VMW Monthly - January 2009 - 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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Contents January 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Personal Health Record (PHR) Systems and Return on Investment (ROI)
New mobile clinic puts the health of Indigenous children in the front seat
Rochester Human Immunology Center will continue to drive standard methods and better science
Stanford blood scanner detects even faint indicators of cancer
California statewide centre for telehealth established
 
Grid for Health
 
Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility helps researcher win Sackler Prize
Special feature: Unlocking the dynamic web to form new partnerships
Renowned scientific research institute GSI utilizes Foundry to power particle accelerator HPC network
IBM breaks new ground with interoperable medical imaging and patient data archiving solution
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center taps Star-P to pioneer new biomedical imaging techniques
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
Cell phones using lens-free imaging promise to improve health monitoring
Engineers develop wireless crib monitor to keep tabs on baby's breathing
Implantable monitor may help in managing diastolic heart failure
Integrated Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring and Pulse Wave Analysis to underline I.E.M.'s technology leadership
VivoMetrics partners with Continua Health Alliance to advance telehealth to improve patient care
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
MedCommons HealthURL, a new unified clinical viewer appliance, is integrated with EMC Open Systems Archive Solution for Healthcare Organizations
IBM and Merge Healthcare join forces for better development of advanced medical imaging technology
SensAble Technologies' new OpenHaptics software development toolkit simplifies programming touch-enabled applications
AMAC to be first United States market channel partner to deploy Intel's new telehealth system
Sun Microsystems leads international consortium and wins grant for research and development project on technology accessibility
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona to co-ordinate two European projects on biomedicine
European Society of Cardiology launches a new release of HeartScore
New centre launched to spearhead United Kingdom's research in synthetic biology
Computation and genomics data drive bacterial research into new golden age
Bringing lab-on-a-chip to a surgery near you
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Advanced technologies and wireless telecommunications enhance care and medical training at the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami
Operations engineering for more efficient operating rooms
Global Med Technologies' European subsidiary to provide strategic blood transfusion software for 21 Paris hospitals
Researchers create smaller, brighter probe tailored for molecular imaging and tumour targeting
Advanced imaging technology used at Mayo Clinic improves spinal surgery outcome
 
Virtual snap shots
 
New Prescription Label Magnifier helps users read and identify medications
Adena Health System uses LifeSize high definition video to bring remote specialists to infant patients
At European Venture Summit Transinsight launches new version of GoPubMed and wins as one of the top 5 European biotech start-ups
Health-e-Child wins Best Exhibit Award ICT 2008
Researchers make a 'molecular manual' for hundreds of inherited diseases
 
VMWC news bites
 
First images from medical beamline at Canadian Light Source
'Intelligent' materials to revolutionize surgical implants
New technique is quantum leap forward in understanding proteins
PNNL researchers earn top honours at Supercomputing conference
The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Guttmann Institute to develop cognitive telerehabilitation programme that uses virtual reality
 

Leads January 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Personal Health Record (PHR) Systems and Return on Investment (ROI)
Full ArticleMeeting the health care needs of people in an effective and efficient manner is becoming an ever-more challenging proposition as costs rise, reimbursement goes down, quality accountability goes up, and demands for new treatments increase. Professionals, politicians, and patients are realizing that the current health care system, despite all its strengths, is broken and must be transformed.
New mobile clinic puts the health of Indigenous children in the front seat
Full ArticleBrisbane medical specialists will use patient images and information captured by a new $1,5 million mobile health screening service to diagnose and treat Indigenous children living hundreds of kilometres away. Medical experts believe the new mobile service, part of a University of Queensland research project, unveiled in Brisbane, could shape future health care for Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. It is expected to slash the incidence of preventable conditions such as glue ear and perforations.
Rochester Human Immunology Center will continue to drive standard methods and better science
Full ArticleThe Rochester Human Immunology Center (RHIC) has been awarded a $4 million renewal of its grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease (NIAID). The renewal enables RHIC to continue leading the field of immunology in a worldwide effort to standardize how researchers use complex technologies like flow cytometry that are central to the discovery of new treatments.
Stanford blood scanner detects even faint indicators of cancer
Full ArticleA team led by Stanford researchers has developed a prototype blood scanner that can find cancer markers in the bloodstream in early stages of the disease, potentially allowing for earlier treatment and dramatically improved chances of survival. The system based on MagArray biodetection chips can find cancer-associated proteins in a blood serum sample in less than an hour, and with much greater sensitivity than existing commercial devices. In fact, the device, which uses magnetic nanotechnology to spot the cancer proteins, is tens to hundreds of times more sensitive, meaning the proteins can be found while there are relatively few of them in the bloodstream. The researchers reported their results in the December 1 on-line edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
California statewide centre for telehealth established
Full ArticleThe California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) has established the California Center for Connected Health (CCCH), a strategy and planning body to lead and co-ordinate telehealth adoption throughout the state. The Sacramento-based organisation will be led by Sandra Shewry, former director of the California Department of Health Care Services, who will become president and CEO, effective January 1, 2009.
 
