Shyam Diwakar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Amrita School of Biotechnology
Upinder S. Bhalla, Ph.D.
Professor & Dean, NCBS, Bengaluru, India
Watching the network change during the formation of associative memory
The process of learning is measured through behavioural changes, but it is of enormous interest to understand its cellular and network basis. We used 2-photon imaging of hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neuron activity in mice to monitor such changes during the acquisition of a trace conditioning task. One of the questions in such learning is how the network retains a trace of a brief conditioned stimulus (a sound), until the arrival of a delayed unconditioned stimulus (a puff of air to the eye). During learning, the mice learn to blink when the tone is presented, well before the arrival of the air puff.
The mice learnt this task in 20-50 trials. We observed that in this time-frame the cells in the network changed the time of their peak activity, such that their firing times tiled the interval between sound and air puff. Thus the cells seem to form a relay of activity. We also observed an evolution in functional connectivity in the network, as measured by groupings of correlated cells. These groupings were stable till the learning protocol commenced, and then changed. Thus we have been able to observe two aspects of network learning: changes in activity (relay firing), and changes in connectivity (correlation groups).
Gaute Einevoll, Ph.D.
Professor of Physics, Department of Mathematical Sciences & Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB)
Multiscale modeling of cortical network activity: Key challenges
Gaute T. Einevoll Computational Neuroscience Group, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, 1432 Ås, Norway; Norwegian National Node of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF)
Several challenges must be met in the development of multiscale models of cortical network activity. In the presentation I will, based on ongoing work in our group (http://compneuro.umb.no/ ) on multiscale modeling of cortical columns, outline some of them. In particular,
Combined modeling schemes for neuronal, glial and vascular dynamics [1,2],
Development of sets of interconnected models describing system at different levels of biophysical detail [3-5],
Multimodal modeling, i.e., how to model what you can measure [6-12],
How to model when you don’t know all the parameters, and
Development of neuroinformatics tools and routines to do simulations efficiently and accurately [13,14].
- L. Øyehaug, I. Østby, C. Lloyd, S.W. Omholt, and G.T. Einevoll: Dependence of spontaneous neuronal firing and depolarisation block on astroglial membrane transport mechanisms, J Comput Neurosci 32, 147-165 (2012)
- I. Østby, L. Øyehaug, G.T. Einevoll, E. Nagelhus, E. Plahte, T. Zeuthen, C. Lloyd, O.P. Ottersen, and S.W. Omholt: Astrocytic mechanisms explaining neural-activity-induced shrinkage of extraneuronal space, PLoS Comp Biol 5, e1000272 (2009)
- T. Heiberg, B. Kriener, T. Tetzlaff, A. Casti, G.T. Einevoll, and H.E. Plesser: Firing-rate models can describe the dynamics of the retina-LGN connection, J Comput Neurosci (2013)
- T. Tetzlaff, M. Helias, G.T. Einevoll, and M. Diesmann: Decorrelation of neural-network activity by inhibitory feedback, PLoS Comp Biol 8, e10002596 (2012).
- E. Nordlie, T. Tetzlaff, and G.T. Einevoll: Rate dynamics of leaky integrate-and-fire neurons with strong synapses, Frontiers in Comput Neurosci 4, 149 (2010)
- G.T. Einevoll, F. Franke, E. Hagen, C. Pouzat, K.D. Harris: Towards reliable spike-train recording from thousands of neurons with multielectrodes, Current Opinion in Neurobiology 22, 11-17 (2012)
- H. Linden, T Tetzlaff, TC Potjans, KH Pettersen, S Grun, M Diesmann, GT Einevoll: Modeling the spatial reach of LFP, Neuron 72, 859-872 (2011).
- H. Linden, K.H. Pettersen, and G.T. Einevoll: Intrinsic dendritic filtering gives low-pass power spectra of local field potentials, J Computational Neurosci 29, 423-444 (2010)
- K.H. Pettersen and G.T. Einevoll: Amplitude variability and extracellular low-pass filtering of neuronal spikes, Biophysical Journal 94, 784-802 (2008).
