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ISSN 0928-7329 (P)
Impact Factor 2023: 1.6
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: In order to reduce the impact of CT radiation, low-dose CT is often used, but low-dose CT will bring more noise, affecting image quality and subsequent 3D reconstruction results. OBJECTIVE: The study presents a reconstruction method based on wavelet transform-total variation (WT-TV) for low-dose CT. METHODS: First, the low-dose CT images were denoised using WT and TV denoising methods. The WT method could preserve the features, and the TV method could preserve the edges and structures. Second, the two sets of denoised images were fused so that the features, edges, and structures…could be preserved at the same time. Finally, FBP reconstruction was performed to obtain the final 3D reconstruction result. RESULTS: The results show that The WT-TV method can effectively denoise low-dose CT and improve the clarity and accuracy of 3D reconstruction models. CONCLUSION: Compared with other reconstruction methods, the proposed reconstruction method successfully addressed the issue of low-dose CT noising by further denoising the CT images before reconstruction. The denoising effect of low-dose CT images and the 3D reconstruction model were compared via experiments.
Keywords: 3D reconstruction, filtered back-projection, low-dose CT, total variation wavelet, transform
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Lung cancer is a malignant tumor originating from the bronchial mucosa or glands of the lung. Early lung cancer patients often have no obvious symptoms, but early detection and treatment have an important clinical significance for prognostic effect. Computed tomography (CT) is one of the important means in the diagnosis of lung cancer. In order to better solve the problem of diagnosis efficiency, and reduce the rate of misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis, computer aided diagnosis are employed in the accurate localization and segmentation of pulmonary nodules through imaging diagnostics, image processing technology, and other clinical means.…OBJECTIVE: This present study was envisaged to establish an intelligent segmentation model of pulmonary nodules to improve the accuracy of early screening for lung cancer patients. METHODS: Compared with the traditional segmentation model of fully convolutional neural network, the U-Net++ algorithm based on feature-weighted integration (WI-U-Net++) effectively utilized the feature weight information, adopted the adaptive weighted method for weighted integration, and performed an intelligent segmentation of the anatomical structure and image details, which was applied in the auxiliary diagnosis of pulmonary nodules in CT images. Standard chest X-ray phantom was selected as CT scanning objects, and 30 spherical and irregular simulated nodules were built into them, respectively. CT images were collected by setting different tube voltage and noise index, and randomly included into the training set, validation set and test set at a ratio of 8:1:1. RESULTS: The experimental results showed that the segmentation accuracy of WI-U-Net++ algorithm for spheroid nodules and irregular nodules was 98.75% and 83.47%, respectively, which was better than that of U-Net and U-Net++ algorithm. In the auxiliary diagnosis, the recall rate of the WI-U-Net++ algorithm for spheroid nodules and irregular nodules was 93.47% and 84.52%, respectively. The accuracy of the benign or malignant identification was 80.27%, and the AUC was 0.9342. CONCLUSION: U-Net++ algorithm based on feature-weighted integration could improve the segmentation effect of pulmonary nodules. Especially in the case of irregular nodules with malignant signs, the accuracy of clinical diagnosis was significantly improved, and the level of differential diagnosis between benign and malignant was improved.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Protein-ligand binding affinity is of significant importance in structure-based drug design. Recently, the development of machine learning techniques has provided an efficient and accurate way to predict binding affinity. However, the prediction performance largely depends on how molecules are represented. OBJECTIVE: Different molecular descriptors are designed to capture different features. The study aims to identify the optimal circular fingerprints for predicting protein-ligand binding affinity with matched neural network architectures. METHODS: Extended-connectivity fingerprints (ECFP) and protein-ligand extended connectivity fingerprints (PLEC) encode circular atomic and bonding connectivity environments with the preference for intra- and…inter-molecular features, respectively. Densely-connected neural networks are employed to map the circular fingerprints of protein-ligand complexes to binding affinities RESULTS: The performance of neural networks is sensitive to the parameters used for ECFP and PLEC fingerprints. The R2_score of the evaluated ECFP and PLEC fingerprints reaches 0.52 and 0.49, higher than that of the improperly set ECFP and PLEC fingerprints with R2_score of 0.45 and 0.38, respectively. Additionally, compared to the predictions from the standalone fingerprints, the ECFP+PLEC conjoint ones slightly improve the prediction accuracy with R2_score of approximately 0.55. CONCLUSION: Both intra- and inter-molecular structural features encoded in the circular fingerprints contribute to the protein-ligand binding affinity. Optimizing the parameters of ECFP and PLEC can enhance performance. The conjoint fingerprint scheme can be generally extended to other molecular descriptors for enhanced feature engineering and improved predictive performance.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Retromolar canal (RMC) arises from the mandibular canal (MC) behind the second or third molar and travels anterosuperiorly to a retromolar foramen (RMF). RMCs and RMFs have generally been ignored in anatomical textbooks and have rarely been reviewed or studied in the anatomical and dental literature until the last decades. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to characterize RMF in a Chinese population concerning its incidence, origin, and classification via anatomical study and periapical radiography. METHODS: 123 dry adult Chinese mandibles were collected to observe the incidence of RMFs. RMFs were determined using a…steel wire 0.5 mm in diameter. The passways or origins of the retromolar canal (RMC) were determined and classified via periapical radiography. For each RMF, two dentists independently measured the diameter and its distances to the lingual cortex, the buccal cortex, and the distal edge of the last tooth (or the alveolar fossa) using a vernier caliper. RESULTS: The incidence of RMFs was 31.71%. The average RMF diameter was 0.78 ± 0.27 mm. From RMF, the distance was 4.27 ± 1.87 mm to the lingual cortex, 8.61 ± 2.23 mm to the buccal cortex, and 7.84 ± 3.87 mm to the distal edge of the last tooth (or the alveolar fossa). RMCs were classified into MC type originating from the mandibular canal and AF type originating from the alveolar fossa. The diameters of MC ones were more significant than those of AF ones. There was no apparent correlation between the existence of the third molar and the presence of an RMF. CONCLUSION: The incidence of RMFs in Chinese may be about one-third, which is a potential factor in the onset of surgery accidents. RMCs can be classified into two types by their origins. One of them is MC, which originates from the mandibular canal, and the other is AF, which originates from the alveolar fossa.
