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Structure-function study of N-isopropylacrylamide copolymers with enzyme degradable GAPGLF and GAPGLL side chains

Description

With an increased demand for more enzyme-sensitive, bioresorbable and more biodegradable polymers, various studies of copolymers have been developed. Polymers are widely used in various applications of biomedical engineering such as in tissue engineering, drug delivery and wound healing. Depending

With an increased demand for more enzyme-sensitive, bioresorbable and more biodegradable polymers, various studies of copolymers have been developed. Polymers are widely used in various applications of biomedical engineering such as in tissue engineering, drug delivery and wound healing. Depending on the conditions in which polymers are used, they are modified to accommodate a specific need. For instance, polymers used in drug delivery are more efficient if they are biodegradable. This ensures that the delivery system does not remain in the body after releasing the drug. It is therefore crucial that the polymer used in the drug system possess biodegradable properties. Such modification can be done in different ways including the use of peptides to make copolymers that will degrade in the presence of enzymes. In this work, we studied the effect of a polypeptide GAPGLL on the polymer NIPAAm and compare with the previously studied Poly(NIPAAm-co-GAPGLF). Both copolymers Poly(NIPAAm-co-GAPGLL) were first synthesized from Poly(NIPAAm-co-NASI) through nucleophilic substitution by the two peptides. The synthesis of these copolymers was confirmed by 1H NMR spectra and through cloud point measurement, the corresponding LCST was determined. Both copolymers were degraded by collagenase enzyme at 25 ° C and their 1H NMR spectra confirmed this process. Both copolymers were cleaved by collagenase, leading to an increase in solubility which yielded a higher LCST compared to before enzyme degradation. Future studies will focus on evaluating other peptides and also using other techniques such as Differential Scanning Microcalorimetry (DSC) to better observe the LCST behavior. Moreover, enzyme kinetics studies is also crucial to evaluate how fast the enzyme degrades each of the copolymers.

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2018-05

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Dynamic Changes in Heart Rate and Cerebral Blood Flow During Acute Vagal Nerve Stimulation

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Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be a promising therapeutic technique in treating many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache. The mechanisms by which VNS acts, however, are not fully understood but may

Vagal Nerve Stimulation (VNS) has been shown to be a promising therapeutic technique in treating many neurological diseases, including epilepsy, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and migraine headache. The mechanisms by which VNS acts, however, are not fully understood but may involve changes in cerebral blood flow. The vagus nerve plays a significant role in the regulation of heart rate and cerebral blood flow that are altered during VNS. Here, we examined the effects of acute vagal nerve stimulation on both heart rate and cerebral blood flow. Laser Speckle Contrast Analysis (LASCA) was used to analyze the cerebral blood flow of male Long\u2014Evans rats. Results showed two distinct patterns of responses whereby animals either experienced a mild or severe decrease in heart rate during VNS. Further, animals that displayed mild heart rate decreases showed an increase in cerebral blood flow that persisted beyond VNS. Animals that displayed severe decreases showed a transient decrease in cerebral blood flow followed by an increase that was greater than that observed in mild animals but progressively decreased after VNS. The results suggest two distinct patterns of changes in both heart rate and cerebral blood flow that may be related to the intensity of VNS.

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2018-05

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Image Analysis for Registration, Segmentation, and Intensity Measurement of 2-Photon Microscope Images using MATLAB

Description

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major concern in public health due to its prevalence and effect. Every year, about 1.7 million TBIs are reported [7]. According to the According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.5%