- K.H. Pettersen, E. Hagen, and G.T. Einevoll: Estimation of population firing rates and current source densities from laminar electrode recordings, J Comput Neurosci 24, 291-313 (2008).
- K. Pettersen, A. Devor, I. Ulbert, A.M. Dale and G.T. Einevoll. Current-source density estimation based on inversion of electrostatic forward solution: Effects of finite extent of neuronal activity and conductivity discontinuities, Journal of Neuroscience Methods 154, 116-133 (2006).
- G.T. Einevoll, K. Pettersen, A. Devor, I. Ulbert, E. Halgren and A.M. Dale: Laminar Population Analysis: Estimating firing rates and evoked synaptic activity from multielectrode recordings in rat barrel cortex, Journal of Neurophysiology 97, 2174-2190 (2007).
- LFPy: A tool for simulation of extracellular potentials (http://compneuro.umb.no)
- E. Nordlie, M.-O. Gewaltig, H. E. Plesser: Towards reproducible descriptions of neuronal network models, PLoS Comp Biol 5, e1000456 (2009).
Pravat Mandal, Ph.D.
Professor, Neurospectroscopy & Neuroimaging, National Brain Research Center, India
Krishnakumar Menon, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Centre for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine, Amrita University, Kochi, India
A Far-Western Clinical Proteomics Approach to Detect Molecules of Clinical and Pathological Significance in the Neurodegenerative Disease Multiple Sclerosis.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The disease affects young adults at their prime age leading to severe debilitation over several years. Despite advances in MS research, the cause of the disease remains elusive. Thus, our objective is to identify novel molecules of pathological and diagnostic significance important in the understanding, early diagnosis and treatment of MS. Biological fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), that bathe the brain serve as a potential source for the identification of pathologically significant autoantibody reactivity in MS. In this regard, we report the development of an unbiased clinical proteomics approach for the detection of reactive CSF molecules that target brain proteins from patients with MS. Proteins of myelin and myelin-axolemmal complexes were separated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, blotted onto membranes and probed separately with biotinylated unprocessed CSF samples. Protein spots that reacted specifically to MS-CSF’s were further analyzed by matrix assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In addition to previously reported proteins found in MS, we have identified several additional molecules involved in mitochondrial and energy metabolism, myelin gene expression and/or cytoskeletal organization. Among these identified molecules, the cellular expression pattern of collapsin response mediator protein-2 and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 were investigated in human chronic-active MS lesions by immunohistochemistry. The observation that in multiple sclerosis lesions phosphorylated collapsin response mediator protein-2 was increased, whereas Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 was down-regulated, not only highlights the importance of these molecules in the pathology of this disease, but also illustrates the use of our approach in attempting to decipher the complex pathological processes leading to multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. Further, we show that in clinicaly isolated syndrome (CIS), we could identify important molecules that could serve as an early diagnostic biomarker in MS.
Claudia AM Wheeler-Kingshott, Ph.D.
University Reader in Magnetic Resonance Physics, Department of Neuroinflammation, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK
Detecting neuronal activity in vivo non-invasively is possible with a number of techniques. Amongst these, in 1990 functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was proposed as a technique that has a great ability to spatially map brain activity by exploiting the blood oxygenation level dependent (BOLD) contrast mechanism [1, 2]. In fact, neuronal activation triggers a demand for oxygen and induces a localised increase in blood flow and blood volume, which actually exceeds the metabolic needs. This in turns causes an increase of oxyhaemoglobin in the venous compartment, which is a transient phenomenon and is accompanied by a transient change (decrease) in the concentration of deoxyhaemoglobin. Due to its paramagnetic properties, the amount of deoxyhaemoglobin present in the venous blood affects the local magnetic field seen by the spins (protons) and determines the local properties of the MR signal. A decrease in deoxyhaemoglobin during neuronal activity, therefore, induces local variations of this magnetic field that increases the average transverse relaxation time of tissue, measured via the T2* parameter . This means that there is an increase of the MR signal (of the order of a few %, typically <5%) linked to metabolic changes happening during brain function. Activation can be inferred at different brain locations by performing tasks while acquiring the MR signal and comparing periods of rest to periods of activity.
