VMW Monthly - January 2010 - 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 January 2010 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Caltech and University of California at Los Angeles launch Joint Center for Translational Medicine
Heart cells on lab chip display 'nanosense' that guides behaviour
University of Alabama's Rural Health Institute awarded grant to expand telemedicine efforts
Congress approves Defense spending bill containing $1,6 million for pioneering research to improve prostate cancer imaging
Californians - and their cell phones - will help computer scientists monitor air pollution
 
Grid for Health
 
IBM Research collaborates with Taiwanese institutions to deliver wellness-centric health care via Cloud computing
Indiana University receives $1,5 million from NIH to explore Cloud computing for use in health research
University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute receives IBM Shared University Research Award
Researchers demonstrate a better way for computers to 'see'
Knowledge computing offers new perspectives in scientific computing
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
Saving lives with SMS for life
MyGlucoHealth diabetic monitoring service launches in Australia
Modavox provides update regarding 'Augme Mobile Health' line of business - the mobile marketing solution for the pharmaceutical industry
Halo Monitoring announces partnership with A&D Medical to offer wireless health monitoring at home
Scientists use cell phone records to predict spread of malaria
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
VITA and SensAble partner to integrate VITA's tooth libraries into the SensAble Dental Lab System
IBM financing agreements with electronic health care record providers shatter barriers to health IT adoption
Kaleida Health monitors flu cases with Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition and new release of Oracle Remote Data Capture launched
Grandma interacts during GeckoSystems' elder care robot trials
The Army awards follow-on contract for autonomous airway management to Energid Technologies
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Technological safety net for fall-prone elderly
What connects the elderly and sports people? Smart sensor technology
Hearing assistance comes to the home
Germany starts its part in the International Cancer Genome Project
Babraham scientists' 3D view of genes-at-work is paradigm shift in genetics
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Hospital Clinic Barcelona and Massachusetts General Hospital extract rectal mass through anus
Use of telemedicine for ICU patients not linked with improvement in survival
Remote technologies improve patient care as a viable alternative to intensivist shortage
Foundation Surgical Hospital of San Antonio brings MAKOplasty knee procedure to San Antonio
Patients at Walter Reed testing next-generation prosthesis
 
Virtual snap shots
 
Regulus launches marketing network for Health Information Technology
Gap exists between vision for EMRs to improve care co-ordination and clinicians' experiences
GE Healthcare to evaluate and develop novel imaging technology
A virtual physician's conference
New research could advance research field critical to personalized medicine
 
VMWC news bites
 
Tracking new cancer-killing particles with Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Surgery on beating heart thanks to robotic helping hand
SPARKy device helps amputees return to normal lives
MMVR 17 proceedings: fighting health care delivery system imbalances with broad access to latest technologies
Carnegie Mellon researchers receive grant to develop computerized tools for cryosurgery
 

Leads January 2010 Issue

 
Cross-Atlantic state-of-the-art
 
Caltech and University of California at Los Angeles launch Joint Center for Translational Medicine
Full ArticleThe California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have established the Joint Center for Translational Medicine (JCTM), which will advance experimental research into clinical applications, including the diagnosis and therapy of diseases such as cancer. Initial funding for the new centre comes from a two-year, $5 million gift from the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.
Heart cells on lab chip display 'nanosense' that guides behaviour
Full ArticleJohns Hopkins biomedical engineers, working with colleagues in Korea, have produced a laboratory chip with nanoscopic grooves and ridges capable of growing cardiac tissue that more closely resembles natural heart muscle. Surprisingly, heart cells cultured in this way used a "nanosense" to collect instructions for growth and function solely from the physical patterns on the nanotextured chip and did not require any special chemical cues to steer the tissue development in distinct ways. The scientists said this tool could be used to design new therapies or diagnostic tests for cardiac disease.
University of Alabama's Rural Health Institute awarded grant to expand telemedicine efforts
Full ArticleThe University of Alabama's Rural Health Institute for Clinical and Translational Science has received funding from the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Programme to expand telemedicine efforts in rural Alabama. The Rural Health Institute was awarded $99.800 for one year and was one of 191 applications that competed for funding. The institute is part of University of Alabama's College of Community Health Sciences and conducts research to improve health in rural Alabama.
Congress approves Defense spending bill containing $1,6 million for pioneering research to improve prostate cancer imaging
Full ArticleThe United States Congress has approved $1,6 million for funding of the groundbreaking research programme, initiated by AdMeTech Foundation, a non-profit organisation, aimed at developing novel imaging technologies for early prostate cancer detection, which in turn is critical for saving lives and designing customized patient care, including the most effective and the least invasive approach. With support from Reps. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Diane Watson (D-CA), and Senator John Kerry (D-MA), United States Congress approved this legislation and cleared it for President Obama's signature.
Californians - and their cell phones - will help computer scientists monitor air pollution
Full ArticleYou want to go for a run, but you don't want to run in polluted air that might aggravate your asthma. University of California (UC), San Diego computer scientists are creating a network of environmental sensors that will help you avoid air pollution hot spots that exist exactly when you are planning your route. The system will provide up-to-the-minute information on outdoor and indoor air quality, based on environmental information collected by hundreds, and eventually thousands, of sensors attached to the backpacks, purses, jackets and board shorts of San Diegans going about daily life.
 