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major concern in public health due to its prevalence and effect. Every year, about 1.7 million TBIs are reported [7]. According to the According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 5.5% of all emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths from 2002 to 2006 are due to TBI [8]. The brain's natural defense, the Blood Brain Barrier (BBB), prevents the entry of most substances into the brain through the blood stream, including medicines administered to treat TBI [11]. TBI may cause the breakdown of the BBB, and may result in increased permeability, providing an opportunity for NPs to enter the brain [3,4]. Dr. Stabenfeldt's lab has previously established that intravenously injected nanoparticles (NP) will accumulate near the injury site after focal brain injury [4]. The current project focuses on confirmation of the accumulation or extravasation of NPs after brain injury using 2-photon microscopy. Specifically, the project used controlled cortical impact injury induced mice models that were intravenously injected with 40nm NPs post-injury. The MATLAB code seeks to analyze the brain images through registration, segmentation, and intensity measurement and evaluate if fluorescent NPs will accumulate in the extravascular tissue of injured mice models. The code was developed with 2D bicubic interpolation, subpixel image registration, drawn dimension segmentation and fixed dimension segmentation, and dynamic image analysis. A statistical difference was found between the extravascular tissue of injured and uninjured mouse models. This statistical difference proves that the NPs do extravasate through the permeable cranial blood vessels in injured cranial tissue.

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2018-05

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Optical Feedback Mechanism for Detecting Cerebrospinal Fluid Leaks During Spinal Surgery

Description

For my honors thesis, I developed a proof of concept alpha prototype of a biomedical device for detection of cerebrospinal fluid leaks during spinal surgery. Cerebrospinal fluid leaks are a consequence of tears in the dura mater of the spinal

For my honors thesis, I developed a proof of concept alpha prototype of a biomedical device for detection of cerebrospinal fluid leaks during spinal surgery. Cerebrospinal fluid leaks are a consequence of tears in the dura mater of the spinal cord and can result in potentially life-threatening conditions and are overall a large burden not only on the patient but upon the clinical teams managing the patient postoperatively. What I created was an optical sensor that I programmed to be sensitive to detecting green wavelength light. The device would ideally be attached to surgical drain tubing and used in conjunction with fluorescein (a green fluorescent dye) infused lumbar punctures into the spinal canal of patients. As the dye circulates through the spinal cord, any tears in the dura mater would cause the fluorescein to leak out with cerebrospinal fluid into the incision site. This fluid may then be collected by the surgical drain where the sensor may detect the fluorescein, triggering a buzzer response that would notify the patient or the surgeons of an ongoing leak that requires repair. The time I spent on my thesis involved sensor validation to ensure it could differentiate between colors, testing the sensor's color sensitivity by performing a fluorescein aliquot, and running proof of concept testing that could show the sensor can detect fluorescein drain tubing and provide an adequate response. The sensor was able to differentiate between varying concentrations of fluorescein in solution and provided exceptional results in its proof-of-concept testing. Next steps will be to re-run the sensor validation study with different dyes as well as consolidating the device's electrical hardware onto a single circuit board as development of beta and gamma prototypes move forward.

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2018-05

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Customized Endovascular Treatment Fixture Construction for Patient-Specific Cerebral Aneurysm Repair

Description

Cerebral aneurysms are pathological bulges in blood vessels of the brain that can rupture and cause brain damage or death. Treating aneurysms by isolating them from circulation can prevent aneurysm rupture. Endovascular techniques for cerebral aneurysm treatment are preferred because

Cerebral aneurysms are pathological bulges in blood vessels of the brain that can rupture and cause brain damage or death. Treating aneurysms by isolating them from circulation can prevent aneurysm rupture. Endovascular techniques for cerebral aneurysm treatment are preferred because they are minimally invasive and have a shorter recovery time, and endovascular coiling is considered the gold standard as a result. The coils used in endovascular treatment come in standard shapes and sizes, mass-manufactured by medical device companies. Clinicians select the coils for treatment based on the aneurysm volume. However, cerebral aneurysms have unique shapes and dimensions, and vary on a patient-specific basis. Therefore, customizing the coils to fit a unique aneurysm morphology by using shape memory alloys could potentially improve endovascular treatment outcomes. In order to shape set a shape memory alloy into a customized coil configuration a fixture based on the aneurysm morphology must first be developed. Digital surface models of aneurysm patient cases were collected from an online repository and isolated from surrounding vasculature. Anchors used to assist in winding coils around these models were then added to create a computational fixture model. These fixtures were 3D printed in stainless steel, and tested on their ability to maintain their shape after being exposed to high temperatures needed in shape setting processes. The study demonstrated that customized fixtures can be created from patient-specific images or models, and manufactured with high levels of accuracy without deformation at high temperatures. The results suggest that 3D printed stainless steel fixtures could be used to develop customized endovascular coils for cerebral aneurysm treatment.

