VMW Monthly - October 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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*** Highlights from the International Supercomputing Conference 2009 in Hamburg ***

VMW's sister magazine Primeur went live "at a distance" from the recent ISC 2009 Conference in Hamburg. We bring you an overview of the most appetizing topics addressing the latest developments in the fields of high performance and Grid computing. Please enjoy.

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Contents October 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
New recommendations can help health providers prepare for electronic record push
Computational process zeroes in on top genetic cancer suspects
Species diversity helps Arizona State University researchers refine analyses of human gene mutations
Arizona Telemedicine Programme receives $1,13 million grant to start regional centre
Medical interpreters break language barriers in health care
 
Grid for Health
 
Bio‐Computing a major focus of 22nd Annual Supercomputing Conference
Researchers using parallel processing computing could save thousands by using an Xbox
Grids and health e-science: Shaping the future of health care
Complete Genomics demonstrates its technology's potential by sequencing 14 human genomes for customers
Rice tapped for role in computing research centre
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
New iPhone app 'Outbreaks Near Me' locates H1N1 - swine flu and infectious diseases
IVT Corporation announces mobile health services in China
Critical Signal Technologies acquires Link to Life to grow depth and expertise in telehealth, personal emergency response and medical monitoring systems
Bosch Healthcare receives Market Strategy Leadership Award from Frost & Sullivan
Wireless sensor systems enable a better sleep
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Québec the first province to use IBM digital medical images solution
Stereotaxis awarded exclusive contract by Novation for robotic interventional technology
Polycom helps health care organisations cost-effectively extend telehealth and telemedicine programmes
U.S. Air Force selects Agfa HealthCare's IMPAX Data Center to support worldwide Patient Medical Record needs
EDS, an HP company, enhances health care IT systems for United States Department of Defense
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Economic crisis threatens access to health services
University of Leicester team develops drug detection technology
European Health Forum Gastein 2009 focused on economic and financial crisis and on threat of communicable diseases
Ultrasound can predict tumour burden and survival in melanoma patients, sparing many people unnecessary surgery
Progress made in the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease through functional resonance imaging within the framework of the multi-disciplinary MIND project
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Mount Sinai first in United States to ablate atrial fibrillation using new visually guided balloon catheter
Stimulus grant to fund whole-genome sequencing in children with autism
Study offers less complex, minimally invasive procedure to treat heart valve leak
Bangkok Hospital Group and IBM collaborate on smarter health care initiative
Renowned Ivy League university hospital and research facility selects Force10 Networks to provide line-rate 10 GbE switching performance to its powerful cluster
 
Virtual snap shots
 
Internet complicates doctor-patient relationships
Research teams successfully operate multiple biomedical robots from numerous locations
IBM, City of Bolzano, Italy, and TIS Innovation Park to develop smarter city
Diamonds may be the ultimate MRI probe, according to Quantum physicists
New computer models aim to classify and help reduce injury accidents
 
VMWC news bites
 
Mount Sinai leads unprecedented, NIH-supported attempt to discover rules for assembling human tissue
A chip for the eye: Artificial vision enhancers being put to the test
Engineering team to design and study liver mimics
Tel Aviv University invents a digital 'white stick' for the visually impaired
NorthShore University HealthSystem first in Illinois to perform remarkable robotic arm guided partial knee replacement surgery
 