Grid for Health
 
IBM Research collaborates with Taiwanese institutions to deliver wellness-centric health care via Cloud computing
Full ArticleIBM has launched a new Research collaboratory, located in Taipei, Taiwan. The collaboratory will focus on using technologies - including Cloud computing, analytics and mobile devices - to advance wellness-centric health care that manages diseases more efficiently and effectively to keep people healthier.
Indiana University receives $1,5 million from NIH to explore Cloud computing for use in health research
Full ArticleResearchers from the Pervasive Technology Institute Digital Science Center at Indiana University have begun work on an innovative project that will use Cloud computing techniques to support life science research. The project is supported by a $1,5 million grant award from the National Institutes of Health and takes advantage of an earlier National Science Foundation grant to Indiana University to construct an experimental supercomputing network called FutureGrid.
University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute receives IBM Shared University Research Award
Full ArticleThe University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which connects scientists who work on tissue engineering, cell therapies, artificial organs and biodevices, has been awarded a Shared University Research (SUR) Award from IBM. The IBM SUR Award will provide IBM computer hardware, software and services to Pitt for its cutting-edge "in silico" biological research, which uses computer simulations to explore biological pathways and test therapeutic interventions.
Researchers demonstrate a better way for computers to 'see'
Full ArticleTaking inspiration from genetic screening techniques, researchers from Harvard and MIT have demonstrated a way to build better artificial visual systems with the help of low-cost, high-performance gaming hardware. The neural processing involved in visually recognizing even the simplest object in a natural environment is profound - and profoundly difficult to mimic. Neuroscientists have made broad advances in understanding the visual system, but much of the inner workings of biologically-based systems remain a mystery.
Knowledge computing offers new perspectives in scientific computing
Full ArticleResearchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Algorithms and Scientific Computing (SCAI) and at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC) of Forschungszentrum Jülich have used their substantial computing Grid infrastructures for a new application in scientific computing: the large-scale annotation of biomedical and chemical texts and images in pharmaceutical patents. This will allow patent searches of an unparalleled power. Now, queries provide interesting insights into intersections between biology and chemistry, and the analysis of chemistry is truly multi-modal in the sense that text- and image-based information can be analyzed simultaneously.
 
