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Piloerection Sensor: Insight into Autonomic Function

Description

Piloerection (known as goosebumps) is mediated by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors within the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The study of piloerection is important in multiple fields, from emotion studies to nervous system pathology. This makes piloerection particularly

Piloerection (known as goosebumps) is mediated by activation of alpha-adrenergic receptors within the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. The study of piloerection is important in multiple fields, from emotion studies to nervous system pathology. This makes piloerection particularly relevant to emotions research. Despite wide-ranging applications, current methods for measuring piloerection are laborious and qualitative. The goal of this study is to build a wearable piloerection sensor through the use of straight-line lasers and photoresistors. The study analyzed methods of detecting and measuring goosebumps, and applied the method of laser scattering as a detection method. This device was designed and tested against a population of seven Arizona State University students. Goosebumps were elicited through conditions of cold, and video clips meant to elicit emotions of awe and sadness. Piloerection was then quantified through two controls of self-identification and camera recording, as well as the new detection method. These were then compared together, and it was found that subjective methods of determining goosebumps did not correlate well with objective measurements, but that the two objective measurements correlated well with one another. This shows that the technique of laser scattering can be used to detect goosebumps and further developments on this new detection method will be made. Moreover, the presence of uncorrelated subjective measurements further shows the need for an objective measurement of piloerection, while also bringing into question other factors that may be confused with the feeling of piloerection, such as chills or shivers. This study further reaffirmed previous studies showing a positive correlation between intense emotions.

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2019-05

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MEMS Drug Delivery Using Pulsed Voltage Waveforms

Description

Abstract: The delivery of a drug or gene payload inside an individual neuron has been highly sought after and studied as a means of treating a large variety of neurological diseases and disorders such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Current

Abstract: The delivery of a drug or gene payload inside an individual neuron has been highly sought after and studied as a means of treating a large variety of neurological diseases and disorders such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Current technology for these applications remains imperfect particularly with respect to matters of precision and cell viability. Thus, the use of MEMS (micro electro mechanical systems) based systems have become more prevalent in order to conduct these processes with higher precision and automation. Penetrating these specific cells while also maintaining their structural integrity during the process, remain as two major hurdles still being explored today. Electrical stimulation has been used to drive the delivery of a payload at the microscale but to do so with a voltage that keeps the neuron viable is imperative. In order to find a means for optimizing the voltage and ejection of the payload while maintaining cell viability, the goal of this project is to explore the use of pulsed waveforms for driving the delivery. In doing so, lower to moderate voltage amplitudes may potentially be used while also avoiding hydrolysis of the cell. This study was done by ejecting dye dextran from glass micropipettes with an agar and artificial seawater well using both DC and pulsed waveforms. Successful ejection of the payload was achieved and confirmed using fluorescent microscopy. While the methods used for this voltage based delivery require further optimization, the successful ejection utilizing pulsed voltages suggest that this may lead to an improved technique for MEMS based delivery of payloads into single cells in the future.

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2019-05

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Octopus Transverse and Internal Longitudinal Arm Muscles in Relation to Fetching Movements

Description

Octopus arms employ a complex three dimensional array of musculature, called a
muscular hydrostat, which allows for nearly infinite degrees of freedom of movement without
the structure of a skeletal system. This study employed Magnetic Resonance Imaging with a
Gadoteridol-based

