VMW Monthly - March 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 March 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Renowned researcher Dr. Fernando Martinez to lead UA's BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona
Targeted nanospheres find, penetrate, then fuel burning of melanoma
New technique images tumour vessel leakiness to predict breast cancer chemotherapy outcome
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee project could save vision of millions
SCAN to deliver bone disorder diagnosis and accelerate fracture healing
 
Grid for Health
 
UK's Institute of Cancer Research and Silicon Graphics establish long-term alliance to design and outfit world-class Network Biology Lab
National Imaging Associates and National Digital Medical Archive address health care imperatives
New open-source software permits faster desktop computer simulations of molecular motion
Complete Genomics releases proof-of-concept data for its sequencing technology for the first time
Sentry Data Systems announces interoperative health care Cloud computing platform
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
MIT project uses personal digital assistants to track tuberculosis data
On-the-spot DNA analysis to test tolerance to prescription drugs gets closer
IBM teams with Google and Continua Health Alliance to move data from remote personal medical devices into Google Health and other PHRs
Fraunhofer Institute to develop computerized mobile health support systems
Anvita Health unveils mobile viewer for Google Health
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
HaiVision's MAKO-HD supports Titan Medical and Bell Canada's groundbreaking test of telesurgery technologies
Philips highlights innovative research in medical imaging, image-guided drugs delivery and critical infectious diseases' care
Ascension tracking adds third dimension to GE's new ultrasound system
Immersion delivers haptic medical simulation for minimally invasive stroke prevention procedure
Axolotl creates SHIN-NY development team, dedicated to the implementation of a Statewide Health Information Network for New York
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Data mining promises to dig up new drugs
Camera pills, biomedical sensors, microchip labs and ultrasound creating maps of the body to be developed at SINTEF
Med-e-Tel 2009 - Telemedicine: Delivering the Evidence issues Call for Participation
New General Practitioner computer software to help prevent heart disease
Custom-Fit to develop non rejection bioreabsorbable scaffold for jaw implant
 
The 21st century hospital
 
The Mount Sinai Hospital and GE Healthcare collaborate to improve patient flow and asset management
Gallbladder removal through vagina offers minimally invasive alternative
Diseased heart valve replaced through small chest incision
Hospitals turn to IBM to help build millions of electronic medical records for improved patient care
New Johns Hopkins imaging centre to widen windows on the brain
 
Virtual snap shots
 
University of California Davis Extension announces an on-line health informatics certificate programme
JSA Health changes the face of telepsychiatry with LifeSize HD video communications
Leading foundations to form mHealth Alliance
Eurographics 2009 Medical Prize winners awarded at Eurographics 2009
Cancer diagnosis now available in 3D
 
VMWC news bites
 
University of California San Diego engineer develops method to combat congenital heart disease in children
Virtual Teaching Hospital System (VTHS) project aims to transform medical training
Robot playmates monitor emotional state of children with autism spectrum disorders
Robotic therapy may reduce stroke physical disability years later
Radioimmunotherapy forms promising treatment for HIV infection and viral cancers
 

Leads March 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Renowned researcher Dr. Fernando Martinez to lead UA's BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona
Full ArticleOne of the most highly regarded researchers worldwide in childhood lung diseases, Fernando Martinez, has accepted the position of interim director for the BIO5 Institute at the University of Arizona (UA) beginning February 9, 2009. Dr. Martinez is the Swift-McNear Professor of Paediatrics, the director of the UA College of Medicine's Arizona Respiratory Center, and a long time BIO5 faculty member. He and current BIO5 director Vicki Chandler served together as interim co-directors for BIO5 before Dr. Chandler was named director in 2004, and he has been a member of the BIO5 faculty advisory committee for the past five years. Dr. Martinez began his affiliation with the UA in 1984.
Targeted nanospheres find, penetrate, then fuel burning of melanoma
Full ArticleHollow gold nanospheres equipped with a targeting peptide find melanoma cells, penetrate them deeply, and then cook the tumour when bathed with near-infrared light, a research team led by scientists at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center reported in the February 1 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.
New technique images tumour vessel leakiness to predict breast cancer chemotherapy outcome
Full ArticleChemotherapy is an integral part of modern cancer treatment, but it's not always effective. Successful chemotherapy depends on the ability of anticancer drugs to escape from the bloodstream through the leaky blood vessels that often surround tumours. Predicting chemotherapy's efficacy could save thousands of individuals from unnecessary toxicity and the often difficult side effects of the treatments.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, University of Tennessee project could save vision of millions
Full ArticleIn the blink of an eye, people at risk of becoming blind can now be screened for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. Using a technology originally developed at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to understand semiconductor defects, three locations in Memphis have been equipped with digital cameras that take pictures of the retina. Those images are relayed to a centre where they are analysed and the patient knows in minutes whether he or she needs additional medical attention.
SCAN to deliver bone disorder diagnosis and accelerate fracture healing
Full ArticleThe fight against bone disorders that affect millions of Americans will soon receive a boost from an ultrasound device being developed by space biomedical researchers. The technology under development will allow early prediction of bone disorders such as osteoporosis and guided acceleration of fracture healing. National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) scientists are developing the technology to assist astronauts during long-duration spaceflights. Like the elderly on Earth, astronauts in space lose bone structure and quality.
 
