Thursday, 13 November 2014

Ghanashyam Dash Scholarship for Higher Education

FDA clears world's first patient-specific spinal rod

The MEDICREA group, a company that specializes in the development of personalized implants produced for a patient's specific need in the treatment of spinal pathologies, has announced the company has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for UNiDTM, the world's first patient-specific spinal osteosynthesis rod. The technology will be premiered at the 2014 North American Spine Society (NASS) Annual Meeting taking place on November 12-15 in San Francisco. The first U.S. patient underwent surgery to have personalized UNiDTM rods implanted earlier today in New York.
UNiDTM features a user-friendly software tool to help surgeons preoperatively plan their surgery and order customized, industrially-produced rods to fit the specific spinal alignment needed for each individual patient. UNiDTM eliminates the need to manually contour a rod during surgery, providing surgeons with a precisely aligned rod prior to surgery and reducing the amount of time patients spend in the operating room, which directly impacts infection rate and quality of recovery.
"Understanding and restoring sagittal alignment is key towards providing better patient outcomes and preventing the need for reoperations, a major factor in rising health care costs. By providing rod customization, UNiDTM allows surgeons to precisely execute their preoperative plan and frees them from the antiquated technique of freehand bending, ensuring individual patients receive the most accurate and effective treatment. Having a more precise, personalized rod ready before even stepping foot in the operating room is a game-changer for spine surgery," said Frank J. Schwab, MD, a renowned orthopedic surgeon and spinal deformity expert, who performed the first customized UNiDTM rod surgery in the U.S. today.
The UNiDTM rod system, which has been successfully implanted in over 100 patients in Europe, offers a real-time support team, the UNiDTM Lab, that provides a seamless process by which surgeons preoperatively analyze, design and order the patient-specific rod. The UNiDTM plug in, proprietary to MEDICREA, is embedded into the Surgimap software, and provides surgeons a quick and efficient option for ordering patient-specific rods. After the planning process is complete, the order is transferred to the UNiDTM Lab, which processes the request and industrially produces and labels the rod specifically for the patient.
"When we created Surgimap in 2008 our primary goal was to provide a research tool for surgeons to plan, measure and review their results," said Virginie Lafage, PhD, Co-Founder of NEMARIS. "As we collected data we noticed a startling trend: 62 percent of patient remained sagittally malaligned after surgery [i]. This was occurring not because of a lack of skills, but because surgeons have not had the best tools at their disposal. Our collaboration with MEDICREA is an important step forward for spine surgery. Combining our core competency, our software platform, with MEDICREA's hardware solution was necessary to bring a cutting-edge solution to surgeons and the patients they treat. It would not have been possible without such collaboration."
The UNiDTM customized rod offers numerous benefits to surgeons and patients undergoing spine surgery.
  • The primary benefit of UNiDTM is it allows surgeons to plan and then execute their operating strategy without compromises or approximation errors. Until now, surgeons had no alternative but to use a bending device, known as a French bender, supplied in all instrument kits to bend the rods manually. This manual rod-contouring process involves estimating the curve in a very empirical manner using pre-operative X-rays displayed on a wall in the operating room. Significant error and variability exist with that approach. With UNiDTM, surgeons can now be certain of implanting spinal fusion rods that are precisely adapted to the patient because UNiDTM rods are personalized and accurately curved using a design established by the surgeon during the pre-operative planning phase with the Surgimap / UNiDTM software.
Additional advantages of UNiDTM include:
  • Surgeons can improve their success rate in terms of global sagittal patient alignment. With the free UNiDTM application in the Surgimap software, spine surgeons have access to the most recent scientific data available on the parameters necessary to determine and restore sagittal alignment for each patient.
  • Surgeons can save time and be more efficient in the operating room. By eliminating the manual bending of rods during surgery, surgeons can significantly reduce operating time. This is an additional benefit, since infection rates and the quality of a patient's recovery are directly linked to the duration of the surgical procedure. As soon as the surgeon validates the rod's design in the UNiDTM application, MEDICREA precisely manufactures the implantable rod and delivers it within 5 working days.
  • Surgeons can reduce the risk of spinal implant failure. The UNiDTM rods, customized for each patient, are pre-contoured using a controllable and reproducible industrial process. This eliminates the intraoperative use of a bending device, which creates indentations, or notches, in the rod. Such notches are an acknowledged cause of rods breaking postoperatively, which can occur in patients - especially adults with severe spinal deformities.
Adapted by MNT from original media release

