Autonomous medical technology: independently in the body -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: A very small, very flat silver device on the palm of a hand; Copyright: Vibrosonic GmbH

A contact lens for the ear

15/07/2021

Excessive noise, hearing loss, vascular constriction, old age – hearing difficulties can be caused by many factors. To help improve the quality of life of people with hearing impairment, Mannheim start-up Vibrosonic have developed a new, innovative hearing aid with an integrated loudspeaker that sits directly on the eardrum.
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Image: Close-up of the ear of a young woman with a hearing aid; Copyright: PantherMedia/Devin Pavel

AI improves speech understanding of hearing aid users

12/07/2021

In noisy environments, it is difficult for hearing aid or hearing implant users to understand their conversational partner because current audio processors still have difficulty focusing on specific sound sources. In a study, researchers from the Hearing Research Laboratory at the University of Bern and the Inselspital are now suggesting that artificial intelligence could solve this problem.
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Image: a close-up of a bone surgery; Copyright: Osaka City University

Bone marrow-derived fibrin clot as better source for meniscal repair

06/07/2021

Scientists from the Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, have evaluated the clinical results of a meniscal repair using BMA-derived fibrin clots and found that rates of clinical and anatomic failure, and re-tear were 10 percent, 6.7 percent, and 3.3percent respectively – well below their PB counterpart.
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Image: A skull of a pig whose bones have been set using a white mass; Copyright: Daniel Hutchinson

Fracture setting method could replace metal plates

02/07/2021

A new biocompatible polymer-based composite material could soon replace metal plates in treating difficult and unstable fractures. Developed at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, the newly-developed material is as strong as dental composites yet non-toxic.
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Image: Grey-and-white image of an uneven surface; Copyright: Josh Doloff

Smoother silicone breast implants may reduce immune system reaction

01/07/2021

According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Rice University in Houston, silicone breast implants with a smoother surface design have less risk of producing inflammation and other immune system reactions than those with more roughly textured coatings.
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Image: Grey-and-white image of a ball-like structure with an uneven surface; Copyright: St.Petersburg Polytechnic University

Coatings for titanium implants that accelerate osseointegration

29/06/2021

Researchers from Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) in collaboration with colleagues from St. Petersburg State University developed coatings for titanium implants, which accelerate the integration of the implant material into the bone tissue.
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Image: Graphic of two blood vessels with an aneurysm; Copyright: University of Leeds

Using virtual populations for clinical trials

29/06/2021

A study involving virtual rather than real patients was as effective as traditional clinical trials in evaluating a medical device used to treat brain aneurysms, according to new research.
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Image: A long blue stent with spikes; Copyright: MIT

Stents inspired by paper-cutting art can deliver drugs to the GI tract

24/06/2021

Inspired by kirigami, the Japanese art of folding and cutting paper to create three-dimensional structures, MIT engineers and their collaborators have designed a new type of stent that could be used to deliver drugs to the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory tract, or other tubular organs in the body.
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Image: A scientist in white lab coat, protective glasses and gloves is working on a big test rig; Copyright: LZH

Eye surgery: LZH works on improved lens refilling

14/06/2021

In eye surgery for cataract, the lens refilling method could allow to maintain or restore the lens's accommodation of the lens, i.e. the ability to adjust its refractive power flexibly. So far, however, this method has not yet been clinically successful.
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Image: Three physicians with masks and scrubs in the OR, one is holding a small container in one hand – Prof. Bauersachs, Prof. Widder, Dr. Kempf; Copyright: MHH/Karin Kaiser

Defective heart valve replaced with new TAVI system

09/06/2021

Narrowing of the aortic valve, known as aortic valve stenosis, is the most common heart valve defect in old age. The valve leaflets of the aortic valve are thickened and have difficulty opening and closing.
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Smart implant – Healing fractures autonomously with smart materials

07/06/2021

Lower leg fractures put a great strain on patients due to their long healing process. In the future, an intelligent implant could control how the bone grows together again and thus optimize the healing process. In our video, you can learn from the developers at Saarland University how this works and what role artificial intelligence plays here.
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Image: biomedical structure created with the new NEST3D technique; Copyright: RMIT University

Breaking the mould for 3D printing medical implants

27/05/2021

Researchers have flipped traditional 3D printing to create some of the most intricate biomedical structures yet, advancing the development of new technologies for regrowing bones and tissue.
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Image: artificial ventilation at a hospital room; Copyright: PantherMedia / ParStud