Grid for Health
 
UK's Institute of Cancer Research and Silicon Graphics establish long-term alliance to design and outfit world-class Network Biology Lab
Full ArticleAs part of a multi-year collaboration, Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) will provide the high-productivity solutions needed to outfit a new world-class cancer research facility in the United Kingdom. Silicon Graphics has been selected to equip, over the next five or more years, an initiative in integrative network biology at London's renowned The Institute of Cancer Research. Expected to open in spring 2009, the initiative in integrative network biology at The Institute will arm a team of cancer research pioneers with advanced compute, storage and visualization solutions built, implemented and optimized by Silicon Graphics.
National Imaging Associates and National Digital Medical Archive address health care imperatives
Full ArticleTaking a cue from the Obama administration's proposed bipartisan approach to health care reform, National Imaging Associates and National Digital Medical Archive (NDMA) have launched a new, collaborative programme to drive improvements in the use of advanced imaging technology. The "Image Quality Collaborative" is a pilot programme to be offered by National Digital Medical Archive and National Imaging Associates. The programme will provide participating imaging centres with in-depth, real-time analysis of the CT, MRI, and other radiology examinations they conduct, allowing these centres to track specific trends and measure their image quality and performance against local and national peers.
New open-source software permits faster desktop computer simulations of molecular motion
Full ArticleWhether vibrating in place or taking part in protein folding to ensure cells function properly, molecules are never still. Simulating molecular motions provides researchers with information critical to designing vaccines and helps them decipher the bases of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, that result from molecular motion gone awry.
Complete Genomics releases proof-of-concept data for its sequencing technology for the first time
Full ArticleComplete Genomics Inc. has released proof-of-concept (PoC) data for its human genome sequencing technology for the first time. The analysis results were reviewed by Dr. Clifford Reid, Complete Genomics chairman, president and CEO, during his presentation at the annual Advances in Genome Biology and Technology Meeting held at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Marco Island, Florida. Complete Genomics successfully sequenced a Caucasian HapMap sample - Coriell catalogue no. NA07022; cell line DNA), generating 91x average read coverage of the genome in a matter of days. This represents the first human genome sequence produced with a third-generation technology and the work was conducted in-house at Complete Genomics' genome centre.
Sentry Data Systems announces interoperative health care Cloud computing platform
Full ArticleSentry Data Systems Inc. has made available the Datanex Platform to independent solution providers. The Datanex Platform is a health care focused Cloud computing platform that allows solution providers to construct rich health care business intelligence applications and securely transport data across the world's fastest and most comprehensive health care data infrastructure.
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
MIT project uses personal digital assistants to track tuberculosis data
Full ArticleFor patients who have drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, it's critical to monitor the disease as closely as possible. That means monthly testing throughout a two-year course of powerful antibiotics, with injections six days a week for the first six months. Keeping track of all those test results can be very time-consuming, especially in developing countries where health workers rely on paper copies. That's why MIT graduate student Joaquin Blaya decided to try out a new tracking method: personal digital assistants.
On-the-spot DNA analysis to test tolerance to prescription drugs gets closer
Full ArticleA handheld device to predict whether patients will respond adversely to medication is one step closer to the market, thanks to a new partnership. Imperial College London and its spin-out company DNA Electronics have developed a prototype health care device that assesses whether patients are genetically predisposed to suffering adverse reactions to prescription drugs. They are now carrying out trials to test its effectiveness, thanks to a new partnership with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
IBM teams with Google and Continua Health Alliance to move data from remote personal medical devices into Google Health and other PHRs
Full ArticleIBM, in collaboration with Google and the Continua Health Alliance, has launched new software that will enable personal medical devices used for patient monitoring, screening and routine evaluation to automatically stream data results into a patient's Google Health Account or other personal health record (PHR). This breakthrough extends the value of PHRs to consumers and also helps to ensure that such records are current and accurate at all times. Once stored in a PHR, the data can also be shared with physicians and other members of the extended care network at a user's discretion.
Fraunhofer Institute to develop computerized mobile health support systems
Full ArticlePoor sleep can be attributed to many causes, including shift work, stress, snoring or even sleep apnea - a disorder in which the sleeper temporarily stops breathing. Until now, only a sleep laboratory could determine whether a patient is suffering from sleep apnea or related sleep disturbances. In a traditional sleep laboratory, the patient is observed while sleeping for at least one night, connected to cables and observed by a large number of measuring instruments and cameras. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) in Erlangen have now developed a mobile sleep lab for home use.
Anvita Health unveils mobile viewer for Google Health
