VMW Monthly - December 2008 - ISSN 1388-722X



Virtual Medical Worlds is a monthly Virtual Magazine on Telemedicine and High Performance Computing and Networking for readers interested in computer applications in medical environments. VMW is produced by an editorial team composed of professionals in publishing, and an advisory board with professionals in telemedicine, providing the embedding into the everyday practice and research. Check out the VMW Web site for the calendar of events, the various services, and the friendly advertising rates.

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*** Highlights from the International Supercomputing Conference 2008 in Dresden ***

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Contents December 2008 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Social Networking and Health Information Systems
The next step in health care: Telemedicine
Caltech researchers get first 3D glimpse of bacterial cell-wall architecture
New imaging technique tracks cancer-killing cells over prolonged period
Physicists receive patent for improved cancer therapy device
 
Grid for Health
 
Light-speed computer connection will slash genetic data transfer time between TGen and Arizona State University
Platform Computing introduces a complete HPC solution for academics
DiCOM grid selects Michael V. Wall as Chief Executive Officer
Carestream Health and NDMA announce collaboration for provision of eHealth and analytics services
Ohio Supercomputing Center and partners are developing cancer microscopy and a micro-array database
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
IBM Research partners with EU Consortium to help aging population overcome cognitive decline and memory loss
VerdaSee creates LifePac for Humanitarian Logistics Industry
Panasonic unveils the Toughbook H1 Mobile Clinical Assistant for medical professionals
Intel launches its first home medical device to better connect clinicians with patients
In-body microgenerator converts heartbeat into electricity for implanted medical devices
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Titan Medical Inc. to set up telesurgery collaboration with Bell Canada
SwiftMD to provide telemedicine services to new Montana development
Philips breakthrough Magnotech technology set to transform global point-of-care testing
MedCom to present the new 'vintage' of its recent technical developments
Atos Origin selected by a leading German health insurance company to implement the new electronic health card
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
A team at UPC creates an intelligent walker to assist the elderly and people undergoing medical rehabilitation
Pooled data towards cervical cancer cure
Harnessing nature's diagnostic tools for disease prevention
Computer that reacts to thought a lifeline for brain injured
Portfastflu project to design system that will revolutionise control of influenza epidemics
 
The 21st century hospital
 
TeleHealth Services' TIGR interactive patient education system facilitates award-winning results at Northridge Hospital Medical Center
Study identifies double-balloon enteroscopy as cost-effective approach for obscure GI bleeding
New technology could revolutionize breast cancer screening
CompuGROUP subsidiary ISPro's telemedicine portal receives Hospital Award 2008 for 'Best Referral Concept'
MobileAccess and Sprint deploy pervasive wireless network throughout Clarian Health's multiple facilities
 
Virtual snap shots
 
HINE to present EU-funded Japan and Korea gateway programme for European health care and medical technologies companies at WoHIT 2008
Precision Dynamics Corporation acquires TimeMed Labeling Systems Inc. to expand company's patient safety solutions
Computer model improves ultrasound image
New study by empirica substantiates lack of widely used eHealth standards
Ascension to show magnetic sensors for new biopsy needle and bronchoscope procedures at RSNA 2008
 
VMWC news bites
 
Rhode Island Hospital simulation centre examines benefits and applications of medical simulation
Stroke patients soon may have fun with high-tech tool
Research 'A' team to fast track Bionic Eye, according to Australian consortium
New discovery may enhance MRI scans and lead to portable MRI machines
Biocomputer Systems and Healthcare
 