The macroscopic changes of the BOLD signal are well characterised, while the reason for the increased blood supply, exceeding demands, needs further thoughts. Here we will discuss two approaches for explaining the BOLD phenomenon, one that links it to adenosine triphosphate production  and enzyme saturation, the other that relates it to the very slow diffusion of oxygen through the blood-brain-barrier with a consequent compensatory high demand of oxygen . Some evidence of restricted oxygen diffusion has been shown by means of hypercapnia , although it is not excluded that both mechanisms may be present.
Overall, the BOLD signal changes theory and its physiological basis will be presented and discussed.
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- Kwong, K.K., et al., Dynamic magnetic resonance imaging of human brain activity during primary sensory stimulation. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1992. 89(12): p. 5675-9.
- Bandettini PA, et al. Spin-echo and gradient-echo EPI of human brain activation using BOLD contrast: a comparative study at 1.5 T. NMR Biomed. 1994 Mar;7(1-2):12-20
- Fox, P.T., et al., Nonoxidative glucose consumption during focal physiologic neural activity. Science, 1988. 241(4864): p. 462-4.
- Gjedde, A., et al. Reduction of functional capillary density in human brain after stroke. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab, 1990. 10(3): p. 317-26.
- Hoge, R.D., et al., Linear coupling between cerebral blood flow and oxygen consumption in activated human cortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1999. 96(16): p. 9403-8.
Rohit Manchanda, Ph.D.
Professor, Biomedical Engineering Group, IIT-Bombay, India
Modelling the syncytial organization and neural control of smooth muscle: insights into autonomic physiology and pharmacology
We have been studying computationally the syncytial organization and neural control of smooth muscle in order to help explain certain puzzling findings thrown up by experimental work. This relates in particular to electrical signals generated in smooth muscles, such as synaptic potentials and spikes, and how these are explicable only if three-dimensional syncytial biophysics are taken fully into account. In this talk, I shall provide an illustration of outcomes and insights gleaned from such an approach. I shall first describe our work on the mammalian vas deferens, in which an analysis of the effects of syncytial coupling led us to conclude that the experimental effects of a presumptive gap junction uncoupler, heptanol, on synaptic potentials were incompatible with gap junctional block and could best be explained by a heptanol-induced inhibition of neurotransmitter release, thus compelling a reinterpretation of the mechanism of action of this agent. I shall outline the various lines of evidence, based on indices of syncytial function, that we adduced in order to reach this conclusion. We have now moved on to our current focus on urinary bladder biophysics, where the questions we aim to address are to do with mechanisms of spike generation. Smooth muscle cells in the bladder exhibit spontaneous spiking and spikes occur in a variety of distinct shapes, making their generation problematic to explain. We believe that the variety in shapes may owe less to intrinsic differences in spike mechanism (i.e., in the complement of ion channels participating in spike production) and more to features imposed by syncytial biophysics. We focus especially on the modulation of spike shape in a 3-D coupled network by such factors as innervation pattern, propagation in a syncytium, electrically finite bundles within and between which the spikes spread, and some degree of pacemaker activity by a sub-population of the cells. I shall report two streams of work that we have done, and the tentative conclusions these have enabled us to reach: (a) using the NEURON environment, to construct the smooth muscle syncytium and endow it with synaptic drive, and (b) using signal-processing approaches, towards sorting and classifying the experimentally recorded spikes.
Egidio D’Angelo, MD, Ph.D.
Full Professor of Physiology & Director, Brain Connectivity Center, University of Pavia, Italy
Realistic modeling: new insight into the functions of the cerebellar network
Realistic modeling is an approach based on the careful reconstruction of neurons synapses starting from biological details at the molecular and cellular level. This technique, combined with the connection topologies derived from histological measurements, allows the reconstruction of precise neuronal networks. Finally, the advent of specific software platforms (PYTHON-NEURON) and of super-computers allows large-scale network simulation to be performed in reasonable time. This approach inverts the logics of older theoretical models, which anticipated an intuition on how the network might work. In realistic modeling, network properties “emerge” from the numerous biological properties embedded into the model.
