Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

SCAN: Delivering bone disorder diagnosis, fracture healing

19.02.2009
The fight against bone disorders that affect millions of Americans will soon receive a boost from an ultrasound device being developed by space biomedical researchers. The technology under development will allow early prediction of bone disorders such as osteoporosis and guided acceleration of fracture healing.
National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) scientists are developing the technology to assist astronauts during long-duration spaceflights. Like the elderly on Earth, astronauts in space lose bone structure and quality.

Dr. Yi-Xian Qin, associate team leader for NSBRI’s Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team, calls the new technology Scanning Confocal Acoustic Navigation (SCAN). He said the objective is to develop a small, mobile device that is easy to use and patient friendly.

“SCAN uses non-invasive and non-destructive ultrasound to image bone. It will allow us to identify weak regions, to make a diagnosis and to assist in healing fractures,” said Qin, who is also the director of the Orthopaedic Bioengineering Research Laboratory at Stony Brook University - State University of New York.

Stress-related fractures are a big concern for astronauts during long missions to the moon or in space. Qin said the fracture rate could be high on the moon due to workload force, heavy spacesuits and gravity that is one-sixth of Earth’s.

The researchers are developing the new technology using scanning confocal acoustic diagnostic imaging for diagnosis and low-intensity pulsed ultrasound technology for treatment. Compared to current diagnostic ultrasound scanners, Qin’s new technology is more advanced because of its ability to assess a higher number of parameters and is designed for imaging of hard tissue such as bone.

“Our new ultrasound technology can detect bone mineral density. In addition, we can assess bone quality, such as stiffness, and then predict the risk of fracture,” Qin said. “Overall bone quality assessment, including strength and structure, is essential because the risk of fracture is probably more related to the quality of a bone rather than the density of a bone alone.”

On Earth, X-ray machines are the standard tools of choice for monitoring bone health, but they are only used to detect bone mineral density. X-ray machines are not ideal for use in space due to the health risk radiation poses to astronauts, who are exposed to higher levels of radiation outside of Earth’s protective atmosphere and magnetic field.

Qin is currently conducting clinical evaluations of the diagnostic part of the technology. The mobile device runs off of a laptop computer, and an image of the heel or wrist can be completed in about five minutes. Also under development is the capability to scan the knee and hip.

Meanwhile, the group is continuing development of the therapeutic portion of the technology. On Earth, it takes six weeks to heal a fracture in normal conditions. The healing process may take longer in space. He said the device will help accelerate fracture healing by stimulating bone regeneration.

Ultrasound has been used to heal fractures, but it has not been effective due to its lack of accuracy at the fracture site. This is where Qin’s guided approach will be beneficial. “We are trying to use ultrasound technology as a way to get an image of the fracture site,” Qin said. “An integrated probe will directly shoot ultrasound into the region of the fracture. We hope this will result in effective acceleration of fracture healing.”

SCAN technology will be an ideal tool for health care providers on Earth who are dealing with an increasing elderly population and for those in rural areas where access to medical facilities is limited. In addition to being small and easier to use than X-ray based bone density measurement machines, the ultrasound device could be as much as 10-times cheaper to purchase and operate. “If we can provide a cost-effective, easy to operate machine at the doctor’s office, then they can monitor patients at minimal cost,” Qin said. “Also, it is non-invasive and non-destructive. People are not hesitant to get additional tests.”

Qin’s project is one of nine currently in the NSBRI Smart Medical Systems and Technology Team’s portfolio devoted to developing new integrated medical systems to assist in delivering quality health care in space. Other areas being researched include space surgery and supporting techniques, routine risk and health-monitoring systems, and automated systems and devices to aid in decision-making, training and diagnosis. The new systems will have immediate benefits for health care on Earth.

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=118

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht A first look at interstitial fluid flow in the brain
05.07.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht A sentinel to watch over ocular pressure
04.07.2018 | Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>