Leads December 2008 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Social Networking and Health Information Systems
Full ArticleA social network service focuses on building on-line communities of people who share interests and activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Most social network services are web-based and provide a variety of ways for users to interact using e-mail, wiki's, blogs, on-line forums, instant messaging and other types of communication services.
The next step in health care: Telemedicine
Full ArticleImagine a scenario where doctors from different hospitals can collaborate on a surgery without having to actually be in the operating room. What if doctors in remote locations could receive immediate expert support from top specialists in hospitals around the world? This environment could soon become a reality thanks to research by a multi-university partnership that is testing the live broadcast of surgeries using the advanced networking consortium Internet2.
Caltech researchers get first 3D glimpse of bacterial cell-wall architecture
Full ArticleThe bacterial cell wall that is the target of potent antibiotics such as penicillin is actually made up of a thin single layer of carbohydrate chains, linked together by peptides, which wrap around the bacterium like a belt around a person, according to research conducted by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This first-ever glimpse of the cell-wall structure in three dimensions was made possible by new high-tech microscopy techniques that enabled the scientists to visualize these biological structures at nanometer scales.
New imaging technique tracks cancer-killing cells over prolonged period
Full ArticleCoaxing a patient's own cells to hunt down and tackle infected or diseased cells is a promising therapeutic approach for many disorders. But until now, efforts to follow these specially modified cells after their reintroduction to the body have relied on short-term monitoring techniques that don't give a complete picture of the cells' status. Now, for the first time, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have devised a way to obtain repeated "snapshots" of the location and survival of such cells in a living human patient months and possibly years later. This is good news for individual patients and clinicians who may want to assess the cells' disease-fighting performance over time, as well as for researchers trying to design more effective cell-based therapies.
Physicists receive patent for improved cancer therapy device
Full ArticleFour physicists at the United States Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory have been awarded United States Patent No. 7,432,516 B2 for the design of a "medical synchrotron" capable of delivering precision doses of proton radiation to cancerous tumours with minimal damage to surrounding healthy tissue. The new device would be more precise and less costly than existing proton-therapy systems, potentially increasing the availability and benefits of this treatment for cancer patients worldwide. The Brookhaven scientists are now seeking industrial partners to license and commercialize the technology.
 