This approach is illustrated here through an outstanding application of realistic modeling to the cerebellar cortex network. The neurons (over 105) are reproduced at a high level of detail generating non-linear network effects like population oscillations and resonance, phase-reset, bursting, rebounds, short-term and long-term plasticity, spatiotemporal redistrbution of input patterns. The model is currently being used in the context of he HUMAN BRAIN PROJECT to investigate the cerebellar network function.
Correspondence should be addressed to
Laboratory of Neurophysiology
Via Forlanini 6, 27100 Pavia, Italy
Phone: 0039 (0) 382 987606
Fax: 0039 (0) 382 987527
This work was supported by grants from European Union to ED (CEREBNET FP7-ITN238686, REALNET FP7-ICT270434) and by grants from the Italian Ministry of Health to ED (RF-2009-1475845).
Aditya Murthy, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Centre For Neuroscience, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
Since Karl Lashley’s seminal work on the formulation of serial order, numerous models assume simultaneous representation of competitive elements of a sequence, to account for serial order effects in different types of behavior like typing, speech, etc. Such models follow two basic assumptions: (1) more than one plan representation can be simultaneously active in a planning layer; (2) the most active plan is chosen in another layer called the competitive choice layer. Using the oculomotor system I will describe behavioral and neurophysiological experiments that tests the two critical predictions of such queuing models, providing evidence that basal ganglia in monkeys and humans instantiate a form of queuing that transforms parallel movement representations into more serial representations, allowing for the expression of sequential saccadic eye movements.
K. P. Mohanakumar, Ph.D.
Chief Scientist, Cell Biology & Physiology Division, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata
Neuroprotective and neurodestructive effects of Ayurvedic drug constituents: Parkinson’s disease
The present study reports the good and the bad entities in an Indian traditional medicine used for treating Parkinson’s disease (PD). A prospective clinical trial on the effectiveness of Ayurvedic medication in a population of PD patients revealed significant benefits, which has been attributed to L-DOPA present in the herbs . Later studies revealed better benefits with one of the herbs alone, compared to pure L-DOPA in a clinical trial conducted in UK , and in several studies conducted on animal models of PD in independent laboratories world over [3-5]. We have adapted strategies to segregate molecules from the herb, and then carefully removed L-DOPA contained therein, and tested each of these sub-fractions for anti-PD activity in 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine, rotenone and 6-hydroxydopamine -induced parkinsonian animal models, and transgenic mitochondrial cybrids. We report here two classes of molecules contained in the herb, one of which possessed severe pro-parkinsonian (phenolic amine derivatives) and the other having excellent anti-parkinsonian potential (substituted tetrahydroisoquinoline derivatives). The former has been shown to cause severe dopamine depletion in the striatum of rodents, when administered acutely or chronically. It also caused significant behavioral aberrations, leading to anxiety and depression . The latter class of molecules administered in PD animal model , caused reversal of behavioral dysfunctions and significant attenuation of striatal dopamine loss. These effects were comparable or better than the effects of the anti-PD drugs, selegiline or L-DOPA. The mechanism of action of the molecule has been found to be novel, at the postsynaptic receptor signaling level, as well as cellular α-synuclein oligomerization and specifically at mitochondria. The molecule helped in maintaining mitochondrial ETC complex activity and stabilized cellular respiration, and mitochondrial fusion-fission machinery with specific effect on the dynamin related protein 1. Although there existed significant medical benefits that could be derived to patients due to the synergistic actions of several molecules present in a traditional preparation, accumulated data in our hands suggest complicated mechanisms of actions of Ayurvedic medication. Our results also provide great hope for extracting, synthesizing and optimizing the activity of anti-parkinsonian molecules present in traditional Ayurvedic herbs, and for designing novel drugs with novel mechanisms of action.
