VMW Monthly - February 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 February 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
'Cutting'-edge research to develop a better view for surgeons
Slices of living brain tissue are helping scientists identify new stroke therapies
Telemedicine can dramatically improve child sexual assault examinations in rural areas
New MicroBiome Analysis Center to explore health effects of micro-organisms within the human body
UCLA assessment technique lets scientists see brain aging before symptoms appear
 
Grid for Health
 
University of Southern California awarded $22,2 million NIH national biomedical informatics infrastructure co-ordinating centre contract
Med-ePHV project keeping an eye on medicine
Seventh HealthGrid Conference to be held in Berlin, Germany
IBM advances research through Cloud computing to help solve real-world problems
Release of NEBC Bio-Linux Version 5.0 - a one-stop shop for bioinformatics tools in a Linux context
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
Nano-tetherball biosensor precisely detects glucose
Recent Health Hero Network successes of deployments with Medicare and Veterans Affairs signal new era of telehealth
Vena, the first fully Continua compliant wireless health device, demonstrated at Consumer Electronics Show
RPGSi selects M2SYS fingerprint biometrics software for revolutionary patient identification system
Diversinet global exclusive partner is announcing AllOne Mobile to provide Army's 'Wounded Warriors' with electronic support system
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Syngene partners with Sapient Discovery to expand integrated drug discovery offerings
Ontario Government provides Agfa HealthCare with CAD$29,6 million grant to support further growth
Pro Medicus acquires Visage Imaging - experts in advanced digital imaging
Genomatix joins Illumina-Connect programme
As touch-enabled medical training expands, new applications highlight realism of SensAble's haptic devices and software
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Key to future medical breakthroughs is systems biology, according to European scientists
The largest roll-out of hospital electronic prescribing in the United Kingdom has commenced
Custom-Fit shortens transfemoral prosthesis manufacturing time
The use of magnetic resonance imaging improves the diagnosis of patients in a vegetative state
Students from UAB and UPC will experiment under microgravity conditions at the ESA
 
The 21st century hospital
 
St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center improves safety and regulatory compliance with Wi-Fi temperature monitoring solution from NEC and AeroScout
Tawam Hospital goes live with Philips iSite Radiology Image and Information Management System
Rhode Island Hospital first in United States to treat kidney tumour with new device using electrical pulses
Mayo Clinic and IBM establish medical imaging research centre
Children's National Medical Center selects eClinicalWorks for Children's IQ Network
 
Virtual snap shots
 
New training method helps surgeons evaluate their own minimally invasive surgery skills
Assessment of virtual reality for key-hole surgery and robo-surgery for key-hole gallbladder removal
A fantastic voyage brought to life
Tiny syringe pinpoints drug delivery
University of Queensland research finds speech disorders can be assessed from a distance
 
VMWC news bites
 
Research shows combined use of a robot and virtual reality system improve walking speed and distance post-stroke
Medical robotics expert explores the human-machine interface
Physical therapists test mechanical arm to help patients recover from stroke and traumatic brain injury
Dynamical theory and novel 4D colorimetric method reveal modus operandi of intact living brain
Microbot motors fit to swim human arteries
 

Leads February 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
'Cutting'-edge research to develop a better view for surgeons
Full ArticleA multidisciplinary team of researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) is nearing completion of their first prototype of "SurgiCam", a tiny surgical camera that can be inserted through a 1,5 cm incision in the abdomen during minimally invasive surgery (MIS).
Slices of living brain tissue are helping scientists identify new stroke therapies
Full ArticleSlices of living human brain tissue are helping scientists learn which drugs can block the waves of death that engulf and engorge brain cells following a stroke. It's called anoxic depolarization and it primarily results from the brain getting insufficient blood and oxygen after a stroke, according to Dr. Sergei Kirov, neuro-scientist in the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies.
Telemedicine can dramatically improve child sexual assault examinations in rural areas
Full ArticleThe use of telemedicine can dramatically improve the quality of child sexual assault examinations in rural communities where rates of abuse and neglect are highest - sometimes more than double the statewide rate - a study published in the January issue of the medical journal Pediatrics has found. The finding is important because the highest rates of child sexual assault in California occur in its rural counties - most of which are in Northern California - where there are fewer practitioners trained to conduct the examinations that are crucial to child health and to obtain evidence to prosecute perpetrators and protect children in the future.
New MicroBiome Analysis Center to explore health effects of micro-organisms within the human body
Full ArticleThe human body contains billions of micro-organisms. Microbial cells in the human gut are estimated to outnumber human cells by ten to one in healthy adults, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), but very little is known about the ways in which these minute life forms influence health and disease. A new molecular ecology facility at George Mason University, the MicroBiome Analysis Center (MBAC), is attempting to scout this unchartered territory and map the world that these bacteria, viruses, fungi and protozoa inhabit within us. Their effect on human health will be a major focus of research at the centre where investigators will explore microbial imbalances on or within the gut, mouth, respiratory tract and urinary and reproductive systems.
UCLA assessment technique lets scientists see brain aging before symptoms appear
Full ArticleUniversity of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) scientists have used innovative brain-scan technology developed at UCLA, along with patient-specific information on Alzheimer's disease risk, to help diagnose brain aging, often before symptoms appear. Published in the January issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, their study may offer a more accurate method for tracking brain aging.
 
