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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 study aims to determine the effectiveness of robot-assisted training in the recovery of stroke-affected arms using an exoskeleton robot Armeo Spring. OBJECTIVE: To identify the effect of robot training on functional recovery of the arm. METHODS: A total of 34 stroke patients were divided into either an experimental group (EG; n = 17) or a control group (n = 17). EG was also trained to use the Armeo Spring during occupational therapy. Both groups were clinically assessed before and after treatment.…Statistical comparison methods (i.e. one-tailed t-tests for differences between two independent means and the simplest test) were conducted to compare motor recovery using robot-assisted training or conventional therapy. RESULTS: Patients assigned to the EG showed a statistically significant improvement in upper extremity motor function when compared to the CG by FIM (P < 0.05) and ACER (P < 0.05). The calculated treatment effect in the EG and CG was meaningful for shoulder and elbow kinematic parameters. CONCLUSIONS: The findings show the benefits of robot therapy in two areas of functional recovery. Task-oriented robotic training in rehabilitation setting facilitates recovery not only of the motor function of the paretic arm but also of the cognitive abilities in stroke patients.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Assessment of the foot arch is an important element of posture examination. In clinical practice, different methods are used. Reliability and repeatability of the techniques raises many doubts. OBJECTIVE: Development and verification of our own, automated diagnostic algorithm for evaluation of the longitudinal arch of the foot with the use of the Zebris FDM-S dynamometric platform. METHODS: This paper presents selected footprints assessment methods and Zebris dynamometric platform to assess the longitudinal arch of the foot. RESULTS: The results were compared to standard plantography examination. The outcomes show high…correlation of the investigated parameters methods used. The ambiguity of classification criteria of foot arch was observed. CONCLUSIONS: 1/Examination confirmed strong linear correlation between the Arch Index results obtained during examinations on a stabilometric platform and plantography examination. 2/The proposed algorithm for AI evaluation using the Zebris FDM-S dynamometric platform enables simultaneous analysis of stabilometric and pedobarometric variables as well classifying the type of disorder arch longitudinal arch of the foot. 3/Qualitative analysis of the arch, based on plantography results and the Arch Index, shows inconsistency in results obtained with different methods. 4/The obtained results show further necessity to conduct more studies to develop methods of standardization of foot arch assessment.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Simulation divergence due to the backflow through the outlet boundary is a common, but not fully addressed challenge in patient-specific simulations of the aortic valve flows. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to develop the outlet boundary conditions aiming to improve convergence of the patient-specific aortic valve computations and to control the backflow in the case of partial reversal of the flow through the outlet. METHODS: Haemodynamic analysis of the aortic valve flows governed by the Navier-Stokes equations is performed by using the finite volume method. The pressure distribution, obtained from…the convergent computations driven by the outflow boundary condition, is approximated by the parabolic surface of revolution and prescribed on the outlet as the novel pressure boundary condition. RESULTS: Various types of outlet boundary conditions are investigated to evaluate their influence on the resulting backflows. The outflow boundary condition produces a smaller backflow than other investigated boundary conditions, but it causes the solution divergence. The proposed outlet boundary condition allows for continuing the solution and preserving the expected backflow. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed outlet boundary condition helps to achieve a convergent solution and to conserve the observed backflow by varying the convexity of the specified pressure surface.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: This paper reports on the torques developed in the shoulder joint experienced by occupants of moving vehicles during manual handling tasks. Handling heavy weights can cause musculoskeletal injuries, especially if handling is done with arms extended or at high levels. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to measure the longitudinal and lateral accelerations in a variety of passenger vehicles together with the postures of subjects lifting luggage onto storage shelves. This data enabled the application of inverse dynamics methods in a non-inertial reference frame to calculate the shoulder joint torques. METHODS:…The subjects lifted 3 pieces of luggage of masses of 5 kg, 10 kg and 14 kg onto shelving which were at heights of 1.2 m, 1.6 m and 1.8 m. The movement of subjects was measured using a 12 camera, 3-dimensional optical tracking system. The subjects stood on force plates to measure the ground reaction forces. RESULTS: Sixty-three trials were completed, although 9 trials were aborted because subjects felt unable to complete the task. It was found that the shoulder torques exceeded the levels recommend by the UK Health and Safety Executive for manual handling. A lift assistance device is suggested to reduce the shoulder torques required for luggage handling.