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Frequency response characteristics of respiratory flow-meters

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Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where the rate of airflow passing the aircraft is used to determine the speed of the plane. A clinical example would be that the flow of a patient's breath which could help determine the state of the patient's lungs. This project is focused on the flow-meter that are used for airflow measurement in human lungs. In order to do these measurements, resistive-type flow-meters are commonly used in respiratory measurement systems. This method consists of passing the respiratory flow through a fluid resistive component, while measuring the resulting pressure drop, which is linearly related to volumetric flow rate. These types of flow-meters typically have a low frequency response but are adequate for most applications, including spirometry and respiration monitoring. In the case of lung parameter estimation methods, such as the Quick Obstruction Method, it becomes important to have a higher frequency response in the flow-meter so that the high frequency components in the flow are measurable. The following three types of flow-meters were: a. Capillary type b. Screen Pneumotach type c. Square Edge orifice type To measure the frequency response, a sinusoidal flow is generated with a small speaker and passed through the flow-meter that is connected to a large, rigid container. True flow is proportional to the derivative of the pressure inside the container. True flow is then compared with the measured flow, which is proportional to the pressure drop across the flow-meter. In order to do the characterization, two LabVIEW data acquisition programs have been developed, one for transducer calibration, and another one that records flow and pressure data for frequency response testing of the flow-meter. In addition, a model that explains the behavior exhibited by the flow-meter has been proposed and simulated. This model contains a fluid resistor and inductor in series. The final step in this project was to approximate the frequency response data to the developed model expressed as a transfer function.

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2013

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Real-time feedback to improve posture and gait in Parkinson's disease: a feasibility study

Description

Although tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia are cardinal symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD), impairments of gait and balance significantly affect quality of life, especially as the disease progresses, and do not respond well to anti-parkinsonism medications. Many studies have shown that

Although tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia are cardinal symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD), impairments of gait and balance significantly affect quality of life, especially as the disease progresses, and do not respond well to anti-parkinsonism medications. Many studies have shown that people with PD can walk better when appropriate cues are presented but, to the best of our knowledge, the effects of real-time feedback of step length and uprightness of posture on gait and posture have not been specifically investigated. If it can be demonstrated that real-time feedback can improve posture and gait, the resultant knowledge could be used to design effective rehabilitation strategies to improve quality of life in this population.

In this feasibility study, we have developed a treadmill-based experimental paradigm to provide feedback of step length and upright posture in real-time. Ten subjects (mean age 65.9 ± 7.6 years) with mild to moderate PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage III or below) were evaluated in their ability to successfully utilize real-time feedback presented during quiet standing and treadmill walking tasks during a single data collection session in their medication-on state. During quiet standing tasks in which back angle feedback was provided, subjects were asked to utilize the feedback to maintain upright posture. During treadmill walking tasks, subjects walked at their self-selected speed for five minutes without feedback, with feedback of back angle, or with feedback of step length. During walking tasks with back angle feedback, subjects were asked to utilize the feedback to maintain upright posture. During walking tasks with step length feedback, subjects were asked to utilize the feedback to walk with increased step length. During quiet standing tasks, measurements of back angle were obtained; during walking tasks, measurements of back angle, step length, and step time were obtained.

Subjects stood and walked with significantly increased upright posture during the tasks with real-time back angle feedback compared to tasks without feedback. Similarly, subjects walked with significantly increased step length during tasks with real-time step length feedback compared to tasks without feedback. These results demonstrate that people with PD can utilize real-time feedback to improve upright posture and gait.

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2014

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Age related changes in balance and gait

Description

Gait and balance disorders are the second leading cause of falls in the elderly. Investigating the changes in static and dynamic balance due to aging may provide a better understanding of the effects of aging on postural control system. Static

Gait and balance disorders are the second leading cause of falls in the elderly. Investigating the changes in static and dynamic balance due to aging may provide a better understanding of the effects of aging on postural control system. Static and dynamic balance were evaluated in a total of 21 young (21-35 years) and 22 elderly (50-75 years) healthy subjects while they performed three different tasks: quiet standing, dynamic weight shifts, and over ground walking. During the quiet standing task, the subjects stood with their eyes open and eyes closed. When performing dynamic weight shifts task, subjects shifted their Center of Pressure (CoP) from the center target to outward targets and vice versa while following real-time feedback of their CoP. For over ground walking tasks, subjects performed Timed Up and Go test, tandem walking, and regular walking at their self-selected speed. Various quantitative balance and gait measures were obtained to evaluate the above respective balance and walking tasks. Total excursion, sway area, and mean frequency of CoP during quiet standing were found to be the most reliable and showed significant increase with age and absence of visual input. During dynamic shifts, elderly subjects exhibited higher initiation time, initiation path length, movement time, movement path length, and inaccuracy indicating deterioration in performance. Furthermore, the elderly walked with a shorter stride length, increased stride variability, with a greater turn and turn-to-sit duration. Significant correlations were also observed between measures derived from the different balance and gait tasks. Thus, it can be concluded that aging deteriorates the postural control system affecting static and dynamic balance and some of the alterations in CoP and gait measures may be considered as protective mechanisms to prevent loss of balance.

