Archive for 'Healthcare and Medicine'

‘Smart’ medical material aims to unfurl at 98.6 degrees

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Mechanical Engineering Professor Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng has a simple office demonstration of how shape-memory polymers work. He takes the material, which is formed into a compact flower bud, drops the bud in a cup of warm water, and voila: A daisy slowly blooms. A significant materials research advance by Turng and colleagues may help translate [...]

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Laying the groundwork for safer air aid

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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It’s 1 a.m. and heavy fog cover has caused a terrible accident on the Interstate. A highly trained medical team climbs aboard the medevac chopper and a highly trained pilot flies the team to the scene. The problem, heading into a potentially life-threatening situation, is that these teams train in isolation and often have competing [...]

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Technology helps humans and horses

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Biomedical Engineering Professor Ray Vanderby always thought there was more information in an ultrasound signal than people were using. Vanderby and his students specialize in tissue healing and regeneration in musculo-skeletal tissues—and they can use all the information about damaged tissue they can get. That’s where ultrasound can be an added benefit. “If we’re only [...]

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Fighting disease by re-creating it

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Like many good lab discoveries, this one came about by accident. While trying to engineer healthy heart valves, Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Kristyn Masters was discouraged that cells her student was culturing were forming nasty-looking nodules. These nodules can be present in disease and made the sample cells impossible to use for their intended purpose. [...]

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Light reflects risk of cancer

Posted on 27. Sep, 2013 by .

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Seated at the intersection of an academic department and two research institutes, Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Jeremy Rogers finds himself in what he calls a perfect opportunity. A co-investigator in the UW-Madison Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI) and a member of the McPherson Eye Research Institute, Rogers welcomes the highs that come from [...]

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Can infant lung disease predict adult heart health?

Posted on 01. May, 2013 by .

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With $3.27 million from the National Institutes of Health, Pediatrics and Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Marlowe W. Eldridge and Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Naomi Chesler will research how bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a common condition in low-birth-weight infants, acts as a predictor of right heart failure in adulthood. Finding such a correlation could greatly inform treatment strategies [...]

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Gustafson named to National Academy of Engineering

Posted on 01. May, 2013 by .

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In February, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) named David Gustafson to its 2013 class of new members. Gustafson is director of the UW-Madison Center for Health Enhancement Systems Studies and a professor emeritus of industrial and systems engineering. The academy cited Gustafson for industrial and systems engineering methods to improve care for aging patients [...]

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Video tool could help active workers avoid injury

Posted on 01. May, 2013 by .

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Video of workers performing tasks such as assembling a manufactured part or packing boxes could help assess the likelihood that those people will develop common repetitive-motion injuries. Repeatedly performing the same motions and exertions can lead to injuries in which the body suffers strain from even tiny actions—for example, handling small parts, operating a machine [...]

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After ACL reconstruction, finding small motions that cause big problems

Posted on 30. Aug, 2012 by .

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People who tear their anterior cruciate ligament, a ligament in the knee that provides stability to the connection between the tibia and femur, usually must opt for a complete ACL reconstruction with a portion of another ligament. However, about 90 percent of people who undergo reconstructive ACL surgery develop osteoarthritis—knee pain, swelling and stiffness—within 20 [...]

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Building the virtual laboratory

Posted on 30. Aug, 2012 by .

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Everything in physics is governed by equations, which can be solved to predict, for example, how grains of sand collide, how a tablecloth falls across a flat surface, or how water flows around obstacles. And as computing power becomes cheaper and more accessible to universities, the potential for research applications with large computers is skyrocketing. [...]

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For older drivers, technology isn’t a distraction

Posted on 30. Aug, 2012 by .

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While technologies such as navigation systems, cell phones and MP3 players can distract a driver’s attention to the road, those same technologies can help older adults be safer drivers. Accident risk follows a distinct pattern over a person’s lifetime. It’s high for young people, then lessens as they gain experience and reach middle age. Then, [...]

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It’s the stuff of dreams: Better healthcare at home

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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Tucked away in a deep corner of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery Building on the UW-Madison campus, a six-sided room (pictured) called the “CAVE” uses coordinated computer projections to create immersive, virtual-reality world in which virtually anything is possible. “Almost anything we dream, we can actually make,” says Moehlman Bascom Professor of Industrial and Systems [...]

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Building blocks of the blood-brain barrier

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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For the first time ever, researchers have coaxed both embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to form the endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier—an advance that may unlock some of the most closely guarded secrets of this virtually impenetrable wall. The blood-brain barrier, which separates circulating blood from the fluid that bathes the brain, depends [...]

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A multidisciplinary perspective on biological systems

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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For more than a half century, the Petri dish has served as a living laboratory for biologists who intensively studied its contents and advanced our understanding of how microbial and mammalian cells behave. Now, however, researchers are drawing on knowledge and tools in such diverse areas as genetics, computer science, ecology and engineering to study [...]

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Spotting ovarian cancer, before it’s too late

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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At just 28 percent, the five-year survival rate for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer is much lower than in other cancer cases. And, the disease can easily go unnoticed, making it difficult to find effective treatments. “There are very few symptoms associated with ovarian cancer,” says Biomedical Engineering Associate Professor Paul Campagnola. “When it gets [...]

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The language of stem cells, decoded

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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Stem cells are biological building blocks, the starting point of human life. But without proper direction, they’re not very useful when it comes to treating disease. “If we just take stem cells and inject them into you, they will simply become a cancerous tumor,” says Biomedical Engineering Assistant Professor Randy Ashton. Working in the Wisconsin [...]