- N, Nagashayana, P Sankarankutty, MRV Nampoothiri, PK Mohan and KP Mohanakumar, J Neurol Sci. 176, 124-7, 2000.
- Katzenschlager R, Evans A, Manson A, Patsalos PN, Ratnaraj N, Watt H, Timmermann L, Van der Giessen R, Lees AJ. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry.75, 1672-7, 2004.
- Manyam BV, Dhanasekaran M, Hare TA. Phytother Res. 18, 706-12, 2004.
- Kasture S, Pontis S, Pinna A, Schintu N, Spina L, Longoni R, Simola N, Ballero M, Morelli M. Neurotox Res. 15, 111-22, 2009.
- Lieu CA, Kunselman AR, Manyam BV, Venkiteswaran K, Subramanian T. Parkinsonism Relat Disord.16, 458-65, 2010.
- T Sengupta and KP Mohanakumar, Neurochem Int. 57, 637-46, 2010.
- T Sengupta, J Vinayagam, N Nagashayana, B Gowda, P Jaisankar and KP Mohanakumar, Neurochem Res 36, 177-86, 2011
David Ibanez, Laura Dubreuil and Alejandro Rier
Neurofeedback (NF) is a type of biofeedback that uses real time display of electroencephalography to illustrate brain activity. EEG features are extracted and displayed allowing the user to, with practice, modulate their temporal evolution. Neurofeedback training has many therapeutic applications such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), migraine, depression or conduct disorders. This document presents NeuroSurfer, a novel general-purpose tool for neurofeedback training with a use case of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment.
Dr. Bipin Nair,
Dean-Biotechnology, Amrita University
Shantikumar Nair, Ph.D.
Professor & Director, Amrita Center for Nanosciences & Molecular Medicine, Amrita University, India
Spatially Distributed and Hierarchical Nanomaterials in Biotechnology
Although nano materials are well investigated in biotechnology in their zero-, one- and two-dimensional forms, three-dimensional nanomaterials are relatively less investigated for their biological applications. Three dimensional nano materials are much more complex with several structural and hierarchical variables controlling their mechanical, chemical and biological functionality. In this talk examples are given of some complex three dimensional systems including, scaffolds, aggregates, fabrics and membranes. Essentially three types of hierarchies are considered: one-dimensional hierarchy, two-dimensional hierarchy and three-dimensional hierarchy each giving rise to unique behaviors.
Nader Pourmand, Ph.D.
Director, UCSC Genome Technology Center,University of California, Santa Cruz
Biosensor and Single Cell Manipulation using Nanopipettes
Approaching sub-cellular biological problems from an engineering perspective begs for the incorporation of electronic readouts. With their high sensitivity and low invasiveness, nanotechnology-based tools hold great promise for biochemical sensing and single-cell manipulation. During my talk I will discuss the incorporation of electrical measurements into nanopipette technology and present results showing the rapid and reversible response of these subcellular sensors to different analytes such as antigens, ions and carbohydrates. In addition, I will present the development of a single-cell manipulation platform that uses a nanopipette in a scanning ion-conductive microscopy technique. We use this newly developed technology to position the nanopipette with nanoscale precision, and to inject and/or aspirate a minute amount of material to and from individual cells or organelle without comprising cell viability. Furthermore, if time permits, I will show our strategy for a new, single-cell DNA/ RNA sequencing technology that will potentially use nanopipette technology to analyze the minute amount of aspirated cellular material.
Jaydeep Unni, Ph.D.