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2014

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Interconnects and packaging to enable autonomous movable MEMS microelectrodes to record and stimulate neurons in deep brain structures

Description

Long-term monitoring of deep brain structures using microelectrode implants is critical for the success of emerging clinical applications including cortical neural prostheses, deep brain stimulation and other neurobiology studies such as progression of disease states, learning and memory, brain mapping

Long-term monitoring of deep brain structures using microelectrode implants is critical for the success of emerging clinical applications including cortical neural prostheses, deep brain stimulation and other neurobiology studies such as progression of disease states, learning and memory, brain mapping etc. However, current microelectrode technologies are not capable enough of reaching those clinical milestones given their inconsistency in performance and reliability in long-term studies. In all the aforementioned applications, it is important to understand the limitations & demands posed by technology as well as biological processes. Recent advances in implantable Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology have tremendous potential and opens a plethora of opportunities for long term studies which were not possible before. The overall goal of the project is to develop large scale autonomous, movable, micro-scale interfaces which can seek and monitor/stimulate large ensembles of precisely targeted neurons and neuronal networks that can be applied for brain mapping in behaving animals. However, there are serious technical (fabrication) challenges related to packaging and interconnects, examples of which include: lack of current industry standards in chip-scale packaging techniques for silicon chips with movable microstructures, incompatible micro-bonding techniques to elongate current micro-electrode length to reach deep brain structures, inability to achieve hermetic isolation of implantable devices from biological tissue and fluids (i.e. cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), blood, etc.). The specific aims are to: 1) optimize & automate chip scale packaging of MEMS devices with unique requirements not amenable to conventional industry standards with respect to bonding, process temperature and pressure in order to achieve scalability 2) develop a novel micro-bonding technique to extend the length of current polysilicon micro-electrodes to reach and monitor deep brain structures 3) design & develop high throughput packaging mechanism for constructing a dense array of movable microelectrodes. Using a combination of unique micro-bonding technique which involves conductive thermosetting epoxy’s with hermetically sealed support structures and a highly optimized, semi-automated, 90-minute flip-chip packaging process, I have now extended the repertoire of previously reported movable microelectrode arrays to bond conventional stainless steel and Pt/Ir microelectrode arrays of desired lengths to steerable polysilicon shafts. I tested scalable prototypes in rigorous bench top tests including Impedance measurements, accelerated aging and non-destructive testing to assess electrical and mechanical stability of micro-bonds under long-term implantation. I propose a 3D printed packaging method allows a wide variety of electrode configurations to be realized such as a rectangular or circular array configuration or other arbitrary geometries optimal for specific regions of the brain with inter-electrode distance as low as 25 um with an unprecedented capability of seeking and recording/stimulating targeted single neurons in deep brain structures up to 10 mm deep (with 6 μm displacement resolution). The advantage of this computer controlled moveable deep brain electrodes facilitates potential capabilities of moving past glial sheath surrounding microelectrodes to restore neural connection, counter the variabilities in signal amplitudes, and enable simultaneous recording/stimulation at precisely targeted layers of brain.

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Date Created
2016

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Real-Time Feedback Training to Improve Gait and Posture in Parkinson's Disease

Description

Progressive gait disorder in Parkinson's disease (PD) is usually exhibited as reduced step/stride length and gait speed. People with PD also exhibit stooped posture, which can contribute to reduced step length and arm swing. Since gait and posture deficits in