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What proteins say about cell behavior

Posted on 29. Aug, 2012 by .

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Understanding how a cell makes a decision in response to a drug or stimuli—to grow, to move, or to die—could give doctors richer insight into why, in many cases, different therapies work for different patients. The key to understanding how cells make these decisions may lie within the network of proteins inside those cells. Using [...]

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For alum, innovation is a full-time hobby

Posted on 27. Aug, 2012 by .

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Although he grew up on a dairy farm in a tiny, central-Wisconsin community—rather than a small coal-mining town in West Virginia—Dennis Bahr sees elements of his childhood in the movie October Sky, a film based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal-miner’s son who ultimately became a NASA engineer. Hickam’s passion was rocketry; [...]

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How industrial engineers improve healthcare

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by .

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During an intensive three-month period in fall 2011, UW-Madison graduate students Renaldo Blocker (left) and  Sacha Duff (right) worked long hours in the emergency department of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Whenever a victim of a car accident, stabbing or other incident arrived, they would accompany trauma teams from the moment patients arrived until [...]

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Who knew? Five questions with Bill Murphy about biotech innovation

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by .

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Bill Murphy is an associate professor of biomedical engineering, materials science and engineering, and orthopedics and rehabilitation. Murphy and his students develop new biomaterials and uses for biomaterials, as well as new approaches for drug delivery and gene therapy. He and various collaborators have founded two spin-off companies, collaborated with several other established companies, and [...]

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From lab bench to lab results: Diagnostics for developing countries

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by .

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Biomedical Engineering Professor David Beebe and his collaborator, Oncology Professor Emeritus Richard Burgess, have received a Point-of-Care Diagnostics grant through Grand Challenges in Global Health, an initiative created by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The initiative seeks to engage creative minds across scientific disciplines—including those who have not traditionally taken part in health research—to [...]

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Take a deep breath. You could generate electricity … with your nose

Posted on 19. Apr, 2012 by .

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Materials Science and Engineering Assistant Professor Xudong Wang (right), postdoctoral researcher Chengliang Sun and graduate student Jian Shi (left) have created a plastic microbelt that vibrates when passed by low-speed airflow such as human respiration. In certain materials, such as the polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) used by Wang’s team, an electric charge accumulates in response to applied [...]

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Power steering: A system for more capable catheters

Posted on 06. Oct, 2011 by .

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Atrial fibrillation is a condition where the upper chambers of a patient’s heart beat irregularly, which can cause blood to pool and increase the risk of stroke-causing clots. Treatment is difficult: A physician has to maneuver a catheter around a patient’s chest cavity to the diseased regions of the heart, which are then frozen or [...]

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Smooth transitions: CHSRA and Zimmerman will expand expertise

Posted on 06. Oct, 2011 by .

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As its 40th anniversary approaches, the Center for Health Systems Research and Analysis (CHSRA) is at the beginning of new era. Professor David Zimmerman, who directed the center for more than 20 years, retired in summer 2011. Yet that doesn’t mean he or CHSRA are slowing down; as Zimmerman focuses on new projects, CHSRA researchers [...]

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Materials engineer applies education to stem cell challenges

Posted on 06. Oct, 2011 by .

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The more Engineering Physics and Biomedical Engineering Professor Wendy Crone (pictured with Professor of Medicine Tim Kamp) worked with biologists, chemical engineers, medical professionals and others, the more she realized she wanted to go back to school. Now Crone is studying polymeric hydrogels, a class of polymeric materials that incorporate 10 to 100 times more [...]

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A new platform: DNA delivery, on demand

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by .

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A versatile new platform technology could enable doctors to release DNA locally in the body for a variety of therapeutic applications. Using a layer-by-layer fabrication process, Chemical and Biological Engineering Associate Professor David Lynn (left, pictured with PhD student Shane Beckler), can coat complex medical devices, such as vascular stents, with alternating nanoscale polymer and [...]

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With careful thought, brain sensors connect neurons with actions

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by .

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Neurologists who work to unlock the secrets of brain activity encounter what one might call the Las Vegas effect: “What happens in the brain, stays in the brain.” The skull and dura mater are efficient insulators, keeping high-frequency electrical activity from leaving the brain. And between the blood-brain barrier and the brain’s aggressive immune system, [...]

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From patent to proven product: A new approach to tech transfer

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by .

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On paper, it’s listed as U.S. Patent No. 7,615,593: “A faster and more effective way to treat chronic wounds through the use of a liquid cellular matrix, rather than conventional bandages.” But in practice, the patent is the subject of an exciting shift in thinking at UW-Madison about how to move medical technology from patent [...]

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Expanding the potential of MRI for diagnosing breast cancer

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by .

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In the world of medical imaging, no single technology provides all the answers for the critical procedure of breast cancer biopsy. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), for example, produces clear, highly revealing images of potential breast cancer lesions, but lacks practicality in obtaining a biopsy sample. Ultrasound imaging, on the other hand, is less revealing than [...]

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With second company, laser researchers are seeing new light

Posted on 04. Oct, 2011 by .

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Two professors have formed a startup company to commercialize a nanoscale laser structure that could benefit a wide range of industries. Intraband LLC was co-founded in 2008 by Philip Dunham Reed Professor Dan Botez and Professor Luke Mawst and has received recent funding from the U.S. Army and Navy Small Business Technology Transfer Programs. Botez [...]

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