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2017-05

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Development of a Wearable Haptic Feedback System for Use in Lower-Limb Prosthetics: Proof of Concept and Verification

Description

Skin and muscle receptors in the leg and foot provide able-bodied humans with force and position information that is crucial for balance and movement control. In lower-limb amputees however, this vital information is either missing or incomplete. Amputees typically compensate

Skin and muscle receptors in the leg and foot provide able-bodied humans with force and position information that is crucial for balance and movement control. In lower-limb amputees however, this vital information is either missing or incomplete. Amputees typically compensate for the loss of sensory information by relying on haptic feedback from the stump-socket interface. Unfortunately, this is not an adequate substitute. Areas of the stump that directly interface with the socket are also prone to painful irritation, which further degrades haptic feedback. The lack of somatosensory feedback from prosthetic legs causes several problems for lower-limb amputees. Previous studies have established that the lack of adequate sensory feedback from prosthetic limbs contributes to poor balance and abnormal gait kinematics. These improper gait kinematics can, in turn, lead to the development of musculoskeletal diseases. Finally, the absence of sensory information has been shown to lead to steeper learning curves and increased rehabilitation times, which hampers amputees from recovering from the trauma. In this study, a novel haptic feedback system for lower-limb amputees was develped, and studies were performed to verify that information presented was sufficiently accurate and precise in comparison to a Bertec 4060-NC force plate. The prototype device consisted of a sensorized insole, a belt-mounted microcontroller, and a linear array of four vibrotactile motors worn on the thigh. The prototype worked by calculating the center of pressure in the anteroposterior plane, and applying a time-discrete vibrotactile stimulus based on the location of the center of pressure.

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2018-05

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Analyzing rat sciatic nerve fibers under various electrical stimuli

Description

Abstract Modern imaging techniques for sciatic nerves often use imaging techniques that can clearly find myelinated axons (Group A and Group B and analyze their properties, but have trouble with the more numerous Remak Fibers (Group C). In this paper,

Abstract Modern imaging techniques for sciatic nerves often use imaging techniques that can clearly find myelinated axons (Group A and Group B and analyze their properties, but have trouble with the more numerous Remak Fibers (Group C). In this paper, Group A and B fibers are analyzed while also analyzing Remak fibers using osmium tetroxide staining and imaging with the help of transmission electron microscopy. Using this method, nerves had various electrical stimuli attached to them and were analyzed as such. They were analyzed with a cuff electrode attached, a stimulator attached, and both, with images taken at the center of the nerve and the ends of them. The number and area taken by the Remak fibers were analyzed, along with the g-ratios of the Group A and B fibers. These were analyzed to help deduce the overall health of the fibers along with vacuolization, and mitochondria available. While some important information was gained from this evaluation, further testing has to be done to improve the myelin detection system, along with analyzing the proper and necessary Remak fibers and the role they play. The research tries to thoroughly look at the necessary material and find a way to use it as a guide to further experimentation with electrical stimuli, and notes the differences found within and without various groups, various points of observation, and various stimuli as a whole. Nevertheless, this research allows a strong look into the benefits of transmission electron microscopy and the ability to assess electrical stimulation from these points.