Grid for Health
 
University of Southern California awarded $22,2 million NIH national biomedical informatics infrastructure co-ordinating centre contract
Full ArticleThe University of Southern California (USC) will be the new central clearing house for an ambitious ongoing national project to collect and integrate a wide range of biomedical data to make it more accessible to physicians and researchers. The National Center for Research Resources, a component institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded USC a major grant to support the Biomedical Informatics Research Network Coordinating Center (BIRNCC) at USC.
Med-ePHV project keeping an eye on medicine
Full ArticleMedicines impact the lives of millions of people and strengthen their well-being, but there are risks involved in their use. Scientists agree that risk assessment during drug development should be carried out rigorously, but identifying safety concerns during clinical trials is complex. Pharmaco-vigilance is a field of science dedicated to the understanding and prevention of the adverse effects of medicines. The Med-ePHV - "Learning and practising pharmaco-vigilance in the Mediterranean countries" - project, funded under the European Union's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) with 804.420 euro, proposed an innovative approach to EU pharmaco-vigilance practice.
Seventh HealthGrid Conference to be held in Berlin, Germany
Full ArticleHealthGrid 2009 is the 7th annual conference dedicated to the transformation of biomedical research, education, and medical care through the application of Grid technologies. The seventh edition will be held from June 28th till July 1st in Berlin, Germany. The goal of this conference is to promote awareness and use of Grid technologies in the biomedical sector by bringing together stakeholders and experts from a variety of disciplines. Deadline for paper submission is February 15, 2009.
IBM advances research through Cloud computing to help solve real-world problems
Full ArticleIBM is working with six universities to leverage IBM Blue Cloud solutions to speed up projects and research initiatives that were once constrained by time, limited or unavailable resources, or overloaded IT systems. The University of Pretoria, is using Cloud computing to test the development of drugs to slow the progression of serious illnesses in Africa. In addition, IBM is also working with the Higher Education Alliance for Leadership Through Health (HEALTH) Alliance in East Africa and Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan to use Cloud computing.
Release of NEBC Bio-Linux Version 5.0 - a one-stop shop for bioinformatics tools in a Linux context
Full ArticleThe NERC Environmental Bioinformatics Centre (NEBC), based at the United Kingdom Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, has released the latest version of NEBC Bio-Linux, a specialised computing system designed for the environmental genomics research community. Bio-Linux is a freely available computing platform designed to provide a one-stop shop for accessing a wide range of standard and cutting-edge bioinformatics tools in a Linux context.
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
Nano-tetherball biosensor precisely detects glucose
Full ArticleResearchers have created a precise biosensor for detecting blood glucose and potentially many other biological molecules by using hollow structures called single-wall carbon nanotubes anchored to gold-coated "nanocubes". The device resembles a tiny cube-shaped tetherball. Each tetherball is a sensor and is anchored to electronic circuitry by a nanotube, which acts as both a tether and ultrathin wire to conduct electrical signals, according to Timothy Fisher, a Purdue University professor of mechanical engineering.
Recent Health Hero Network successes of deployments with Medicare and Veterans Affairs signal new era of telehealth
Full ArticleThe first large-scale, multi-year roll-outs and evaluations of Health Hero Network's Health Buddy System have shown success in helping improve the care of high-cost Medicare beneficiaries and veterans while reducing costs and hospitalizations - signaling a new era of telehealth that will reshape an American health care landscape strained by an aging population, a reduction in caregivers and shrinking financial resources.
Vena, the first fully Continua compliant wireless health device, demonstrated at Consumer Electronics Show
Full ArticleWith growing numbers of people categorised as overweight or obese, and with an ageing but increasingly wealthy population, demand is growing in western countries for consumer products which will help people to manage their health. Cambridge Consultants' Vena technology platform is the first and only device to demonstrate full interoperability to the Continua Health Alliance Standard. The company's experience of developing low cost, high performance single-chip wireless solutions, combined with its access to the Bluetooth stack, have resulted in a unique platform that leads the way for wireless health device development.
RPGSi selects M2SYS fingerprint biometrics software for revolutionary patient identification system
Full ArticleRPGSi Business Solutions, a provider of effective and high quality technology and information systems to Latin America, has integrated Bio-Plugin Appserver fingerprint software, developed by M2SYS Technology, an award-winning fingerprint biometrics research and development firm, into its HealthGest health care software. RPGSi will be distributing the fingerprint recognition solution with M2SYS' M2-S optical fingerprint reader.
Diversinet global exclusive partner is announcing AllOne Mobile to provide Army's 'Wounded Warriors' with electronic support system