Leads October 2009 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
New recommendations can help health providers prepare for electronic record push
Full ArticleA new framework of recommendations created by health informatics researchers may help doctors and hospitals prepare for a federal initiative to expand the use of electronic health records (EHRs). The recommendations from faculty at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine appear in a commentary in the September 9 edition of JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Computational process zeroes in on top genetic cancer suspects
Full ArticleJohns Hopkins engineers have devised innovative computer software that can sift through hundreds of genetic mutations and highlight the DNA changes that are most likely to promote cancer. The goal is to provide critical help to researchers who are poring over numerous newly discovered gene mutations, many of which are harmless or have no connection to cancer. According to its inventors, the new software will enable these scientists to focus more of their attention on the mutations most likely to trigger tumours. A description of the method and details of a test using it on brain cancer DNA were published in the August 15 issue of the journal Cancer Research.
Species diversity helps Arizona State University researchers refine analyses of human gene mutations
Full ArticleIn the new era of personalized medicine, physicians hope to provide earlier diagnoses and improve therapy by evaluating patients' genetic blueprints. But, as a new bioinformatics study emphasizes, the first step must be to correctly decipher the deluge of information locked in our DNA and determine its impact on human health. In the September issue of Genome Research, Dr. Sudhir Kumar led a team of researchers at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University in examining DNA mutations from both healthy and diseased patients. Their work evaluates the reliability of computer models aimed at predicting the eventual effect of such mutations.
Arizona Telemedicine Programme receives $1,13 million grant to start regional centre
Full ArticleThe Arizona Telemedicine Programme (ATP) at the University of Arizona College of Medicine has received a $1,13 million federal grant to create the Southwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, part of a nationwide effort to support the transition to electronic health records and implementation of telehealth services. The Southwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center, covering Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah, will be an integral part of a national network of seven regional resource centres and one national resource centre, the Center for Telehealth and E-Health Law in Washington, D.C. The funds were granted by the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth, part of the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Medical interpreters break language barriers in health care
Full ArticleLanguage barriers in health care settings can decrease access to quality care and diminish comprehension for limited English proficient patients (LEP). These barriers compromise quality of care, and increase costs and inefficiencies. Now, the University of Missouri (MU) Institute of Public Policy, Center for Health Policy and Missouri Telehealth Network are partnering with the Language Access Metro Project (LAMP) and the Missouri Primary Care Association to provide medical interpreters to non-English-speaking patients who otherwise might not have access to live interpreters.
 