Keywords: Retromolar foramen, retromolar canal, mandibular canal, radiographic study
Abstract: BACKGROUND : Thumb rubbing is one of the widely accepted massage techniques, owing to its simple and effective operation. Exploring the biomechanical characteristics of the thumb rubbing method can assist the understanding of the operating characteristics of manipulation, thereby improvising the therapeutic role of manipulation. OBJECTIVE: To study the kinematic and kinetic characteristics of the thumb kneading method from the biomechanical point of view, and to quantitatively analyze the key points of thumb kneading operation. METHODS: We explored the biomechanical characteristics of the thumb kneading operation by an analysis of the parameters scored by…the experts and students using the “thumb kneading data glove and data collection system”. RESULTS: (1) Force trajectory: The expert group showed a regular force trajectory compared to the student group, with a stable thumb suction position, small drift and concentrated force. (2) Force value: The average force value of the expert group was concentrated in the range 0.614 ± 0.041 kg, while the average force value of the student group was concentrated in the range 0.650 ± 0.146 kg and the difference was not statistically significant. (3) Frequency: The frequency of the expert group was mainly concentrated in the range 134.280 ± 39.106 times/min, while that of the student group was 66.04 ± 23.651 times/min, (P < 0.05). (4) Period: The operation cycle during the thumb kneading of the expert and student groups was mainly concentrated in the range of 0.476 ± 0.117 s and (0.990 ± 0.259) s, respectively, and the difference was statistically significant (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: The present study revealed that the technical operation of the expert group was more stable and standardized than that of the student group. It was found that the force value was inversely proportional to the frequency of the operation. In the “circular rotation” operation of the thumb rubbing method, the force value conversion degree of different parts of the thumb reflected the motion trajectory. Furthermore, the “circular rotation” operation performed by the expert group was better than the student group. The study of the parameters, including the angle of frequency, period and force value can reflect the biomechanical characteristics of thumb rubbing method to a significant extent.
Keywords: biomechanics, thumb rubbing, mechanical characteristics
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A representative symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is resting tremor. The clinical manifestation of scans without evidence of dopaminergic deficit (SWEDD) is similar to it of PD, though the phenomenology of SWEDD is not well known. OBJECTIVE: In the present study, the resting tremor of 9 SWEDD patients was quantitatively compared with that of 11 PD patients. METHODS: Four 3-axis gyro sensors were attached on the index finger, thumb, dorsum of the hand, and arm of the more tremulous side. Root mean square (RMS) angular speed and angular displacement as well as…irregularity of angular speed and displacement were derived from the sensor data. RESULTS: Although disease duration and Hoehn and Yahr stages were comparable, SWEDD patients exhibited different tremor features from PD patients. Significantly faster RMS angular speed and greater RMS angular displacement (p < 0.05) were observed in PD patients than in SWEDD patients. The irregularity of angular displacement of pitch direction at the dorsum of the hand was greater in SWEDD patients than in PD patients (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION: These results indicate that quantitative indices obtained from resting tremor task could be important biomarkers for identifying potential patients with SWEDD among patients diagnosed with PD.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is a mature scanning technique. With high sensitivity in detecting cerebral infractions, it has become an essential part of the clinical evaluation of acute stroke. However, with the update in medical ideals and treatment, clinicians are now focusing on distinguishing between reversible and irreversible brain tissue damage rather than detecting ischaemic lesions alone. OBJECTIVE: We supposed that Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging (DKI) could classify heterogeneous DWI lesions, deepening the understanding of tissue injury. We systematically studied the different parameters of DKI in acute stroke patients in the literature. METHODS:…We collected 41 patients (26 male, 15 female), including different infarctions with acute cerebral infarction in different brain regions. Of all patients, 20 were single-infarction, while others were multi-infarctions. In this paper, we categorized acute cerebral infarction lesions into two types according to the parametric characteristics of both DKI and DWI. Type I means the DKI and DWI were matched, and Type II means the DKI and DWI were mismatched. Based on each parametric map, the region of interest (ROI) is outlined in each most severe lesion area (as large as possible in the center of the lesion). In the control group, ROIs of the same size are located in the corresponding regions of the contralateral hemisphere. RESULTS: In both Type I and Type II, all parameters conform to a normal distribution. An independent sample T-test was used to compare the differences between each group. In Type I, we found the FA, MD, Da, Dr, MK and Ka values were statistically different (P < 0.05), while in Type II, only the MK and Ka values were statistically different (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: DKI, compared to DWI, can provide more imaging information about intracranial ischemic infarction, which can deepen the understanding of the mechanism of ischemic tissue damage. Our classification of the brain acute stroke lesions by DKI parameters and DWI may help us rediscover the real core of infraction.