The Search for a Drug to End Alzheimer’s
On November 6, 2020, researchers who have been laboring to find a drug that will treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD) dialed in to a public meeting of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Peripheral and Central Nervous System Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee would review drug trials of Biogen’s aducanumab, and conclude with a vote on the drug’s safety and efficacy in treating AD. The independent advisors’ decision wouldn’t be the official one for aducanumab, but their vote usually mirrors the final FDA decision... Read more

CRISPR Tech Behind Super-Sensitive, Smartphone COVID Test
Advanced CRISPR technology is part of a new test that determines within minutes whether a person has been infected with even very low levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the cause of COVID-19), and also quickly and directly measures the viral load, or how much replicating virus is in a person’s body [1]... Read more
New Advances in Transplants and Bioengineering Aid in Replacing the Womb
When Kayla Edwards turned 13, she began to wonder if she was different. It started as a seed of suspicion when her friends began their menstrual cycles, and hers never arrived. Her grandmother was late, she learned, but for Edwards, it still seemed odd. She had hit puberty’s other benchmarks—the hormones, the breasts—just no cycle... Read more
Researchers Seek Answers for Millions With Long COVID-19
“I am now eight-and-a-half months into my journey with long COVID … My symptoms include diagnosed post-COVID tachycardia and acute fatigue. I also have chest tightness and breathlessness from time to time; anxiety; muscle aches and pains, especially in the evening; memory loss; and insomnia.”—38-year-old female from the U.K... Read more
Filling a Cavity in Dental Care
About a decade ago, Dian Baker, a professor at Sacramento State School of Nursing, responded to a directive from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) asking health care practitioners to do something about the thorny and serious problem of ventilator hospital-acquired pneumonia, which afflicts thousands of people each year. After consulting with colleagues on the issue, Baker noticed something interesting. Although hospital ventilators had been widely assumed to be the cause of this problem, the truth was that most people getting pneumonia in hospitals weren’t on ventilators. The true culprit may come as a surprise: Nurses were shirking the unpleasant task of brushing the teeth of seriously ill patients... Read more
New Apps Drive Health Care Innovation, Access to Care
With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones, apps are a regular part of our day-to-day lives. They are also becoming a larger presence in health care, where they have the ability to expand access to care, help people monitor health changes, provide support for people living with chronic conditions, and coordinate communication between patients and their doctors. From detecting skin cancer to helping people with diabetes, new apps aim to change how people think about their health... Read more
The RADxSM Tech Process: Accelerating Innovation for COVID-19 Testing
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for rapid and accurate diagnostic testing across populations quickly became evident. In response, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) was determined not only to invest heavily in this area but to change the process by which grant proposals were reviewed and funded in order to spur faster development of viable technologies. The Rapid Acceleration of Diagnostics (RADx) initiative was designed to speed innovation, commercialization, and implementation of potential COVID-19 diagnostic technology... Read more

EMBS Journal Updates

IEEE Transactions on

Biomedical Engineering

MAY 2021
VOLUME 68
NUMBER 5
IEBEAX
68
TBME, Volume 68, Issue 5, May 2021
Development and Characterization of a Non-Thermal Plasma Source for Therapeutic Treatments
A non−thermal plasma (NTP) system constituted by a radiofrequency generator directly coupled to a treatment probe is described. The NTP generated was analyzed and characterized to determine a plasma safety profile and a spreading technique to be used on heat−sensitive matter. When NTP interacts with surrounding air particles produces reactive oxygen and nitrogen species that exhibit bactericidal and antiseptic effects due to their strong biochemical reactivity. Afterward, the NTP source was validated through bacterial deactivation trials, biological tests and promoting and in vivo wound closure performed in mice. NTP source demonstrated faster wound healing than that performed with conventional treatments... Read more
Rapid impedance spectroscopy for monitoring tissue impedance, temperature, and treatment outcome during electroporation-based therapies
Electroporation-based therapies (EBT) employ high voltage pulsed electric fields to permeabilize tumor tissue; this results in a detectable impedance change. Impedance characterization with a potentiostat is limited by acquisition time (~10s) as this timeframe is larger than pulse periods used with EBTs (~1s). Here, we develop a rapid electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) method for impedance characterization (<1s) of electroporation and thermal effects during irreversible electroporation. A biphasic rectangular chirp signal allows for impedance measurements between 1.8 kHz – 4.93 MHz. For the first time, we show impedance analysis at high frequencies (~1 MHz) can delineate thermal effects from electroporation effects... Read more

Pulse Ideas

Student's Corner March/April 2021
Crafting the Future – Opportunities for Students by the Reinvigorated IEEE EMBS Student Activities Committee
Since its inception, a key mission for the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) has been to support the development of students interested in the application of engineering to medicine and biology. Through its related efforts, EMBS hopes to nurture and encourage the continued growth of this vital field of engineering. Over the years, over 300 EMBS student chapters and clubs have been formed around the world. These are driven by passionate individuals, united under the common vision of using technology to enhance the well-being and alleviate the sufferings of the human race, and have each made an impact on their local communities... Read more
State of the Art March/April 2021
Best If Used by Date
We have likely all seen the dates stamped on food packages in the United States that say “Best if used by …” or “Sell by …” or some other phrase that suggests that the food item is not to be consumed after the date specified. It is not really clear by the phrase used if the food item becomes poison after this date, or if the food quality declines after this date, or if the date is just a convenience for the seller to move the product. There is a great deal of confusion about what to do with the product after the date given. Should it be thrown away or can it still be consumed safely but with some degradation of its quality?... Read more
Book Reviews March/April 2021
Biomaterial Mechanics, 1st ed.
This two-editor, 27-contributor, 4-section, 11-chapter text touches on the topic of biomaterial mechanics in a mixture of contributions ranging from overview to highly specialized coverage of, for example, biomaterials in cancer research... Read more
Book Reviews March/April 2021
Medical Device Technologies: A Systems Based Overview Using Engineering Standards, 2nd ed.
As indicated and implied by the title, this text covers medical device technologies using a practical (engineering) systems approach to medical devices. The author, by virtue of her academic and industrial experiences, is professionally and experientially qualified to present this material to the readers. Medical imaging systems are excluded (per the author), as many programs offer a separate course in this area... Read more
Society News January/February 2021
A New Vision
I am honored and humbled to serve as the President of the world’s largest international society of biomedical engineers and scientists. Our 10,000+ IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) members reside in nearly 100 countries worldwide. EMBS provides its members with access to the people, practices, information, ideas, and opinions that are shaping one of the fastest-growing fields in science and engineering. As we continue to face unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, our members have contributed to life-saving scientific advances, published groundbreaking journal articles, and engaged in pioneering technical activities. Despite the significant financial and social challenges, EMBS activities continue to thrive... Read more
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