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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: The purpose of this study was to identify a parameter allowing the standardization of the Cell Transit Analyzer (CTA) in order to study the individual deformability of each explored Red Blood Cell (RBC). Using theoretical arguments based on the principle of the CTA, we calculated the thickness “x ” of the crown of fluid surrounding each RBC during its entry phase into the micropore. A mathematical equation (x = 62.5 / | d U | ) was established between the difference of potential (U , mV) that occurs during this phase and the corresponding thickness (“x ”, μ…m) of the crown. By exploring fresh control RBCs of healthy subjects and assuming that the rigid RBCs proportion in a fresh blood sample of healthy subject is less than 3.5%, we performed a thresholding of “x ” to distinguish rigid RBC from deformable ones. That thresholding was necessary to stamp the variability of counts linked to polycarbonate filters (PF) used to carry out measures. According to the PF, the value of the threshold “T x ” provided by the thresholding ranged between 0.222 and 0.246 μ m. Using the values of “T x ”, we counted approximately 10–25% rigid RBCs in the pathological samples of four patients with sickle cells SS disease and of one diabetic patient with splenomegaly. We observed in addition that the percentages of rigid RBCs counted after thresholding are identical from a filter to another one with an absolute error less than 2% in fresh RBCs (normal or pathological) samples. We concluded that the method of standardization by thresholding presented here could be used in clinic routine to count the rigid RBCs percentage contained in a given sample.
Abstract: The use of higher-order statistics for diagnostic assessment and characterisation of lung sounds is presented in this article. The parametric approach of bispectrum estimation, which is a third-order spectrum, based on a non-Gaussian white noise driven autoregressive (AR) model, reveals information about lung sounds that is not contained in the ordinary power spectrum, such as the degree of nonlinearity and deviations from normality. Characterisation of source and transmission of lung sounds is achieved using an AR model based on third-order statistics. Furthermore, harmonic analysis of lung sounds is combined with the bicoherence index in order to obtain information regarding possible…quadratic phase coupling among harmonic components of musical lung sounds. Experiments have shown that higher-order statistics can offer reliable evaluation of lung sounds characteristics, since their general properties and robustness in noiseless or noisy environments (lung sounds contaminated with additive symmetrical noise, e.g., Gaussian) proved to have superior advantages in objective analysis of pulmonary dysfunction.
Abstract: In a multicenter evaluation the precision and stability of single slice peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography (pQCT) systems were assessed. Compared to central Europe the peripheral QCT device is also widely used in the Italian health care system. Phantoms were measured frequently on each machine in four pQCT scanners over a two-year period using an identical automated software program. Intrasite and intersite phantom mineral densities, expressed in units of mg/cm3 , were analyzed and examined. The short and long term precision were estimated from the consistency of these measurements using the root mean square error and expressed as coefficient of variation…in percent (% CV). Short term precision was good (mean intrasite coefficient of variation (CV) 0.21 ± 0.056 standard deviation (SD)). Intersite measurements of a single phantom revealed differences between machines of the same type of not more than 2.9 mg/cm3 . At four sites frequent phantom measurements revealed a mean CV of 0.18% (range 0.12–0.28). No significant changes in the regression slopes (drift of the machine versus time) were observed. We conclude that the in vitro precision and stability of the single slice pQCT systems are sufficiently high and unlikely to negatively affect the in vivo precision.
Keywords: Bone densitometry, peripheral quantitative computed tomography, quality assurance
Abstract: This work is aimed at the extraction of vascular structures using perceptual grouping methods. The approach is based on structural feature matching, between images in the time sequence. These features correspond to junctions (or bifurcation points) and are paired by means of a local criteria. A global refinement procedure is then applied by means of a relaxation scheme. The feature trajectories over the entire image sequence are examined to further build sets of vascular segments, which better describe vascular branches. The resulting performances are exemplified on a standard biplane coronarographic examination.