Progressive gait disorder in Parkinson's disease (PD) is usually exhibited as reduced step/stride length and gait speed. People with PD also exhibit stooped posture, which can contribute to reduced step length and arm swing. Since gait and posture deficits in people with PD do not respond well to pharmaceutical and surgical treatments, novel rehabilitative therapies to alleviate these impairments are necessary. Many studies have confirmed that people with PD can improve their walking patterns when external cues are presented. Only a few studies have provided explicit real-time feedback on performance, but they did not report how well people with PD can follow the cues on a step-by-step basis. In a single-session study using a novel-treadmill based paradigm, our group had previously demonstrated that people with PD could follow step-length and back angle feedback and improve their gait and posture during treadmill walking. This study investigated whether a long-term (6-week, 3 sessions/week) real-time feedback training (RTFT) program can improve overground gait, upright posture, balance, and quality of life. Three subjects (mean age 70 ± 2 years) with mild to moderate PD (Hoehn and Yahr stage III or below) were enrolled and participated in the program. The RTFT sessions involved walking on a treadmill while following visual feedback of step length and posture (one at any given time) displayed on a monitor placed in front of the subject at eye-level. The target step length was set between 110-120% of the step length obtained during a baseline non-feedback walking trial and the target back angle was set at the maximum upright posture exhibited during a quiet standing task. Two subjects were found to significantly improve their posture and overground walking at post-training and these changes were retained six weeks after RTFT (follow-up) and the third subject improved his upright posture and gait rhythmicity. Furthermore, the magnitude of the improvements observed in these subjects was greater than the improvements observed in reports on other neuromotor interventions. These results provide preliminary evidence that real-time feedback training can be used as an effective rehabilitative strategy to improve gait and upright posture in people with PD.

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2017

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Six Sigma Design and Analysis for Point of Care Diagnostics

Description

This work focuses on qualifying the performance of an optoelectrical measurement system designed to analyze ribonucleic acid (RNA) within a micro sample. The system is capable of measuring light intensity converted to voltage versus time and is a fast, inexpensive,

This work focuses on qualifying the performance of an optoelectrical measurement system designed to analyze ribonucleic acid (RNA) within a micro sample. The system is capable of measuring light intensity converted to voltage versus time and is a fast, inexpensive, and portable method for rapid detection of biologics such as SARS-CoV-2 virus, or Covid-19 disease. The measurement system consists of a microfluidic chip and a point of care fluorescent reader.The intent of this research is to measure consistency and robustness of the fluorescent reader combined with the microfluidic chip. The consistency and the robustness of the fluorescent reader within the duty cycle of the system power and the measurement system were analyzed with Six Sigma methods. Control charts, analysis of variance (ANOVAs), and variance components calculations were implemented to characterize the reader system. Through the process of this analysis, baseline characteristics were measured and documented providing valuable data for the improved instrument design.
The existing microfluidic chip is a prototype that works in combination with the reader based on fluorescent detection. Baseline studies were required to define any issues related to microfluidic autofluorescence. Multiple designs were tested to measure reduction in autofluorescence in the microfluidics. It was found that certain designs performed better than others. One approach for improvement in the microfluidic chip may be achieved by characterizing and source controlling materials, optimizing layers, mask apertures, and mask orientations to determine reliability in the measurable output through the fluorescent reader. Since the reader and the microfluidic are designed to work together, any future studies should explore testing where the two components are considered a coupled system.

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2021

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The Effect of Backward Perturbation on Fall Outcomes in Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) and Functional Electrical Stimulator (FES) Users with Chronic Stroke

Description

Between 20%-30% of stroke survivors have foot drop. Foot drop is characterized by inadequate dorsiflexion required to clear the foot of the ground during the swing phase of gait, increasing the risk of stumbles and falls (Pouwels et al. 2009;

Between 20%-30% of stroke survivors have foot drop. Foot drop is characterized by inadequate dorsiflexion required to clear the foot of the ground during the swing phase of gait, increasing the risk of stumbles and falls (Pouwels et al. 2009; Hartholt et al. 2011). External postural perturbations such as trips and slips are associated with high rate of falls in individuals with stroke (Forster et al. 1995). Falls often results in head, hip, and wrist injuries (Hedlund et al 1987; Parkkari et al. 1999). A critical response necessary to recover one’s balance and prevent a fall is the ability to evoke a compensatory step (Maki et al. 2003; Mansfield et al. 2013). This is the step taken to restore one’s balance and prevent a fall. However, this is difficult for stroke survivors with foot drop as normal gait is impaired and this translates to difficulty in evoking a compensatory step. To address both foot drop and poor compensatory stepping response, assistive devices such as the ankle-foot-orthosis (AFO) and functional electrical stimulator (FES) are generally prescribed to stroke survivors (Kluding et al. 2013; S. Whiteside et al. 2015). The use of these assistive devices improves walking speed, foot clearance, cadence, and step length of its users (Bethoux et al. 2014; Abe et al. 2009; Everaert et al. 2013; Alam et al. 2014). However, their impact on fall outcome in individuals with stroke in not well evaluated (Weerdesteyn et al. 2008). A recent study (Masood Nevisipour et al. 2019) where stroke survivors experienced a forward treadmill perturbation, mimicking a trip, reports that the impaired compensatory stepping response in stroke survivors in not due to the use of the assistive devices but to severe ankle impairments which these devices do not fully address. However, falls can also occur because of a slip. Slips constitute 40% of outdoor falls (Luukinen et al. 2000). In this study, results for fall rate and compensatory stepping response when subjects experience backward perturbations, mimicking slips, reveal that these devices do not impair the compensatory stepping response of its users.

