Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Star Trek-like technology offers noninvasive monitor for patients and athletes

30.04.2009
How long will it take to develop Star Trek-like medical technologies? The gap between science fiction and reality is closing faster than many people may think.

A noninvasive, needle-free system that uses light to measure tissue oxygen and pH will soon be an alternative to the painful use of needles to draw blood and cumbersome equipment to determine metabolic rate. The futuristic system, dubbed the Venus prototype, is being developed by Dr. Babs Soller and her colleagues. It has the capability to measure blood and tissue chemistry, metabolic rate (oxygen consumption) and other parameters.

The sensor and portable monitor are funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) for use in space. Soller said the technology’s multiple, real-time applications will be beneficial to astronauts in their day-to-day activities and to critically ill patients on Earth.

“Tissue and blood chemistry measurements can be used in medical care to assess patients with traumatic injuries and those at risk for cardiovascular collapse,” said Soller, who leads NSBRI’s Smart Medical Systems and Technology team. “The measurement of metabolic rate will let astronauts know how quickly they are using up the oxygen in their life-support backpacks. If spacewalking astronauts run low on oxygen, the situation can become fatal.”

Placed directly on the skin, the four-inch by two-inch sensor uses near infrared light (that is just beyond the visible spectrum) to take the measurements. Blood in tiny blood vessels absorbs some of the light, but the rest is reflected back to the sensor. The monitor analyzes the reflected light to determine metabolic rate, along with tissue oxygen and pH. One unique advantage of Dr. Soller’s near infrared device is that its measurements are not impacted by skin color or body fat.

A noninvasive system also means a reduced risk of infection due to the lack of needle pricks. Most of the system’s development has occurred at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where Soller is a professor of anesthesiology. She has worked closely with researchers at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston to develop applications of the Venus system for space.

Former NASA astronaut and NSBRI User Panel Chairman Dr. Leroy Chiao said Soller’s sensor system and other technologies being developed for spaceflight are a wise investment.

“The neat thing about the work being done is that it is a two-for-one deal,” Chiao said. “Not only is this research going to help future astronaut crews and operations, it has very real benefits to people on the ground, especially to people in more rural areas.”

On Earth, there are several areas of health care that could benefit from Venus. However, it is patients treated by emergency personnel on ambulances and on the battlefield that could benefit the most from the technology.

“Eventually, we expect first-responders would have these devices, which would provide feedback on the severity of a person’s injury,” Soller said. “Data can be communicated directly to the hospital. Early access to this type of information may increase a victim’s chances of survival.”

The system’s Earth applications are not limited to urgent care. It will allow doctors to more efficiently monitor pediatric and intensive care patients. Athletes and physical therapy patients also stand to gain from the technology’s ability to measure metabolic rate and to assist in determining the level of activity or exercise that is most beneficial to the individual.

“Athletes would benefit from using these parameters in developing training programs that will help them improve their endurance and performance,” she said. “And we suspect the same thing will be true for patients in physical rehabilitation.”

Currently, Soller and her collaborators are working on several aspects to prepare the sensor for integration into spacesuits by reducing its size, increasing its accuracy in measuring metabolic rate, and developing the capability to run on batteries. These activities will also speed its application in helping to care for patients on Earth.

Soller’s technology is one of a group of innovative medical systems being developed by NSBRI to provide health care to NASA astronauts in space and to improve health care on Earth.

Learn more about other NSBRI technologies at: http://www.nsbri.org/EarthBenefits/FuturisticTechnologies.html

NSBRI, funded by NASA, is a consortium of institutions studying the health risks related to long-duration spaceflight. The Institute’s science, technology and education projects take place at more than 60 institutions across the United States.

Brad Thomas | NSBRI
Further information:
http://www.bcm.edu
http://www.nsbri.org/NewsPublicOut/Release.epl?r=119
http://www.nsbri.org/EarthBenefits/FuturisticTechnologies.html

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Solar Collectors from Ultra-High Performance Concrete Combine Energy Efficiency and Aesthetics

16.01.2017 | Trade Fair News

3D scans for the automotive industry

16.01.2017 | Automotive Engineering

Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs

16.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>