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  • Health data under lock and key
    261    

    NEWS

       |   20/11/2018    
    Health data under lock and key
    Medical & Healthcare  Health Care Service

    The introduction of an electronic patient record system has been discussed in Germany and internationally for quite some time. However, development is often thwarted by concerns regarding data security. Health data in particular - which due to the progress of modern medicine contains genome information more frequently than ever before – must be securely stored for a lifetime and or even multiple generations. Buchmann and his team have been working to prevent this since 2015, in cooperation with Japanese research institute NICT (National Institute of Information and Communications Technology). Together they collaborate on the project "LINCOS - Long-Term Integrity and Confidentiality Protection System”. In 2017, the Japanese hospital operator Kochi Health Science Center and the Canadian company ISARA joined the project. The guarantee of long-term confidentiality is achieved through a technology called "secret sharing”. The original data set is distributed among several servers in such a way that the individual parts are meaningless. Only when a sufficient number of parts – known as "shares” - are combined, the original data set of the patient file can be reconstructed. If one of the servers is compromised, the captured share is of no use to the attacker. In addition, the distribution is renewed regularly. The integrity, i.e. ensuring that data have not been changed, is achieved by quantum computer-resistant signatures. But even if the scheme utilised is classified as uncertain in the longterm, the researchers have taken precautions: The signature schemes are exchanged regularly. Integrity protection is thereby seamlessly ensured. The Canadian company ISARA, the industrial partner of the project, protects the data during transfer between the hospital and the server operators with quantum computer-resistant encryption. This is the third component of the LINCOS system. In the future, the researchers want to add yet another level of security that they have already realised in prototype with the Japanese team: quantum key exchange. This procedure guarantees sustainable secure keys, since it is impossible for an attacker to intercept the key exchange. The scientists at Collaborative Research Center CROSSING are even working on this research topic in their own quantum laboratory at TU Darmstadt. "The sustainable protection of electronic health records is only one example of areas where sustainable security is urgently needed. In our digitised world, we produce an unimaginable amount of sensitive data every day, which must remain confidential and unchanged over a long period of time, for instance in the implementation of Industry 4.0 which is crucial to Germany as an industrial nation. Policymakers are called upon to ensure the guaranteed long-term protection of our data", appeals Buchmann. MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: TU Darmstadt

  • Assistance systems can lead to more surveillance
    261    

    NEWS

       |   20/11/2018    
    Assistance systems can lead to more surveillance
    Plants & Machinery  AI, Robot, Industry 4.0

    For their investigation , the scientists evaluated 96 studies in an attempt to identify possible surveillance effects and consequences. It turned out that effects show up in, for example, the stress level or work performance of employees. Employees often assume that surveillance aims to control their actions – and surveillance is thus seen as a sign of mistrust. One the conclusions an analysis of the studies allows is that open and transparent communication is important when new electronic systems that can also be used to monitor employees are introduced. The systems should also be transparent and predictable. The German Engineering Federation ( VDMA ) published a guideline back in 2016 that outlines the special features of handling personal data in Industry 4.0 companies. It also mentions the consequences of a failure to comply: for example, with the entry into force of the European General Data Protection Regulation (DSGVO), fines of up to € 20 million can be levied for infringements.

  • Prostate cancer radiotherapy can be more precisely targeted
    249    

    NEWS

       |   20/11/2018    
    Prostate cancer radiotherapy can be more precisely targeted
    Medical & Healthcare  Medical Test Services