Octopus arms employ a complex three dimensional array of musculature, called a
muscular hydrostat, which allows for nearly infinite degrees of freedom of movement without
the structure of a skeletal system. This study employed Magnetic Resonance Imaging with a
Gadoteridol-based contrast agent to image the octopus arm and view the internal tissues. Muscle
layering was mapped and area was measured using AMIRA image processing and the trends in
these layers at the proximal, middle, and distal portions of the arms were analyzed. A total of 39
arms from 6 specimens were scanned to give 112 total imaged sections (38 proximal, 37 middle,
37 distal), from which to ascertain and study the possible differences in musculature. The
images revealed significant increases in the internal longitudinal muscle layer percentages
between the proximal and middle, proximal and distal, and middle and distal sections of the
arms. These structural differences are hypothesized to be used for rapid retraction of the distal
segment when encountering predators or noxious stimuli. In contrast, a significant decrease in
the transverse muscle layer was found when comparing the same sections. These structural
differences are hypothesized to be a result of bending behaviors during retraction. Additionally,
the internal longitudinal layer was separately studied orally, toward the sucker, and aborally,
away from the sucker. The significant differences in oral and aboral internal longitudinal
musculature in proximal, middle, and distal sections is hypothesized to support the pseudo-joint
functionality displayed in octopus fetching behaviors. The results indicate that individual
octopus arm morphology is more unique than previously thought and supports that internal
structural differences exist to support behavioral functionality.

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2019-05

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Viability of Cryotherapy Device for Spastic Relief Compared to Current Electrotherapy Device

Description

Spasticity is a neurological disorder in which a target group of muscles remain in a contracted state. In addition to interfering with the function of these muscles, spasticity causes chronic pain and discomfort. Often found in patients with cerebral palsy,

Spasticity is a neurological disorder in which a target group of muscles remain in a contracted state. In addition to interfering with the function of these muscles, spasticity causes chronic pain and discomfort. Often found in patients with cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, or stroke history, spasticity affects an estimated twelve million people worldwide. Not only does spasticity cause discomfort and loss of function, but the condition can lead to contractures, or permanent shortenings of the muscle and connective tissue, if left untreated. Current treatments for spasticity are primarily different forms of muscle relaxant pharmaceuticals. Almost all of these drugs, however, carry unwanted side effects, including total muscle weakness, liver toxicity, and possible dependence. Additionally, kinesiotherapy, conducted by physical therapists at rehabilitation clinics, is often prescribed to people suffering from spasticity. Since kinesiotherapy requires frequent practice to be effective, proper treatment requires constant professional care and clinic appointments, discouraging patient compliance. Consequently, a medical device that could automate relief for spasticity outside of a clinic is desired in the market. While a number of different dynamic splints for hand spasticity are currently on the market, research has shown that these devices, which simply brace the hand in an extended position, do not work through any mechanism to decrease spastic tension over time. Two methods of temporarily reducing spasticity that have been observed in clinical studies are cryotherapy, or the decrease of temperature on a target area, and electrotherapy, which is the delivery of regulated electrical pulses to a target area. It is possible that either of these mechanisms could be incorporated into a medical device aimed toward spastic relief. In fact, electrotherapy is used in a current market device called the SaeboStim, which is advertised to help stroke recovery and spastic reduction. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the viability of a potential spastic relief device that utilizes cryotherapy to a current and closest competitor, the SaeboStim. The effectiveness of each device in relieving spasticity is reviewed. The two devices are also compared on their ability to address primary customer needs, such as convenience, ease of use, durability, and price. Overall, it is concluded that the cryotherapy device more effectively relieves hand spasticity in users, although the SaeboStim's smaller size and better convenience gives it market appeal, and reveals some of the shortcomings in the preliminary design of the cryotherapy device.

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2018-05

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Engineering the Future: Enhancing the Profile of Biomedical Engineers as a Socially Relevant Discipline

Description

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3].

Engineers have a strong influence on everyday lives, ranging from electronics and trains to chemicals and organs [1]. However, in the United States, there is a large knowledge gap in the roles of engineers, especially in K-12 students [2] [3]. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recognizes the current problems in engineering, such as the dominance of white males in the field and the amount of education needed to become a successful engineer [4]. Therefore, the NAE encourages that the current engineering community begin to expose the younger generations to the real foundation of engineering: problem-solving [4]. The objective of this thesis is to minimize the knowledge gap by assessing the current perception of engineering amongst middle school and high school students and improving it through engaging and interactive presentations and activities that build upon the students’ problem-solving abilities.

