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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: Recent studies conclude that early and specialised pre‐hospital patient management contributes to emergency cases survival. Recent developments in telecommunication and medical informatics by means of telemedicine can be extremely useful to accomplish such tasks in a cost‐effective manner. Along that direction, we have designed a portable device for emergency telemedicine. This device is able to telematically “bring” the expert doctor at the emergency site, have him perform an accurate diagnosis, and subsequently direct the Emergency Medical Technicians on how to treat the patient until he arrives to the hospital. The need for storing and archiving all data being interchanged during…the telemedicine sessions is very crucial for clinical, legal and administrative purposes. For this, we have developed a multimedia database able to store and manage the data collected by the AMBULANCE system. The database was equipped with a user‐friendly graphical interface to enable use from computer naive users. Furthermore, the database has the possibility to display, in an standard way, ECG’s, X‐ray, CT and MRI images. The application is password protected with a three‐level hierarchy access for users with different privileges. The scope of this application is to enhance the capabilities of the doctor on duty for a more precise and prompt diagnosis. The application has the ability to store audio files related to each emergency case and still images of the scene. Finally, this database can become a useful multimedia tool which will work together with the AMBULANCE portable device, the HIS and the PACS of the hospital. The system has been validated in selected non‐critical cases and proved to be functional and successful in enhancing the ability of the doctor’s on duty for prompt and accurate diagnosis and specialised pre‐hospital treatment.
Keywords: Emergency telemedicine, GSM, AMBULANCE, medical database, ECG, medical images
Abstract: In the last few years, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) has been widely accepted as an effective tool for mapping brain activities in both the neurosensorial and the cognitive field. The present work aims to assess the possibility of using fMRI methods to perform a non‐invasive evaluation of the human auditory function. To this end the cortical response to different non speech stimuli (pure tones, pulsed tones) was examined for ten subjects with no audiological impairment. Our findings point out some remarkable differences in both the spatial and the temporal features of the primary auditory cortex response to pulsed tones…and to pure tones.
Keywords: Auditory cortex, Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, image processing
Abstract: A new generation of synthetic carbon adsorbents was used in production of deliganded human serum albumin preparation. Thermal effects of officinal and deliganded albumin interaction with specific chemical markers were analyzed by flow microcalorimetry. The results demonstrated a 2.5‐fold increase of the complexing ability for the deliganded one. The detoxifying potentials of deliganded albumin were studied in comparison with officinal preparation in rats with burn toxemia after IIIB‐IV degree thermal injury and in model experiments with blood serum of patients after severe thermal burn. The transfusion of a 5% officinal albumin solution in rats 1 h after burn trauma…resulted in a decrease of serum and liver cytosols cytotoxicity 2.2 and 2.4 times, respectively, in comparison with those of burned rats. After deliganded albumin transfusion the cytotoxic activity of blood serum dropped 8.5 times and that of the liver cytosols 18.5 times. The incubation of blood serum of injured patients with equal amounts of a 5% solutions of officinal or deliganded albumin resulted in a fall of the cytotoxicity level and the growth of binding ability. A comparative analysis of detoxifying potentials of albumin preparations has unambiguously demonstrated deliganded albumin advantages.
Abstract: Comparative investigations were performed to study the effect of endogenous and exogenous N‐nitrosodiethylamine on the dynamics of content variations of oxidized cytochrome P‐450 and its isoforms in the monooxygenase system of rat liver. The variations of cytochrome P‐450 contents in both cases were demonstrated to be of the same character correlating with hepatocarcinogenesis stages. Higher quantities of oxidized cytochrome P‐450 and its isoforms with MM 52, 53, and 56 kDa in the rat liver when acted upon by NDEA precursors are seen as the precondition of enhancing the monooxygenase reaction of NDEA bioactivation and, as a result, of the carcinogenic…effects. Ascorbic acid is assumed to block the synthesis of NDEA from its precursors giving use to a compound whose metabolism does not influence the activity of the monooxygenase system of liver cells.
Abstract: In the work, an original computer system, called Muscle, is described. The Muscle allowed modelling of the whole thick filament with different arrangements of the myosin tails and myosin heads. Computer simulation and animation have revealed that only the model of the thick filament with asymmetrical configuration of the crossbridges has 3‐fold rotational symmetry and assures matching between many thousands specific binding‐sites on myosin heads and actin monomers. The Muscle delivered a number of arguments that the hypothesis of near parallel packing of the myosin tails, as well as oar‐like or lever‐arm‐like work of the myosin crossbridges, is unfounded. We…have presented advantages of the computer simulation in studies of complicated 3D molecular objects especially when direct observation is technically impossible.
Abstract: In the present research a system for medical image processing has been proposed, which allows dynamic 3D visualization and successive left ventricular wall analysis. The 3D volume rendering algorithm results are presented using a friendly Graphical User Interface (GUI) giving the possibility to change interactively image processing and visualization parameters at any step, to perform simple and effective image manipulations. The left ventricular wall detection algorithm is based on the evaluation of classified volumetric data during volume rendering algorithm. In fact classification operation includes a 3D segmentation. The system has been tested in medical environment, for Magnetic Resonance (MR) images.…Resulting studies have demonstrated a very high global efficiency in practical situations by using typical data volume dimensions.
Keywords: Wall motion analysis, dynamic volume rendering, magnetic resonance imaging
Abstract: Click‐evoked otoacoustic emissions (CEOAEs) are time‐varying signals with a clear frequency dispersion along with the time axis. Analysis of CEOAEs is of considerable interest due to their close relation with cochlear mechanisms. The particular structure of CEOAEs requires a time‐frequency method with both a satisfactory time and frequency resolution. In this paper, several basic time‐frequency distribution methods are considered and compared on the basis of both simulated signals and real CEOAEs. Results from simulations and real CEOAEs revealed that the wavelet approach is highly suitable for the analysis of such signals. Some examples of the application of the Wavelet Transform…to CEOAEs are provided here. Applications range from the extraction of normative data from adult OAEs to the extraction of quantitative parameters for clinical purposes.
Abstract: The construction of the cell for measurement of complex electric conductivity is described. Two‐chamber and four‐electrode system with temperature stabilisation is developed. Guarding chamber and electrodes are used to minimise the leakage of current from the measurement chamber. The cell construction is examined by use of Finite Element Method. The model of the measurement cell is examined in order to improve the accuracy of measurements. The calibration procedure based on measurement of reference materials is presented. The frequency range of the cell is extended to 10 MHz with acceptable level of error. The examples of results from measurement breast normal…and cancerous tissues are presented.
Keywords: Bioelectrical impedance, bioelectrical complex conductivity, breast tumour
Abstract: Adaptive immune responses characterised by the synthesis of antibodies of the immunoglobulin E (IgE) isotype play an important role in type I hypersensitivity disorders and parasitic infestations, diseases which have an significant socio‐economic impact world‐wide. This paper considers potential applications of recent advances in our understanding of the origin of isotype specific immune responses which emerged as a result of cell and protein engineering studies on components of the human IgE/receptor/effector system. Furthermore, the identification of the receptor binding regions in IgE as a result of the development of a stable assay system has important applications for the design of…rational therapeutic interventions in allergy and asthma, the treatment of mast cell tumours, and the establishment of procedures for the selective isolation of cells expressing the high‐affinity receptor for IgE for functional studies.
Keywords: Immunoglobulin (Ig)E, high‐affinity receptor for IgE, allergy, parasitic infestations