Cell-culture bioreactors lie at the heart of the processes used to produce large-molecule, protein-based therapeutics. In cell culture, mammalian cells are grown outside the human/plant body. These cells produce therapeutic proteins and antibodies. This is much easier said than done. In fact, cells do not cooperate much when they are grown outside the (human or plant) body. The question then is: Why is it so difficult for cells in culture to have the same physiological function in laboratory as in our body? Continue reading
Two weeks ago, while visiting some partners of the ANGIOVISION project, I had the unique opportunity to be in the operating room to attend an open heart surgery. It was fascinating to see live what we have been simulating for years. The replacement of the calcified heart valve combined with some bypass is a delicate surgery that necessitates extra corporeal blood circulation. I found myself very aware of the anxiety felt by the patient’s family, as my father-in-law had a similar operation a few months ago.
Despite the complexity of the situation, I was amazed by the serenity of the surgeon moving from step-to-step with professionalism, expertise and extreme calm, taking a few seconds to show me in reality what I usually see on the screen. For sure, the most moving time was when they brought the heart back to working temperature and watching this robust pump spontaneously feeding life into the body again. Continue reading
On September 11th to 13th, I will be traveling to Washington, DC to present at the Frontiers in Medical Devices conference which ANSYS is helping to sponsor. The FDA and ASME are co-sponsoring this event that is focused on the application of computer modeling and simulation in the biomedical industry.
This conference is designed to present new research, foster discussion of the barriers to implementation of computer modeling and to promote the use of modeling for medical device applications. Conference tracks range from patient-specific to population modeling, and from novel computational methods to computational models as medical devices. Continue reading
Using engineering simulation techniques for biomedical R&D is becoming more and more commonplace for many healthcare applications. For example, accurate description and assessment of blood flow features are crucial to understand the genesis and progression of cardiovascular diseases. While noninvasive measurement techniques have grown more advanced in resolving flow details, there are still problems with accuracy and resolution. Flow features such as wall shear stress, which depends on the velocity gradient at the arterial wall, cannot be measured with significant accuracy using today’s measurement techniques. In the Computational Biofluid Research Group at Linköping University, we are using simulation to gain a better understand of blood flow. Continue reading
About a quarter of a teaspoon, or 1.25 grams, of sugar. That is the difference in the quantity of sugar in the blood between a healthy individual and one who has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Since I have a genetic predisposition for diabetes, I was not surprised to be diagnosed with it recently. The diagnosis brings with it restrictions, especially in diet. But advances in modern medicine and medical technology have ensured that patients can lead normal lives. This blog deals with engineering that has made some of this possible.
In a healthy individual, the concentration of sugar in the blood is maintained (within a narrow range) through a complex system of biochemical reactions. In individuals afflicted with diabetes, this healthy status is disturbed due to various causes and results in higher blood sugar concentrations. If not treated, diabetes can lead to damage to the heart, kidney, feet and retina — organs where bloodflow through fine capillaries is involved. The aim of diabetes treatment is to restore blood sugar concentrations to a healthy range by a combination of changes in diet, medication, lifestyle as well as by adding insulin and providing information. Continue reading
My five year old came home from school the other day talking about how the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. That got me thinking about how a straight line might be the most direct route, but it’s not always the best one. For example, pilots fly around large thunderstorms because it is safer for the passengers…and the crew! So safety becomes the over-arching factor when determining the flight plan, even if the diversion uses a little more gas.
Medical devices are in a similar position of requiring a consideration of human lives. Therefore, linear thinking is probably not good enough when developing a new device. We must transition to the non-linear realm if we are to bring the safest devices to market.
Non-linear analysis will allow us to make great leaps forward in our understanding of device performance. But this will require us to cope with modeling complexities that may or may not have been dealt with in the past. Let me mention three typical sources of non-linear complexities: Continue reading
There are many fascinating medical evolutions that designers and engineers will discuss next week at the Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show in Anaheim, CA. Let me share one example, among many, for which engineering simulation plays a key role.
Advances in Implantable Medical Devices
With the world’s population aging, we can enjoy interacting with our parents and grandparents much longer than previous generations did. What is really even better is that their quality of life is improving. Today we can continuously monitor conditions that typically affect the elderly, such as heart malfunction, fluctuating blood glucose levels and hearing troubles. In fact, some implantable devices — like the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) that corrects heart arrhythmia — connect to the web so they can immediately and transparently call for medical assistance if there is a sudden change in the patient’s health statistics. Continue reading
As the ski season gets into full swing, friends who recently suffered a sprain or had a total hip arthroplasty (THA) (implanted hip prosthesis) are wondering whether they will be able to hit the slopes this year. Did you know that 400,000 American had a THA this past year? How long after a THA must they wait before skiing? And beyond that sport, before they are jogging or biking again? Most doctors offer a conservative approach, allowing for full recovery before pursuing such rigorous sports. Their judgments are based on the average recovery of a large group of patients, throwing in a reasonable safety margin to try to avoid joint deterioration.
If you’ve had to endure the seemingly never-ending recovery period of THA, you’ve no doubt felt the frustration of feeling perfectly fit to go skiing, probably just before the season ended. Too soon, according to doctors’ recommendations. But let’s imagine imagine a more hopeful scenario: that your doctor could evaluate (for you as an individual patient, not an average) whether the risk of injury practicing your favorite sport is indeed real. Will the exercise induce too large a movement between bones and implant, thus preventing proper healing? Would the stress in your weakened ankle be too great, leading to a new injury? Could you at least start some light training again? If only we could estimate the exact stress induced by various movements in the different parts of the body, we would know for sure if we can get back in the game or need to rest further. Continue reading