Excellence in Research and Innovation for Humanity

International Science Index

Commenced in January 1999 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 11

Medical, Health, Biomedical, Bioengineering and Pharmaceutical Engineering

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  • 11
    Analysis of Vocal Fold Vibrations from High-Speed Digital Images Based On Dynamic Time Warping

    Analysis of vocal fold vibration is essential for understanding the mechanism of voice production and for improving clinical assessment of voice disorders. This paper presents a Dynamic Time Warping (DTW) based approach to analyze and objectively classify vocal fold vibration patterns. The proposed technique was designed and implemented on a Glottal Area Waveform (GAW) extracted from high-speed laryngeal images by delineating the glottal edges for each image frame. Feature extraction from the GAW was performed using Linear Predictive Coding (LPC). Several types of voice reference templates from simulations of clear, breathy, fry, pressed and hyperfunctional voice productions were used. The patterns of the reference templates were first verified using the analytical signal generated through Hilbert transformation of the GAW. Samples from normal speakers’ voice recordings were then used to evaluate and test the effectiveness of this approach. The classification of the voice patterns using the technique of LPC and DTW gave the accuracy of 81%.

    A Robotic Rehabilitation Arm Driven by Somatosensory Brain-Computer Interface

    It was expected to benefit patient with hemiparesis after stroke by extensive arm rehabilitation, to partially regain forearm and hand function. This paper propose a robotic rehabilitation arm in assisting the hemiparetic patient to learn new ways of using and moving their weak arms. In this study, the robotic arm was driven by a somatosensory stimulated brain computer interface (BCI), which is a new modality BCI. The use of somatosensory stimulation is not only an input for BCI, but also a electrical stimulation for treatment of hemiparesis to strengthen the arm and improve its range of motion. A trial of this robotic rehabilitation arm was performed in a stroke patient with pure motor hemiparesis. The initial trial showed a promising result from the patient with great motivation and function improvement. It suggests that robotic rehabilitation arm driven by somatosensory BCI can enhance the rehabilitation performance and progress for hemiparetic patients after stroke.

    Preparation and Characterization of Newly Developed Trabecular Structures in Titanium Alloy to Optimize Osteointegration

    Electron Beam Melting (EBM) process was used to prepare porous scaffolds with controlled porosity to ensure optimal levels of osteointegration for different trabeculae sizes. Morphological characterization by means of SEM analyses was carried out to assess pore dimensions; tensile, compression and adhesion tests have been carried out to determine the mechanical behavior. The results indicate that EBM process allows the creation of regular and repeatable porous scaffolds. Mechanical properties greatly depend on pore dimension and on bulk-pore ratio. Adhesion resistance meets the normative requirements, and the overall performance of the produced structures is compatible with potential orthopaedic applications.

    Rheological Behavior of Fresh Activated Sludge

    Despite of few research works on municipal sludge, still there is a lack of actual data. Thus, this work was focused on the conditioning and rheology of fresh activated sludge. The effect of cationic polyelectrolyte has been investigated at different concentrations and pH values in a comparative fashion. Yield stress is presented in all results indicating the minimum stress that necessary to reach flow conditions. Connections between particle-particle is the reason for this yield stress, also, the addition of polyelectrolyte causes strong bonds between particles and water resulting in the aggregation of particles which required higher shear stress in order to flow. The results from the experiments indicate that the cationic polyelectrolytes have significant effluence on the sludge characteristic and water quality such as turbidity, SVI, zone settling rate and shear stress.

