News: Livsvetenskaper och teknik related to Chalmers University of TechnologyWed, 24 Oct 2018 08:28:30 +0200 construction: A new Area of Advance in Health Engineering<p><b>​Our ambition is to mobilize a broad panel of experts from different scientific and engineering disciplines represented at Chalmers, to jointly contribute to solving some of the global challenges regarding the improvement of human health. In this process we will actively seek to engage and collaborate with external partners and stakeholders.</b></p><div>​<span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:inherit;font-size:20px;background-color:initial">The process so far</span></div> <div> <div>In the first half or 2018, an online survey was performed to assess potential interest of all Chalmers faculty members to contribute to the new area of advance. Over 200 Chalmers faculty members, from 12 different departments, gave a positive response. More than 100 key Chalmers faculty members, named by their respective heads of departments, were invited to in-depth interviews to discuss possible focus areas and challenges to be addressed by the new area of advance. Based on the online survey and the in-depth interviews, as well as strategic input from our key external partners, six &quot;challenge cluster&quot; areas were selected.</div> <div><a href="/SiteCollectionDocuments/SO%20Health/Chalmers%20internal%20survey%20on%20Health%20Engineering.pdf"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />A brief summary of the survey and interview results, including the description of the challenge clusters, can be found here​.</a> </div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700;font-size:20px">Up</span><span style="background-color:initial;font-weight:700;font-size:20px">date:</span><span style="background-color:initial;font-weight:700"> ​</span></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/ChemBio/puzzle-2500333_400px.jpg" alt="Syntolkning: Puzzle" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" style="margin:5px;height:264px;width:500px" /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="font-weight:700"><span><br /></span></span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial;font-weight:700">On October 4th,</span><span style="background-color:initial"> the entire faculty was invited to a general assembly to discuss how the new Area of Advance in the field of health engineering should be shaped. Not only did this workshop create many fruitful dialogues but the audience also expressed their views via Mentimeter in regards to specific questions. </span><br /></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">Please see </span><a href=""><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />the video</a><span style="background-color:initial"> recorded at the meeting.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial">And also the Powerpoint</span><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/Pages/New-AoA-in-Health-Engineering.aspx"> </a><a href="/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/Documents/AoA%20Health%20Engineering%20General%20Assembly%20Final%20for%20voting%20Results.pptx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/en/areas-of-advance/lifescience/news/_layouts/images/icpptx.png" alt="AoA Health Engineering General Assembly Final for voting Results.pptx" />AoA Health Engineering General Assembly Final for voting ​Results.pptx</a> <span style="background-color:initial">which includs the Mentimeter results.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">The roadmap going forward</h4> <div>In the second half of 2018, we will be working on developing the final profiles of the new Area of Advance. This will be a community-building process, driven by teams of cluster leaders (Chalmers faculty members appointed to lead the process).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><span style="color:rgb(33, 33, 33);font-family:inherit;font-size:16px;font-weight:600;background-color:initial">Clusters/Leaders</span><br /></div> <div> <div><strong>Digitalization, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence:</strong> Rebecka Jörnsten MV and Robert Feldt CSE</div> <div><strong>Infections, Antibiotics and Drug Delivery:</strong> Marie Strid ACE and Fredrik Westerlund BIO</div> <div><strong>Sensors and Diagnostics:</strong> Mikael Persson E2, Hana Dobsicek Trefna E2 and Fredrik Höök BIO   </div> <div><strong>Clinical procedures, Surgery and Implants:</strong> Torbjörn Lundh MV and Julie Gold F</div> <div><strong>Prevention, Lifestyle and Ergonomics:</strong> Cecilia Berlin IMS and Rikard Landberg BIO</div> <div><strong>Healthcare Management:</strong> Andreas Hellström TME and Marie Strid ACE</div> <div> </div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>• I</strong></span><span style="background-color:initial"><strong>n late October and November, </strong>workshops will be held, addressing challenges within each respective cluster to discuss in more detail. The aim is to define profile areas within the new Area of Advance. Here, depending on scientific interest, researchers are welcome to participate in one or multiple clusters. If you have not received an invitation within your area of interest, please contact the associated profile leader directly.</span><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><strong>• </strong><strong>In parallel with the internal process</strong>, we will also gather external input on the value of the proposed clusters/profiles as perceived by the key external stakeholders and partners.