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2021

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Development and validation of a novel biomechanical testing setup and procedure for olecranon fracture fixation assessment

Description

Olecranon fractures account for approximately 10% of upper extremity fractures and 95% of them require surgical fixation. Most of the clinical, retrospective and biomechanical studies have supported plate fixation over other surgical fixation techniques since plates have demonstrated low incidence

Olecranon fractures account for approximately 10% of upper extremity fractures and 95% of them require surgical fixation. Most of the clinical, retrospective and biomechanical studies have supported plate fixation over other surgical fixation techniques since plates have demonstrated low incidence of reoperation, high fixation stability and resumption of activities of daily living (ADL) earlier. Thus far, biomechanical studies have been helpful in evaluating and comparing different plate fixation constructs based on fracture stability. However, they have not provided information that can be used to design rehabilitation protocols such as information that relates load at the hand with tendon tension or load at the interface between the plate and the bone. The set-ups used in biomechanical studies have included simple mechanical testing machines that either measured construct stiffness by cyclic loading the specimens or construct strength by performing ramp load until failure. Some biomechanical studies attempted to simulate tendon tension but the in-vivo tension applied to the tendon remains unknown. In this study, a novel procedure to test the olecranon fracture fixation using modern olecranon plates was developed to improve the biomechanical understanding of failures and to help determine the weights that can be safely lifted and the range of motion (ROM) that should be performed during rehabilitation procedures.

Design objectives were defined based on surgeon's feedback and analysis of unmet needs in the area of biomechanical testing. Four pilot cadaveric specimens were prepared to run on an upper extremity feedback controller and the set-up was validated based on the design objectives. Cadaveric specimen preparation included a series of steps such as dissection, suturing and potting that were standardized and improved iteratively after pilot testing. Additionally, a fracture and plating protocol was developed and fixture lengths were standardized based on anthropometric data. Results from the early pilot studies indicated shortcomings in the design, which was then iteratively refined for the subsequent studies. The final pilot study demonstrated that all of the design objectives were met. This system is planned for use in future studies that will assess olecranon fracture fixation and that will investigate the safety of rehabilitation protocols.

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Date Created
2015

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Neuromodulation of peripheral nerve excitability using ultrasound

Description

The use of a non-invasive form of energy to modulate neural structures has gained wide spread attention because of its ability to remotely control neural excitation. This study investigates the ability of focused high frequency ultrasound to modulate the excitability

The use of a non-invasive form of energy to modulate neural structures has gained wide spread attention because of its ability to remotely control neural excitation. This study investigates the ability of focused high frequency ultrasound to modulate the excitability the peripheral nerve of an amphibian. A 5MHz ultrasound transducer is used for the study with the pulse characteristics of 57msec long train burst and duty cycle of 8% followed by an interrogative electrical stimulus varying from 30μsecs to 2msecs in pulse duration. The nerve excitability is determined by the compound action potential (CAP) amplitude evoked by a constant electrical stimulus. We observe that ultrasound's immediate effect on axons is to reduce the electrically evoked CAP amplitude and thereby suppressive in effect. However, a subsequent time delayed increased excitability was observed as reflected in the CAP amplitude of the nerve several tens of milliseconds later. This subsequent change from ultrasound induced nerve inhibition to increased excitability as a function of delay from ultrasound pulse application is unexpected and not predicted by typical nerve ion channel kinetic models. The recruitment curve of the sciatic nerve modified by ultrasound suggests the possibility of a fiber specific response where the ultrasound inhibits the faster fibers more than the slower ones. Also, changes in the shape of the CAP waveform when the nerve is under the inhibitive effect of ultrasound was observed. It is postulated that these effects can be a result of activation of stretch activation channels, mechanical sensitivity of the nerve to acoustic radiation pressure and modulation of ion channels by ultrasound.

The neuromodulatory capabilities of ultrasound in tandem with electrical stimulation has a significant potential for development of neural interfaces to peripheral nerve.

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2016