD4+T cells reached the threshold of AIDS after a bout 250 weeks. By applying monotherapy method, the concentrations of these cells remained on the threshold of AIDS for a long time and applying combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) method leaded to increase the concentration of these cells 20% upper than threshold of AIDS. Also, by applying monotherapy and cART compared with no treatment, the concentrations of infected CD4+T cells 10% and 40% decreased further, respectively and for the level of viral load, leads to a reduction of almost 55% and 90%, respectively. Belated treatment, comparison with early treatment, caused almost 10% reduce (increase) in steady state concentrations of healthy (infected) cells.
Keywords: HIV infection, %immune system, %cellular automata model, %Antiretroviral therapy
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The goal of this research is to use smart home technology to assist people who are recovering from injuries or coping with disabilities to live independently. OBJECTIVE: We introduce an algorithm to model and forecast wake and sleep behaviors that are exhibited by the participant. Furthermore, we propose that sleep behavior is impacted by and can be modeled from wake behavior, and vice versa. METHODS: This paper describes the Behavior Forecasting (BF) algorithm. BF consists of 1) defining numeric values that reflect sleep and wake behavior, 2) forecasting wake and sleep values…from past behavior, 3) analyzing the effect of wake behavior on sleep and vice versa, and 4) improving prediction performance by using both wake and sleep scores. RESULTS: The BF method was evaluated with data collected from 20 smart homes. We found that regardless of the forecasting method utilized, wake behavior and sleep behavior can be modeled with a minimum accuracy of 84%. Additionally, normalizing the wake and sleep scores drastically improves the accuracy to 99%. CONCLUSIONS: The results show that we can effectively model wake and sleep behaviors in a smart environment. Furthermore, wake behaviors can be predicted from sleep behaviors and vice versa.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Air embolism is a potentially fatal but underrecognized complication in Extracorporeal Life Support (ECLS). Oxygenators containing venous air traps have been developed to minimize the risk of air embolism in daily care. OBJECTIVE: We reproduced air embolism as occurring via a central venous catheter in an experimental setting to test the potential of oxygenators with and without venous bubble trap (VBT) to withhold air. METHODS: An in vitro ECLS circuit was created and a central venous catheter with a 3-way stopcock and a perforated male luer cap was inserted into the…inflow line. Three different oxygenators with and without VBT and their capability to withhold air were examined. After 60 seconds of stable ECLS flow, the stopcock was opened towards the atmosphere for 3 minutes. Afterwards, air accumulation within the oxygenator was determined. RESULTS: Comparison of the total air entrapment showed a significant superiority of the oxygenators with VBT (p < 0.001). All oxygenators were able to partly withhold macro air boli, however, the capacity of oxygenators with VBT was higher. Passing through the oxygenator resulted in a reduction of microbubbles in all cases. CONCLUSIONS: Macro air emboli can be substantially reduced by usage of oxygenators that contain a VBT, whereas the capability to withhold microbubbles to a vast extent seems to depend on the intrinsic oxygenator's membrane.
