Revamping the Reality: Virtual Reality as a distraction intervention technique in oncology therapy

– By Shiney 

“My skin used to itch, and I would experience tingling sensations all over my body, especially when they just had injected the chemotherapy. This could make me crazy, and I felt like shouting for help to get attention and empathy”, explains a male of his scary chemotherapy experience. 
[read more]

Chemotherapy is not a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment, and not all chemo experiences are painful. Yet a very few are the creepy events as such. Patients perceiving distress or discomfort during chemo may be assuaged by “Virtual Reality,” which is one of the most promising digital technologies. Virtual Reality is a computer-simulated technique where a person needs to wear a head-mounted device to become immersed in a virtual world that is almost real by engaging the visual and auditory stimuli. It is found that patients who received cognitive distraction or relaxation techniques tolerated chemo compared to the control group who didn’t. 

The procedure is as ensues: The patient is allowed to put on the headset and habituated to it for about 5-10 minutes before chemotherapy administration. The significant part is that patients can report symptoms even in VR. Signs of distress experienced by cancer patients are assessed by Adapted Symptom Distress Scale – 2 (ASDS-2). To date, we have many distraction intervention techniques for patients, such as music, humor, and guided imagery during chemotherapy. Among them, VR has made a milestone in altering the perception of time for patients that make the treatment seem shorter and pleasant to the patient. Assisting patients with therapeutic technologies increase the oncology survival rate while supporting patients psychologically improve their quality of life.

Design and Manufacturing of Medical Devices

– By Ayushmaan Dutta 

Medical device technology blends together the fields of engineering and medicine together to produce technical solutions to medical conditions. Today, there are over 100,000 various medical devices on the market, and the industry is constantly developing. Medical devices are subject to several regulations and must undergo rigorous [read more] validation procedures, which include inspections, testing, analyses, and reviews, before being permitted on the market due to the direct health and safety impact they have on users. Since it establishes the foundation for the remainder of the design, requirements formulation is one of the most essential segments of the design process. The most essential step for a medical device’s success is its design and development.

A medical device that is poorly specified and developed will not be able to meet regulatory requirements and enter the market. Or, even if it passes compliance, it will fail to offer the specified functionality and advantages in accordance with market demands, resulting in lower market acceptance than well-desired alternatives. Delivering the proper healthcare solution that fulfils consumer needs takes a substantial amount of effort. A good healthcare solution necessitates everyone keeping on the same page, with clear scope definition based on end user needs, cross-team collaboration, adherence to specifications and requirements extracted from product definitions, risk mitigation, and adherence to time frames. We should proceed by evaluating and identifying the market, evaluating whether the demand is untapped or unfulfilled, and whether there is a more effective method to address those specific needs. These requirements might be anything that provides a solution, such as a new or improved method of monitoring health, improved care delivery options, or better administration equipment. The design of a medical device usually goes through six stages.

These are- Research and discovery – Apart from being compliance-ready, identifying the need for demand is a crucial stage in developing a medical device solution. Specification development- Engineers develop specifications for the device when the research and development phase is done. The mechanical, electrical, and software aspects of the project are all included in these specifications. Device functioning, material requirements and limits, operating tolerances, and safety features are among the topics covered. Engineering- Engineers can now start working on the actual medical device design with the specifications in place. All physical aspects of the device are developed by mechanical engineers. To develop the shape and physical qualities of the product, they employ both traditional design tools and current 3D-CAD software. Prototyping- The next stage in the medical device design process is to create a prototype when the engineering phase is done. A prototype is a full-scale, functional model of a design that is produced in low batches. Rather than using cell production, it is usually created using one-off manufacturing techniques.

Prototypes may now be created more rapidly and cost-effectively owing to 3D printing technology. Iteration- Parts of the design process must be redone if problems or challenges are discovered during prototype testing. The design is then improved by the mechanical, electrical, and software design teams. Another cycle of prototyping and testing occurs when the design difficulties have been resolved. This procedure is continued until the medical device passes validation and verification and satisfies all standards. This iterative design change enables for the correction of issues before full-scale manufacturing commences.

