Recent Patents on Biomedical Engineering (v.2, #1)

Minimally invasive surgery and less invasive medical devices mean less trauma for the patient, less likelihood of complications, shorter convalescence and significant cost savings. Surface modification is applicable whenever the surface of the device has to be bioactive or bioinert while the bulk material physical and chemical properties are opposite and have to remain unchanged, and when choice of the other bulk material is impossible (e.g. due to cost). Three groups include: commonly used inexpensive universal medical devices (e.g. urethral catheters, wound dressings), implantable devices (e.g. bone and soft-tissue replacements), and surgical devices (the largest product segment of the nowadays emerging minimally invasive surgery market e.g. guidewires, stents, catheters etc.). An additional fourth group includes devices for analytics: diagnostics and monitoring. The increasing knowledge and understanding of phenomena occurring at the biomaterial-tissue interface results in improvements in care that reduce negative consequences of the therapy in situ by increasing lubricity and biocompatibility, introducing antibacterial properties, and incorporating factors speeding up healing process. In this article, recent patents on the bioactive coatings for minimally invasive medical devices and the methods of medically applicable surface modification are discussed.

Mobile Phone Based Health Care Technology by Hao Wang, Jing Liu (15-21).
According to the World Health Organization reports, chronic diseases are by far the leading cause of mortality in the world, which places an ever enormous strain on the world's healthcare industry. At the same time, mobile phones have been gradually adopted for solving some tough health care issues which are hard to tackle otherwise from conventional medical strategies. Since mobile phone is a most easily available electronic device which supports a variety of technical functions for human daily activities, efforts are being made to dig out its roles in the delivery of healthcare services and the promotion of personal health. At the present stage, application of mobile phone in health care is a combination of sensor and communicating technology. In this article, some most typical technical approaches leading to several patented health care mobile phone are outlined and digested. They include but are not limited to mobile phones combined or integrated with sensors, modified with additional functions, such as stethoscope, etc. Future prospects along this direction will be discussed.

A Review on Recent Patents in Digital Processing for Cardiac Electric Signals (I): From Basic Systems to Arrhythmia Analysis by Rebeca Goya-Esteban, Oscar Barquero-Perez, Felipe Alonso-Atienza, Estrella Everss, Jesus Requena-Carrion, Arcadi Garcia-Alberola, Jose Rojo-Alvarez (22-31).
Cardiac electric signals are currently the most informative source about the heart rhythm and its disorders, and hence, the use of adequate digital signal processing techniques is necessary to yield reliable diagnostic parameters, either to the clinician or to automatic monitoring systems. A number of systems have been patented during the last years, which are grouped in this review according to their application scope. In this first part, techniques for electrocardiogram and intracardiac electrogram filtering, and for feature extraction, are first examined, then patents on arrhythmia analysis are then summarized. The wide number of basic systems for cardiac signal processing analysis that have been disclosed indicates that this field represents a main scenario in the near and middle future of cardiac health.

A Review on Recent Patents in Digital Processing for Cardiac Electric Signals (II): Advanced Systems and Applications by Oscar Barquero-Perez, Rebeca Goya-Esteban, Felipe Alonso-Atienza, Jesus Requena-Carrion, Estrella Everss, Arcadi Garcia-Alberola, Jose Rojo-Alvarez (32-47).
Digital signal processing algorithms for cardiac recordings have been paid much attention in recently disclosed patents. In this second part of our review of the state-of-art patents, systems for sudden cardiac death prediction, as well as for apnea analysis, are summarized. Advanced digital signal processing algorithms for cardiac electric signals are specifically reviewed, including independent component decompositions, and nonlinear methods (chaos, fractals, and entropies). Finally, systems aiming to solve the inverse problem in electrocardiography are presented. Concluding remarks on these systems and on the whole review are discussed.