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The incidence rate for migraine is 12% worldwide, and recurrence is common, which seriously affects the physical and mental health of patients. OBJECTIVE: To observe the clinical effect of Shallow Puncture and More Twirling method of acupuncture in treating migraine and its impact on serum 5-HT and β -EP. METHODS: A total of 76 patients with migraine were randomized into a control group and acupuncture group with 38 cases in each. In the control group, patients were orally administered flunarizine hydrochloride before sleep, 2 capsules once daily for 4 weeks.…In the acupuncture group, Shallow Puncture and More Twirling method was adopted for the acupoints of Sizhukong (SJ 23), Toulinqi (GB 15) Shuaigu (GB 8), Xuanlu (GB 5), Fengchi (GB 20), Waiguan (SJ 5), Zulinqi (GB 41). Patients were given acupuncture 3 times per week for 4 weeks. Then, the total VAS (Visual Analogue Scale) scores, composite score of migraine, serum level of 5-HT and β -EP, and the clinical efficacy differences were observed before and after treatment and the side-effects were recorded among the two groups. RESULTS: The total VAS scores and composite score of migraine were significantly reduced among both groups after the treatment (P < 0.05), and the serum level of 5-HT and β -EP was significantly improved (P < 0.05). Compared with control group, the acupuncture group reported lower results in VAS score and migraine composite score (P < 0.05), and higher results in serum 5-HT and β -EP level (P < 0.05). The acupuncture group with shallow puncture and more twirling method showed a total effective rate of 86.5%, which is higher than the control group (78.4%). The difference is statistically significant (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Shallow Puncture and More Twirling method was superior to flunarizine hydrochloride in the treatment of clinical symptoms of migraine. Acupuncture also increases the serum level of 5-HT and β -EP in migraine.
Keywords: Shallow Puncture and More Twirling, acupuncture, migraine, clinical effect, randomized controlled trial
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Implant-restored patients with periodontitis have a higher risk of developing peri-implantitis, and helping them develop oral cleaning habits is significant. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of motivational interviewing based on the transtheoretical model on the modification of oral cleaning behaviors of implant-restored patients with periodontitis. METHODS: Patients with periodontitis (n = 70) who would receive dental implant treatment were included. And they were randomly divided into two groups: experimental (n = 35) and control (n = 35).…Control patients received routine oral hygiene education, and those in the experimental group received motivational interviewing based on the transtheoretical model. Oral cleaning behavior was compared between the two groups before and after intervention. In addition, periodontal health status was compared on the day of implant restoration and three months later. RESULTS: Compared to the control, the experimental group demonstrated significantly better oral hygiene behavior after intervention (P < 0.05). Three months after implant restoration, significantly better results were obtained by the experimental group in terms of mPLI and mSBI (P < 0.05). CONCLUSION: Motivational interviewing based on the transtheoretical model can effectively improve the oral cleaning behavior and periodontal health of implant-restored patients with periodontitis.
Keywords: Periodontitis, implant, oral cleaning behavior, motivational interviewing based on the transtheoretical model
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The wrist pulse wave under the optimal pulse pressure plays an important role in detecting human body’s physiological and pathological information. Wavelet threshold filtering is a common method for pulse wave de-noising. However, traditional filtering methods cannot smoothen the whole pulse wave well and highlight the details. OBJECTIVE: In view of this, an attempt is made in this paper to propose the pulse wave denoising algorithm for pulse wave under optimal pulse pressure according to the translation invariant wavelet transform (TIWT) and the new threshold function. METHODS: Firstly, by using hyperbolic tangent…curve and combining the advantages of soft threshold function and hard threshold function, the new threshold function is derived. Secondly, based on the TIWT, pseudo-Gibbs phenomenon gets suppressed. RESULTS: The experiments show that in comparison to the traditional wavelet filtering algorithm, the novel algorithm can better maintain the pulse wave geometric characteristics and has a higher signal to noise ratio (SNR). CONCLUSION: The TIWT with improved new threshold compensates the shortcomings of the traditional wavelet threshold denoising methods in a better way. It lays a foundation for extracting time-domain characteristics of pulse wave.
Keywords: Pulse wave, denoising method, a new threshold function, translation invariant wavelet transform