Grid for Health
 
Light-speed computer connection will slash genetic data transfer time between TGen and Arizona State University
Full ArticleHot on the heels of a new supercomputer, plans for a new light-speed data line between the Translational Genomics Research Institute and Arizona State University (ASU) could slash the time it takes to transfer genetic information. Accelerating the flow of information could help speed discoveries that eventually could help produce treatments and cures for diseases such as Alzheimer's, autism, diabetes and various cancers.
Platform Computing introduces a complete HPC solution for academics
Full ArticlePlatform Computing, a global expert in High Performance Computing (HPC) management software, has launched the Platform HPC Academic product bundle for universities and research institutions. Platform HPC Academic is a competitively priced end-to-end product bundle designed to deliver the world's leading workload management solution to the academic market, making it attainable for institutions of all sizes and budgets. This complete solution supplies all the tools and functionality needed to accelerate compute and data intensive applications, and manage cluster and Grid systems.
DiCOM grid selects Michael V. Wall as Chief Executive Officer
Full ArticleDiCOM grid Inc., a Phoenix-based health care IT company, has appointed Michael V. Wall as Chief Executive Officer. DiCOM grid offers a breakthrough solution that utilizes the Internet for efficient, reliable and secure storage, distribution and access of high fidelity medical images. DiCOM grid's seamless medical image management system and proprietary software are based on a revolutionary shared resource environment utilizing advanced networking and web-based computing, communications and archival.
Carestream Health and NDMA announce collaboration for provision of eHealth and analytics services
Full ArticleCarestream Health Inc. and National Digital Medical Archive Inc. (NDMA) are collaborating on product integration initiatives designed to support the expansion of NDMA's national imaging network and improve customer access to its analytics and data management services.
Ohio Supercomputing Center and partners are developing cancer microscopy and a micro-array database
Full ArticleResearchers in Columbus, Ohio, and Los Angeles are collaborating on a groundbreaking effort that, when fully implemented, will allow health care experts around the world to have comprehensive information about a patient's tumour at their fingertips.
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
IBM Research partners with EU Consortium to help aging population overcome cognitive decline and memory loss
Full ArticleIBM is setting up a collaborative effort with European Union partners to develop new technology that will help support active aging and prevent cognitive decline in the elderly population. Based on intelligent audio and visual processing and reasoning, the "HERMES Cognitive Care for Active Aging" project will develop a combination of home-based and mobile device-based solutions to help older people combat the natural reduction in cognitive capabilities. The three-year project includes a special focus on developing an interface that will be comfortable for technology-averse users.
VerdaSee creates LifePac for Humanitarian Logistics Industry
Full ArticleAt the NetHope Global Summit in Geneva last month, VerdaSee announced they have designed a mobile tracking solution for the Humanitarian Logistics Industry. VerdaSee's scalable, mobile logistic, ad hoc MESH network, combines multi-protocol, multi-frequency and multi-functional technology that can self-adapt to any global network or carrier.
Panasonic unveils the Toughbook H1 Mobile Clinical Assistant for medical professionals
Full ArticleTo better serve the growing demand for mobility in the health care environment, Panasonic Computer Solutions Company, manufacturer of durable, reliable Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers, has launched the Panasonic Toughbook H1, the first fully-rugged mobile clinical assistant (MCA) and the first device of its kind to integrate the low power Intel Atom processor. The new Toughbook H1 redefines performance and functionality for the MCA category with six hour battery life, dual hot?swappable batteries, standard daylight viewable screen and integrated Gobi technology in a sealed and easily-sanitized package.
Intel launches its first home medical device to better connect clinicians with patients
Full ArticleIntel Corporation has launched its Intel Health Guide, a care management tool designed for health care professionals who manage patients with chronic conditions. The Health Guide represents Intel's entry into a new category of personal health systems that go beyond the simple remote patient monitoring systems available today.
In-body microgenerator converts heartbeat into electricity for implanted medical devices
Full ArticleA United Kingdom-based consortium of companies has successfully designed and clinically tested an in-body model microgenerator that converts energy from the heartbeat into power for implanted medical devices. Partners in the Self-Energizing Implantable Medical Microsystem (SIMM) project include Zarlink Semiconductor, InVivo Technology Limited, Perpetuum Limited, Finsbury Orthopaedics and Odstock Medical.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Titan Medical Inc. to set up telesurgery collaboration with Bell Canada
Full ArticleTitan Medical Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement with Bell Canada's Health unit to develop, integrate and service telesurgery capabilities for Amadeus, a next generation robotic surgical system currently being developed to revolutionize keyhole robotic minimally invasive surgery. In February 2003, Bell was a major sponsor for the world's first hospital-to-hospital telerobotic surgery performed between North Bay and Hamilton.
SwiftMD to provide telemedicine services to new Montana development
Full ArticleSwiftMD, the revolutionary telemedicine firm, has been selected by Ameya Preserve in Bozeman, Montana, to be the sole telemedicine supplier for each of the 300 new homes built in its development. Under the terms of the agreement, the first of its kind in the United States, the company will provide emergency medical services, via the phone, Internet or bi-directional video, to all residents and Ameya Preserve employees and their families. Each home will be equipped with all necessary technological components for the service - an important feature as the nearest health care facility is 45 minutes away. The homes are expected to be completed in 2011.
Philips breakthrough Magnotech technology set to transform global point-of-care testing
Full ArticleAlready a world expert in near-patient settings, Royal Philips Electronics has now developed a unique biosensor technology which has the potential to offer lab-quality immuno-assay results at the point of care. The company unveiled its initiative to transform the rapid diagnosis sector of the in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) market at Medica 2008, where the 40th World Forum for Medicine took place, November 19-22, in Düsseldorf, Germany.
MedCom to present the new 'vintage' of its recent technical developments
Full ArticleMedCom's OncentraGYN literally revolutionized the gynaecological brachytherapy market. The software was presented with and in the Nucletron booth at ESTRO and ASTRO. DICOM-RT, also developed by MedCom, is de-facto the only easy-to-use system offered in the market and integrating DICOM-3, DICOM-RT and miniPACS functionalities at a unexpected reasonable price. And last, the FDA clearance of VeriSuite 1.6 opens a new global chapter in the distribution of this unique product.
Atos Origin selected by a leading German health insurance company to implement the new electronic health card
Full ArticleAtos Worldline, an Atos Origin Company, has signed a 5-year contract with the German health Insurance Company, Gmünder ErsatzKasse (GEK), to implement and operate the issuing and management of the new German electronic health card (eHC). In 2009, GEK plans to issue 30.000 cards per day in order to provide its 1,7 million members in Germany with the new card. One of the German public authorities' most important IT projects, the eHealth card is an important step in the modernisation of European health systems. It is designed to guarantee the simple and secure exchange of data between insured parties, doctors, pharmacists and health insurance companies.
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
A team at UPC creates an intelligent walker to assist the elderly and people undergoing medical rehabilitation