Grid for Health
 
Bio‐Computing a major focus of 22nd Annual Supercomputing Conference
Full ArticleSC09, the 22nd annual supercomputing conference, recognized as the premier international conference on high performance computing (HPC), networking, storage and analysis, will offer presentations, seminars and panels featuring a world-class roster of thought leaders and innovators discussing the rapidly expanding role of HPC in the biological sciences. SC09, to be held November 14-20, 2009 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, annually attracts thousands of scientists in industry, government and academia from around the world. The Bio-Computing Thrust Area features a technical programme that will include refereed technical papers, tutorials, invited speakers, panel discussions and posters examining how HPC is transforming bio-computing.
Researchers using parallel processing computing could save thousands by using an Xbox
Full ArticleA new study by a University of Warwick researcher has demonstrated that researchers trying to model a range of processes could use the power and capabilities of a particular XBox chip as a much cheaper alternative to other forms of parallel processing hardware.
Grids and health e-science: Shaping the future of health care
Full ArticleThe GridTalk project has launched its 8th GridBriefing at the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) conference in Barcelona. The report covers how information and communication technologies (ICTs), particularly computing Grids, are used in the health and biomedical sectors of European research. EGEE has supported this research community since the project's birth and it is the second largest user group after physics research.
Complete Genomics demonstrates its technology's potential by sequencing 14 human genomes for customers
Full ArticleComplete Genomics Inc., a third-generation human genome sequencing company, has sequenced, analyzed and delivered 14 human genomes to customers since March 2009. Considering that fewer than 20 genomes have been sequenced and published in the world to date, this is a significant advance both for Complete Genomics and medical research.
Rice tapped for role in computing research centre
Full ArticleA $10 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Expeditions in Computing grant to Rice University and three other universities will help develop high-performance, customizable computing that could revolutionize the way computers are used in health care and other important applications. The grant will support the creation of a collaborative Center for Domain-Specific Computing (CDSC), which includes researchers from University of California Los Angeles' (UCLA) engineering school, medical school and applied mathematics programme, Rice, Ohio State University and University of California Santa Barbara. The multi-university centre will be directed by Professor Jason Cong from UCLA. Rice's Vivek Sarkar, the E.D. Butcher Professor of Computer Science and professor of electrical and computer engineering, will serve as associate director. The grant includes $1,5 million for Rice's research efforts.
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
New iPhone app 'Outbreaks Near Me' locates H1N1 - swine flu and infectious diseases
Full ArticleA new iPhone application, created by researchers at Children's Hospital Boston in collaboration with the MIT Media Lab, enables users to track and report outbreaks of infectious diseases, such as H1N1 - swine flu, on the ground in real time. The application, "Outbreaks Near Me", builds upon the mission and proven capability of HealthMap, an on-line resource that collects, filters, maps and disseminates information about emerging infectious diseases, and provides a new, contextualized view of a user's specific location - pinpointing outbreaks that have been reported in the vicinity of the user and offering the opportunity to search for additional outbreak information by location or disease.
IVT Corporation announces mobile health services in China
Full ArticleIVT Corporation has launched a new mobile health service in China. It is a complete remote medical monitoring solution that allows medical monitoring from home, reducing the risk of diseases and assisting with speedy rescue in the case of an emergency.
Critical Signal Technologies acquires Link to Life to grow depth and expertise in telehealth, personal emergency response and medical monitoring systems
Full ArticleCritical Signal Technologies Inc. (CST) has acquired the stock and assets of GTL Inc. dba as "Link to Life" along with Link Technologies Inc., and will integrate its product and service offerings into CST to provide cost-effective personal emergency response, telehealth and medical monitoring systems, improving the independence and quality of life for older adults, the disabled and people managing health conditions. CST President and CEO Jeffery S. Prough made the announcement at the Pittsfield, Massachusetts headquarters of Link to Life. The terms of the agreement between the two privately-held companies were not disclosed.
Bosch Healthcare receives Market Strategy Leadership Award from Frost & Sullivan
Full ArticleRobert Bosch Healthcare Inc. - an expert in telehealth with its Health Buddy remote patient monitoring system - has been awarded the 2009 Frost & Sullivan Market Strategy Leadership Award. The award was presented on September 14, 2009 at a banquet in Scottsdale, Arizona. Frost & Sullivan's annual Best Practice Awards recognize companies in a variety of markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in a given area. The Market Strategy Leadership Award is presented to a company whose marketing strategy has yielded significant gains in market presence during Frost & Sullivan's research period. Bosch Healthcare was selected from the numerous companies that Frost & Sullivan evaluated in the North American remote patient monitoring market.
Wireless sensor systems enable a better sleep
Full ArticleAt the IEEE EMB Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, IMEC and its research affiliate Holst Centre have presented the clinical validation of a wireless sleep staging system. The miniaturized wireless system allows patients to wear the device in the comfort of their home, thus enabling early screening of abnormal sleep profiles outside clinics. The sleep staging system has been validated in the sleep laboratory at the University Hospital Center (CHU) in Charleroi, André Vésale Hospital in Belgium, against a commercially available reference system. With this validation, the technology is ready for product development at industry opening new perspectives for remote and comfortable sleep monitoring.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
Québec the first province to use IBM digital medical images solution
Full ArticleThe Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal has signed a five-year, C$3,6 million deal with Artefact Informatique, the health division of LGS Group Inc., an IBM company - the first of its kind in Canada - to build a registry for digital medical images based on the Canada-wide Cross-enterprise Document Sharing (XDS) standard.
Stereotaxis awarded exclusive contract by Novation for robotic interventional technology
Full ArticleNovation, a health care supply contracting company, will add Stereotaxis' Niobe Remote Magnetic Navigation and Odyssey systems to its capital products contract portfolio. This is an exclusive agreement. Stereotaxis' Niobe System will be the only robotic interventional technology among Novation's capital products offerings. This agreement is effective immediately.
Polycom helps health care organisations cost-effectively extend telehealth and telemedicine programmes
Full ArticlePolycom Inc., a global expert in telepresence, video and voice communication solutions, is making it easier and more cost-effective for hospitals and other health care organisations to deploy and scale telehealth and telemedicine networks. Through an enhanced, highly scalable solution, Polycom allows health care organisations to easily and securely extend visual communication capabilities outside of their private networks to a broader group of partner hospitals, community clinics and physicians.
U.S. Air Force selects Agfa HealthCare's IMPAX Data Center to support worldwide Patient Medical Record needs
Full ArticleThe United States Air Force (USAF) has selected Agfa HealthCare's IMPAX Data Center to manage and share clinical information and images across all of the USAF's medical facilities in the United States, supporting USAF's integrated global health care delivery system. IMPAX Data Center, a PACS vendor-neutral repository of clinical imaging data, will be installed at David Grant Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base (AFB), California and at the 375th Medical Group at Scott AFB, Illinois.
EDS, an HP company, enhances health care IT systems for United States Department of Defense