Full ArticleAnvita Health, formerly known as SafeMed, an integrated partner of Google Health has released a new mobile viewer for Google Health that is built on the Android platform. The new Anvita Mobile Viewer has been demonstrated publicly for the first time during a presentation at the Towards the Electronic Patient Record (TEPR+) conference.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
HaiVision's MAKO-HD supports Titan Medical and Bell Canada's groundbreaking test of telesurgery technologies
Full ArticleHaiVision Systems Inc.'s hai1000 network video system and MAKO-HD H.264 codec are being used by Titan Medical and Bell Canada to support a test of telesurgery performed with Titan Medical's Amadeus robotic surgical system over Bell's IP-VPN network. Implemented at Bell's Engineering Resource Center lab facility in Toronto, MAKO-HD provides the exceptionally low latency HD encoding critical to this demanding interactive application.
Philips highlights innovative research in medical imaging, image-guided drugs delivery and critical infectious diseases' care
Full ArticleRoyal Philips Electronics has issued the first 3D imaging results obtained with a new imaging technology called Magnetic Particle Imaging (MPI). The company is also leading SonoDrugs, a major new European project to develop drug delivery technologies that could significantly impact the treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease. In addition, Immunetrics Inc. has entered into a joint development agreement with Philips to explore future-generation approaches to the problem of infectious disease in critical care.
Ascension tracking adds third dimension to GE's new ultrasound system
Full ArticleGE Healthcare has launched a new ultrasound system, LOGIQ E9, a powerful imaging system used for radiology and vascular applications. It is enabled in part by Ascension's 3D tracking technology. The E9 includes Volume Navigation, an innovative tool to maximize the system's new agile ultrasound architecture: Fusion to combine the advantages of real-time ultrasound imaging with pre-acquired CT, MR, or PET images, and a GPS-like technology that tracks and marks a patient's anatomy during the ultrasound exam.
Immersion delivers haptic medical simulation for minimally invasive stroke prevention procedure
Full ArticleImmersion Corporation, a developer and licensor of touch feedback technology, has made available new carotid intervention training modules for its CathLabVR surgical simulator. The new modules provide multi-modal (sight, sound and touch) virtual reality training for carotid angioplasty and stenting (CAS), a minimally invasive procedure performed to help prevent strokes. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Powered by Immersion's programmable high-fidelity haptic feedback, the modules provide lifelike simulation of an actual CAS procedure outside the operating room where doctors can practise and perfect their skills at this sophisticated technique prior to performing it on a live patient.
Axolotl creates SHIN-NY development team, dedicated to the implementation of a Statewide Health Information Network for New York
Full ArticleAxolotl Corporation, an expert in health information exchange (HIE) solutions and services, has created a SHIN-NY development team, dedicated to work with the New York Department of Health and the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) to help define the architecture and build the Statewide Health Information Network for New York (SHIN-NY). This work will be undertaken in collaboration with Axolotl's New York Regional Health Information Organizations (RHIOs), to meet their goals of improving patient care and reducing health care costs through secure electronic health information exchange (HIE).
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Data mining promises to dig up new drugs
Full ArticleA robot scientist that can make informed guesses about how effective different chemical compounds will be at fighting different diseases could revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry by developing more effective treatments more cheaply and quickly than current methods. The robot, known as Eve, uses advanced artificial intelligence combined with innovative data mining and knowledge discovery techniques to analyse the results of pharmacological experiments it conducts itself.
Camera pills, biomedical sensors, microchip labs and ultrasound creating maps of the body to be developed at SINTEF
Full ArticleFor more than ten years, senior medical officer Ronald Mårvik at St. Olav's Hospital in Trondheim has been collaborating with SINTEF scientist Thomas Langø. Together, they have created a new IT-base window on the inside of the body, a window that makes a patient transparent on a screen when a surgeon inserts operating instruments through small openings in the abdominal wall.
Med-e-Tel 2009 - Telemedicine: Delivering the Evidence issues Call for Participation
Full ArticleThe 7th edition of the annual Med-e-Tel conference in Luxembourg will focus on proven and tested telemedicine applications and provide evidence on clinical effectiveness and economic efficiency as well as on user aspects and satisfaction, and on some dos and don'ts of telemedicine and ehealth implementation into care processes.
New General Practitioner computer software to help prevent heart disease
Full ArticleNew computer software that will allow General Practitioners (GP) to more accurately assess which patients are most at risk of developing heart disease has been released for clinical use. QRISK2 uses a new cardiovascular disease (CVD) equation to estimate an individual's risk of developing the heart condition over the next 10 years and draws on analysis of 15 years' worth of real primary care data from the United Kingdom.
Custom-Fit to develop non rejection bioreabsorbable scaffold for jaw implant