Grid for Health
 
Argonne's Leadership Computing Facility helps researcher win Sackler Prize
Full ArticleDavid Baker, University of Washington (UW) professor of biochemistry and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute, has been awarded the 2008 Raymond & Beverly Sackler International Prize in Biophysics. David Baker is being honoured for his significant contributions to computer-based studies of the manner and the speed in which chains of amino acids fold into protein molecules. Creating computer models of protein folding is essential for figuring out how genetic information directs protein formation, how proteins work and how misfolded, misshapen and malfunctioning proteins might underlie serious degenerative diseases.
Special feature: Unlocking the dynamic web to form new partnerships
Full ArticleMost of the web's potential can't be tapped via websites and browsers. A smart toolkit crafted by European researchers to unlock those hidden resources has now been tested in three real-world applications. Eighteen months ago, the European Union-funded OpenKnowledge programme set out to provide internet users with a simple set of tools to find and interact smoothly with trustworthy partners across the web.
Renowned scientific research institute GSI utilizes Foundry to power particle accelerator HPC network
Full ArticleThe German-based Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) selected Foundry Networks Inc.'s high-performance computing (HPC) networking solution for its uncompromised performance, efficiency and value. Foundry's 10 gigabit Ethernet (10GbE) switching solution for the GSI's particle accelerator network and facility allows wire-speed handling of the enormous volume of data resulting from experiments with the GSI's own revolutionary particle accelerator and with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.
IBM breaks new ground with interoperable medical imaging and patient data archiving solution
Full ArticleIBM has unveiled a powerful new combination of advanced imaging and information archiving technologies that provides health care and research organisations with complete and timely access to critical imaging and diagnostic information at the point of care - regardless of the source, age or location of the information. IBM's new Healthcare Image and Information Grid (HIIG) framework is built on open standards and enables physicians to make better decisions based on more complete information at the precise moment it is needed for a patient's care.
M.D. Anderson Cancer Center taps Star-P to pioneer new biomedical imaging techniques
Full ArticleResearchers at the University of Texas' M.D. Anderson Cancer Center are applying new supercomputing technology to biomedical imaging in the quest to detect and eliminate cancer. M.D. Anderson's Department of Imaging Physics is experimenting with advanced image registration, reconstruction and segmentation techniques that combine different imaging modalities to create multi-dimensional image representations with the ultimate goal of improving diagnosis and treatment of disease.
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
Cell phones using lens-free imaging promise to improve health monitoring
Full ArticleCell phones have already revolutionized the way people around the world communicate and do business. Thanks to advances being made at the University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA), they are about to do the same thing for medicine. In the lab of UCLA electrical engineering professor Aydogan Ozcan, a prototype cell phone has been constructed that is capable of monitoring the condition of HIV and malaria patients, as well as testing water quality in undeveloped areas or disaster sites.
Engineers develop wireless crib monitor to keep tabs on baby's breathing
Full ArticleRadar - the technology that tracks enemy bombers and hurricanes - is now being employed to detect another danger: when babies stop breathing. In a high-tech twist on the remote devices that allow parents to listen to or watch their baby from afar, University of Florida engineering researchers have built a prototype baby monitor that focuses on a baby's breathing. If his or her chest stops moving, the crib-mounted monitor detects the problem and sends an alarm to a portable unit kept by the parents.
Implantable monitor may help in managing diastolic heart failure
Full ArticleAn implantable haemodynamic monitor (IHM) may help to guide medical treatment in a large subgroup of patients with heart failure - those with diastolic heart failure (DHF), reports a study in the December Journal of Cardiac Failure, published by Elsevier.
Integrated Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring and Pulse Wave Analysis to underline I.E.M.'s technology leadership
Full ArticleI.E.M. has launched its integrated Pulse Wave Analysis (PWA) Solution as an upgrade to the well proven ambulatory 24-hour blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) system Mobil-O-Graph NG. The new feature has been developed together with the Austrian Research Center (ARC) and once more underlines I.E.M.'s claim as technology expert in the field of hypertension management and virtual hypertension clinic.
VivoMetrics partners with Continua Health Alliance to advance telehealth to improve patient care
Full ArticleVivoMetrics Inc., developer of LifeShirt, a continuous, integrated and wearable remote patient monitoring (RPM) system, is joining the Continua Health Alliance, a coalition whose goal is to create an interoperable system of personal telehealth solutions that aim to foster independence and empower people to better manage their health and wellness.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
MedCommons HealthURL, a new unified clinical viewer appliance, is integrated with EMC Open Systems Archive Solution for Healthcare Organizations