    More accurate detection makes more precisely targeted treatment possible. Men with non-metastatic disease who chose radiotherapy could, therefore, improve their chances of a successful outcome with PSMA PET/CT imaging to more accurately define the areas targeted for irradiation. "The planning of radiotherapy for prostate cancer starts with precise delineation of the anatomic targets for delivery of radiotherapy," explains Nicholas G. Nickols, MD, PhD, of UCLA and the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System in Los Angeles, California. "The prostate is always included in the irradiated volume, but there is currently no consensus about whether pelvic lymph nodes that appear to be free of cancer on standard imaging should also be irradiated." He states, "Incorporation of PSMA PET/CT into the process of radiotherapy planning might improve the success rate of curative-intent prostate radiotherapy by identifying patients with occult (invisible to conventional imaging) metastatic disease or local (pelvic) disease that is not visible on conventional imaging and modifying target volumes and dose to adequately cover and control local disease." In this project, 73 patients with localized prostate cancer and no prior local therapy underwent gallium-68 (68Ga)-PSMA-11 PET/CT scans. All patients had PSMA-positive primary prostate lesions. In addition, 25 of the 73 (34 percent) had PSMA-positive pelvic nodal metastases, and 7 (9.5 percent) had PSMA-positive distant metastases. PSMA-positive lesions not covered by planning volumes based on the clinical target volumes from standard imaging were considered to have a major potential impact on treatment planning. Nickols reports, "We found that addition of the information from PSMA PET/CT to standard imaging had a major impact on the planning of curative-intent prostate radiotherapy for 16.5 percent to 37 percent of patients, depending on if one initially elects to target pelvic nodes that are free of disease on conventional imaging." He adds, "These findings represent another convergence of molecular imaging and precision radiotherapy. PSMA PET/CT offers unprecedented accuracy and sensitivity for detecting the location of prostate cancer within a patient, and modern radiotherapy offers a non-invasive and generally safe method for delivering a tumoricidal dose of radiotherapy to the targeted cancer."

  • No more slips of the wrench for brewers
    270    

    NEWS

       |   20/11/2018    
    No more slips of the wrench for brewers
    Industrial Goods  Non-metal pipe

    The German social accident insurance institution for the foodstuffs and catering industry, BGN, reports that in the beverage industry, pipes and pipe elbows are moved around on a daily basis and screwed together with grooved union nuts, using a hinged hook wrench. According to the BGN, however, this time and time again results in accidents, due to the tool slipping out of the groove and off the nut. Employees at Lübzer brewery have found the answer to this, in the form of a special wrench that grips the grooved nut like a jaw, designed to prevent any slipping or tilting. An invention that has won its parent company Carlsberg a prevention award from the BGN. You can see the invention at profi-werkstatt.net . In general terms, the number of workplace accidents in Germany has not notably fallen any further over the last few years. The country’s occupational health and safety associations, accident insurance companies, and their umbrella organization, Deutsche Gesetzliche Unfallversicherung (DGUV), have therefore initiated the national kommmitmensch campaign, which aims to make everyone aware of values such as health and safety, and thereby make prevention part of the corporate culture.

  • Artificial intelligence predicts treatment effectiveness
    246    

    NEWS

       |   20/11/2018    
    Artificial intelligence predicts treatment effectiveness
    Medical & Healthcare  Medical Test Services

    How can the effectiveness of a treatment method be evaluated in practice? Could some patients benefit from a treatment that does not cause a response in others? A new method developed by Finnish researchers at the University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio University Hospital and Aalto University now provides answers to these questions. Using modelling, the method makes it possible to compare different treatment alternatives and to identify patients who will benefit from treatment. Relying on artificial intelligence, the method is based on causal Bayesian networks. According to Professor Emeritus Olli-Pekka Ryynänen from the University of Eastern Finland, the method opens up new and significant avenues for the development of medical research. "We can now predict the treatment outcome in individual patients and to evaluate existing and new treatment methods. With this method, it is also possible to replace some randomised trials with modelling," Professor Emeritus Ryynänen says. In the newly published study, the researchers used the method to evaluate treatment effectiveness in obstructive sleep apnoea; however, the method can also be applied to other treatments. The study showed that in patients with sleep apnoea, the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment reduced mortality and the occurrence of myocardial infarctions and cerebrovascular insults by five percent in the long term. For patients with heart conditions, CPAP was less beneficial. The findings were reported in Healthcare Informatics Research.