Healthcare compunetics
 
Saving lives with SMS for life
Full ArticleA new solution developed by IBM, Novartis and Vodafone with the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership, is helping to save lives using everyday technology to improve the availability of anti-malarial drugs in remote areas of Tanzania. Called "SMS for Life", the initiative uses a combination of mobile phones, Short Messaging Service (SMS) technologies and intuitive websites to track and manage the supply of Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) drugs and Quinine injectables, both of which are key to reducing the number of deaths from malaria.
MyGlucoHealth diabetic monitoring service launches in Australia
Full ArticleEntra Health Systems, an international applied health care technology company has officially launched the Telstra Diabetes Management Online Service in Australia, an integration of the company's MyGlucoHealth Wireless meter and mobile technology. Entra Health has teamed with Telstra, the largest telecom carrier in Australia to bring Australia's first commercially available mobile phone application for people with diabetes.
Modavox provides update regarding 'Augme Mobile Health' line of business - the mobile marketing solution for the pharmaceutical industry
Full ArticleModavox Inc., an Internet broadcasting pioneer and holder of several patented technologies, is planning an update on its Augme Mobile Health line of business. This update provides an overview of Augme Mobile Health's unique application of the AD LIFE mobile marketing platform, targeting the pharmaceutical industry, and introduces Jeannette Brandofino - a recognized industry expert serving as Managing Director of Augme Mobile Health.
Halo Monitoring announces partnership with A&D Medical to offer wireless health monitoring at home
Full ArticleHalo Monitoring Inc., makers of wireless health care technology, have signed a partnership with A&D Medical, enabling individuals to optimally manage their own health via the Internet or provide remote health monitoring of a loved one. The partnership extends the existing myHalo web-based personal health monitoring system by adding weight and blood pressure monitoring via a wireless Bluetooth connection.
Scientists use cell phone records to predict spread of malaria
Full ArticleUniversity of Florida researchers at work on a malaria elimination study in Africa have become the first to predict the spread of the disease using cell phone records. The scientists analyzed more than 21 million calls to determine how often residents of Zanzibar travel and where they go. A semi-autonomous region composed of two islands off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa, Zanzibar has drastically reduced malaria in recent years. Its government commissioned the study as part of deliberations on whether to launch a total elimination campaign.
 
Industrial Chemist's Corner
 
VITA and SensAble partner to integrate VITA's tooth libraries into the SensAble Dental Lab System
Full ArticleSensAble Technologies and VITA, a dental restoration expert for over 80 years based in Bad Sackingen, Germany, have integrated VITA's celebrated PHYSIODENS and VITAPAN digital tooth libraries into the SensAble Dental Lab System (SDLS). SensAble's system is an integrated CAD/CAM solution to scan, design and fabricate a wide variety of dental restorations, including full-contour crowns and bridges, as well as metal and flexible partials.
IBM financing agreements with electronic health care record providers shatter barriers to health IT adoption
Full ArticleIBM's lending arm, IBM Global Financing, has entered into new financing agreements with four electronic health care records (EHR) providers, highlighting the growing need for private financing for health IT and the pressing challenges hospitals and medical practices face to adopt health IT solutions. Siemens Healthcare, Lavender & Wyatt Systems Inc., Healthcare Management Systems and SCC Soft Computer are joining the growing ranks of EHR providers that are leveraging IBM Global Financing for its competitive-rate financing for their client-hospitals, labs and medical practices. Today, IBM Global Financing is working with some 40 percent of the top vendors of acute care EHR systems.
Kaleida Health monitors flu cases with Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition and new release of Oracle Remote Data Capture launched
Full ArticleKaleida Health, the largest health care provider in Western New York, is monitoring daily cases of patients showing flu symptoms being treated across its five-hospital system with the help of a business intelligence (BI) dashboard developed using Oracle Business Intelligence Suite Enterprise Edition (Oracle BI Suite EE). And as part of its ongoing commitment to accelerate insights for better health, Oracle has launched Oracle Remote Data Capture 4.6, the newest release of its next-generation electronic data capture (EDC) application.
Grandma interacts during GeckoSystems' elder care robot trials
Full ArticleDuring GeckoSystems International Corporation's second week of real world evaluation trials for their fully autonomous personal companion home care robot, the CareBot, they have learned some surprising and some, not surprising, insights. GeckoSystems is a dynamic expert in the emerging Mobile Service Robot (MSR) industry revolutionizing their development and usage with "Mobile Robot Solutions for Safety, Security and Service".
The Army awards follow-on contract for autonomous airway management to Energid Technologies
Full ArticleThe United States Army, through the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), has awarded Energid Technologies a contract to develop a robotic approach to airway management. After trauma or injury, airway management typically involves clearing a patient's airway and inserting a tube to maintain oxygen flow in preparation for further treatment. This process, endotracheal intubation, is critical as the loss of proper air circulation is fatal.
 