    A Numerical Model for Simulation of Blood Flow in Vascular Networks

    An accurate study of blood flow is associated with an accurate vascular pattern and geometrical properties of the organ of interest. Due to the complexity of vascular networks and poor accessibility in vivo, it is challenging to reconstruct the entire vasculature of any organ experimentally. The objective of this study is to introduce an innovative approach for the reconstruction of a full vascular tree from available morphometric data. Our method consists of implementing morphometric data on those parts of the vascular tree that are smaller than the resolution of medical imaging methods. This technique reconstructs the entire arterial tree down to the capillaries. Vessels greater than 2 mm are obtained from direct volume and surface analysis using contrast enhanced computed tomography (CT). Vessels smaller than 2mm are reconstructed from available morphometric and distensibility data and rearranged by applying Murray’s Laws. Implementation of morphometric data to reconstruct the branching pattern and applying Murray’s Laws to every vessel bifurcation simultaneously, lead to an accurate vascular tree reconstruction. The reconstruction algorithm generates full arterial tree topography down to the first capillary bifurcation. Geometry of each order of the vascular tree is generated separately to minimize the construction and simulation time. The node-to-node connectivity along with the diameter and length of every vessel segment is established and order numbers, according to the diameter-defined Strahler system, are assigned. During the simulation, we used the averaged flow rate for each order to predict the pressure drop and once the pressure drop is predicted, the flow rate is corrected to match the computed pressure drop for each vessel. The final results for 3 cardiac cycles is presented and compared to the clinical data.

    Quantification of Soft Tissue Artefacts Using Motion Capture Data and Ultrasound Depth Measurements

    The centre of rotation of the hip joint is needed for an accurate simulation of the joint performance in many applications such as pre-operative planning simulation, human gait analysis, and hip joint disorders. In human movement analysis, the hip joint center can be estimated using a functional method based on the relative motion of the femur to pelvis measured using reflective markers attached to the skin surface. The principal source of errors in estimation of hip joint centre location using functional methods is soft tissue artefacts due to the relative motion between the markers and bone. One of the main objectives in human movement analysis is the assessment of soft tissue artefact as the accuracy of functional methods depends upon it. Various studies have described the movement of soft tissue artefact invasively, such as intra-cortical pins, external fixators, percutaneous skeletal trackers, and Roentgen photogrammetry. The goal of this study is to present a non-invasive method to assess the displacements of the markers relative to the underlying bone using optical motion capture data and tissue thickness from ultrasound measurements during flexion, extension, and abduction (all with knee extended) of the hip joint. Results show that the artefact skin marker displacements are non-linear and larger in areas closer to the hip joint. Also marker displacements are dependent on the movement type and relatively larger in abduction movement. The quantification of soft tissue artefacts can be used as a basis for a correction procedure for hip joint kinematics.

    Changes in Postural Stability after Coordination Exercise

    The aim of this study was to find out if the special type of exercise with elastic cord can improve the level of postural stability. The exercise programme was conducted twice a week for 3 months. The participants were randomly divided into an experimental group and a control group. The electronic balance board was used for testing of postural stability. All participants trained for 18 hours at the time of experiment without any special form of coordination programme. The experimental group performed 90 minutes plus of coordination exercise. The result showed that differences between pre-test and post-test occurred in the experimental group. It was used the nonparametric Wilcoxon t-test for paired samples (p=0.012; the significance level 95%). We calculated effect size by Cohen´s d. In the experimental group d is 1.96 which indicates a large effect. In the control group d is 0.04 which confirms no significant improvement.

    The Relationships between Physical Activity Levels, Enjoyment of Physical Activity, and Body Mass Index among Bruneian Secondary School Adolescents