  • Scientists produce 3D chemical maps of single bacteria
    228    

    NEWS

       |   20/11/2018    
    Scientists produce 3D chemical maps of single bacteria
    Medical & Healthcare  Clinical Trial, Bioanalytical & Other Pharmaceutical Services

    Their work, published in Scientific Reports, demonstrates an x-ray imaging technique, called x-ray fluorescence microscopy (XRF), as an effective approach to produce 3-D images of small biological samples. "For the very first time, we used nanoscale XRF to image bacteria down to the resolution of a cell membrane," said Lisa Miller, a scientist at NSLS-II and a co-author of the paper. "Imaging cells at the level of the membrane is critical for understanding the cell's role in various diseases and developing advanced medical treatments." The record-breaking resolution of the x-ray images was made possible by the advanced capabilities of the Hard X-ray Nanoprobe (HXN) beamline, an experimental station at NSLS-II with novel nanofocusing optics and exceptional stability. "HXN is the first XRF beamline to generate a 3-D image with this kind of resolution," Miller said. While other imaging techniques, such as electron microscopy, can image the structure of a cell membrane with very high resolution, these techniques are unable to provide chemical information on the cell. At HXN, the researchers could produce 3-D chemical maps of their samples, identifying where trace elements are found throughout the cell. "At HXN, we take an image of a sample at one angle, rotate the sample to the next angle, take another image, and so on," said Tiffany Victor, lead author of the study and a scientist at NSLS-II. "Each image shows the chemical profile of the sample at that orientation. Then, we can merge those profiles together to create a 3-D image." Miller added, "Obtaining an XRF 3-D image is like comparing a regular x-ray you can get at the doctor's office to a CT scan." The images produced by HXN revealed that two trace elements, calcium and zinc, had unique spatial distributions in the bacterial cell. "We believe the zinc is associated with the ribosomes in the bacteria," Victor said. "Bacteria don't have a lot of cellular organelles, unlike a eukaryotic (complex) cell that has mitochondria, a nucleus, and many other organelles. So, it's not the most exciting sample to image, but it's a nice model system that demonstrates the imaging technique superbly." In addition to breaking the technical barriers on x-ray imaging resolution with this technique, the researchers developed a new method for imaging the bacteria at room temperature during the x-ray measurements. The researchers say that demonstrating the efficacy of the x-ray imaging technique, as well as the sample preparation method, was the first step in a larger project to image trace elements in other biological cells at the nanoscale. The team is particularly interested in copper's role in neuron death in Alzheimer's disease. "Trace elements like iron, copper, and zinc are nutritionally essential, but they can also play a role in disease," Miller said. "We're seeking to understand the subcellular location and function of metal-containing proteins in the disease process to help develop effective therapies."

  • Siemens digitalizes the glass industry
    291    

    NEWS

       |   17/11/2018    
    Siemens digitalizes the glass industry
    Plants & Machinery  AI, Robot, Industry 4.0

    Siemens provides its international customers with packages comprising hardware, software, and various services to facilitate their digital transformation – as they have also done for Slovenian glass manufacturer Steklarna Hrastnik , renowned for its top-quality products made from one of the clearest glass types in the world. The plan for the highly specialized manufacturer’s digital transformation over the next five years not only aims to help it boost its productivity and efficiency, but also to sustainably enhance its production quality. In a workshop, the two companies determined a timeline for progressively digitalizing Steklarna Hrastnik’s services and production activities. The Slovenians are already well-positioned for their transformation into a smart factory and have been pursuing such a concept for the last eight years. As a consequence, they plan to increase their market share in special glass bottles. Where there was still a lack of integrated solutions for the modern glass industry 4.0 two years ago, the sector has made great progress and can now l everage the benefits of a large number of comprehensive approaches

