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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: Changes of pulse transit time (PTT) induced by arm position were studied for unilateral arm. However, consistency of the PTT changes was not validated for both arm sides. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to quantify the PTT changes between horizontal and non-horizontal positions from right arm and left arm in order to explore the consistency of both arms. METHODS: Twenty-four normal subjects aged between 21 and 50 (14 male and 10 female) years were enrolled. Left and right radial artery pulses were synchronously recorded from 24 healthy subjects with one arm (left or right)…at five angles (90 ∘ , 45 ∘ , 0 ∘ , - 45 ∘ and - 90 ∘ ) and the other arm at the horizontal level (0 ∘ ) for reference. RESULTS: The overall mean PTT changes at the five angles (from 90 ∘ to - 90 ∘ ) in the left arm (right as reference) were 16.1, 12.3, - 0.5, - 2.5 and - 2.6 ms, respectively, and in the right arm (left as reference) were 18.0, 12.6, 1.6, - 1.6 and - 2.0 ms, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Obvious differences were not found in the PTT changes between the two arms (left arm moving or right arm moving) under each of the five different positions (all P > 0.05).
Keywords: Peripheral arterial volume compliance, pulse transit time (PTT), arm PTT, artery pulse
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a complex disorder with a high mortality. The pathophysiology of COPD has not been characterized till date. OBJECTIVE: To identify COPD-related biomarkers by a bioinformatics analysis. METHODS: Here, we conducted the canonical correlation analysis to extract the potential COPD-related miRNAs and mRNAs based on the miRNA-mRNA dual expression profiling data. After identifying miRNAs and mRNAs related to COPD, we constructed an interaction network by integrating three validated miRNA-target sources. Then we expanded the network by adding miRNA-mRNA pairs, which were identified by Spearman rank correlation test. For miRNAs…involved in the network, we further performed the Gene Ontology (GO) functional enrichment analysis of their targets. To validate COPD-related mRNAs involved in the network, we performed receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis and Support Vector Machine (SVM) classification on only those mRNAs that overlapped with COPD-related mRNAs of Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database. RESULTS: The results indicate that some identified miRNAs and their targets in the constructed network might be potential biomarkers of COPD. CONCLUSIONS: Our study helps us to predict the potential risk biomarkers of COPD, and it can certainly help in further elucidating the genetic etiology of COPD.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Laser therapy is reported to be clinically effective for improving microcirculation, rheological properties and blood lipid profiles despite the lack of certainty on the mechanism. OBJECTIVE: This study intends to provide methods to drop blood lipid level of hyperlipidemia samples by low-intensity laser irradiation therapy and provide reasoning of mechanism. METHODS: Twenty whole blood samples of high level of lipids profile are irradiated by 405 nm low-intensity laser at 12 J/cm 2 twice a day for 3 days and compared with normal lipids profile group. Then whole blood sample…are centrifuged to obtain result of erythrocyte for further interpretation. Multi-scan spectrum microplate reader is used to measure absorption spectrum and data is analyzed by software SPSS 14.0. RESULTS: Results show that after 405 nm low-intensity laser irradiation, whole blood samples of high lipid level statistically have higher absorbance peak value than normal samples while erythrocyte samples have lower absorbance peak value. CONCLUSIONS: From the divergence of absorption peak value change after low-intensity laser irradiation for whole blood sample and erythrocyte, we suspect that low level laser irradiation affects the enzymes activity of lipid metabolism, improves the cholesterol balance of plasma and cytoplasm in erythrocyte, and decreases aggregation of the erythrocyte.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Gait performance of stroke patients is affected by impaired sensory ability. The purpose of the present study was to determine the relationship between somatosensory-evoked potential (SSEP) parameters and gait performance in hemiparetic stroke patients. METHODS: A convenience sample of 17 hemiparetic stroke patients (mean age 60.11 ± 8.83 years; 10 women; right hemiplegia: 10, left hemiplegia: 7) were recruited for the present study. The Electro Synergy system (Viasys Healthcare; San Diego, CA, USA) was used for SSEP evaluation. The 17 patients were assigned to two groups according to their SSEP results as follows:…8 patients to the normal response group and 9 patients to the abnormal group. All the participants underwent the same rehabilitation exercise programs during 4 weeks, followed by clinical evaluation. A mixed-design analysis of a variance model was used to test for differences in timed up-and-go (TUG) test and 10-meter walking test (10MWT) scores between the two independent groups while the participants were subjected to repeated measures (pretest and posttest). RESULTS: Analysis of variance revealed the main time effect (p < 0.05) and group by time interaction effect (p < 0.05). The post hoc test result confirmed that the normal sensory group showed greater improvement in TUG test and 10MWT scores than the abnormal sensory group (p < 0.05). The TUG test and 10MWT scores in the posttest were greater in the normal sensory group than in the abnormal sensory group. CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrated the importance of the clinical contribution of the baseline sensory function of individuals with hemiparetic stroke to their gait performance and recovery after stroke rehabilitation. As anticipated, the individuals who had intact or spared sensory function showed greater improvements in gait speed and performance measures than those who had impaired sensory function.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Disease leaf segmentation in color image is used to explore the disease shape and lesion regions. It is of great significance for pathological diagnosis and pathological research. OBJECTIVE: This paper proposes a superpixel algorithm using Non-symmetry and Anti-packing Model with Squares (NAMS) for color image segmentation of leaf disease. METHODS: First of all, the NAMS model is presented for color leaf disease image representation. The model can segment images asymmetrically and preserve the characteristics of image context. Second, NAMS based superpixel (NAMS superpixel) algorithm is proposed for clustering pixels, which can represent large…homogeneous areas by super squares. By this way, the impact of complex background and the data redundancy in image segmentation can be reduced. RESULTS: Experimental results indicate that compared with segmenting the original image directly and manipulating by Simple Linear Iterative Clustering (SLIC) superpixel, the proposed NAMS superpixel performs more excellently in not only saving storage but also adhering to the lesion region edge. CONCLUSIONS: The outcome of NAMS superpixel can be regarded as a preprocess procedure for leaf disease region detection since the method can segment the image into superpixel blocks and preserve the lesion area.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Pulse wave monitoring is widely used to evaluate the physiological and pathological states of the cardiovascular system. OBJECTIVE: High-sensitivity ring sensors were designed, and a simultaneous acquisition platform based on National Instruments T-Clock technology (NI-TCLK) was used to achieve simultaneous pulse detection using both the traditional method and the magnetic induction phase shift (MIPS) method. METHODS: The excitation signal had a frequency of approximately 10.7 MHz and power of about 20 dBm. A total of 30 volunteers (adults, aged 20–30 y) were selected to corroborate the feasibility of our measurement system. The subjects wore…the proposed sensor on their right-hand forefingers and for reference, the piezoelectric pulse sensor on the left-hand forefinger. The pulse waves of these 30 subjects were measured over 2 min each. RESULTS: The phase shift of the magnetic induction detection signal ranged from 0.6–0.8 degrees. Comparison of detection results for the same subject between the two methods showed that the pulse rate measured by magnetic induction exhibited fewer deviations and better stability than the traditional method. In addition, spectral analysis indicated that the pulse frequencies obtained using the 2 methods were concentrated between 1–3 Hz and were regular in the 1.5 Hz frequency region. CONCLUSIONS: These results prove that the magnetic induction pulse wave can be used to accurately measure pulse wave features.