Planet Europe in Action
 
Technological safety net for fall-prone elderly
Full ArticleFalls are the main cause of injuries among elderly people, but until now doctors have had few ways of effectively monitoring and counteracting mobility problems among patients. Work by European researchers is set to change that.
What connects the elderly and sports people? Smart sensor technology
Full ArticleInnovative smart sensing devices promise to boost mobility and quality of life for the elderly, reduce health care costs and even give sports people an edge through more effective training. The wireless devices are currently being sold by McRoberts, a Netherlands-based company that developed them as part of the SensAction-AAL project, a European Union-funded initiative to create remote mobility monitoring solutions co-ordinated by the University of Bologna.
Hearing assistance comes to the home
Full ArticleEuropean researchers have combined state-of-the-art technologies to help end the isolation suffered by the hearing impaired. End users are eager to get their hands on the suite of tools. The number of people suffering from hearing impairment is increasing, and as the disability grows it spreads isolation in its wake. Vision is the primary sensory system for navigating the real world, but sound is the mainstay of our social sphere. When people start to lose their hearing they slowly begin to withdraw from the world. Conversation becomes difficult and confusing, as sound begins to smudge in the auditory cortex, like ink blotting on a page. Worse, it is one of the few disabilities that the victims can conceal successfully, and they do. Embarrassment typically causes people to delay seeking help, often for years.
Germany starts its part in the International Cancer Genome Project
Full ArticleBrain tumours are the primary cause of cancer mortality in children. Even if a cure is possible, young patients often suffer tremendously from the stressful treatment which can be harmful to the developing brain. Therefore, there is an urgent need for target-oriented, gentle treatment methods. The most important childhood brain tumours are medulloblastoma, which is diagnosed in approximately one hundred young patients each year in Germany, and pylocytic astrocytoma, which is diagnosed in about 200 children each year.
Babraham scientists' 3D view of genes-at-work is paradigm shift in genetics
Full ArticleResearch from the Babraham Institute has revealed for the first time that genes work together by huddling in clusters inside the nucleus - the information centre of a cell. These findings, published in the on-line edition of the journal Nature Genetics, represent a paradigm shift in our understanding of how the genome is spatially organised in relation to gene expression. It marks the first step towards a "virtual nucleus", a dynamic tool simulating interactions in the nucleus, which could revolutionise computer-based drug design.
 
The 21st century hospital
 
Hospital Clinic Barcelona and Massachusetts General Hospital extract rectal mass through anus
Full ArticlePerforming surgical operations without leaving scars has ceased to be a chimera and has become a reality. This is demonstrated by the recent surgical advances made using NOTES - Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopy Surgery, an innovative surgical approach that allows surgical access using the body's natural orifices. The results are all advantageous for the patient: lack of scars, shorter hospital stay and faster recovery. Currently, this type of minimally-invasive surgery is still in the research and development stage. Surgery through the mouth and vagina has been successfully used, but the transanal route - through the anus - is less utilized.
Use of telemedicine for ICU patients not linked with improvement in survival
Full ArticleRemote monitoring of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) was not associated with an overall improvement in the risk of death or length of stay in the ICU or hospital, according to a study in the December 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Remote technologies improve patient care as a viable alternative to intensivist shortage
Full ArticleDuring the Institute for Healthcare Improvement National Forum, Advanced ICU Care showcased the improved outcomes of implementing virtual ICU technology. Five million patients are admitted to ICUs each year and an estimated 10 percent die while they are there. While full intensivist staffing would save 162.000 lives annually, only one in five ICUs has intensivists on staff. Remote monitoring programmes for ICUs are a viable alternative to the intensivist shortage and improve patient care and safety.
Foundation Surgical Hospital of San Antonio brings MAKOplasty knee procedure to San Antonio
Full ArticleFoundation Surgical Hospital of San Antonio has brought MAKOplasty, a minimally invasive orthopaedic knee procedure, to San Antonio. Foundation Surgical Hospital is the only hospital in San Antonio - and the second of only three hospitals in Texas - providing MAKOplasty partial knee resurfacing, an innovative and minimally invasive surgical solution that enables orthopaedic surgeons to treat patients with early to mid-stage osteo-arthritis of the knee before it has impacted their entire knee.
Patients at Walter Reed testing next-generation prosthesis
Full ArticleSeveral wounded warriors at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are testing a new microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knee. The X2 microprocessor knee, the result of a medical research project, is being used by some amputees at Walter Reed's Military Advanced Training Center. With the older C-Leg, many patients were dealing with knee and joint pain and once they began wearing the new X2, the patients saw relief almost immediately, according to Adele Levine, a physical therapist at the centre.
 
