Interviews 2021 -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine

Image: Biological heart valve with metal scaffold; Copyright: Fraunhofer IKTS

Preventing calcification of bioprosthetic heart valves

03/11/2021

A defective heart valve is the second most common form of heart disease. Most cases involve a narrowed aortic valve, but often the mitral valve can also be affected. Prostheses significantly increase the life expectancy of those with the disease. While bioprosthetic heart valves have some advantages over mechanical ones, they can become calcified relatively quickly.
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Image: A Woman with a wearable; Copyright: Asociación RUVID

Researchers stimulate the vision of a blind person

21/10/2021

A new brain implant based on intracortical microelectrodes can allow a blind person to see shapes and letters. New research by the Miguel Hernández Univresity shows that the implantation of this micro device in the human brain can be done safely, and that the direct stimulation of the cerebral cortex produces visual perceptions with a much higher resolution than had been achieved until now.
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Image: The screws examined are tiny: their diameter is 2 millimeters; Copyright: Hereon/ Björn Wiese

Wanted: Corrosion

13/10/2021

Bone screws and plates that dissolve on their own after a broken bone has healed promise to be of great benefit. A research team has now used a 3D X-ray method to determine for the first time quantitatively how different of magnesium alloys dissolve over time under body-like conditions.
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Image: ; Copyright: CSL/University of Bremen

Speaking by imagining

30/09/2021

Computer scientists from the Cognitive Systems Lab at the University of Bremen have now succeeded in an international project to realize a so-called speech neuroprosthetic. With it, imagined speech can be made acoustically audible - without latency in real time.
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Image: A female physiotherapist is helping a woman during an exercise with a therapeutic rubber band; Copyright: PantherMedia/photographee.eu

Stroke rehabilitation: regaining arm movement with nerve stimulation

09/08/2021

Stroke rehabilitation exercises are essential to regain mobility and strength in the body. Each patient recovers lost skills and function differently. A recent study has now examined how vagus nerve stimulation with electrical impulses during stroke rehab could improve arm mobility.
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Image: artificial ventilation at a hospital room; Copyright: PantherMedia / ParStud

Making biohybrid lungs implantable

25/05/2021

Diseases can affect the lungs in different ways that can be challenging. If the lungs are badly damaged and artificial ventilation (also called artificial respiration) is no longer effective, an ECMO machine comes into play. Right now, artificial lungs reside outside the body and cannot be implanted.
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Image: A man wearing a VR headset is holding a surgical instrument that is attached to a robotic arm; Copyright: Dynamic HIPS

Hip replacement: virtual surgical training with haptic technology

01/04/2021

Surgeons have only limited options to practice surgical techniques before they enter the operating room. The implantation of an endoprosthesis requires extensive practical training since it necessitates strength and utmost precision. The "Dynamic HIPS" project develops a virtual reality hip implant simulator that provides realistic haptic feedback.
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Image: A group of researchers is discussing a chemical structural formula in front of a whiteboard; Copyright: PantherMedia/depositedhar

Intelligent implants: when the material is the key to the solution

01/02/2021

Today we use implants to stabilize or compensate for injuries inside the body and to aid in the healing process. Implants cannot act autonomously and treat the patient if they deem it necessary. However, it is just a matter of time before this happens because research on intelligent implant materials that respond to stimuli is on the cusp of a breakthrough.
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Image: Two small, angular-shaped, electrical devices that are held with tweezers; Copyright: Fraunhofer EMFT/Bernd Müller

Tumor therapy: drug delivery pump instead of injection

01/02/2021

Drugs always have undesired side effects. Cytostatics are powerful drugs used to treat cancer. They reach almost all cells in the body, killing healthy cells as well as cancer cells in the process. A targeted delivery to the specific cellular site would be a gentler treatment.
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Image: Artist’s rendering of small star-shaped machines between red blood cells; Copyright: PantherMedia/Michael Osterrieder

Autonomous medical devices: running well in your body

01/02/2021

In theory, autonomous medical technologies can be used in a diagnostic or therapeutic capacity inside the body under certain conditions. This may not sound like a new invention at first. After all, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators have monitored and fixed abnormal heart rhythm for many years.
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Image: Artist’s rendering of small robots with grapplers and searchlights that swim between red blood cells; Copyright: PantherMedia/Andreus