Full ArticleDiversinet Corporation's exclusive global partner, in response to soldiers returning home with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other significant injuries, together with the United States military is launching a pilot telehealth outreach programme to better track their progress. Through AllOne Mobile, a health information management application provided by AllOne Health and secured by Diversinet Corporation, secure, two-way mobile technology will link Wounded Warriors recuperating at home with their case managers and unit support staff.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Syngene partners with Sapient Discovery to expand integrated drug discovery offerings
Full ArticleSyngene International, a subsidiary of Biocon Group, a major Indian biotechnology expert, will offer fully integrated drug discovery services by partnering with Sapient Discovery, a United States-based biotechnology company. Syngene provides integrated chemistry, biology and biologics services to support development programmes of pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide on a platform of confidentiality and intellectual property protection.
Ontario Government provides Agfa HealthCare with CAD$29,6 million grant to support further growth
Full ArticleAgfa HealthCare, a provider of IT-enabled work flow and diagnostic imaging solutions, has signed an agreement with the Government of Ontario, Canada for a CAD$29,6 million governmental grant to support the growth of the company's Research, Development and Regional operation centres in Toronto and Waterloo, Canada. The grant will support a total of nearly $200 million investment by Agfa HealthCare in its Ontario operations, creating 100 new positions and re-investing in 276 existing jobs.
Pro Medicus acquires Visage Imaging - experts in advanced digital imaging
Full ArticleAustralia's leading medical IT and e-health provider Pro Medicus Limited has acquired Visage Imaging, an expert in digital imaging and advanced 3D visualisation technology based in Carlsbad California. The purchase is the culmination of a year's research into merger and acquisition opportunities for Pro Medicus.
Genomatix joins Illumina-Connect programme
Full ArticleGenomatix Software has joined the Illumina-Connect programme, linking them to the ongoing Illumina programme and working with them to develop new tools and applications for Illumina-generated data. Genomatix Software GmbH is a computational biology company headquartered in Munich, Germany with a seat of business in Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. Founded in 1997, Genomatix pioneered the analysis and understanding of eukaryotic gene regulation. Over a decade of developments in computational and systems biology has put Genomatix into position to have a complete analysis pipeline in place at the arrival of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology. Genomatix has published more than 180 peer reviewed scientific papers with more than 5000 citations. Over 35.000 researchers worldwide currently apply Genomatix tools and databases.
As touch-enabled medical training expands, new applications highlight realism of SensAble's haptic devices and software
Full ArticleAt the Medicine Meets Virtual Reality (MMVR) conference opening in Long Beach, SensAble Technologies Inc., a provider of haptic devices, toolkits and 3D modelling applications, has highlighted novel touch-enabled applications using the company's haptic devices and software that show how SensAble sets the standard for innovative touch-enabled medical training and simulation.
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Key to future medical breakthroughs is systems biology, according to European scientists
Full ArticleCrucial breakthroughs in the treatment of many common diseases such as diabetes and Parkinson's could be achieved by harnessing a powerful scientific approach called systems biology, according to leading scientists from across Europe. In a Science Policy Briefing released by the European Science Foundation, the scientists provide a detailed strategy for the application of systems biology to medical research over the coming years.
The largest roll-out of hospital electronic prescribing in the United Kingdom has commenced
Full ArticleA major project to implement full e-prescribing and drug administration across three acute care sites in Birmingham's Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust has commenced. The Trust's Board has chosen to implement JAC's E-Prescribing and Medicines Administration (EPMA) system to ensure best practice for patient safety. As the largest project of its kind in the United Kingdom, the roll-out of hospital EPMA will provide advanced functionality and reporting tools for managing inpatient and TTO (to-take-out) medicines to several thousand front-line clinicians and cover over 1800 beds across all the wards and theatres at Heartlands, Solihull and Good Hope Hospitals.
Custom-Fit shortens transfemoral prosthesis manufacturing time
Full ArticleCustom-Fit is a European funded project, co-ordinated by Delcam, which has developed a new and cost-effective way to manufacture fully customised products, individually designed starting from body geometries and putting together rapid manufacturing, information technologies and material science.
The use of magnetic resonance imaging improves the diagnosis of patients in a vegetative state
Full ArticleA study led by researchers from Catalonia analyses the importance of the use of magnetic resonance imaging to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients in a vegetative state. Until now these tests have not been performed in this type of patient. The results show activation of the auditory and linguistic areas of the brain despite the absence of observable behavioural responses.
Students from UAB and UPC will experiment under microgravity conditions at the ESA