Full ArticleThe European Union funded project Custom-Fit has been working on a solution to the rejection issue of mandibular implants: a scaffold made using a brand new material which is bioreabsorbable, that is, once implanted, it is substituted by re-grown natural bone in 6-12 months. The Custom-Fit project is a technological research programme involving 30 partners from 12 European countries. Its goal is the development a new manufacturing paradigm for producing personalised products, customised to the individual shape of the human body. This has been done by integrating Scanning Technologies, newly developed CAD systems (Computer Aided Design) and Rapid Manufacturing technologies, the so called "additive techniques", which build a object layer by layer, starting from a 3D design, adding material where needed instead of removing it where not.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
The Mount Sinai Hospital and GE Healthcare collaborate to improve patient flow and asset management
Full ArticleGE Healthcare has signed a multi-year agreement with The Mount Sinai Hospital to address a significant challenge facing health care institutions today - delivering high quality services in an environment of scarce resources. As operating and financial executives in hospitals across the country are hunting for ways to accelerate efficiency while improving patient care, Mount Sinai has recognized an opportunity to address this issue through a solution that combines change management consulting and sophisticated technology.
Gallbladder removal through vagina offers minimally invasive alternative
Full ArticlePhysicians at Northwestern Memorial Hospital successfully removed a patient's gallbladder through the vagina, making them the first in the Midwest and the third in the country to perform the innovative procedure. The technique, known as NOTES - natural orifice translumenal endoscopic surgery - is gaining in popularity and has been characterized by many in the medical profession as laying the groundwork for truly "incisionless" surgery.
Diseased heart valve replaced through small chest incision
Full ArticleWhen 91-year-old Irvin Lafferty was diagnosed with severe blockage of his heart valve - hardening that is formally known as aortic valve stenosis - open-heart surgery was out of the question. He'd already survived quadruple bypass while in his 50s, and having lived almost a century, Irvin Lafferty wasn't a good candidate for heart surgery for many reasons. His local cardiologist referred him to surgical and interventional specialists at Chicago's Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute of Northwestern Memorial Hospital. And, on January 21, 2009, Irvin Lafferty became the first patient in Illinois to receive a prosthetic heart valve through a procedure known as transapical transcatheter aortic valve implantation, which combines catheterization technology and traditional surgery, allowing doctors to implant a new heart valve in place of Irvin Lafferty's diseased valve while his heart remained beating.
Hospitals turn to IBM to help build millions of electronic medical records for improved patient care
Full ArticleCapella Healthcare, Memorial Hermann Hospital System, Trillium Health Centre and Vanderbilt University Medical Center have turned to IBM to help build a smarter health care system for ensuring patient safety, improving efficiency and reducing medical errors through electronic medical records (EMR).
New Johns Hopkins imaging centre to widen windows on the brain
Full ArticleIt's a classic academic mismatch: Researchers aren't able to make use of seminal improvements in technology - often from colleagues just across the street - either because they don't know about them or because gaining familiarity makes unrealistic demands on their time. For those very reasons, Johns Hopkins' Brain Science Institute is underwriting the Center for Translational Imaging (CTI). The new enterprise aims to channel expertise from Hopkins' various imaging-dedicated centres into creating a surge, university-wide, in the understanding and use of imaging techniques for neuroscience research.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
University of California Davis Extension announces an on-line health informatics certificate programme
Full ArticleUniversity of California (UC) Davis Extension has introduced a new certificate programme in health informatics, now available exclusively on-line. As information technology becomes more integral to health care, the demand for health professionals who can fully utilize and add value to clinical and public health data is growing.
JSA Health changes the face of telepsychiatry with LifeSize HD video communications
Full ArticleTechnology and innovative thinking are helping solve a public health crisis: the shortage of mental health care professionals and a growing need for psychological and psychiatric services. JSA Health is using LifeSize high definition video communications solutions to provide fast and flexible access to emergent, urgent and routine psychiatric evaluation to mental health patients. In its first year of operation, JSA Health has had over 5000 patient encounters using LifeSize HD video.
Leading foundations to form mHealth Alliance
Full ArticleAt GSMA's Mobile World Congress three of the world's leading foundations involved in global health, technology and humanitarian assistance - the Rockefeller Foundation, the United Nations Foundation and The Vodafone Foundation - have signed an agreement to form the Mobile Health (mHealth) Alliance, a partnership that will work to maximize the impact of mobile health, especially in the developing world.
Eurographics 2009 Medical Prize winners awarded at Eurographics 2009
Full ArticleThe Eurographics Association organizes a biannual competition to acknowledge the contribution that computer graphics is playing in the medical field, and to encourage further development. The winners of the Eurographics 2009 Medical Prize sponsored by Vital Images Inc. were selected from a total of 15 submissions. The prize winners all demonstrated that a particular benefit resulted from the use of computer graphics technology in a medical application that they produced.
Cancer diagnosis now available in 3D
Full ArticleUniversity of Washington (UW) researchers have helped develop a new kind of microscope to visualize cells in three dimensions, an advance that could bring great progress in the field of early cancer detection. The technique could also bridge a widening gap between cutting-edge imaging techniques used in research and clinical practices, the researchers said.
 