  • HAHN Group takes on Rethink’s robots
    309    

    NEWS

       |   17/11/2018    
    HAHN Group takes on Rethink’s robots
    Plants & Machinery  AI, Robot, Industry 4.0

    In July 2018, cobot pioneer Rethink Robotics announced record growth in Europe . Yet, on October 03, the former leading innovator was forced to close its doors when a deal it had expected to acquire fell through. German robot specialist HAHN Group has now taken on the Americans’ robot technology and integrated it in its own service portfolio. One of Rethink Robotics’ best-known cobots is its Sawyer model . HAHN has acquired all patents and trademarks of Rethink Robotics, as well as its software platform ‘INTERA5’, which enables users to program industrial collaborative robots. Alongside its integration business (operated by HAHN Robotics) and rental service (operated by HAHN RobShare), Rethink Robotics will become the third pillar of the HAHN Group’s robotic division. For the future, the German company plans to further develop the innovative technologies and has announced that it intends to make the software available to its partners through licensing.

  • Powerful drones tug heavy loads
    309    

    NEWS

       |   17/11/2018    
    Powerful drones tug heavy loads
    Plants & Machinery  AI, Robot, Industry 4.0

    The drones – called ‘FlyCroTug’ – are suitable for both industrial applications and rescue operations. They feature an attachment mechanism, which enables them to land cleanly almost anywhere. They can also transport loads of up to 40 times their weight, whereby they do not lift heavy objects, rather tug them along. As reported in the press release from Stanford University , the researchers took their inspiration from the natural world: Wasps behave in a very similar way when capturing and transporting their prey. Unlike the insects, though, the drones should be able to transport water bottles, dressing material, and drugs to places where human aides find it harder to access. Drones modeled on insects are nothing new. For instance, back in spring, retail giant Walmart announced that it had filed patents for drones for pollinating plants in farming. In addition, scientists at the University of Cologne have analyzed the locomotive styles of cockroaches. The findings should benefit floor-mounted robots, which move with varying speeds.

  • FluChip-8G tested for rapid characterization of influenza vi…
    345    

    NEWS

       |   17/11/2018    
    FluChip-8G tested for rapid characterization of influenza vi…
    Medical & Healthcare  Medical Test Services

    Scientists at Duke Kunshan University and Duke University are collaborating with InDevR Inc. to evaluate the FluChip-8G Insight system for the rapid identification of the influenza virus subtype from human and animal samples. The FluChip-8G test promises to be a faster and easier way to determine the subtype of seasonal and non-seasonal influenza viruses. It has the potential to reduce influenza A and B characterization times from two weeks to eight hours. "Knowing that a patient is infected with a dangerous influenza virus could lead to early antiviral treatment, isolation of the patient, and early identification and mitigation of the virus source, which could save lives," said Professor Gregory Gray, the Principal Investigator for Duke Kunshan and Duke University. Study teams at Duke Kunshan and Duke are employing the FluChip-8G test alongside standardized WHO/CDC rRT-PCR tests that are currently used for Gray's research in zoonotic influenza virus epidemiology. The study will use specimens collected by the Duke Kunshan team and collaborators in Vietnam, China, Malaysia and the U.S. In the United States, specimens will come from Duke University Hospital's Department of Clinical Virology, Wake Forest University's Department of Clinical Virology, and the North Carolina Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory System, as well as a swine veterinarian from the U.S. Midwest. "We are excited to participate in the multi-month field validation of this technology," said Haiyan Gao, vice chancellor for academic affairs at Duke Kunshan and Henry Newson Professor of Physics at Duke University. "This collaboration shows the research strength of Duke Kunshan is widely recognized. It is also a typical example of how joint research projects between China and the United States can make people's lives better," Gao said. Influenza - commonly known as the flu - is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. Influenza A and B viruses are the two types that most commonly infect humans. Influenza A viruses spread between animals and humans and sometimes cause epidemics. MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: InDevR, Inc.