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2018-05

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The Ethics of Brain-Computer Interfaces

Description

The development of computational systems known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) offers the possibility of allowing individuals disabled by neurological disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and ischemic stroke the ability to perform relatively complex tasks such as communicating with

The development of computational systems known as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) offers the possibility of allowing individuals disabled by neurological disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and ischemic stroke the ability to perform relatively complex tasks such as communicating with others and walking. BCIs are closed-loop systems that record physiological signals from the brain and translate those signals into commands that control an external device such as a wheelchair or a robotic exoskeleton. Despite the potential for BCIs to vastly improve the lives of almost one billion people, one question arises: Just because we can use brain-computer interfaces, should we? The human brain is an embodiment of the mind, which is largely seen to determine a person's identity, so a number of ethical and philosophical concerns emerge over current and future uses of BCIs. These concerns include privacy, informed consent, autonomy, identity, enhancement, and justice. In this thesis, I focus on three of these issues: privacy, informed consent, and autonomy. The ultimate purpose of brain-computer interfaces is to provide patients with a greater degree of autonomy; thus, many of the ethical issues associated with BCIs are intertwined with autonomy. Currently, brain-computer interfaces exist mainly in the domain of medicine and medical research, but recently companies have started commercializing BCIs and providing them at affordable prices. These consumer-grade BCIs are primarily for non-medical purposes, and so they are beyond the scope of medicine. As BCIs become more widespread in the near future, it is crucial for interdisciplinary teams of ethicists, philosophers, engineers, and physicians to collaborate to address these ethical concerns now before BCIs become more commonplace.

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2016-05

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The Role of Precision Grip Aperture in Hardness Differentiation of Cube-Like Objects

Description

Determining the characteristics of an object during a grasping task requires a combination of mechanoreceptors in the muscles and fingertips. The width of a person's finger aperture during the grasp may affect the accuracy of how that person determines hardness,

Determining the characteristics of an object during a grasping task requires a combination of mechanoreceptors in the muscles and fingertips. The width of a person's finger aperture during the grasp may affect the accuracy of how that person determines hardness, as well. These experiments aim to investigate how an individual perceives hardness amongst a gradient of varying hardness levels. The trend in the responses is assumed to follow a general psychometric function. This will provide information about subjects' abilities to differentiate between two largely different objects, and their tendencies towards guess-chances upon the presentation of two similar objects. After obtaining this data, it is then important to additionally test varying finger apertures in an object-grasping task. This will allow an insight into the effect of aperture on the obtained psychometric function, thus ultimately providing information about tactile and haptic feedback for further application in neuroprosthetic devices. Three separate experiments were performed in order to test the effect of finger aperture on object hardness differentiation. The first experiment tested a one-finger pressing motion among a hardness gradient of ballistic gelatin cubes. Subjects were asked to compare the hardness of one cube to another, which produced the S-curve that accurately portrayed the psychometric function. The second experiment utilized the Phantom haptic device in a similar setup, using the precision grip grasping motion, instead. This showed a more linear curve; the percentage reported harder increased as the hardness of the second presented cube increased, which was attributed to both the experimental setup limitations and the scale of the general hardness gradient. The third experiment then progressed to test the effect of three finger apertures in the same experimental setup. By providing three separate testing scenarios in the precision grip task, the experiment demonstrated that the level of finger aperture has no significant effect on an individual's ability to perceive hardness.

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2015-05

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Pre-Symptomatic Detection of Lung Cancer Via Protein Biomarkers

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The purpose of this project was to examine the viability of protein biomarkers in pre-symptomatic detection of lung cancer. Regular screening has been shown to vastly improve patient survival outcome. Lung cancer currently has the highest occurrence and mortality of

The purpose of this project was to examine the viability of protein biomarkers in pre-symptomatic detection of lung cancer. Regular screening has been shown to vastly improve patient survival outcome. Lung cancer currently has the highest occurrence and mortality of all cancers and so a means of screening would be highly beneficial. In this research, the biomarker neuron-specific enolase (Enolase-2, eno2), a marker of small-cell lung cancer, was detected at varying concentrations using electrochemical impedance spectroscopy in order to develop a mathematical model of predicting protein expression based on a measured impedance value at a determined optimum frequency. The extent of protein expression would indicate the possibility of the patient having small-cell lung cancer. The optimum frequency was found to be 459 Hz, and the mathematical model to determine eno2 concentration based on impedance was found to be y = 40.246x + 719.5 with an R2 value of 0.82237. These results suggest that this approach could provide an option for the development of small-cell lung cancer screening utilizing electrochemical technology.

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2014-05