Some Highlights on Epileptic EEG Processing by Jing Wang, Guanghua Xu (48-57).
Epilepsy is one of the most serious neurological diseases, second only to stroke, with a prevalence of approximately 1and#x25; of the world's population. Electroencephalogram (EEG), a summation of electrical activities generated by cortical neurons, was first recorded in 1924 by Hans Berger. Over the past decades, many researchers found that epileptic EEG is very different from that of normal people. As a result, the unique information in epileptic EEG is of significance in diagnosis of epilepsy and epileptic seizure prediction. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to illustrate the most recent and significant patents related to epileptic EEG processing including artifacts removal, epileptic events detection and seizure prediction. Finally, the manuscript points out the potential for future development in the field.

Review on Patents about Magnetic Localisation Systems for in vivo Catheterizations by Giuseppe Placidi, Danilo Franchi, Alfredo Maurizi, Antonello Sotgiu (58-64).
in vivo Catheterizations are usually performed by physicians using X-Ray fluoroscopic guide and contrastmedia. The X-Ray exposure both of the patient and of the operators can induce collateral effects. The present review describes the status of the art on recent patents about magnetic position/orientation indicators capable to drive the probe during in-vivo medical diagnostic or interventional procedures. They are based on the magnetic field produced by sources and revealed by sensors. Possible solutions are: the modulated magnetic field produced by a set of coils positioned externally to the patient is measured by sensors installed on the intra-body probe; the magnetic field produced by a thin permanent magnet installed on the intra-body probe is measured by magnetic field sensors positioned outside the patient body. In either cases, position and orientation of the probe are calculated in real time: this allows the elimination of repetitive X-Ray scans used to monitor the probe. The aim of the proposed systems is to drive the catheter inside the patient vascular tree with a reduction of the X-Ray exposure both of the patient and of the personnel involved in the intervention. The present paper intends also to highlight advantages/disadvantages of the presented solutions.

Recent Patents on Polymeric Scaffolds for Tissue Engineering by Xiaoming Li, Xi Liu, Yixuan Yu, Xuanhui Qu, Qingling Feng, Fuzhai Cui, Fumio Watari (65-72).
The past several decades have seen explosive growth in the reports of tissue engineering for tissue repair. All scaffolds of tissue engineering are made of special materials, known as biomaterials, which have been defined as and#x201C;materials intended to interface with biological systems to evaluate, treat, augment or replace any tissue, organ, or function of the bodyand#x201D; [D.F. Williams, The Williams Dictionary of Biomaterials, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool, 1999]. The present article discusses the useful patents in the field of the polymeric biomaterials that are currently developed as scaffolds with their intrinsic physicochemical and dimensional properties for the application towards recent therapeutic strategies for tissue engineering including soft and hard tissue engineering.

Recent Patents on Magnetic Resonance Imaging Sequences in Presence of Static Magnetic Field in-homogeneity by Giuseppe Placidi, Danilo Franchi, Alfredo Maurizi, Antonello Sotgiu (73-80).
In Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), magnetic field spatial variations are used to codify the signal. The presence of static magnetic field in-homogeneities introduces distortions and artifacts in the images. To reduce these effects, magnets with very high magnetic field homogeneity in the Field of View (FOV), particular acquisition sequences and image reconstruction techniques have been proposed. Typical homogeneity requirements are of the order of, at most, a few parts per million. The magnet construction cost grows exponentially with the required magnetic field precision. Besides field in-homogeneities resulting from magnet design and/or construction, there exist two sources of field inhomogeneities which are unavoidable being produced inside the explored sample itself, chemical shift and magnetic susceptibility. In recent years, methods have been proposed to reduce the in-homogeneity effects from reconstructed MRI images: some are based on spatial magnetic field mapping inside the region of interest; some use RF or field gradient pulses to compensate for the loss of phase coherence; others use non conventional coding/decoding processes. Aims of the present paper are to review recent patents on the sequence-based proposed solutions and to discuss their efficacy. Moreover, the paper discusses current and future developments in the field.

Patent Selections by Publishers (81-84).
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