Full ArticleMedCommons has integrated its HealthURL Appliance with the EMC Open Systems Archive Solution for Healthcare Organisations. The EMC Open Systems Archive Solution for Healthcare Organizations provides a modular DICOM-compliant management platform that aggregates and reconciles patient information, including medical images from clinical and business applications into a patient-centric archive. The integration with the MedCommons appliance unifies the presentation of the most important health care documents including legacy documents, structured and coded XML documents and diagnostic imaging. The unified presentation is available both inside and outside the enterprise via modern Web browsers and iPhone.
IBM and Merge Healthcare join forces for better development of advanced medical imaging technology
Full ArticleWith the help of IBM, Merge Healthcare is providing doctors, radiologists and other medical professionals easier access to medical images including x-rays, MRIs and CT scans. Medical professionals can now view medical images using a mobile device or desktop computer without waiting for medical imaging films, accessing a specialized system or downloading cumbersome files. Merge Healthcare's new technology can help medical professionals quickly view emergency cases, consult with colleagues and forward critical findings.
SensAble Technologies' new OpenHaptics software development toolkit simplifies programming touch-enabled applications
Full ArticleSensAble Technologies, a provider of haptic devices, applications and toolkits, has made available OpenHaptics version 3.0, a software development toolkit that dramatically simplifies and speeds the touch-enabling of computer applications. Designed to work with SensAble's PHANTOM force-feedback haptic devices, the release includes the new QuickHaptics micro API, which enables any professional with even passing familiarity with C++ to quickly and easily add kinesthetic feedback to what users see and/or hear on a computer screen.
AMAC to be first United States market channel partner to deploy Intel's new telehealth system
Full ArticleAmerican Medical Alert Corporation (AMAC), a provider of health care communication services and advanced home health monitoring technologies, has executed a market channel partner agreement with Intel to provide the Intel Health Guide as part of its portfolio of Health and Safety Monitoring Systems (HSMS) offerings.
Sun Microsystems leads international consortium and wins grant for research and development project on technology accessibility
Full ArticleSun Microsystems Inc. is steering global efforts in solving accessibility challenges for all devices from cell phones to desktops and web applications by leading a consortium of over 20 other companies and organisations. The consortium will help define new approaches and solutions for building accessibility support into future information and communication technologies. Funded by a grant awarded by the European Commission, the AEGIS project is based on the Sun-led proposal and technical architecture. A key component of the AEGIS project is that it will leverage open source technologies wherever possible.
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Institute for Research in Biomedicine Barcelona to co-ordinate two European projects on biomedicine
Full ArticleThe Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) has been chosen by the European Commission (EC) to co-ordinate two European health research projects, as part of the second call of the VII Framework Programme. This concession makes IRB Barcelona a leader in European projects in Spain, together with the Spanish National Research Council. In all, Spanish centres will be heading ten projects. The EC will grant IRB Barcelona funding of more than 5 million euro from 2009 to 2011. Malaria and diabetes will be the topics addressed by the consortia headed by the researchers Lluís Ribas de Pouplana and Antonio Zorzano.
European Society of Cardiology launches a new release of HeartScore
Full ArticleA new release of HeartScore, the interactive tool designed to predict and help manage the risk of heart attack and stroke in Europe created by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), was launched on 18 November 2008. This revised version includes relative risk for younger patients, in addition to patient data history and progress monitoring. Three formats are now available to accommodate the users' needs: a web-based version in 13 languages tracking patient data history, a PC version available for download and an on-line Quick Calculator.
New centre launched to spearhead United Kingdom's research in synthetic biology
Full ArticleProgramming biological cells so that they behave like engineering parts is the focus of research at a new United Kingdom centre, thanks to a GBP 8 million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The new centre will focus on synthetic biology. This is a field in which engineers work with molecular bioscientists to produce biologically-based parts, by modifying DNA. These parts could be used to build biological devices that could detect the early onset of disease or combat harmful bacterial infections.
Computation and genomics data drive bacterial research into new golden age
Full ArticleA potent combination of powerful new analysis methods and abundant data from genomics projects is carrying microbiology forward into a new era. Bacteria in particular are shedding light on fundamental molecular and signaling processes of interest not just within microbiology, but across the whole spectrum of life sciences embracing higher organisms, including plants and vertebrates. Medical research will benefit through improved knowledge of how bacteria behave when inside host organisms such as humans, both in benevolent symbiotic relationships and when causing infectious diseases such as TB.
Bringing lab-on-a-chip to a surgery near you