Making biohybrid lungs implantable

25/05/2021

Diseases can affect the lungs in different ways that can be challenging. If the lungs are badly damaged and artificial ventilation (also called artificial respiration) is no longer effective, an ECMO machine comes into play. Right now, artificial lungs reside outside the body and cannot be implanted.
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Image: A female researcher in a laboratory, holding a pipette - Prof. Illana Gozes; Copyright: Tel Aviv University

Orthopedic implants: effective inflammation prevention

18/05/2021

Dental and orthopedic implants are widely used around the world. Common causes for implant failure are the immune response against oral bacteria and titanium particles shed by the implant.
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Image: three different grey SEM images of the neural implant's microelectrode array; Copyright: Nature Neuroscience

Neural implant provides new neuroscience insights

14/05/2021

The study by University of California was made possible by developing a neural implant that monitors the activity of different parts of the brain at the same time, from the surface to deep structures. Using this new technology, the researchers show that diverse patterns of two-way communication occur between two brain regions known to play a role in learning and memory formation.
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Image: a needle with a small chip in it that can measure body functions via ultrasound; Copyright: Chen Shi/Columbia Engineering

Wireless, injectable chips use ultrasound to monitor body processes

12/05/2021

Columbia Engineers develop the smallest single-chip system that is a complete functioning electronic circuit; implantable chips visible only in a microscope point the way to developing chips that can be injected into the body with a hypodermic needle.
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Image: a finger holding a tiny tech implant that could aid patients with spinal cord injury; Copyright: Secure and Intelligent Micro-Systems Lab/Rice University

New implant tech could aid spinal cord or heart therapies

11/05/2021

Rice University engineers who developed implants for electrical stimulation in patients with spinal cord injuries have advanced their technique to power and program multisite biostimulators from a single transmitter.
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Image: sugar needle to carry implant; Copyright: Edward Zhang

A sweet solution to hard brain implants

05/05/2021

Brain implants are used to treat neurological dysfunction, and their use for enhancing cognitive abilities is a promising field of research. Implants can be used to monitor brain activity or stimulate parts of the brain using electrical pulses. In epilepsy, for example, brain implants can determine where in the brain seizures are happening.
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Image: A man wearing a VR headset is holding a surgical instrument that is attached to a robotic arm; Copyright: Dynamic HIPS

Hip replacement: virtual surgical training with haptic technology

01/04/2021

Surgeons have only limited options to practice surgical techniques before they enter the operating room. The implantation of an endoprosthesis requires extensive practical training since it necessitates strength and utmost precision. The "Dynamic HIPS" project develops a virtual reality hip implant simulator that provides realistic haptic feedback.
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Image: A group of researchers is discussing a chemical structural formula in front of a whiteboard; Copyright: PantherMedia/depositedhar

Intelligent implants: when the material is the key to the solution

01/02/2021

Today we use implants to stabilize or compensate for injuries inside the body and to aid in the healing process. Implants cannot act autonomously and treat the patient if they deem it necessary. However, it is just a matter of time before this happens because research on intelligent implant materials that respond to stimuli is on the cusp of a breakthrough.
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Image: Two small, angular-shaped, electrical devices that are held with tweezers; Copyright: Fraunhofer EMFT/Bernd Müller

Tumor therapy: drug delivery pump instead of injection

01/02/2021

Drugs always have undesired side effects. Cytostatics are powerful drugs used to treat cancer. They reach almost all cells in the body, killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells in the process. A targeted delivery to the specific cellular site would be a gentler treatment.
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Image: Artist’s rendering of small star-shaped machines between red blood cells; Copyright: PantherMedia/Michael Osterrieder

Autonomous medical devices: running well in your body

01/02/2021

In theory, autonomous medical technologies can be used in a diagnostic or therapeutic capacity inside the body under certain conditions. This may not sound like a new invention at first. After all, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have monitored and fixed abnormal heart rhythm for many years.
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Image: Artist’s rendering of small robots with grapplers and searchlights that swim between red blood cells; Copyright: PantherMedia/Andreus