VMWC news bites
 
University of California San Diego engineer develops method to combat congenital heart disease in children
Full ArticleCongenital heart defects account for five times more deaths annually than all childhood cancers combined. Alison Marsden, an assistant mechanical and aerospace engineering professor at the University of California (UC) at San Diego, has developed a unique set of computer modelling tools that are expected to enhance paediatric surgeons' ability to perform heart surgery on children. Alison Marsden's work focuses on designing and using simulation tools to provide a way of testing new surgery designs on the computer before trying them on patients, much like, for example, engineers use computer codes to test new designs for airplanes or automobiles.
Virtual Teaching Hospital System (VTHS) project aims to transform medical training
Full ArticleA computer system which enables medical students to practise diagnosing and managing patients in simulations using real patient data is being developed in an interdepartmental collaborative project between Leicester Medical School and the Computer Science Department at the University of Leicester.
Robot playmates monitor emotional state of children with autism spectrum disorders
Full ArticleThe day that robot playmates help children with autism learn the social skills that they naturally lack has come a step closer with the development of a system that allows a robot to monitor a child's emotional state.
Robotic therapy may reduce stroke physical disability years later
Full ArticleRobot-assisted therapy may help stroke patients attain gains in their physical abilities long after the stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2009. Improvement in this small, randomized study varied with the severity of a patient's disability at the time of rehabilitation: the less disability at the start of the two-week therapy, the more gain in physical ability.
Radioimmunotherapy forms promising treatment for HIV infection and viral cancers
Full ArticleScientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have piggybacked antibodies onto radioactive payloads to deliver doses of radiation that selectively target and destroy microbial and HIV-infected cells. The experimental treatment - called radioimmunotherapy, or RIT - holds promise for treating various infectious diseases, including HIV and cancers caused by viruses. The research was presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world's largest general scientific society and the publishers of the journal Science.
 

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