Full ArticleIf doctors were able to conduct efficient genetic analysis at the point of care, using inexpensive, portable equipment, it would revolutionise disease detection and treatment. European researchers are close to enabling this revolution.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Advanced technologies and wireless telecommunications enhance care and medical training at the Ryder Trauma Center in Miami
Full ArticleThe William Lehman Injury Research Center (WLIRC), an internationally recognized research facility located at the University of Miami/Jackson Medical Center's Ryder Trauma Center; the United States Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC); the Army Trauma Training Center (ATTC); the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) and Qualcomm, through its Wireless Reach initiative, are collaborating to expand the reach and clinical effectiveness of physicians using the InTouch Health, RP-7 robot for trauma care.
Operations engineering for more efficient operating rooms
Full ArticleWork by specialists from the University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering has led to significant improvements in turnover times for operating rooms (O.R.) at three California safety net hospitals, allowing "many more hours of daytime surgery per year". Because of the success of the programme, the work will be expanded to include three more hospitals.
Global Med Technologies' European subsidiary to provide strategic blood transfusion software for 21 Paris hospitals
Full ArticleGlobal Med Technologies Inc.'s European subsidiary, Inlog S.A., has licensed its EdgeTrack Transfusion Software, marketed as "Hemo Serveur" in France, to 21 Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris (AP-HP) hospitals, representing 23.000 patient beds. For Global Med, this project represents over $2 million, at current exchange rates, in software and services.
Researchers create smaller, brighter probe tailored for molecular imaging and tumour targeting
Full ArticleResearchers have developed a new generation of microscopic particles for molecular imaging, constituting one of the first promising nanoparticle platforms that may be readily adapted for tumour targeting and treatment in the clinic. According to the investigators at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and Cornell University, these particles are biologically safe, stable, and small enough to be easily transported across the body's structures and efficiently excreted through the urine. It is the first time that all of these properties have been successfully engineered on a single-particle platform, called "C dots", in order to optimize the biological behaviour and imaging properties of nanoparticles for use in a wide array of biomedical and life science applications. The work will be published in the January 2009 issue of Nano Letters.
Advanced imaging technology used at Mayo Clinic improves spinal surgery outcome
Full ArticleUsing a three-dimensional (3D) image-guided system to help place screws in the spines of patients results in safe and accurate surgery with a decrease in the number of misplaced screws, and subsequent injuries, seen in more traditional operations, according to neurosurgeons at Mayo Clinic in Florida. In the December 9 on-line edition of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine, Mayo physicians published the largest study yet using 3D image-guided technology to place screws in the spine for spinal fusion procedures. The screws are used to stabilize the spine in patients who suffer from collapsed discs or compressed nerves.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
New Prescription Label Magnifier helps users read and identify medications
Full ArticleDignified Products LLC has introduced the Dignity Prescription Label Magnifier. The Prescription Label Magnifier helps people of all types, including seniors and their caregivers, to easily read and identify their medications. The specially designed magnifying lens enables users to read more than two times the size of the print.
Adena Health System uses LifeSize high definition video to bring remote specialists to infant patients
Full ArticleAdena Health System has put LifeSize high definition video communications solutions to work linking neonatal patients in rural Ohio with paediatric specialists in Columbus. In its first year of use, the number of newborns transferred from Adena's hospital in Chillicothe to the neonatal specialists at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus was cut in half - from 140 to 70 - improving patient care, cutting costs and sparing mothers, infants and their families of the burden of traveling to a specialist.
At European Venture Summit Transinsight launches new version of GoPubMed and wins as one of the top 5 European biotech start-ups
Full ArticleTransinsight has launched GoPubMed.com version 4.0, the latest edition of the semantic search engine for the life sciences. The new version has significantly improved features.
Health-e-Child wins Best Exhibit Award ICT 2008
Full ArticleHealth-e-Child, an Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) supported project connecting paediatrics health care professionals with Grid technology, was awarded the ICT 2008 Exhibit Grand Prize worth 10.000 euro, at the largest European conference of the year on Information and Communication Technologies held in Lyon, France, 25-27 November 2008.
Researchers make a 'molecular manual' for hundreds of inherited diseases
Full ArticleResearchers have created a catalogue of tissue-specific processes involved in hundreds of inherited diseases. These results could help treat diseases such as breast cancer, Parkinson disease, heart diseases and autism, and is the result of a collaboration between nine scientists from the Technical University of Denmark, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.
 