Full ArticleEDS, an HP company, has signed an $8,1 million, 12-month add-on contract with the United States Department of Defense (DoD) Military Health System to make technical enhancements to several Defense Health Information Management Systems (DHIMS).The work will improve the quality and delivery of health care for recovering United States service members under the DoD Wounded Warrior care initiative.
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Economic crisis threatens access to health services
Full ArticleThe global economic crisis poses a massive threat to the stability of the public health care systems and to general access to health care services, warn leading experts speaking about this year's key theme of "Financial Crisis and Health Policy" at the European Health Forum Gastein, being held 30 September to 3 October 2009, as the leading health policy event in the European Union.
University of Leicester team develops drug detection technology
Full ArticleUniversity of Leicester researchers have combined crime research and space-age technology in ways that could lead to the quick detection of counterfeit pharmaceuticals in a black market currently worth an estimated $40 billion per year. Professor George Fraser and Professor Martin Gill have combined their expertise of space physics and crime and security so that their Spectral ID project has been shortlisted for a Lord Stafford Award in the Innovation in Development category.
European Health Forum Gastein 2009 focused on economic and financial crisis and on threat of communicable diseases
Full ArticleThe European Health Forum Gastein (EHFG) taking place in Bad Hofgastein from 30 September to 3 October 2009 is proving to be a magnet for leading European public health sector representatives this year as well. As in previous years, 600 participants from the areas of public health administration, health policy, science, lobbies (patient advocates, NGOs), medicine and business are taking part in the 12th edition of the most important health policy conference for experts and decision-makers in the European Union.
Ultrasound can predict tumour burden and survival in melanoma patients, sparing many people unnecessary surgery
Full ArticleResearchers have shown for the first time that patterns of ultrasound signals can be used to identify whether or not cancer has started to spread in melanoma patients, and to what extent. The discovery enables doctors to decide on how much surgery, if any, is required and to predict the patient's probable survival.
Progress made in the early detection of Alzheimer’s Disease through functional resonance imaging within the framework of the multi-disciplinary MIND project
Full ArticleThe Universitat Jaume I (UJI) of Castelló is working on the early detection of Alzheimer's Disease by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques. The study is being carried out within the framework of a national project called MIND, which approaches Alzheimer's disease from a multi-disciplinary perspective and involves twelve biomedicine companies and the corresponding public research organisations associated with them. The project is part of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation's CENIT programme, has a budget of 27 million euros and lasts four years.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Mount Sinai first in United States to ablate atrial fibrillation using new visually guided balloon catheter
Full ArticlePhysicians at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York became the first in the United States to ablate atrial fibrillation using a visually-guided laser balloon catheter. The procedure was performed September 15, 2009 by Vivek Y. Reddy, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Cardiac Arrhythmia Service at Mount Sinai Heart, and his colleague, Srinivas R. Dukkipati, MD, Director of Mount Sinai's Experimental Electrophysiology Laboratory.
Stimulus grant to fund whole-genome sequencing in children with autism
Full ArticleChildren's Hospital Boston, with the Broad Institute and Harvard Medical School, has been awarded a Grand Opportunity grant from the National Institute of Mental Health as part of the federal stimulus package, to pursue "whole-genome" sequencing of patients with autism, using new technologies for rapid DNA sequencing to better understand autism's causes. The roughly $4,5 million grant, part of the federal stimulus package, officially started September 30, 2009. All genetic sequence data will be made publicly available.
Study offers less complex, minimally invasive procedure to treat heart valve leak
Full ArticleCardiac experts at Rush University Medical Center are studying a new, minimally invasive procedure to treat leaky heart valves. Instead of open heart surgery, patients will undergo a less complex catheter-based procedure to treat mitral regurgitation, a serious heart disorder where blood leaks backwards toward the lungs with each heart beat. The researchers at Rush are taking part in the national EVEREST II REALISM trial, a prospective, multi-centre, phase II clinical study comparing the effectiveness of the eValve MitraClip device to standard open heart surgery. The tiny clip, which is placed using a catheter, holds the flaps of the mitral valve together to prevent leaking.
Bangkok Hospital Group and IBM collaborate on smarter health care initiative
Full ArticleBangkok Hospital Group is working with IBM to enhance its patient care services to provide smarter health care in Thailand. Delivering on its commitment to provide the highest quality, internationally-accepted standards of medical services, Bangkok Hospital Group continues to invest in best-in-class information technology.
Renowned Ivy League university hospital and research facility selects Force10 Networks to provide line-rate 10 GbE switching performance to its powerful cluster
Full ArticleThe Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (C2B2) at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) has selected the E-Series family of switch/routers to provide line-rate performance and resiliency for its research needs as well as industry-leading port density to ensure seamless growth as the organisation continues to expand into the future. CUMC selected the chassis-based E-Series E1200 switch/router to serve as a scalable and reliable interconnect for "Titan", the high performance computing cluster (HPCC) used to support biomedical research at C2B2.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
Internet complicates doctor-patient relationships
Full ArticlePatients who ask their doctor about information they have read on the Internet, or webs that better inform them of their diagnosis, are no longer a rarity. A study undertaken by Spanish researchers reveals the advantages and disadvantages of on-line medical enquiries. Some 31 percent of doctors believe that the Internet complicates their relationship with patients and undermines their credibility.
Research teams successfully operate multiple biomedical robots from numerous locations
Full ArticleUsing a new software protocol called the Interoperable Telesurgical Protocol, nine research teams from universities and research institutes around the world recently collaborated on the first successful demonstration of multiple biomedical robots operated from different locations in the United States, Europe, and Asia. SRI International operated its M7 surgical robot for this demonstration.
IBM, City of Bolzano, Italy, and TIS Innovation Park to develop smarter city
Full ArticleThe City of Bolzano, Italy and TIS Innovation Park have entered into a strategic initiative with IBM, with the aim of creating a smart city. Bolzano, capital of South Tyrol in northern Italy, is the fifth Italian city to choose IBM to identify and design a new model for a sustainable city through a range of digital solutions. During the next few months a pilot project will be implemented for remote health monitoring of the elderly.
Diamonds may be the ultimate MRI probe, according to Quantum physicists
Full ArticleDiamonds, it has long been said, are a girl's best friend. But a research team including a physicist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently found that the gems might turn out to be a patient's best friend as well. The team's work has the long-term goal of developing quantum computers, but it has borne fruit that may have more immediate application in medical science. Their finding that a candidate "quantum bit" has great sensitivity to magnetic fields hints that MRI-like devices that can probe individual drug molecules and living cells may be possible.
New computer models aim to classify and help reduce injury accidents
Full ArticleResearchers are developing computer models to comb through thousands of injury reports in large administrative medical datasets or insurance claims data to automatically classify them based on specific words or phrases.
 
