Using Microsoft’s HoloLens platform, researchers in Oslo have developed a way of turning traditional two-dimensional medical images into 3D augmented-reality models for planning surgery and navigating around organs during operations.
The project by researchers at the Intervention Centre at Oslo University Hospital, working with developers at IT consultancy Sopra Steria, was recently awarded a Microsoft Health Innovation Award.
The data that the 3D models use comes from the hospital’s various image-generating scanning CT and MR machines. These scanners provide detailed views of the human body, but present these images in the form of two-dimensional picture ‘slices’.
When planning surgical procedures, the surgeons have to flip back and forth through a potentially large number of these slices, when using them directly from the scanning machines.
Image Credit: Hanne Kristine Fjellheim/Sopra Steria
A team of researchers repaired a hole in a mouse’s skull by regrowing “quality bone,” a breakthrough that could drastically improve the care of people who suffer severe trauma to the skull or face.
The work by a joint team of Northwestern University and University of Chicago researchers was a resounding success, showing that a potent combination of technologies was able to regenerate the skull bone with supporting blood vessels in just the discrete area needed without developing scar tissue — and more rapidly than with previous methods.
“The results are very exciting,” said Guillermo Ameer, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering, and professor of surgery at Feinberg School of Medicine.
Image Credit: Sandro Katalina/Unsplash
Spend enough time with Larry Smarr and, chances are, he’ll invite you to step inside his colon.
Like more than a million Americans, Smarr has inflammatory bowel disease. Unlike most, he also runs a cutting-edge institute replete with reams of ultrafast computers, crack graphics programmers, a towering wall of digital screens and a pitch-black virtual reality cave — all the better to summon up a digital 3-D version of himself that he calls “Transparent Larry.” Among its features is a larger-than-life replica of his colon that includes every nook, cranny, and section of inflamed tissue.
Smarr, 69, is a physicist widely recognized for his work on creating the national network of campus supercomputers that evolved into today’s internet. Now, he runs a futuristic institute called Calit2, housed on the University of California campuses in San Diego and Irvine, that works to advance a host of fields, including medicine. For the last decade, he’s been turning technology on to himself to quantify his body’s most intimate workings, with no clear idea where the experiment might lead.
Image Credit: Jurgen Schulze, UC San Diego
Robots are entering the hospital room, surgery ward and doctor’s office at an increasing rate. Shipments of medical robotics used for surgery, rehabilitation and hospital tasks will triple over the next five years, with revenues jumping to $2.8 billion from $1.7 billion, a recent report from Tractica predicts.
While robotics already enhance procedures such as spine surgery, universities and healthcare technology companies alike are pushing the limits of what’s possible and developing ever more innovative ways to introduce robotics into the health field in coming years.
Image Credit: InTouch Health
Imagine being able to grow a liver in a laboratory from cells and tissue for a transplant patient. Or engineering cells to grow into a heart valve to replace one damaged from heart disease. Around the world, start-ups — like Tokyo-based Cyfuse Biomedical — are emerging to develop such breakthroughs in the field of regenerative medicine. It is a market projected to reach $101.3 billion by 2022.
Unlike conventional medicines and treatments, regenerative medicines have the ability to restore or heal the body’s own cells or create new body parts from a patient’s own cells and tissues, thereby eliminating tissue rejection and the excessively long wait for a donor organ.
This would be a remarkable scientific achievement, considering that in the United States, 118,950 people are registered in the Organ Procurement Transplantation Network. Of these candidates, 22 die each day waiting for a lifesaving organ. The gap between supply and demand continues to widen, and it’s a problem many medical experts have called a major health crisis.
By Julian Littler | CNBC
Image Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzk (Getty Images)
Bone infections are often very difficult to treat, and with the rise of MRSA this issue has become only more challenging. A team of researchers from University of Missouri, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University, and Silpakorn University in Thailand has developed a way of making tissue scaffolds that ward off MRSA while promoting natural healing at the site of their implantation.
The structure of the scaffold is made of polylactic acid (PLA), a polymer commonly used in implants. It is bioresorbable and is removed by the body over time. Over the structure a coating of silver ion is applied and stem cells ready to differentiate into bone are added.
The silver ions, already widely used to ward off infections in a variety of medical applications, prevent MRSA from settling in, while the stem cells turn to bone. The PLA structure and silver eventually disappear, leaving nothing but natural tissue.
Image Credit: Medgadget
In many industries, the advance of robotics has created worries about robots supplanting humans. But in the world of surgery, the next generation of robotics is set to do the opposite—to supercharge the surgeon and put him in control as never before.
Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci system defined the first generation of general surgical robotics. It promised a revolution in surgery and is today used for hundreds of thousands of procedures annually. The da Vinci System “is powered by robotic technology that allows the surgeon’s hand movements to be translated into smaller, precise movements of tiny instruments inside the patient’s body,” according to the company. The surgeon is provided with a high-definition, 3D window on the operative world through a laparoscope also operated by one of the robot’s arms. Characteristics of first-generation robotic surgery systems include the large size and physical dominance of the operating room, the placing of the surgeon into a console outside the sterile field, and surgeons receiving feedback limited mostly to visual cues on-screen.
Image Credit: Intuitive Surgical