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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: OBJECTIVE: This retrospective study compared the efficacy of combined percutaneous ozone injection and percutaneous discectomyto percutaneous ozone injection alone for the treatment of cervical disc herniation. METHODS: Patients with cervical disc herniation who were enrolled in our hospital from October 2010 to June 2015 were divided into two groups: 1) treated with percutaneous ozone injection alone (control; n = 19); and 2) those treated with combined ozone injection and percutaneous microdiscectomy (combined treatment; n = 28). The efficacy of the combined treatment was evaluated relative to…the control by visual analogue scale (VAS) and the modified Macnab standard. Effective treatment was defined as excellent or good, and ineffective as fair or poor. RESULTS: No major complications occurred in either group. For the control group, the VAS scores dropped from 6.75 ± 2.34 before surgery to 2.78 ± 1.85 immediately after surgery, and to 4.18 ± 1.46 during the follow-ups. For patients who received the combined treatment, the VAS scores were 7.12 ± 2.03 before surgery, 3.86 ± 2.87 immediately after surgery, and 3.27 ± 1.53 during the follow-ups. At the 6-month follow-up, 73.7% (14 from 19 patients) in the control group and 89.2% (25 from 28 patients) in the treatment group were judged to have received effective treatment. Difference in efficacy between two groups of treatment was statistically significant (P = 0.033). CONCLUSION: The rate of effective treatment in patients who received combined percutaneous microdiscectomy and ozone injection was higher than that of patients who received ozone injection alone. Combination of percutaneous microdiscectomy and ozone injection might be an effective method to treat patients with cervical disk hernia.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The distal radius fracture is one of the common clinical fractures. At present, there are no reports regarding application of the finite element method in studying the mechanism of Colles fracture and the biomechanical behavior when using splint fixation. OBJECTIVE: To explore the mechanism of Colles fracture and the biomechanical behavior when using different fixed splints. METHODS: Based on the CT scanning images of forearm for a young female volunteer, by using model construction technology combined with RPOE and ANSYS software, a 3-D distal radius fracture forearm finite element model with a…real shape and bioactive materials is built. The material tests are performed to obtain the mechanical properties of the paper-based splint, the willow splint and the anatomical splint. The numerical results are compared with the experimental results to verify the correctness of the presented model. Based on the verified model, the stress distribution of different tissues are analyzed. Finally, the clinical tests are performed to observe and verify that the anatomical splint is the best fit for human body. RESULTS: Using the three kinds of splints, the transferred bone stress focus on the distal radius and ulna, which is helpful to maintain the stability of fracture. Also the stress is accumulated in the distal radius which may be attributed to flexion position. Such stress distribution may be helpful to maintain the ulnar declination. By comparing the simulation results with the experimental observations, the anatomical splint has the best fitting to the limb, which can effectively avoid the local compression. CONCLUSION: The anatomical splint is the most effective for fixing and curing the fracture. The presented model can provide theoretical basis and technical guide for further investigating mechanism of distal radius fracture and clinical application of anatomical splint.
Abstract: We examine, from a medical-legal perspective, the pro and cons of the information technology procedures that the Italian Institute of Social Security (INPS ) has implemented to manage the provision of social disability assistance , meaning that separate from the payment of pension contributions, being welfare , anchored to an administrative requirement by way of the compulsory payment of a minimum social security contribution.
Keywords: Social security, civil disability, Italian Law, INPS
Abstract: Impingement, tibial erosions, and “painful hardware” caused by a lag screw used for malleolar fracture stabilization are rare occurrences. We report a case of a symptomatic lag screw, used to fix a distal fibular fracture, that impinged on the distal tibial and causing symptoms. Awareness of the condition and early diagnosis based on thoughtful review of CT images are key to symptom alleviation. A review of the published data on the complication of “painful hardware” following ankle fracture fixation is also presented.
Keywords: Lag screw, ankle fracture fixation, painful hardware, symptomatic lag screw, computed tomography
Abstract: Doctors usually require patients’ medical records before medical examinations. Nevertheless, obtaining such records may take time. Hence, Near Field Communication (NFC) could be used to store and send medical records between doctors and patients. Another issue is that there could be a threat such as, Man In The Middle Attack and eavesdropping, thus, a security method is required to secure the data. Furthermore, the information regarding the key and initialisation vector in NFC cannot be sent using one data package, hence, the data transmission should be done several times. Therefore, the initialisation vector that changed in each transmission is implemented,…and the key utilised is based on the component agreed by both parties. This study aims at applying the cryptography process that does disturb and hinder the speed of data transmission. The result demonstrated that the data transmitted could be secured and the encryption process did not hinder data exchange. Also, different number of characters in plaintexts required different amount of time for encryption and decryption. It could be affected by the specifications of the devices used and the processes happening in the devices.