Virtual snap shots
 
Regulus launches marketing network for Health Information Technology
Full ArticleRegulus Communications Inc. has launched a marketing network for Health Information Technology (HIT). The HIT Business Community creates the strategic marketing features necessary for health care product and service providers to be part of the National Health Information Network (NHIN) and the Consolidated Health Informatics (CHI) initiatives.
Gap exists between vision for EMRs to improve care co-ordination and clinicians' experiences
Full ArticleA gap exists between policy makers' expectations that current commercial electronic medical records (EMRs) can improve co-ordination of patient care and clinicians' real-world experiences with EMRs, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) published on-line in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Current commercial ambulatory care EMRs facilitate care co-ordination within a practice by making information available at the point of care but are less helpful for exchanging information across physician practices and care settings, according to the study supported by the Commonwealth Fund.
GE Healthcare to evaluate and develop novel imaging technology
Full ArticleA novel molecular imaging technology aimed at rapid diagnosis of cell death in organs such as the brain and heart has been licensed by the Medical College of Wisconsin to GE Healthcare. Under the license GE will further evaluate and develop the technology and will have an option to commercialize the technology. The technology, using imaging probes with a radiopharmaceutical compound, was invented by Ming Zhao, Ph.D., assistant professor of biophysics.
A virtual physician's conference
Full ArticleTelemedicine facilitates communication between family physicians, hospitals and nursing services - yet current solutions lack flexibility and are consequently very expensive. A new software programme is now available that can be tailored to a range of applications.
New research could advance research field critical to personalized medicine
Full ArticleIt's the ultimate goal in the treatment of cancer: tailoring a person's therapy based on his or her genetic make-up. While a lofty goal, scientists are steadily moving forward, rapidly exploiting new technologies. Researchers at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center report a significant advance in this field of research using a new chip that looks for hundreds of mutations in dozen of genes.
 
VMWC news bites
 
Tracking new cancer-killing particles with Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Full ArticleResearchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) have created a single nanoparticle that can be tracked in real time with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as it homes in on cancer cells, tags them with a fluorescent dye and kills them with heat. The all-in-one particle is one of the first examples from a growing field called "theranostics" that develops technologies physicians can use to diagnose and treat diseases in a single procedure.
Surgery on beating heart thanks to robotic helping hand
Full ArticleIf you've been waiting for the day to arrive when computers actually start performing surgery, that moment might soon be upon us. A French team has developed a computerized 3D model that allows surgeons to use robotics to operate on a beating heart, according to a report in the International Journal of Robotics Research, published by SAGE.
SPARKy device helps amputees return to normal lives
Full ArticleArizona State University (ASU) researchers have developed a prosthetic device that literally puts the spring back into an amputee's step. The ASU scientists have developed and refined SPARKy, which stands for spring ankle with regenerative kinetics, into a smart, active and energy storing below-the-knee - transbitial - prosthesis. SPARKy is the first prosthetic device to apply regenerative kinetics to its design, which resulted in a lightweight (four pound) device that allows the wearer to walk on grass, cement and rocks, as well as ascend and descend stairs and inclines.
MMVR 17 proceedings: fighting health care delivery system imbalances with broad access to latest technologies
Full ArticleThe conference proceedings of the seventeenth edition of the annual "Medicine Meets Virtual Reality" (MMVR) event, held January 19-22, 2009 in Long Beach, California, have been published as the 142th volume in the series dedicated to Studies in Health Technology and Informatics by IOS Press in Amsterdam. This MMVR 2009 edition includes 109 eminent contributions to the conference theme "NextMed: Design for/the Well Being".
Carnegie Mellon researchers receive grant to develop computerized tools for cryosurgery
Full ArticleCarnegie Mellon University's Yoed Rabin and Kenji Shimada have received a four-year, $1,3 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to develop computerized training tools for cryosurgery, which is the destruction of undesired tissue, such as cancerous tumours and organs, by freezing. At present, minimally invasive cryosurgery, such as prostate cryosurgery, is performed by inserting cryoprobes - in the shape of long hypodermic needles with a cooling tip - into the tumour. Cryoprobes placement and the following process of freezing are monitored by an imaging technique, such as ultrasound or MRI.
 

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