Keywords: Air embolism, extracorporeal life support, oxygenator, venous bubble trap
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: Muscle synergy is the activation of a group of muscles that contribute to a particular movement. The goal of the present study is to examine the hypothesis that human reaching movements at different speeds share similar muscle synergies and to investigate the kinesiology basis and innervation of muscles. METHODS: Electromyographic activity from six muscles of the upper limb and shoulder girdle were recorded during three movements at different speeds, i.e. slow, moderate and fast. The effect of window length on the RMS signal of the EMG was analyzed and then EMG envelope signals were decomposed…using non-negative matrix factorization. For each of the ten subjects, three synergies were extracted which accounted for at least 99% of the VAF. For each movement, the muscle synergies and muscle activation coefficients of all participants were clustered in to three partitions. Investigation showed a high similarity and dependency of cluster members due to the cosine similarity and mutual information in muscle synergy clustering. For further verification, the EMG envelope signals for all subjects were reconstructed. RESULTS: The results indicated a lower reconstruction error using the center of the muscle synergy clusters in comparison with the average of the activation coefficients, which confirms the current research's hypothesis.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: It is currently unclear if an isolated exchange of the mobile components, in cases of periprosthetic joint infection (PJI), leads to a complete eradication of all bacteria or if residual bacteria remain attached to the retained components? OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate if bacteria only adhere to certain components or materials, or if they are ubiquitously distributed throughout the joint. METHODS: Two hundred and eighty-four patients undergoing revision total hip or total knee arthroplasty surgery were included in this retrospective cohort study. Synovial fluid cultures, periprosthetic tissue…cultures, histological samples and sonicate fluid cultures (SFC) from the individual endoprosthetic components were acquired. The isolated bacterial species were recorded according to their endoprosthetic component of origin. RESULTS: In 72% of all cases with multiple SFC, the cultures were concordant with all samples being either homogenously negative or showing positive bacterial growth. The polyethylene (PE) components showed a significantly higher rate of bacterial isolation than the non-mobile components. All components and materials showed bacterial colonization, however between all other components or materials were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: PE-components show a higher rate of bacterial isolation than other components. If an isolated bearing exchange is performed this should be supplemented by adequate antimicrobial therapy.
Keywords: Sonication, bacterial colonization, endoprosthetic components, PJI, total joint arthroplasty
Abstract: PURPOSE: Proprioceptive insoles are known to influence the functions of posture and gait by modulations of the sensory structures at the sole of the foot. Literature has shown that they could improve the position of the upper-body in patients with postural complaints of the musculoskeletal system. The aim of this study was to evaluate the influence of proprioceptive insoles on the spinal curvature in patients with slight idiopathic scoliosis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Eighteen patients were included in this prospective, single-centre, randomized study. All patients needed to have a relevant growth potential and suffered from a slight…idiopathic scoliosis. Two groups were used, where group 1 performed physiotherapy twice a week, whereas group 2 was additionally supplied with proprioceptive insoles. Patients underwent three-dimensional rasterstereography for back-shape analysis. Furthermore, a conventional x-ray imaging of the spine was performed at the beginning and 1 year later to document the curvatures. RESULTS: There was no statistical difference in the Cobb angles, and in almost all parameters of the rasterstereography, there was no statistically significant change between and within both groups. CONCLUSION: According to the results of this study, there was no evidence of any statistical significant effect of proprioceptive insoles on spinal curvature in patients with slight idiopathic scoliosis.
Abstract: Dementia is known to be an illness which brings forth marked disability amongst the elderly individuals. At times, patients living with dementia do also experience non-cognitive symptoms, and these symptoms include that of hallucinations, delusional beliefs as well as emotional liability, sexualized behaviours and aggression. According to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, non-pharmacological techniques are typically the first-line option prior to the consideration of adjuvant pharmacological options. Reminiscence and music therapy are thus viable options. Lazar et al.  previously performed a systematic review with regards to the utilization of technology to delivery reminiscence based therapy to…individuals who are living with dementia and has highlighted that technology does have benefits in the delivery of reminiscence therapy. However, to date, there has been a paucity of M-health innovations in this area. In addition, most of the current innovations are not personalized for each of the person living with Dementia. Prior research has highlighted the utility for open source repository in bioinformatics study. The authors hoped to explain how they managed to tap upon and make use of open source repository in the development of a personalized M-health reminiscence therapy innovation for patients living with dementia. The availability of open source code repository has changed the way healthcare professionals and developers develop smartphone applications today. Conventionally, a long iterative process is needed in the development of native application, mainly because of the need for native programming and coding, especially so if the application needs to have interactive features or features that could be personalized. Such repository enables the rapid and cost effective development of application. Moreover, developers are also able to further innovate, as less time is spend in the iterative process.
Keywords: M-health, smartphones, cross-platform, dementia, reminiscence therapy, open Source respository
Abstract: Massive pulmonary embolism (MPE) is associated with a high rate of mortality, and chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension leads to ongoing morbidity among many survivors. Here we report a case of a MPE successfully treated by Angiojet rheolytic thrombectomy combined with catheter fragmentation. This is the first report of the use of these two methods together for MPE treatment.