VMWC news bites
 
First images from medical beamline at Canadian Light Source
Full ArticleA University of Saskatchewan-led research team at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) synchrotron has received an early Christmas present. After several years of research, construction and testing, the unique-in-North-America BioMedical Imaging and Therapy facility (BMIT) captured its first X-ray images.
'Intelligent' materials to revolutionize surgical implants
Full ArticleA brand new process that could revolutionise the reliability and durability of surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements, has received recognition for its medical and commercial potential by achieving one of the world's most sought after accolades. A team of researchers, led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has received a Medical Futures Innovation Award for its high technology process designed to coat surgical implants with fibres that, for the first time, will encourage the implant to 'bond' with living bone and to last the lifetime of the patient.
New technique is quantum leap forward in understanding proteins
Full ArticleIn an ongoing quest, a group of Scripps Research Institute scientists, along with colleagues from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), have borrowed from physics to deliver one of those research rarities - an unmitigated success. The group has devised a computational method that, with remarkable accuracy, predicts how bacterial proteins fold and interact.
PNNL researchers earn top honours at Supercomputing conference
Full ArticleDNA sequencing is easier than ever, but the amount of data to be analysed is piling up. An award-winning computer programme now shows that genome sequence analysis can be made interactive and intuitive, helping researchers find hidden relationships in massive amounts of data. Researchers from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) captured "Best Overall" for their entry at the Supercomputing '08 High Performance Computing Analytics Challenge in Austin, Texas, on November 20, 2008.
The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Guttmann Institute to develop cognitive telerehabilitation programme that uses virtual reality
Full ArticleThe Guttmann Institute, the Biomedical Engineering Research Center (CREB) and the Department of Software of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) with the Rovira i Virgili University (URV), as well as other science and technology partners, are working on a telerehabilitation programme for treating people with cognitive deficits caused by acquired brain damage. A three-dimensional space has been designed to help these people improve their functional capacity in daily life activities.
 

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