    The purpose of the study was to examine the relationships between objectively measured physical activity levels (PALs), enjoyment of physical activity (EPA), and body mass index (BMI) among adolescents. A total of 188 12-14-year-old Bruneian secondary school adolescents (88 boys and 100 girls) voluntarily took part in this study. Subjects wore the RT3 accelerometer for seven consecutive days in order to measure their PALs. Times of students’ engagement in total (TPA), light (LPA), moderate (MPV), and vigorous PA (VPA) were obtained from the accelerometer. Their BMIs were calculated from their body height and weight. Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale (PACES) was administrated to obtain their EPA levels. Four key enjoyment factors including fun factors, positive perceptions, unexciting in doing activities, and negative perceptions were identified. Subjects’ social economic status (SES) was provided by school administration. Results show that all the adolescents did not meet the recommended PA guidelines even though boys were engaged in more MVPA than girls. No relationships were found between BMI and all PALs in both boys and girls. BMI was significantly related to the PACES scores (r = -.22, p = 0.01), fun factors (r = -.20, p = 0.05) and positive perceptions (r =- .21, p < 0.05). The PACES scores were significantly related to LPA (r = .18, p = 0.01) but not related to MVPA (r = .04, p > 0.05). After controlling for age and SES, BMI was only significantly related to the PACES scores in girls (r = -.27, p < .01) but boys (r = -.06, p > 0.05). Fun factors were significantly related to LPA and MVPA (p < .01) in girls while negative perceptions were significantly related to LPA and MVPA (p < .01) in boys. This study provides evidence that enjoyment may be a trigger of LPA but MVPA and may be influenced by their BMI status particularly in girls. Based on these findings, physical and health educators are suggested to not only make PA more enjoyable, but also consider gender differences in promoting adolescents' participation in MVPA

    Defining of the Shape of the Spine Using Moiré Method in Case of Patients with Scheuermann Disease

    Nowadays spinal deformities are very frequent problems among teenagers. Scheuermann disease is a one dimensional deformity of the spine, but it has prevalence over 11% of the children. A traditional technology, the moiré method was used by us for screening and diagnosing this type of spinal deformity. A LabVIEW program has been developed to evaluate the moiré pictures of patients with Scheuermann disease. Two different solutions were tested in this computer program, the extreme and the inflexion point calculation methods. Effects using these methods were compared and according to the results both solutions seemed to be appropriate. Statistical results showed better efficiency in case of the extreme search method where the average difference was only 6,09⁰.

    Risk Assessment of Musculoskeletal Disorders in an Electronic Components Company

    The work presented in this paper was performed for a workstation of an assembly section in a company that manufactures radio modules and air conditioning for cars. After performing a workstation analysis and a questionnaire to the operators it was possible to understand the need to investigate the risk of musculoskeletal disorders originated from both the handling of loads as the incorrect dimensioning of the workstation. Regarding the handling of loads the NIOSH Equation was used and it was verified that there was no risk of musculoskeletal disorders. As the operators expressed their lack of satisfaction regarding back pains due to posture adopted they were established the appropriate dimensions (to satisfy 97.5% of the population and using the table of anthropometric data of the Portuguese population) for the workstation and it was proposed the availability of a chair for the workers.

    The Effect of Pilates Method in Scholar’s Trunk Strength and Hamstring Flexibility: Gender Differences

    Musculoskeletal injuries in school children could be reduced improving trunk strength and hamstring flexibility. Low levels of trunk muscle strength and hamstring flexibility may result in acute and musculoskeletal chronic diseases. The Pilates Method can be appropriate to improve these physical condition attributes and has been rarely employed by this social group. On the other hand, it has been shown that trunk strength and flexibility are different between genders, but there is no evidence about the effect of exercise programs designed to improve both items in school children. Therefore the objective of this study was to measure the effect of a six-week Pilates-based exercise program in 14 year old school children trunk strength and hamstring flexibility, establishing differences in gender. The sample was composed of 57 students divided into experimental group (EG; n=30) and control group (CG; n=27). Bench Trunk Curl test (BTC), Sörensen test and Toe-touch test (TT) were used to measure dynamic muscular resistance in trunk flexion, isometric strength in trunk extension and hamstring flexibility, respectively. EG utilized the Pilates exercise program during six-weeks (2 days/week, 55minutes/session). After this period of training, EG improved trunk strength and hamstring flexibility significantly but there were no significant differences within CG. Although boys were better in BTC test and girls were better in TT test, there were no significant differences between them.