The last phase of medical device design necessitates the creation of the manufacturing process once the device’s design and testing are finished and the client has accepted the final iteration. A cell manufacturing approach with specific production stations is used generally by big MNCs. Each cell has a specific purpose, such as producing or refining a single component or fitting and bonding many components. This type of manufacturing enables modest modifications to the process to be performed in a cost-effective manner without having to shut down the entire production line. Many of the actions taken at this step are made during the engineering phase, but the final form of the manufacturing process must be determined at this point. After this is finished, the project may be moved to the production stage. Medical device design is a multi-stage, complicated procedure. The research and discovery phase permits the client’s needs to be identified, as well as the applicable rules to be examined. The design requirements can be established through collaboration between the mechanical, electrical, and software teams based on the outcomes of that procedure.

Prototyping produces workable models that can be tested for validation and verification, and iterative design solutions are used to solve design challenges. The manufacturing method may be designed and full-scale production can begin once the final design is authorized.


Subsidizing the future: 3D printing technology in precision medicine and healthcare.

– By Shiney 

Do you believe a nose mask would help in treating acne? Yeah! That’s possible with 3D printing technology, an additive manufacturing technique. A 3D scanner scans the patient’s nose, and a 3D design is generated, which would be a personalized mask. Muwaffak et al. [read more] conducted a study in 3D-printed wound dressings that included zinc, copper, and silver as antimicrobial agents in the shape of a nose and an ear, which would hold the bandages in wound position. These 3D-printed wound dressings claim to work in an extended way than the parallel flat dressings.

Illustriously, 3D printing processes such as SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) and binder jetting are found to be fabricating highly porous and fast-dissolving tablets. Fina et al. investigated the application of SLS in orodispersible tablets. Spritam® is a rapidly-disintegrating orodispersible tablet with an average disintegration time of 11 secs. It is the primary 3D-printed drug to get approval from the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). 3D printing has also been explored in producing Polypills (multi-drug combinations). Pereira et al. printed a four-drug cardio-vascular polypill. Polypills containing six different drugs like paracetamol, naproxen, prednisolone, aspirin, caffeine, and chloramphenicol have been published in multi-layer cylindrical or ring-shaped structures. These “Smart drugs” may provide personalized therapy for each individual’s necessity, commencing a new era in the Healthcare industry.


Biocompatible Materials: Materials that work in symphony with your body.

– By Omkar Patel

Joint and Implant research has become so advanced in the last few decades that a person with an implant or a bone replacement would do day-to-day tasks similar to a normal person. But have you ever wondered what materials are these implants made of that it has the ability to replace a human bone? [read more]

The materials that these implants are made of are Biocompatible materials. Biocompatible materials are materials that interact with the human body and performs tissue response in specific applications. These materials are directly in contact with the body fluids and have to deal with the immune response of the host. To understand this easily let’s take one simple example. “Imagine yourself in your childhood, and your childhood’s most favourite chocolate is being discontinued from its distribution by the chocolate company. Now your parents bring you your favourite chocolate’s replacements. You try to resist the chocolates which you didn’t like and you ask your parents not to bring those chocolates again. But one day, your parents bring you chocolate which tastes similar to your favourite chocolate and now you are happy again. This is similar to what ‘dealing with the immune response’ means. Implants to the patient’s body are similar to the replacement chocolates, in other words, are considered to be a foreign body. The immune system finds this foreign body as either dangerous or non-dangerous, in other words, bio-incompatible or biocompatible. The materials that deal with the immune and finds peace with it are biocompatible materials.

Biocompatible materials find their applications in orthopaedics, cardiovascular, ophthalmic, dentistry, wound healing, etc. According to their specific applications, the biocompatible materials should be gone through some factors. Therefore, the factors for the selection of materials for implants for specific applications are,

Biocompatibility, Tissue reactions, Change in properties, Resistance to Degradation and Corrosion Mechanical Properties, Elasticity, Yield Stress Ductility, Toughness, Creep, Tensile Strength, Fatigue, Strength, Hardness, Wear Resistance, Manufacturing & Fabrication Methods, Consistency Quality of the raw material, Surface Finish or Texture Cost of the Product The materials also need to be non-toxic and non-carcinogenic.

Meaning the material should be toxic to the body, for example, heavy metals like lead and arsenic, and cancer-causing materials. These biocompatible materials range from materials from Metals, Ceramics, Polymers, and Composites. Some examples of these biocompatible materials are, Metals and alloys 316L and 304 Stainless Steel, Titanium Alloys, Platinum and Platinum Alloys, Ceramics, Alumina, Zirconia, Carbons, Polymers, Silicones, PTFE, PVC, PET, Polyamides, Composites, BIS-GMA-Quartz Fillers, PMMA-glass composites[/read]