Autonomous medical technology: independently in the body

01/02/2021

Therapies need to be carried out with high reliability by trained personal. This will not change in the future. But maybe we will be able to let systems in the patient’s body do some of the work. Some approaches are already aiming to make implants more independent so they will be able to flexibly react to changes. Read more in our Topic of the Month!
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Image: Microimplant; Copyright: Fraunhofer IZM

Microimplants: electricity instead of pills

23/11/2020

Active implants such as pacemakers revolutionized healthcare decades ago. But they also have disadvantages: their size and relatively short life span, for example. At Fraunhofer IZM, research is therefore being conducted on durable microimplants that stimulate nerve cells electrically in a targeted manner and are even to be used to treat multiple sclerosis.
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Image: Two knees of a woman next to each other, the left knee has a surgical suture; Copyright: panthermedia.net/wujekspeed

Regenerative medicine: creating a new body?

03/02/2020

Regenerative medicine aims to repair the human body after injuries, accidents or major cancer surgery. Unfortunately, we are still not at a stage where this process can achieve optimal results for every conceivable situation. Having said that, various new methods are on the cusp of breakthrough.
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Image: patient with pain in fingers; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Milkos

APRICOT-project: implant "help(s) patients heal themselves"

01/01/2020

Today, people tend to live longer, while an increasing number of patients suffer from osteoarthritis. Even younger generations are now at a higher risk of getting osteoarthritis due to the frequent use of mobile devices. The EU research project APRICOT aims to develop a novel type of implant for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the hands – helping patients heal themselves.
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Image: cemented artificial hip endoprostheses; Copyright: panthermedia.net/coddie

Endoprostheses: regaining independence and mobility

01/01/2020

Joints can suddenly or gradually deteriorate and lose their natural strength, whether it’s due to accidents, diseases or simple wear and tear. In some of these cases, implants of artificial joints – endoprostheses - can help. As a joint replacement, they are designed to stay in the body for as long as needed and as such improve the patient’s quality of life and mobility.
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Image: Athlete with knee pain; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Wavebreakmedia Itd

Endoprostheses: between possibility and reality

01/01/2020

When natural joints lose their ability to function, they can be completely or partially replaced by artificial joints, also called endoprostheses. Endoprostheses must be of a certain quality, as they should remain in the body as long as possible. In addition to some risks, endoprostheses can also contribute to a mobile and carefree life for young and old.
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Image: Leg implants; Copyright: panthermedia.net/ monstArrr

Orthopedic implant: More comfortable thanks to full weight-bearing capacity

08/03/2019

Orthopedic implants – they are a necessity when it comes to congenital or acquired limb length discrepancies. However, full weight-bearing during the limb lengthening process is not feasible with previous implant models. For the first time, the 3D Surgery division at the Medical Center of the University of Munich has succeeded in using an implant that facilitates immediate weight-bearing.
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Image: View over the shoulders of two doctors at a screen showing a model of a heart; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Wavebreakmedia ltd

Regenerative heart valves: from simulation to replacement

23/07/2018

Every year, more than 250,000 patients worldwide receive heart valve implants. Children require repeated replacement surgery because their bodies are still growing, the prosthetic heart valves are not. Regenerative heart valves solve this problem. Until now, we have only been able to monitor how these living implants develop in the body after the fact. Computer models now make this predictable.
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Image: Small brown mole on the back of a hand; Copyright: panthermedia.net/Mario Hahn

Early detection: Tattoo signals cancer – and more

09/07/2018

People who are not ill and do not show any symptoms typically do not visit the doctor. And while most people know that preventive medical checkups for cancer, for example, are important, they still avoid them. They tend to be very hesitant because the doctor might detect a serious illness. In the future, a new type of implant could make it easier to go to a screening test.
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Image: Two hands are holding a tubular frame that is carrying a glistening wet, white tube; Copyright: Leibniz University of Hanover/Institute of Technical Chemistry

Tissue engineering: how to grow a bypass

23/04/2018

A bypass is a complicated structure. It is either made of synthetic materials that can cause blood clots and infections or created by using the patient’s veins. However, the latter often does not yield adequate material. A newly developed bioreactor could solve this problem in the future. It is designed to tissue engineer vascular grafts by using the body’s own material.
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Image: Preview picture of video

Surgical navigation systems – with precision to the destination

06/03/2018

With the help of surgical navigation systems, prostheses or implants can be better inserted. During the procedure, surgeons can see exactly where they need to operate on a screen. Just like a navigation system in the car, navigation in the OR guides you precisely to your destination. At the Uniklinik RWTH Aachen we can find out what advantages this has for physicians and patients.
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