Sr. Project Manager, Robert Bosch Healthcare Systems, Palo Alto, CA
Remote Patient Monitoring – Challenges and Opportunities
Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) is gaining importance and acceptance with rising number of chronic disease conditions and with increase in the aging population. As instances of Heart diseases, Diabetes etc are increasing the demand for these technologies are increasing. RPM devices typically collect patient vital sign data and in some case also patient responses to health related questions. Thus collected data is then transmitted through various modalities (wireless/Bluetooth/cellular) to Hospitals/Doctor’s office for clinical evaluation. With these solutions Doctors are able to access patient’s vital data ‘any time any where’ thus enabling them to intervene on a timely and effective manner. For older adult population chronic disease management, post-acute care management and safety monitoring are areas were RPM finds application. That said, there are significant challenges in adoption of Remote Patient Monitoring including patient willingness and compliance for adoption, affordability, availability of simpler/smarter technology to mention a few. But experts contend that if implemented correctly Remote Patient Monitoring can contain healthcare expenditure by reducing avoidable hospitalization while greatly improving quality of care.
Sneh Anand, Ph.D.
Professor, Center for Biomedical Engineering, IIT-Delhi, India
Interdisciplinary Research Outcome of Biomedical Engineering
Natural science is an engineering marvel. All innovations in health care technology have been inspired by biological systems. A joint venture of the two premier Institutes has facilitated research in Biomedical engineering. Over the years the Centre is a premier in the country with global recognition. This interdisciplinary base platform has lead to several innovative technologies which have been patented and validated by clinicians as well. The R&D contributions in mass health care, diagnostics, therapeutics and rehabilitation reinforcement. Graduate exposure to the field can enhance creativity among graduates from all engineering disciplines.
Founder & CTO, InnAccel Consulting Services, Begaluru, India
Seeram Ramakrishna, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Nanofibers & Nanotechnology, National University of Singapore
Biomaterials: Future Perspectives
From the perspective of thousands of years of history, the role of biomaterials in healthcare and wellbeing of humans is at best accidental. However, since 1970s with the introduction of national regulatory frameworks for medical devices, the biomaterials field evolved and reinforced with strong science and engineering understandings. The biomaterials field also flourished on the backdrop of growing need for better medical devices and medical treatments, and sustained investments in research and development. It is estimated that the world market size for medical devices is ~300 billion dollars and for biomaterials it is ~30 billion dollars. Healthcare is now one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide. Legions of scientists, engineers, and clinicians worldwide are attempting to design and develop newer medical treatments involving tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, nanotech enabled drug delivery, and stem cells. They are also engineering ex-vivo tissues and disease models to evaluate therapeutic drugs, biomolecules, and medical treatments. Engineered nanoparticles and nanofiber scaffolds have emerged as important class of biomaterials as many see them as necessary in creating suitable biomimetic micro-environment for engineering and regeneration of various tissues, expansion & differentiation of stem cells, site specific controlled delivery of biomolecules & drugs, and faster & accurate diagnostics. This lecture will capture the progress made thus far in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Further this lecture will discuss the way forward for translation of bench side research into the bed side practice. This lecture also seeks to identify newer opportunities for biomaterials beyond the medical devices.
Satheesh Babu T. G., Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Sciences, School of Engineering, Amrita University, Coimbatore, India
Nanomaterials for ‘enzyme-free’ biosensing
Enzyme based sensors have many draw backs such as poor storage stability, easily affected by the change in pH and temperature and involves complicated enzyme immobilization procedures. To address this limitation, an alternative approach without the use of enzyme, “non-enzymatic” has been tried recently. Choosing the right catalyst for direct electrochemical oxidation / reduction of a target molecule is the key step in the fabrication of non-enzymatic sensors.
Non-enzymatic sensors for glucose, creatinine, vitamins and cholesterol are fabricated using different nanomaterials, such as nanotubes, nanowires and nanoparticles of copper oxide, titanium dioxide, tantalum oxide, platinum, gold and graphenes. These sensors selectively catalyse the targeted analyte with very high sensitivity. These nanomaterials based sensors combat the drawbacks of enzymatic sensors.
H S M Kort, J-W J Lammers, S N W Vorrink, T Troosters
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a disabling airway disease with variable extrapulmonary effects that may contribute to disease severity in individual patients (Rabe et al. 2007). The world health organization predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. Patients with COPD demonstrate reduced levels of spontaneous daily physical activity (DPA) compared with healthy controls (Pitta et al. 2005). This results in a higher risk of hospital admission and shorter survival (Pitta et al. 2006). Pulmonary rehabilitation can help to improve the DPA level, however, obtained benefits decline after 1â€“2 years (Foglio et al. 2007).