Gene turns mosquito into vampire

Out of the millions of species of insects, only about a hundred suck human blood. Now, scientists say they’ve figured out how one mosquito became a vampire: a gene that makes it particularly sensitive to human odor.
This is one of the few situations in which researchers have pinned down a gene underlying a complex behavior, and their results may point the way to thwarting this potentially deadly insect. “The more we can understand about how mosquitoes sense human odors, the better we will be at designing repellents and baits,” says Carolyn McBride, the evolutionary neurobiologist at Princeton University who led the work.
Curious about how insects developed a taste for humans, McBride focused her efforts on the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has spread worldwide. The insect, which passes on the dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya viruses, lives side by side with a very close relative along the coast of Kenya. The relative—known as A. aegypti formosus, or “forest form” of A. aegypti—buzzes through forests, doesn’t attack humans, and lays its eggs in water in tree holes and rock pools. The domestic form, A. aegypti aegypti, meanwhile, thrives in homes, laying eggs in water containers. The domestic and forest forms can interbreed, but for the most part they avoid each other.
McBride confirmed another intriguing difference between the two insects. When she and colleagues brought them back to the lab, they found that the forest mosquito preferred to dine on guinea pigs, whereas its domestic cousin liked humans.
The team compared the activity of all the genes in the antennae of the two forms. There were many differences and one gene that was much more active in the domestic mosquito:Or4, which codes for an odor receptor. The researchers plugged Or4 into fruit fly nerve cells that lack the Or4 receptor and tested which odors the nerve cell could pick up on that it couldn’t before. The strongest response was to an odor molecule called sulcatone, McBride and her colleagues report online today in Nature. Many organisms release sulcatone, but humans reek of it, producing four times the amount the researchers found in live chickens or in horse, cow, and sheep hair. In guinea pigs, this odor was undetectable.
When the scientists took at closer look at the Or4 gene, they found that its sequence varied in the two types of Kenyan mosquitoes. The gene comes in seven different versions, three of which predominate in the human-biters. Thus, human-biting mosquitoes have distinct versions of the gene and make a lot more of its odor-sensing protein than do the forest mosquitoes.
"The paper is well designed, and the experiments lead us nicely from demonstrable behavioral differences right the way through to the identification of a gene which may be associated with such differences,” says James Logan, an entomologist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, who was not involved with the work.
“To present such a convincing case for a single gene being the causative factor is rare,” adds Jeffrey Powell, an evolutionary geneticist at Yale University, who was not involved with the work. Although there are likely to be other factors involved in human preference, “it seems the one identified is a, if not the, major factor,” he says.
According to Logan, A. aegypti is not controlled by bed nets or insecticides, yet spreads serious diseases such as dengue fever. The work, he says, "could have important implications for mosquito control measures in the future," for example in helping develop new baits or repellents.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Earthquake Researchers luckily find Ancient Shipwreck

A mysterious shipwreck on the floor of Monterey Bay in northern California has been serendipitously discovered by scientists mapping earthquake fault lines. Sonar images from research on the San Gregorio, a major fault system that lies along the outside of the bay Fault, led the researchers to detect a vessel.
Charlie Paull, a scientist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) in a report by local station KSBW, said the discovery is rare and it is the first time when the scientists have found a shipwreck that they initially had no idea about.
The researchers found the vessel a mile below the ocean's surface in Monterey Bay's subterranean canyon. Thanks to Katie Maier, a research geologist with the U. S. Geological Survey, who first detected the drowned ship in the soar images.
"One of the things we're interested in is how wrecks like that get colonized how they decay what happens with time and I think it's an opportunity for local studies to be launched to understand that in a place where we going to be operating in those water depths frequently", said Paul.
The researchers zoomed up the image and looked at the spot to gather fine details of it. They saw the shape of the barge in those maps.
A remotely operated vehicle equipped with a video camera was then sent by the team to record the shipwreck. The camera flawlessly captured an image of the boat, named Umpqua II.
The researchers then went to search more on Google and figured out shortly that the mysterious wreckage belonged to a barge that ran into difficulties in Moss Landing harbor back in 1992. The Umpqua II was laying on the bottom of the ocean floor before researchers luckily found it after detecting it in sonar images.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

4.8 magnitude earthquake hits grace

Athens, Nov 8: A 4.8 magnitude earthquake struck about 140 kilometres west of Athens provoking some light damage to buildings but no reports of injuries, officials have said. The quake, considered weak by Greece's earthquake observatory, hit at 2242 IST yesterday and was epicentered about five km off the coast of the town of Aigio in the Gulf of Corinth. A church and an abandoned building in Aigio were damaged, according to initial reports from the Greek media. There were no immediate indications of any injuries. Aigio was the epicentre of a Richter Scale magnitude 6 earthquake in 1995, which killed over 20 people and caused major damage to buildings. Earthquakes are frequent in Greece and just in January several thousand people found themselves homeless on the island of Cephalonia in the Ionian Islands after a 5.8 magnitude quake

2015 Student Design Competition

 Undergraduate Student Design Competition
To Be Presented at
BMES 2015 Annual Meeting

October 7-10, 2015
BMES Undergraduate Student Members engaged in student design projects are encouraged to enter. All design team members must be BMES Student Members. The top 6 proposals will be chosen and those teams will be given an opportunity to present their work via oral presentations at the BMES 2015 Annual Meeting.
  • Showcase the students' undergraduate design work
  • Provide students an opportunity to present their innovations at BMES 2015 Annual Meeting
  • Introduce students to the Biomedical Engineering Society
  • Provide a chance to network with product development and design professionals in BME

Six design teams will attend BMES 2015. The Top 3 will be the selected winning teams.
Awardees will receive (Top 3 teams only) - First place $3000, Second place $1500 and Third place $500.

To Access the Student Design Competition application, click here: Design Competition Application Guidelines.pdf

To Access the Judging Criteria, click here: National Design Competition 2015 Judging Criteria.pdf

Please direct your inquiries/submit the application to Elizabeth DaSilva

Important Information -

1. The 2015 Design Theme is Bioinstrumentation.
2. All design team members MUST be BMES Student Members.
3. Top 6 proposals will be chosen and those teams will present via oral presentations at BMES 2015 Annual Meeting. 

Application deadline - May 25, 2015