The project was aimed towards middle school and high school students, as this is the estimated level where they learn biology and chemistry—key subject material in biomedical engineering. The high school students were given presentations and activities related to biomedical engineering. Additionally, within classrooms, posters were presented to middle school students. The content of the posters were students of the biomedical engineering program at ASU, coming from different ethnic backgrounds to try and evoke within the middle school students a sense of their own identity as a biomedical engineer. To evaluate the impact these materials had on the students, a survey was distributed before the students’ exposure to the materials and after that assesses the students’ understanding of engineering at two different time points. A statistical analysis was conducted with Microsoft Excel to assess the influence of the activity and/or presentation on the students’ understanding of engineering.

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2017-05

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Stochastic parameterization of the proliferation-diffusion model of brain cancer in a Murine model

Description

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a malignant, aggressive and infiltrative cancer of the central nervous system with a median survival of 14.6 months with standard care. Diagnosis of GBM is made using medical imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or

Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a malignant, aggressive and infiltrative cancer of the central nervous system with a median survival of 14.6 months with standard care. Diagnosis of GBM is made using medical imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT). Treatment is informed by medical images and includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgical removal if the tumor is surgically accessible. Treatment seldom results in a significant increase in longevity, partly due to the lack of precise information regarding tumor size and location. This lack of information arises from the physical limitations of MR and CT imaging coupled with the diffusive nature of glioblastoma tumors. GBM tumor cells can migrate far beyond the visible boundaries of the tumor and will result in a recurring tumor if not killed or removed. Since medical images are the only readily available information about the tumor, we aim to improve mathematical models of tumor growth to better estimate the missing information. Particularly, we investigate the effect of random variation in tumor cell behavior (anisotropy) using stochastic parameterizations of an established proliferation-diffusion model of tumor growth. To evaluate the performance of our mathematical model, we use MR images from an animal model consisting of Murine GL261 tumors implanted in immunocompetent mice, which provides consistency in tumor initiation and location, immune response, genetic variation, and treatment. Compared to non-stochastic simulations, stochastic simulations showed improved volume accuracy when proliferation variability was high, but diffusion variability was found to only marginally affect tumor volume estimates. Neither proliferation nor diffusion variability significantly affected the spatial distribution accuracy of the simulations. While certain cases of stochastic parameterizations improved volume accuracy, they failed to significantly improve simulation accuracy overall. Both the non-stochastic and stochastic simulations failed to achieve over 75% spatial distribution accuracy, suggesting that the underlying structure of the model fails to capture one or more biological processes that affect tumor growth. Two biological features that are candidates for further investigation are angiogenesis and anisotropy resulting from differences between white and gray matter. Time-dependent proliferation and diffusion terms could be introduced to model angiogenesis, and diffusion weighed imaging (DTI) could be used to differentiate between white and gray matter, which might allow for improved estimates brain anisotropy.

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2016-05

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Portable Heart Rate Monitor and iOS Application for Anxiety Therapy

Description

As the rates of anxiety in adults rapidly swell, new and creative treatment methods become increasingly relevant. Individuals with an anxiety disorder may experience challenging symptoms that interfere with daily activities and impede academic and social success. The purpose of

As the rates of anxiety in adults rapidly swell, new and creative treatment methods become increasingly relevant. Individuals with an anxiety disorder may experience challenging symptoms that interfere with daily activities and impede academic and social success. The purpose of this project is to design and engineer a portable heart rate monitor that communicates with an iOS mobile application for use by individuals suffering from anxiety or panic disorders. The proposed device captures the innovation of combining biosensor feedback with new, creative therapy methods on a convenient iOS application. The device is implemented as an Arduino Uno which translates radial pulse information onto an LCD screen from a wristband. Additionally, the iOS portion uses a slow expanding and collapsing animation to guide the user through a calming breathing exercise while displaying their pulse in beats per minute. The user's awareness or his or her ability to control one's own physiological state supports and facilitates an additional form of innovative therapy. The current design of the iOS app uses a random-number generator between 40 to 125 to imitate a realistic heart rate. If the value is less than 60 or greater than 105, the number is printed in red; otherwise the heart rate is displayed in green. Future versions of this device incorporate bluetooth capabilities and potentially additional synchronous methods of therapy. The information presented in this research provides an excellent example of the integrations of new mobile technology and healthcare.