Full ArticleA group of postgraduate students belonging to the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) were chosen by the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and carry out a scientific experiment under microgravity conditions. They will be monitoring how interactions between drugs and cells differ under these conditions. The flights will take place this coming fall.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center improves safety and regulatory compliance with Wi-Fi temperature monitoring solution from NEC and AeroScout
Full ArticleSt. Joseph's Hospital Health Center has deployed a wireless temperature monitoring solution to help staff monitor critical refrigerated health care assets. St. Joseph's leveraged NEC's communications integration expertise and AeroScout's Healthcare Solutions to help maintain regulatory compliance, increase staff efficiency and improve safety.
Tawam Hospital goes live with Philips iSite Radiology Image and Information Management System
Full ArticleTawam Hospital, the Middle East's leading medical institution in affiliation with Johns Hopkins Medicine International, and Royal Philips Electronics have celebrated the "go-live" of the hospital's new iSite Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS). Tawam Hospital is the first public hospital in the Middle East to implement iSite's innovative "fee per study" model. Under the agreement, the hospital pays a fee on a monthly basis to view, distribute and store medical images, rather than making a large payment for equipment up-front.
Rhode Island Hospital first in United States to treat kidney tumour with new device using electrical pulses
Full ArticleOn January 8, 2009, Rhode Island Hospital treated an inoperable kidney tumour using a new technology known as NanoKnife. Damian Dupuy, MD, director of ablation services at Rhode Island Hospital and a national pioneer in ablation treatment, performed the procedure - the first time it has been used on a kidney tumour in the United States.
Mayo Clinic and IBM establish medical imaging research centre
Full ArticleMayo Clinic and IBM have created a collaborative research facility aimed at advancing medical imaging technologies to improve the quality of patient care. The Medical Imaging Informatics Innovation Center (MI3C) is an extension of a Mayo-IBM research collaboration announced in 2007, the results of which have given physicians the ability to register medical images up to 50 times quicker and provide critical diagnosis, such as the growth or shrinkage of tumours, in seconds instead of hours.
Children's National Medical Center selects eClinicalWorks for Children's IQ Network
Full ArticleChildren's National Medical Center of Washington D.C. has selected eClinicalWorks unified electronic medical record (EMR) and practice management (PM) software for its Children's IQ Network. Children's IQ Network is dedicated to improving connectivity, care and outcomes for children - and will be the first of its kind in the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia region. Community paediatricians will be connected to Children's National Medical Center through their eClinicalWorks EMR. Children's IQ Network will use eClinicalWorks Electronic Health eXchange (eEHX) community health record to additionally connect public schools, foster care programme and mobile medical vans as well as state immunizations registries, commercial labs and other regional health care providers.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
New training method helps surgeons evaluate their own minimally invasive surgery skills
Full ArticleRecent years have seen the rapid emergence of minimally invasive surgery (MIS) procedures in operating theatres. However, the training of surgeons in this field still leaves much to be desired. Researcher Magdalena Chmarra has changed this state of affairs by developing a realistic training system which records and analyses the surgeon's movements. As a result there is now, for the first time, an objective benchmark for measuring a surgeon's basic skills in the field of minimally invasive surgery. Magdalena Chmarra has received her PhD for this research at Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands on January 12, 2009.
Assessment of virtual reality for key-hole surgery and robo-surgery for key-hole gallbladder removal
Full ArticleUsing a robotic assistant to remove a patient's gallbladder by key-hole surgery - laparoscopic cholecystectomy - is as safe as working with a human assistant, a Cochrane Review has concluded. Comparisons between robot- and human-assisted surgery showed that there were no differences in terms of morbidity, the need to switch to open surgery, total operating time, or length of stay in hospital. In addition, trainee surgeons who add virtual reality (VR) training to standard "apprenticeship" training in key-hole surgery learn more quickly, work with greater accuracy and have less errors than those with no VR training, and perform as well as those who use additional video training.
A fantastic voyage brought to life
Full ArticleEver since the 1966 Hollywood movie, doctors have imagined a real-life Fantastic Voyage - a medical vehicle shrunk small enough to "submarine" in and fix faulty cells in the body. Thanks to new research by Tel Aviv University scientists, that reality may be only three years away.
Tiny syringe pinpoints drug delivery
Full ArticleA tiny particle syringe composed of polymer layers and nanoparticles may provide drug delivery that targets diseased cells without harming the rest of the body, according to a team of chemical engineers. This delivery system could be robust and flexible enough to deliver a variety of substances.
University of Queensland research finds speech disorders can be assessed from a distance
Full ArticleThere should be no barriers to providing high-quality speech pathology services, according to University of Queensland (UQ) PhD graduate Dr. Anne Hill. Completed through UQ's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Dr. Hill's research found speech and language disorders could be validly and reliably assessed over the internet using a telerehabilitation application.
 