In order to maintain DPA in COPD patients after rehabilitation, we developed a mobile phone application. This application measures DPA as steps per day, measured by the accelerometer of the smartphone, and shows the information to the patient via the display of the mobile phone. A physiotherapist can monitor the patient via a secure website where DPA measurements are visible for all patients. Here, DPA goals can be adjusted and text messages sent.
Three pilot studies were performed with healthy students and COPD patients to test the application for usability, user friendliness and reliability with questionnaires and focus groups. Subjects also wore a validated accelerometer. For the Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) 140 COPD patients will be recruited in Dutch physiotherapy practises. They will be randomised in an intervention group that receives the smartphone for 6 months and a control group. Measurements include lungfunction, dyspnea, and exercise capacity and are held at 0, 3, 6 and 12 months.
Results and Discussion
The application was found to be useful, easy to learn and use. Subjects had no problems with health care professionals seeing information on their physical activity performance. They do find it important to be able to determine who can see the information. Correlations between the accelerometer and the measurements on DPA of the smartphone for steps per hour were 0.69 and 0.70 for pilot studies 1 (students) and 2 (COPD patients) respectively. The version of the application in pilot study 3 contained an error, which made correlations with the accelerometer unusable. The RCT study is now being executed.
Arathy R and Binoy B Nair
PC based heart sound monitoring system
Heart diseases caused by disorders of the heart and blood vessels, are world’s largest killers. Early detection and monitoring of heart abnormalities is essential for diagnosis and effective treatment of heart diseases. Severalmethodologies are used for screening and diagnosing heart diseases. They are auscultation, electrocardiogram (ECG), echo-cardiogram, ultrasound etc. The effectiveness and applicability of all these diagnostic methods are highly dependent on the equipment cost and size as well as skill of the physician. This paper presents the design and development of a low cost portable wireless/tubeless digital stethoscope which can be used by the physician for monitoring the patient from a distance. The stethoscope system interfaces to a PC and is also capable of analyzing the heart sounds and identifying abnormalities in the heart sound and its classification. Storage of heart sound for later analysis is also possible.This advanced functionality increases the physician’s diagnostic capability, and such a PCG is not still available in most hospitals. Acoustic stethoscope can be changed into a digital stethoscope by inserting an electric capacity microphone into its diaphragm (Wang, Chen and Samjin, 2009).
Pandiaraj Manickam, Niroj Kumar Sethy, Kalpana Bhargava, Vepa Kameswararao and Karunakaran Chandran
Designing electrochemical label free immunosensors for cytochrome c using nanocomposites functionalized screen printed electrodes
Release of cytochrome c (cyt c) from mitochondria into cytosol is a hallmark of apoptosis, used as a biomarker of mitochondrial dependent pathway of cell death (Kluck et al. 1997; Green et al. 1998). We have previously reported cytochrome c reductase (CcR) based biosensors for the measurement of mitochondrial cyt c release (Pandiaraj et al. 2013). Here, we describe the development of novel label-free, immunosensor for cyt c utilizing its specific monoclonal antibody. Two types of nanocomposite modified immunosensing platforms were used for the immobilization of anti-cyt c; (i) Self-assembled monolayer (SAM) functionalized gold nanoparticles (GNP) in conducting polypyrrole (PPy) modified screen printed electrodes (SPE) (ii) Carbon nanotubes (CNT) incorporated PPy on SPE. The nanotopologies of the modified electrodes were confirmed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Cyclic voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) were used for probing the electrochemical properties of the nanocomposite modified electrodes. Method for cyt c quantification is based on the direct electron transfer between Fe3+/Fe2+-heme of cyt c selectively bound to anti-cyt c modified electrode. The Faradaic current response of these nanoimmunosensor increases with increase in cyt c concentration. The procedure for cyt c detection was also optimized (pH, incubation times, and characteristics of electrodes) to improve the analytical characteristics of immunosensors. The analytical performance of anti-cyt c biofunctionalized GNP-PPy nanocomposite platform (detection limit 0.5 nM; linear range: 0.5 nMâ€“2 Î¼M) was better than the CNT-PPy (detection limit 2 nM; linear range: 2 nM-500nM). The detection limits were well below the normal physiological concentration range (Karunakaran et al. 2008). The proposed method does not require any signal amplification or labeled secondary antibodies contrast to widespread ELISA and Western blot. The immunosensors results in simple and rapid measurement of cyt c and has great potential to become an inexpensive and portable device for conventional clinical immunoassays.