Keywords: Magnetic induction phase shift, pulse wave, ring coil, synchronous measurement
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Video-based face recognition has attracted much attention owning to its wide range of applications such as video surveillance. There are various approaches for facial feature extraction. Feature vectors extracted by these approaches tend to have large dimension and may include redundant information for face representation, which limits the application of methods with high accuracy such as machine learning. OBJECTIVE: Facial landmarks represent the intrinsic characteristics of human face, which can be utilized to decrease redundant information and reduce the computation complexity. But feature points extracted in each frame of a video are irregular which needed to be…aligned. METHODS: This paper presents a novel method which is based on facial landmarks and machine learning. We proposed a method to align the feature data into a common co-ordinate frame, and use a robust AdaBoost algorithm for classification. RESULTS: Experiments on the public Honda/UCSD database demonstrate the superior performance of our method to several state-of-the-art approaches. Experiments on Yale database show the sensitivity and specificity of the proposed method. CONCLUSION: The proposed methods can improve the image-set based recognition performance.
Keywords: Face recognition, facial landmarks, data align
Abstract: OBJECTIVE: The aim of the research is to obtain the relative influences of some critical electro-thermal parameters on the ablation temperature and lesion volume during temperature-controlled radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of liver tumor by parameter sensitivity analysis. METHODS: The finite element method (FEM) has been used to establish the simulation model of RFA temperature field, and the sensitivity of the tissue parameters has been analyzed. The effects of six parameters have been taken into account, including the thermal specific capacity (Cp ), the thermal conductivity (k ), the electrical conductivity (Sigma ), the density (rho ),…the dielectric constant (Epsilon ) and the resistance (R ). The simulation processes based on different parameter values have been accomplished with Comsol Multiphysics software, and the sensitivity parameters have been obtained utilizing the variance contribution rate (SS% ) or the main effects. RESULTS: It was found that the ablation temperature and lesion volume increased with increasing the values of R and Sigma , but was a reverse situation for Cp and rho . Besides, the influence of k on ablation volume was relatively small and Epsilon had a negligible effect on ablation temperature. CONCLUSIONS: It is concluded that these parameter sensitivity results can provide scientific and reliable reference for the specificity analysis of the RF ablation models.
Keywords: Radiofrequency ablation, temperature field simulation, sensitivity analysis
Abstract: This paper solves the multi-class classification problem for Parkinson’s disease (PD) analysis by a sparse discriminative feature selection framework. Specifically, we propose a framework to construct a least square regression model based on the Fisher’s linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and locality preserving projection (LPP). This framework utilizes the global and local information to select the most relevant and discriminative features to boost classification performance. Differing in previous methods for binary classification, we perform a multi-class classification for PD diagnosis. Our proposed method is evaluated on the public available Parkinson’s progression markers initiative (PPMI) datasets. Extensive experimental results indicate that our…proposed method identifies highly suitable regions for further PD analysis and diagnosis and outperforms state-of-the-art methods.
Abstract: Hand gesture recognition is getting more and more important in the area of rehabilitation and human machine interface (HMI). However, most current approaches are difficult to achieve practical application because of an excess of sensors. In this work, we proposed a method to recognize six common hand gestures and establish the optimal relationship between hand gesture and muscle by utilizing only two channels of surface electromyography (sEMG). We proposed an integrated approach to process the sEMG data including filtering, endpoint detection, feature extraction, and classifier. In this study, we used one-order digital lowpass infinite impulse response (IIR) filter with the…cutoff frequency of 500 Hz to extract the envelope of the sEMG signals. The energy was utilized as a feature to detect the endpoint of motion. The short-time energy, zero-crossing rate and linear predictive coefficient (LPC) with 12 levels were chosen as the features and back propagation (BP) neural network was utilized to classify. In order to test the method, five subjects were involved in the experiment to test the hypothesis. With the proposed method, 96.41% to 99.70% recognition rate was obtained. The experimental results revealed that the proposed method is highly efficient both in sEMG data acquisition and hand motions recognition, and played a role in promoting hand rehabilitation and HMI.
Keywords: sEMG, hand gesture recognition, feature extraction, BP neural network