VMWC news bites
 
Mount Sinai leads unprecedented, NIH-supported attempt to discover rules for assembling human tissue
Full ArticleResearchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine and two other academic institutions have received federal funding to systematically assemble functional human kidney tissue from tissue modelled on a computer. If successful, the research - which ties together several emerging technologies including virtual tissue modelling and nanofabrication - could lead to a more predictable way for researchers to engineer tissue outside the body and, consequently, to screen for new drugs.
A chip for the eye: Artificial vision enhancers being put to the test
Full ArticleVisually impaired or blind patients with degenerative retina conditions would be very happy if they were able to regain mobility, find their way around, be able to lead an independent life and to recognize faces and read again. These wishes were documented by a survey conducted by a research team ten years ago to find out what patients' expectations of electronic retina prostheses - retina implants - were. Today these wishes look set to become reality, as the presentations given at the international symposium "Artificial Vision" at the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn demonstrate. The symposium has been staged by the Retina Implant Foundation and the Pro Retina Stiftung zur Verhütung von Blindheit - Pro Retina Foundation for the Prevention of Blindness, a foundation of the patients' organisation Pro Retina Deutschland e.V.
Engineering team to design and study liver mimics
Full ArticleVirginia Tech College of Engineering researchers will use more than $1 million in grant funding to study engineered tissues that mimic the liver, one of the human body's most complex organs. Padma Rajagopalan, an assistant professor in the department of chemical engineering is designing liver mimics that eventually could form the basis for extracorporeal liver-assist devices. She is the principal investigator on three recent federal grants totaling $1.087.091 related to liver tissue engineering.
Tel Aviv University invents a digital 'white stick' for the visually impaired
Full ArticleThe blind and visually impaired often rely on others to provide cues and information on navigating through their environments. The problem with this method is that it doesn't give them the tools to venture out on their own, according to Dr. Orly Lahav of Tel Aviv University's School of Education and Porter School for Environmental Studies. To give navigational "sight" to the blind, Dr. Lahav has invented a new software tool to help the blind navigate through unfamiliar places. It is connected to an existing joystick, a 3D haptic device, that interfaces with the user through the sense of touch. People can feel tension beneath their fingertips as a physical sensation through the joystick as they navigate around a virtual environment which they cannot see, only feel: the joystick stiffens when the user meets a virtual wall or barrier. The software can also be programmed to emit sounds - a cappuccino machine firing up in a virtual café, or phones ringing when the explorer walks by a reception desk.
NorthShore University HealthSystem first in Illinois to perform remarkable robotic arm guided partial knee replacement surgery
Full ArticleNorthShore University HealthSystem orthopaedic surgeons are the first in Illinois and the region to use a new and innovative robotic technology for minimally-invasive partial knee replacement surgery. The technology, powered by an interactive robotic arm and a three-dimensional computer navigation system, provides precise and consistent surgical results for people who have early to mid-stage osteo-arthritis of the medial (inner), the patellofemoral (front) or both portions of the knee.
 

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