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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: In the artificial heart area, device evolution and evolution of application criteria have been synergetic in promoting advancement in the entire sector. In fact, limitations of conventional therapies prompted the short-term use of devices for supporting patients until heart transplantation or until recovery of natural heart function. This in tum stimulated device diversification. A first class of new intraventricular blood pumps, allowing simplified application procedures, but with limitation in blood flow, have been developed for short term mechanical support. Another class of devices, with more implantable components, have been developed for longer duration applications, and higher quality of patient life…during the implant period. These temporary but progressively longer duration clinical applications in patients waiting for heart transplantation, demonstrated the clinical feasibility of permanent support or substitution of a failing heart; an application intended as an alternative to heart transplantation that is greatly limited by donor’s organ availability. Research efforts are now focused on establishing readiness for permanent clinical use of totally implantable heart replacing systems, or of implantable devices for assisting left ventricular function.
Abstract: A method for kinematic analysis of chest wall motion is presented, based on a TV-image processor which allows a three-dimensional assessment of volume change of the trunk by automatically computing the co-ordinates of several passive markers placed on relevant landmarks of the thorax and abdomen. The parallel computation used for the image processing allows a real time recognition of the passive markers with the necessary accuracy. A geometric model also allows the on-line computation of the contribution to the chest volume by the different parts. For this purpose the model is based on 96 tetrahedrons which can be grouped into…16 compartments and into four sections representing: upper thorax (reflecting the action of neck and parasternal muscles and the effect of pleural pressure), lower thorax (reflecting the action of diaphragm and the effect of pleural and abdominal pressure), upper and lower abdomen (reflecting the actions of diaphragm and abdominal muscles). The volume can also be split into two vertical sections pointing out asymmetries between the right and left side. The method is non-invasive, non-ionizing and leaves the subject maximum freedom of movement during the test, thus being suitable for routine clinical analysis. The monitoring of the subject can be prolonged in time and can be performed in different postures: standing, sitting, supine and lying on one side. The method was tested on eight healthy subjects showing good accuracy, reliability and reproducibility.
Keywords: Chest motion analysis, optical pletismography, 3D movement analysis
Abstract: Direct sensor implantation for continuous biochemical monitoring has proved disappointing, but microdialysis sampling devices can serve as a biocompatible patient-sensor interface. We propose a novel “MiniShunt” extracorporeal microdialysis sampling circuit designed to sample core blood, and report the performance of different microdialysis probe membrane types and sizes with pumped and non-pumped blood flow in anaesthetised dogs. Discrete microdialysate and plasma samples collected during glucose and lactate monitoring were analysed with a YSI analyzer and showed microdialysis efficiency (% relative recovery) in excess of 95% for both analytes using fibres of greater than 70 mm2 internal surface area. Pumped veno-venous…extracorporeal blood microdialysis sampling of this type could provide a suitable interface for future multi-analyte on-line biosensor applications in critically ill patients.
Abstract: The main purpose of this paper is to describe several software tools specifically adapted to characterize the electrophysiological behavior of a population of neurons coupled to a planar array of microtransducers by analyzing the recorded signals. Both graphic and signal processing tools are considered. They include: image analysis of the neuronal network topology, peak detection procedure, multi-graphics visualization, spike classification, cross-correlation, interspike and interbursting interval analysis. These tools are utilized to characterize changes induced in the electrophysiological behavior of populations of cultured neurons by modifications to the medium-culture.
Keywords: Cell culture, neuronal networks, electrophysiological signals, signal and image processing
Abstract: Insulin secretion rate (ISR) in vivo is reconstructed by deconvolution from plasma concentration of C-peptide (CP), a peptide with linear kinetics which is co-secreted with insulin but is not extracted by the liver. Deconvolution requires the knowledge of the CP impulse response. A two-exponential (2E) model is usually chosen to describe the CP impulse response but a one-exponential (IE) model is also used in the literature. The purpose here is to discuss the domain of validity of the IE model in reconstructing the ISR by deconvolution. In particular, we show that the IE model can be reliably used only if…the ISR spectrum is concentrated in a narrow frequency band and a suitable input is designed for its identification.
Keywords: Physiological system, system identification