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2016-05

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A Functional and Structural MRI Investigation of the Neural Signatures of Dyslexia in Adults

Description

The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as a learning disorder that is characterized by poor spelling, decoding, and word recognition abilities. There is still no known cause of dyslexia, although it is a very common disability that affects 1 in

The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as a learning disorder that is characterized by poor spelling, decoding, and word recognition abilities. There is still no known cause of dyslexia, although it is a very common disability that affects 1 in 10 people. Previous fMRI and MRI research in dyslexia has explored the neural correlations of hemispheric lateralization and phonemic awareness in dyslexia. The present study investigated the underlying neurobiology of five adults with dyslexia compared to age- and sex-matched control subjects using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging. All subjects completed a large battery of behavioral tasks as part of a larger study and underwent functional and structural MRI acquisition. This data was collected and preprocessed at the University of Washington. Analyses focused on examining the neural correlates of hemispheric lateralization, letter reversal mistakes, reduced processing speed, and phonemic awareness. There were no significant findings of hemispheric differences between subjects with dyslexia and controls. The subject making the largest amount of letter reversal errors had deactivation in their cerebellum during the fMRI language task. Cerebellar white matter volume and surface area of the premotor cortex was the largest in the individual with the slowest reaction time to tapping. Phonemic decoding efficiency had a high correlation with neural activation in the primary motor cortex during the fMRI motor task (r=0.6). Findings from the present study suggest that brain regions utilized during motor control, such as the cerebellum, premotor cortex, and primary motor cortex, may have a larger role in dyslexia then previously considered. Future studies are needed to further distinguish the role of the cerebellum and other motor regions in relation to motor control and language processing deficits related to dyslexia.

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2016-12

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Estimating GL-261 cell growth: A murine model for Glioblastoma Multiforme

Description

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer with a median survival time of about a year with treatment. Due to the aggressive nature of these tumors and the tendency of gliomas to follow white matter

Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is an aggressive and deadly form of brain cancer with a median survival time of about a year with treatment. Due to the aggressive nature of these tumors and the tendency of gliomas to follow white matter tracks in the brain, each tumor mass has a unique growth pattern. Consequently it is difficult for neurosurgeons to anticipate where the tumor will spread in the brain, making treatment planning difficult. Archival patient data including MRI scans depicting the progress of tumors have been helpful in developing a model to predict Glioblastoma proliferation, but limited scans per patient make the tumor growth rate difficult to determine. Furthermore, patient treatment between scan points can significantly compound the challenge of accurately predicting the tumor growth. A partnership with Barrow Neurological Institute has allowed murine studies to be conducted in order to closely observe tumor growth and potentially improve the current model to more closely resemble intermittent stages of GBM growth without treatment effects.

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2014-05

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Development of a Novel Smart Contrast Agent for Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Description

Smart contrast agents allow for noninvasive study of specific events or tissue conditions inside of a patient's body using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This research aims to develop and characterize novel smart contrast agents for MRI that respond to temperature

Smart contrast agents allow for noninvasive study of specific events or tissue conditions inside of a patient's body using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This research aims to develop and characterize novel smart contrast agents for MRI that respond to temperature changes in tissue microenvironments. Transmission Electron Microscopy, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, and cell culture growth assays were used to characterize the physical, magnetic, and cytotoxic properties of candidate nanoprobes. The nanoprobes displayed thermosensitve MR properties with decreasing relaxivity with temperature. Future work will be focused on generating and characterizing photo-active analogues of the nanoprobes that could be used for both treatment of tissues and assessment of therapy.

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2014-05