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In this paper a method is proposed to evaluate the heart’s coronary vessels’ status based on the elimination of large coronary branches from IR-thermal image. This method makes it possible to determine nutrient cardiac blood circulation by calculation of the rate of heat spreading in small coronary vessels in the myocardium at hypothermia and hyperthermia under the conditions of artificial blood circulation. OBJECTIVE: The objective of the paper includes a theoretical substantiation of the proposed method for evaluation of the heart’s coronary vessels’ status and an experimental investigation of the efficiency of the method. METHODS:…In the experiment, the dynamics of temperature distribution in the myocardium were registered by using thermal imaging cameras Flir i7 and Thermo Cam E300. RESULTS: Processing of the myocardium’s thermographic images and the results of heat spreading modeling make it possible to single out the temperature profiles of the visible myocardium zones and to establish the presence of coronary arteries in them. CONCLUSIONS: The method makes it possible to monitor the heart temperature at hypothermia and hyperthermia; additionally, it makes it possible to evaluate the efficiency of the coronary artery bypass graft surgery performed during open heart operation.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Support systems designed for human lower limbs are usually characterized by a serial kinematic structure taking into account only one lower limb. To overcome the mobility range limitations, a new structure of the exoskeleton is proposed in this paper. OBJECTIVE: The design process of the dynamic model for the support structure characterized by a parallel-serial mechanism is presented in the paper. The structure works as an exoskeleton and is designed to assist motion of the human lower limb in the process of rehabilitation. METHODS: The structure of the support model was divided into linear (executive…system) and nonlinear (the mechanical skeleton of the system) parts. The model of the executive system was designed and its parameters were estimated in the course of tests on a laboratory stand, as well as identification procedures. The nonlinear model was expressed by mathematical equations. The characteristic coefficients in the equation were determined based on a 3d CAD model. RESULTS: To analyze the behavior of the mechanism, a simulation of dynamic responses was compared with experimental results for a real system consisting of a mechatronic device, actuator drivers, a controller, and programmed software. CONCLUSIONS: The proposed new structure enables an increase of the range of rotation angles and can be fitted to an individual person. The derived model is in the analytical form and can also be easily adopted to the different versions of the exoskeleton and used in the design of control systems.
Keywords: Parallel-serial mechanism, dynamic model, electric linear drive, exoskeleton
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The main position of the working population is becoming sitting. Immobile prolonged sedentary time may cause negative effects including reduced intervertebral discs nutrition. Main ways of mitigating them are regular position changes and exercising. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate influence of the short term training on unstable training machine on balance control and trunk muscles activity in patients with lower back pain. METHODS: Participants (n = 16) experiencing lower back pain were trained on an unstable sculling machine “Rehabili”. Their balance tested by (Biodex Balance System) and rectus abdominis, externus…oblique, transverse abdominis, multifidus and erector spine muscles activity (measured by surface electromyography) while sitting and standing with usual and aligned body postures both before and after six weeks of training (three 15 minutes sessions per week) were compared in between. RESULTS: Balance control improved after the training program. Besides, more symmetrical activation of both sides rectus and transversus abdominis muscles, as well as increased transversus abdominis muscle activation of 19% (p < 0.05), were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Six weeks short sessions training on unstable training machine improved balance control and increased trunk muscles activity especially in aligned body posture when standing or sitting on unstable surface.
Keywords: Prolonged sitting, balance, trunk muscles activity, unstable training
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Gait analysis is a useful tool medical staff use to support clinical decision making. There is still an urgent need to develop low-cost and unobtrusive mobile health monitoring systems. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was twofold. Firstly, a wearable sensor system composed of plantar pressure insoles and wearable sensors for joint angle measurement was developed. Secondly, the accuracy of the system in the measurement of ground reaction forces and joint moments was examined. METHODS: The measurements included joint angles and plantar pressure distribution. To validate the wearable sensor system and examine the effectiveness…of the proposed method for gait analysis, an experimental study on ten volunteer subjects was conducted. The accuracy of measurement of ground reaction forces and joint moments was validated against the results obtained from a reference motion capture system. RESULTS: Ground reaction forces and joint moments measured by the wearable sensor system showed a root mean square error of 1% for min. GRF and 27.3% for knee extension moment. The correlation coefficient was over 0.9, in comparison with the stationary motion capture system. CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that the wearable sensor system could be recommended both for research and clinical applications outside a typical gait laboratory.