Keywords: Near Field Communication, electronic medical record, advanced encryption standard, medical record
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Current methods for tracking the progress of people with obesity towards a weight loss goal appear simple and potentially misleading. A technique to quantify change in body shape whilst visualising areas of the body where weight loss occurs would be advantageous, and has the potential to be used as a motivational tool. Three-dimensional (3D) surface-imaging would serve as a good basis for such a technique, however current systems are prohibitively expensive. OBJECTIVE: Highlight the use of a cheaper alternative 3D surface-imaging system for volumetric measurement in people with obesity. METHODS: A recently…developed low-cost 3D surface-imaging system was used, having previously being validated in a healthy population. A total of 61 people with obesity, enrolled on a weight-loss programme, were surface-imaged using the system. RESULTS: The findings suggest the low-cost system can obtain 3D surface-images of an obese human body, from which numerical parameters could be calculated and further analysis conducted. CONCLUSIONS: Further studies will focus on the validity and reliability of such analyses and the potential of the system to be considered as a long-term instalment in primary healthcare settings as a weight loss aid.
Keywords: 3D Surface-imaging, anthropometry, obesity, volume
Abstract: A flexible piezoelectric thin film sensor has been proposed recently in several studies for detection of muscle movements. The objective of this study was to investigate the ability of this sensor to assess skeletal muscle performance and fatigue under isokinetic contractions. Simultaneous noninvasive measurements of muscles activity were done using surface electromyography (EMG) electrodes and two thin film piezoelectric sensors. Measurements were taken from the biceps during slow and fast elbow flexion with and without strong grip, during different weight lifting and from the gastrocnemius during treadmill marching at speeds of 4 and of 10 kph. The results shows correlation…between the onset of EMG and the piezoelectric sensors (Piezo) signals during muscle contraction. Increasing contraction intensity increase significantly both EMG and Piezo signals. Higher contractions velocity increased Piezo signal. Opposite linear relation was found between the average maximal EMG envelope amplitudes and the average maximal Piezo peaks with increasing loads. The significant decrease in the maximal Piezo peaks with time of all 3 subjects during elbow flexion while holding weight suggests the ability of piezoelectric thin film sensor to track muscle fatigue during isokinetic contractions.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Wireless physiological signal monitoring system designing with secured data communication in the health care system is an important and dynamic process. OBJECTIVE: We propose a signal monitoring system using NI myRIO connected with the wireless body sensor network through multi-channel signal acquisition method. Based on the server side validation of the signal, the data connected to the local server is updated in the cloud. The Internet of Things (IoT) architecture is used to get the mobility and fast access of patient data to healthcare service providers. METHODS: This research work proposes a…novel architecture for wireless physiological signal monitoring system using ubiquitous healthcare services by virtual Internet of Things. RESULTS: We showed an improvement in method of access and real time dynamic monitoring of physiological signal of this remote monitoring system using virtual Internet of Things approach. This remote monitoring and access system is evaluated in conventional value. This proposed system is envisioned to modern smart health care system by high utility and user friendly in clinical applications. CONCLUSION: We claim that the proposed scheme significantly improves the accuracy of the remote monitoring system compared to the other wireless communication methods in clinical system.
Keywords: e-Health care network, physiological wireless body sensor, ubiquitous computing, virtual Internet of Things, wireless remote monitoring system
Abstract: Low-cost biosensors combined with low-cost portable devices can be very useful in time critical situations of mass casualties, when fast triage procedure must be attained. A methodology that uses ECG to derive the vital parameters (heart rate and respiratory rate) needed for the triage procedure is presented and it is aimed to leverage affordable low-cost equipment that can be easily utilized by urgent medical units or even volunteers in events of considerable number of injured civilians. The methodology relies on selected well-known and published algorithms for heart rate and respiratory rate derivation from a given ECG signal. It consists of…methods for R-wave detection, kurtosis computation, smoothing, and finding peaks. The proposed approach is shown to offer a good trade-off between the accurate measurement of the parameters and their fast derivation. It has been evaluated by using a publicly available database. Its robustness is measured in terms of accuracy estimation, showing a sensitivity of 0.87 for heart rate and 0.74 for respiratory rate, a sensitivity of 0.76 considering the triage process and an average-case execution time of 0.02 seconds, making it suitable for real-time applications.