Archive for January, 2017


Pneumonia among our elderly population is the leading cause of death from infectious diseases. Usually having multiple health issues, elderly patients often have weaker immune systems, which make them more susceptible to illness.

On January 27th at 8:20am, William pressed his sos button. sosPlus ® Mobile Monitoring Service team member Stevie immediately answered his call. William began to tell her that he had a fever of 104 degrees and that he was having trouble breathing, and coughing all the time. Being in a wheel chair, William had become too weak to even move his chair. At once Stevie sent the paramedics.

Stevie waited with William as EMS were dispatched, assuring him that help was on the way.

Upon arrival EMS already knew his symptoms, thanks to the information Stevie gave them, and took him straight to the hospital.

After assessing William’s condition, the doctors started him on medicine for pneumonia. They told William that if he had waited longer, he may not have made it.

“The doctor’s told me that I had a potentially fatal strain of pneumonia.” William said. “And at my age, it’s very difficult to fight pneumonia on my own.” “You all were just great, quick and dependable.” He added.

sosPlus ® Mobile Monitoring Service was happy to learn that after a few days in the hospital, William is home recovering well.

We thank sosPlus ® Mobile Monitoring Service team member Stevie for her dedicated and concerned efforts in William’s behalf.


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3D printing ‘bioprinter’ produces bone, muscle, and cartilage

A new method of 3D printing can produce human-sized bone, muscle, and cartilage templates that survive when implanted into animals, researchers report.

“It has been challenging to produce human scale tissues with 3D printing because larger tissues require additional nutrition,” Dr. Anthony Atala from Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina told Reuters Health by email.

His team developed a process they call “the integrated tissue and organ printing system,” or ITOP for short. ITOP produces a network of tiny channels that allows the printed tissue to be nourished after being implanted into a living animal.

The researchers used 3D printing to produce three types of tissue – bone, cartilage, and muscle – and transplanted it into rats and mice.
3D printing Model of Human Foot BonesFive months after implantation, the bone tissue looked similar to normal bone, complete with blood vessels and with no dead areas, the research team reported in Nature Biotechnology.

Human-sized ear implants looked like normal cartilage under the microscope, with blood vessels supplying the outer regions and no circulation in the inner regions (as in native cartilage). The fact that there were viable cells in the inner regions suggested that they had received adequate nutrition.

Results with 3D printing skeletal muscle were equally impressive. Not only did the implants look like normal muscle when examined two weeks after implantation, but the implants also contracted like immature, developing muscle when stimulated.

“It is often frustrating for physicians to have patients receive a plastic or metal part during surgery knowing that the best replacement would have been the patient’s own tissue,” Dr. Atala said. “The results of this study bring us closer to the reality of using 3D printing to repair defects using the patient’s own engineered tissue.”

“We are also using similar strategies to print solid organs,” he added.

Dr. Lobat Tayebi from Marquette University School of Dentistry, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who has also done 3D printing bioprinting research, told Reuters Health by email, “There are numerous difficulties in bioprinting tissues in terms of robustness, integrity, and (blood vessel supply) of the end product. What is the most admirable about this study is the serious effort to overcome these problems by introducing an integrated tissue-organ printer (ITOP). This is a big step toward 3D printing robust bioprosthetic tissues of any size and shape.”

“I believe this approach, although it has lots of difficulty, can eventually be applied for producing reliable and robust bioprinted tissues,” she said. “Actual personalized medicine, especially in the 3D printing tissue regeneration field, is on its way.”

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Carbon films give microchips energy storage capability

After more than half a decade of speculation, fabrication, modeling and testing, an international team of researchers led by Drexel University’s Dr. Yury Gogotsi and Dr. Patrice Simon, of Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse, France, have confirmed that their process for making carbon films and micro-supercapacitors will allow microchips and their power sources to become one and the same.

The discovery, which was reported in the Feb. 12 edition of the journal Science, is the culmination of years of collaborative research by the team who initially created the carbide-derived carbon film material for microsupercapacitors and published the concept paper in Science in 2010. Since then, their goal has been to show that it’s possible to physically couple the processing center of an electronic device — the microchip — with its energy source.

carbon-films-on-silicon-chips“This has taken us quite some time, but we set a lofty goal of not just making an energy storage device as small as a microchip — but actually making an energy storage device that is part of the microchip and to do it in a way that is easily integrated into current silicon chip manufacturing processes,” said Simon, who led the research under the aegis of the French research network on electrochemical energy storage (RS2E). “With this achievement, the future is now wide open for chip and personal electronics manufacturers.”

It confirms a belief that the group has held since the materials were first fabricated — that these films are versatile enough to be seamlessly integrated into the systems that power silicon-based microchips that run devices from your laptop to your smart watch.

The challenges that the group faced in the development of the material were questions about its compatibility, its mechanical stability and durability for use on flexible substrates. With these answered, it opens up a myriad of possibilities for carbon films to work their way into silicon chips — including building microscale batteries on a chip.

“The place where most people will eventually notice the impact of this development is in the size of their personal electronic devices, their smart phones, fitbits and watches,” said Gogotsi, Distinguished University and Trustee Chair Professor in the Department of Materials Science Engineering who directs the A.J. Drexel Nanomaterials Institute in Drexel’s College of Engineering. “Even more importantly,” Gogotsi adds, “on-chip energy storage is needed to create the Internet of Things — the network of all kinds of physical objects ranging from vehicles and buildings to our clothes embedded with electronics, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. This work is an important step toward that future.”

The researchers’ method for depositing carbon onto a silicon wafer is consistent with microchip fabrication procedures currently in use, thus easing the challenges of integration of energy storage devices into electronic device architecture. As part of the research, the group showed how it could deposit the carbon films on silicon wafers in a variety of shapes and configurations to create dozens of supercapacitors on a single silicon wafer.

Supercapacitors have been desirable devices to use in microelectronics because they can store a great deal of energy for their size, they can be charged and discharged their energy extremely quickly and their lifespan is nearly limitless. With this discovery, the path is clear for microchip manufacturers to take a big step forward in the way they design their products.

Beyond the energy storage applications, these carbon films offer good prospects for the development of elastic coatings with a low coefficient of friction that can be used in lubricant-free sliding parts, such as dynamic seals. They may also be used in production of membranes for gas filtration, water desalination or purification, because their pore size is in the range of single molecules. The carbon films produced by this method are quite versatile and may find applications in many areas.

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