Full ArticleA team of researchers from the Departments of Software, Automatic Control, Strength of Mechanical Engineering, Materials and Structural Engineering at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), led by Ulises Cortés and Antonio B. Martínez, has designed an intelligent walker - i-Walker - that goes a step beyond conventional walkers as it can communicate with the user, think for itself and react to the environment. The device can understand a set of voice commands and can be activated by means of simple verbal instructions given by the user - e.g., "take me to the kitchen". To do this, it includes elements for independent movement and a personalized intelligent software agent.
Pooled data towards cervical cancer cure
Full ArticleEvery year, tens of thousands of women die in the European Union from cervical cancer because the disease is not detected and treated at an early enough stage. A multi-disciplinary European research effort plans to change that.
Harnessing nature's diagnostic tools for disease prevention
Full ArticleThe earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the chance of effecting a cure. A revolutionary new hybrid technology offers the possibility of detecting this and other diseases right at inception. Within a few years, when the technology comes to market, every doctor's surgery could have a small, inexpensive device which can test blood on the spot and warn of impending illness before any symptoms become apparent.
Computer that reacts to thought a lifeline for brain injured
Full ArticlePeople who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and who are unable to speak or move are being given the first chance to communicate using just the power of thought - and a laptop loaded with sophisticated algorithms. The ground-breaking system has been devised by a computer researcher at the University of Portsmouth. Dr. Paul Gnanayutham has devoted his life to giving people locked into silence after major brain injury the power to communicate but though his system works it will remain a lifeline for only a lucky few unless he wins funding.
Portfastflu project to design system that will revolutionise control of influenza epidemics
Full ArticleIkerlan-IK4, Gaiker-IK4 and the Donostia hospital in representation of Bioef are taking part in a European project the goal of which is to design a portable device that will revolutionise the manner of controlling flu epidemics internationally, thanks to a significant reduction in the time needed for their detection from the current 24 hours to a period of between 30 and 60 minutes, and to an increase in the number of control points. This research, in which other European partners are also participating within the European Union VII Framework Programme, has been earmarked a budget of nearly four million euro.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
TeleHealth Services' TIGR interactive patient education system facilitates award-winning results at Northridge Hospital Medical Center
Full ArticleNorthridge Hospital Medical Center has credited TeleHealth Services' TIGR on-demand education system as "the cornerstone" for the organisation's recent awards and top accreditation, all of which reflect Northridge's commitment to ensure patient comfort as its medical experts provide superior levels of service excellence.
Study identifies double-balloon enteroscopy as cost-effective approach for obscure GI bleeding
Full ArticleA cost-effectiveness analysis conducted by researchers at Stanford University Hospital in California, shows that an initial double-balloon enteroscopy (DBE) is a cost-effective approach for patients with obscure gastro-intestinal (GI) bleeding. However, capsule-directed DBE - which is when the findings from an initial small bowel capsule endoscopy exam are used to guide the DBE procedure - may be preferred as the initial test due to the potential for fewer complications and decreased utilization of endoscopic resources. The study appears in the November issue of GIE: Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the monthly peer-reviewed scientific journal of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE).
New technology could revolutionize breast cancer screening
Full ArticleThe world's first radar breast imaging system developed at Bristol University that could revolutionise the way women are scanned for breast cancer, is being trialled at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT). Professor Alan Preece and Dr. Ian Craddock from the University of Bristol have been working for a number of years to develop a breast-imaging device which uses radio waves and therefore has no radiation risk unlike conventional mammograms.
CompuGROUP subsidiary ISPro's telemedicine portal receives Hospital Award 2008 for 'Best Referral Concept'
Full ArticleISPro GmbH, a subsidiary of CompuGROUP Holding AG, Koblenz, had notched up another success for its telemedicine portal. ISPro's client, the Evangelisches Krankenhaus Düsseldorf, has been honoured at the 4th Hospital Communication Congress 2008. Hattingen-based ISPro GmbH's telemedicine portal jesaja.net has received the Hospital Award 2008 for the "Best Referral Concept" at this Congress.
MobileAccess and Sprint deploy pervasive wireless network throughout Clarian Health's multiple facilities
Full ArticleMobileAccess, a global provider of enterprise wireless solutions, in partnership with Sprint, has extended the MobileAccess Universal Wireless Network to Clarian Health's three hospital campuses located in Indianapolis. With this state-of-the-art wireless infrastructure, Methodist Hospital, Indiana University Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children can now support the next-generation medical applications and communication devices that enhance the quality of patient care and boost the efficiency of mobile clinicians and staff.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
HINE to present EU-funded Japan and Korea gateway programme for European health care and medical technologies companies at WoHIT 2008
Full ArticleFrom 2 June 2008 the European Union (EU) Gateway Programme provides professional mentoring and coaching to European Union companies that want to do business in Japan and Korea and offers them the possibility of participating in one-week business events in these target markets. The new phase of this business co-operation programme builds upon the experience of the Gateway to Japan Campaign which has helped about 2500 European companies to find business partners in Japan over the last 14 years. Visitors of the recently held World of Health IT Conference and Exhibition in Copenhagen, Denmark were invited to the Health Information Network Europe (HINE) booth to learn more about the benefits this EU-funded programme.
Precision Dynamics Corporation acquires TimeMed Labeling Systems Inc. to expand company's patient safety solutions
Full ArticlePrecision Dynamics Corporation (PDC), a global expert in health care identification solutions, has acquired TimeMed Labeling Systems Inc., a national producer of speciality health care labels, to create the industry's leading provider of patient safety identification solutions. Water Street Healthcare Partners, a private equity firm focused exclusively on the health care industry and an investor in PDC, was instrumental in bringing the two companies together.
Computer model improves ultrasound image
Full ArticleDoctors use diagnostic sonography or ultrasound to visualise organs and other internal structures of the human body. Dutch researcher Koos Huijssen has developed a computer model that can predict the sound transmission of improved designs for ultrasound instruments. The computer model is capable of processing large quantities of data and can be run on both a PC and a parallel supercomputer. Erasmus University Medical Centre and Oldelft Ultrasound are now using this programme to design a new sonographic transducer.
New study by empirica substantiates lack of widely used eHealth standards
Full ArticleA new study about ICT standards in the health sector by empirica provides a structured overview of eHealth standards development and uptake in a European context, paying special attention to standards for electronic health records. The study was commissioned by the European Commission's Directorate General Enterprise and Industry and explores the current status of ICT health standardisation processes and their future potential.
Ascension to show magnetic sensors for new biopsy needle and bronchoscope procedures at RSNA 2008
Full ArticleAscension Technology Corporation will showcase its newest sub-millimeter sensors for localization and guidance of biopsy needles, catheters, and guidewires at RSNA 2008, the Radiological Society of North America Conference and Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, November 30 - December 5, 2008. In addition, CIVCO Medical Solutions and Ascension Technology Corporation have launched a new biopsy needle localization and guidance system for minimally invasive medical procedures. When integrated with 3D ultrasound visualization tools it enables accurate, percutaneous targeting to lesions without radiation or open surgery.
 