Anupama Natarajan, James Hickman and Peter Molnar
Novel Cell-Based Biosensors for High Throughput Toxin Detection and Drug Screening Applications
Over the last decade there has been focus on the development of cellbased biosensors to detect environmental toxins or to combat the threats of biological warfare. These sensors have been shown to have multiple applications including understanding function and behaviour at the cellular and tissue levels, in cell electrophysiology and as drug screening tools that can eliminate animal testing. These factors make the development of cell-based biosensors into high throughput systems a priority in pharmacological, environmental and defence industries (Pancrazio J J et al. 1999, Kang G et al. 2009, Krinke D et al. 2009). We have developed a high through-put in vitro cell-silicon hybrid platform that could be used to analyze both cell function and response to various toxins and drugs. Our hypothesis was that by utilizing surface modification to provide external guidance cues as well as optimal growth conditions for different cell types (Cardiac and Neuronal), we could enhance the information output and content of such a system. An intrinsic part of this study was to create ordered or patterned functional networks of cells on Micro-electrode arrays (MEA). Such engineered networks had a two-fold purpose in that they not only aided in a more accurate analysis of cell response and cell and tissue behaviour, but also increased the efficiency of the system by increasing the connectivity and placement of the cells over the recording electrodes. Here we show the response of this system to various toxins and drugs and the measurement of several vital cardiac parameters like conduction velocity and refractory period (Natarajan A et al. 2011)
John Stanley, Satheesh Babu, Ramacahandran T and Bipin Nair
Pt-Pd decorated TiO2 nanotube array for the non-enzymatic determination of glucose in neutral medium
Rapidly expanding diabetic population and the complications associated with elevated glycemic levels necessitates the need for a highly sensitive, selective and stable blood glucose measurement strategy. The high sensitivity and selectivity of enzymatic sensors together with viable manufacturing technologies such as screen-printing have made a great social and economic impact. However, the intrinsic nature of the enzymes leads to lack of stability and consequently reduces shelf life and imposes the need for stringent storage conditions. As a result much effort has been directed towards the development of â€˜enzyme-freeâ€™ glucose sensors (Park et al. 2006). In this paper, a non-enzymatic amperometric sensor for selective and sensitive direct electrooxidation of glucose in neutral medium was fabricated based on Platinum-Palladium (Ptâ€“Pd) nanoparticle decorated titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanotube arrays. Highly ordered TiO2 nanotube arrays were obtained using a single step anodization process (Grimes C A and Mor G K 2009) over which Ptâ€“Pd nanoparticles where electrochemically deposited. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) analysis revealed the diameter of the TiO2 nanotubes to be approximately 40 nm. Elemental analysis after electrochemical deposition confirms the presence of Ptâ€“Pd. Electrochemical characterization of the sensor was carried out using cyclic voltammetry technique (âˆ’1.0 to +1.0V) in phosphate buffer saline (PBS) pH 7.4. All further glucose oxidation studies were performed in PBS (pH 7.4). The sensor exhibited good linear response towards glucose for a concentration range of 1 Î¼M to 20mM with a linear regression coefficient of R = 0.998. The electrodes are found to be selective in the presence of other commonly interfering molecules such as ascorbic acid, uric acid, dopamine and acetamidophenol. Thus a nonenzymatic sensor with good selectivity and sensitivity towards glucose in neutral medium has been developed.