Autonomous medical technology: independently in the body

01/02/2021

Therapies need to be carried out with high reliability by trained personal. This will not change in the future. But maybe we will be able to let systems in the patient’s body do some of the work. Some approaches are already aiming to make implants more independent so they will be able to flexibly react to changes. Read more in our Topic of the Month!
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Image: Microimplant; Copyright: Fraunhofer IZM

Microimplants: electricity instead of pills

23/11/2020

Active implants such as pacemakers revolutionized healthcare decades ago. But they also have disadvantages: their size and relatively short life span, for example. At Fraunhofer IZM, research is therefore being conducted on durable microimplants that stimulate nerve cells electrically in a targeted manner and are even to be used to treat multiple sclerosis.
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Image: Two knees of a woman next to each other, the left knee has a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/wujekspeed

Regenerative medicine: creating a new body?

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to repair the human body after injuries, accidents or major cancer surgery. Unfortunately, we are still not at a stage where this process can achieve optimal results for every conceivable situation. Having said that, various new methods are on the cusp of breakthrough.
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Image: Athlete with knee pain; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Wavebreakmedia Itd

Endoprostheses: between possibility and reality

01/01/2020

When natural joints lose their ability to function, they can be completely or partially replaced by artificial joints, also called endoprostheses. Endoprostheses must be of a certain quality, as they should remain in the body as long as possible. In addition to some risks, endoprostheses can also contribute to a mobile and carefree life for young and old.
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Image: patient with pain in fingers; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Milkos

APRICOT-project: implant "help(s) patients heal themselves"

01/01/2020

Today, people tend to live longer, while an increasing number of patients suffer from osteoarthritis. Even younger generations are now at a higher risk of getting osteoarthritis due to the frequent use of mobile devices. The EU research project APRICOT aims to develop a novel type of implant for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands – helping patients heal themselves.
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Image: cemented artificial hip endoprostheses; Copyright: panthermedia.net/coddie

Endoprostheses: regaining independence and mobility

01/01/2020

Joints can suddenly or gradually deteriorate and lose their natural strength, whether it’s due to accidents, diseases or simple wear and tear. In some of these cases, implants of artificial joints – endoprostheses - can help. As a joint replacement, they are designed to stay in the body for as long as needed and as such improve the patient’s quality of life and mobility.
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Image: Leg implants; Copyright: panthermedia.net/ monstArrr

Orthopedic implant: More comfortable thanks to full weight-bearing capacity

08/03/2019

Orthopedic implants – they are a necessity when it comes to congenital or acquired limb length discrepancies. However, full weight-bearing during the limb lengthening process is not feasible with previous implant models. For the first time, the 3D Surgery division at the Medical Center of the University of Munich has succeeded in using an implant that facilitates immediate weight-bearing.
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Image: View over the shoulders of two doctors at a screen showing a model of a heart; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Wavebreakmedia ltd

Regenerative heart valves: from simulation to replacement

23/07/2018

Every year, more than 250,000 patients worldwide receive heart valve implants. Children require repeated replacement surgery because their bodies are still growing, the prosthetic heart valves are not. Regenerative heart valves solve this problem. Until now, we have only been able to monitor how these living implants develop in the body after the fact. Computer models now make this predictable.
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Early detection: Tattoo signals cancer – and more

09/07/2018

People who are not ill and do not show any symptoms typically do not visit the doctor. And while most people know that preventive medical checkups for cancer, for example, are important, they still avoid them. They tend to be very hesitant because the doctor might detect a serious illness. In the future, a new type of implant could make it easier to go to a screening test.
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Image: Two hands are holding a tubular frame that is carrying a glistening wet, white tube; Copyright: Leibniz University of Hanover/Institute of Technical Chemistry

Tissue engineering: how to grow a bypass

23/04/2018

A bypass is a complicated structure. It is either made of synthetic materials that can cause blood clots and infections or created by using the patient’s veins. However, the latter often does not yield adequate material. A newly developed bioreactor could solve this problem in the future. It is designed to tissue engineer vascular grafts by using the body’s own material.
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Surgical navigation systems – with precision to the destination

06/03/2018

With the help of surgical navigation systems, prostheses or implants can be better inserted. During the procedure, surgeons can see exactly where they need to operate on a screen. Just like a navigation system in the car, navigation in the OR guides you precisely to your destination. At the Uniklinik RWTH Aachen we can find out what advantages this has for physicians and patients.
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