VMWC news bites
 
Rhode Island Hospital simulation centre examines benefits and applications of medical simulation
Full ArticleEmergency medicine physicians and simulation experts from Rhode Island Hospital (RIH) discuss the benefits of advanced medical simulation in five manuscripts appearing in the November 2008 issue of Academic Emergency Medicine - now available on-line. The articles describe how simulation centres, along with new portable simulation technology, offer unique training opportunities for dynamic, complex and unanticipated medical situations in acute care fields. At the same time, the authors show how to guide team training and create new tools to measure teamwork effectiveness.
Stroke patients soon may have fun with high-tech tool
Full ArticleThe University of Central Florida (UCF) will immerse stroke survivors in a virtual world full of flying insects to help expand their range of movement. Researchers in UCF's Media Convergence Lab (MCL) are teaming up with the California-based Virtual Reality Medical Center (VRMC) to create the programme and software that can track patients' progress.
Research 'A' team to fast track Bionic Eye, according to Australian consortium
Full ArticleTens of thousands of people with severe vision loss are set to benefit after the establishment of a landmark partnership of world-leading Australian research institutes. Bionic Vision Australia (BVA) will pursue the development of the most technologically advanced bionic eye to improve the sight of people with degenerative or inherited retinal disease. Bionic Vision Australia's members include the University of Melbourne, the University of New South Wales, the Bionic Ear Institute, Centre for Eye Research Australia and the Victoria Research Laboratory of NICTA.
New discovery may enhance MRI scans and lead to portable MRI machines
Full ArticleResearchers in Ohio and France have solved a longstanding scientific mystery involving magnetic resonance - the physical phenomenon that allows Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) instruments in modern hospitals to image tissues deep within the human body. Their discovery, a new mathematical algorithm, should lead to new MRI techniques with more informative and sharper images.
Biocomputer Systems and Healthcare
Full ArticleBiocomputers utilize systems of biologically derived molecules, such as DNA and proteins, to perform computational calculations involving storing, retrieving, and processing data. Biomolecular computing has emerged as an interdisciplinary field that draws together molecular biology, chemistry, computer science and mathematics. This article is intended to provide health IT managers with a high level overview of this emerging technology.
 

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