VMWC news bites
 
Research shows combined use of a robot and virtual reality system improve walking speed and distance post-stroke
Full ArticlePatients who've had a stroke and were rehabilitated using a robot to navigate virtual reality environments walked faster and a greater distance following physical therapy compared to those trained with the robot alone, according to researchers at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) School of Health Related Professions.
Medical robotics expert explores the human-machine interface
Full ArticleJacob Rosen, an associate professor of computer engineering in the Jack Baskin School of Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, is developing a wearable robotic "exoskeleton" that could enable a person to lift heavy objects with little effort. It's a bit like the robotic armor that has long been a staple of futuristic battle scenes in science fiction books and movies. But what excites Jacob Rosen is the device's potential to help people disabled by stroke or degenerative diseases.
Physical therapists test mechanical arm to help patients recover from stroke and traumatic brain injury
Full ArticlePhysical therapists at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center are evaluating a new mechanical arm that allows people recovering from neurological injuries such as strokes and traumatic brain injury to enter a virtual world where they can repeatedly practice movements needed to regain arm strength and movement. UT Southwestern is one of fewer than a dozen sites testing how the Armeo device, with its virtual environment and weight support system for the arm, stacks up against traditional therapies in which individuals physically pick up objects.
Dynamical theory and novel 4D colorimetric method reveal modus operandi of intact living brain
Full ArticleFor the brain to achieve its intricate functions such as perception, action, attention and decision making, neural regions have to work together, yet still retain their specialized roles. Excess or lack of timely co-ordination between brain areas lies at the core of a number of psychiatric and neurological disorders such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism, Parkinson's disease, sleep disorders and depression. How the brain is co-ordinated is a complex and difficult problem in need of new theoretical insights as well as new methods of investigation.
Microbot motors fit to swim human arteries
Full ArticleA range of complex surgical operations necessary to treat stroke victims, confront hardened arteries or address blockages in the bloodstream are about to be made safer as researchers from the Micro/Nanophysics Research Laboratory at Australia's Monash University put the final touches to the design of micro-motors small enough to be injected into the human bloodstream.
 

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