</div> <div><strong> </strong></div> <strong> </strong><div><strong>• </strong><strong>Finally, all input will be gathered</strong> in December 2018, and a decision will be taken on the final profiles of the new Area of Advance, which is expected to be operational from January 2019. </div></div></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">Contact details</h4> <div>For any general queries about the new Area of Advance you are welcome to contact Professor Ivan Mijakovic <a href=""></a> or Associate Professor Ann-Sofie Cans <a href=""></a>. For more specific questions, you can approach the cluster leaders directly.<span style="background-color:initial">​</span></div></div> ​Tue, 25 Sep 2018 16:00:00 +0200,-the-first-Henry-Wallman-prize-winner.aspx,-the-first-Henry-Wallman-prize-winner.aspxSabine Reinfeldt, the first Henry Wallman prize winner<p><b>​Sabine Reinfeldt is awarded the newly established prize in medical technology, in the spirit of Henry Wallman, for her research on bone conduction, and for her ability to build bridges between disciplines.</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">​Sabine Reinfeldt, Associate Professor and leader of the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems at Chalmers University of Technology, </span><a href="/en/departments/e2/calendar/Pages/Prize-ceremony-for-the-Henry-Wallman-prize.aspx">received the prize at a ceremony at Sahlgrenska University Hospital on 19 September​</a><span style="background-color:initial">. We got the chance to ask Sabine some questions:</span><div><br /></div> <div><div><strong>What does this prize mean to you?</strong></div> <div>“It means a lot to me! I am very honored and pleased to receive it. I see the prize as an acknowledgement that my work is important and that it is well received. Also, I want to say that I feel very humble, because when I started doing my research, I became a part of already existing multidisciplinary collaborations, and my prerequisites to continue collaborating have been most favorable. To receive a prize in Henry Wallman’s spirit is a great honor, and I am very glad that my group’s research is being recognized in this positive way.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>You receive the prize also for your great ability to build bridges between disciplines. Why is cooperation a success factor in research, and what is the key to build well-functioning multidisciplinary teams?</strong></div> <div>“We need to realize that within one discipline, we would never be able to solve the challenges in society, for example in healthcare. We need to cooperate over disciplines to complement each other with our different backgrounds. It is essential to listen to each other’s experiences and knowledge, and to be open minded for new solutions. To develop medical devices that are safe and effective for the patients would never be possible without multidisciplinary collaboration.” </div> <div>“In my opinion, the key to build well-functioning multidisciplinary teams is to include highly motivated people who all have a passion for solving the same problem. Commitment is one key, and that the team members listen to the others. It is necessary to respect the other disciplines and the fact that they have knowledge that complement your own.”</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Which is the next step in your research?</strong></div> <div>“In our multicenter clinical study of the <a href="" target="_blank">Bone Conduction Implant (BCI)</a>, we have 16 patients with hearing impairment, who have had the implant between nearly two and six years now. In extensive measurements, we are following up their performance in for example audiometric and electrical transmission tests, and we are now in the middle of several three-year and five-year visits. There are still areas involving these patients to be investigated, for example in directional hearing. Are there differences between different types of bone conduction devices? Also, could the attachment and size of the implant affect the outcome?”</div> <div>“In an adjacent field, which we are now moving into, <a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/New-innovation-improves-the-diagnosis-of-dizziness.aspx">bone conduction can be used to diagnose dizziness</a>. Bone conduction has been used before, but not in clinical practice, since today’s bone conduction transducers cannot produce the level needed at the frequency of interest. With a new transducer, which is still a prototype, our preliminary tests show that more patient groups can be diagnosed, and the new method would be more comfortable for the patients. I see several research areas within balance, dizziness and hearing diagnostics where we can contribute with our competence.” </div> <div><br /></div> <div>Read an interview with Sabine Reinfeldt, from April 2018: </div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/news/Pages/Bridge-builder-awarded-new-prize-in-medical-technology.aspx">Bridge builder awarded new prize in medical technology</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Sabine%20Reinfeldt%20först%20att%20få%20Henry%20Wallman-priset/Prisutdelning_500px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Prize ceremony" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><em style="background-color:initial">The prize winner Sabine Reinfeldt accompanied by Bo Håkansson, Bengt-Arne Sjöqvist and Kaj Lindecrantz</em><span style="background-color:initial">.</span><br /></div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>About the prize</strong></div> <div>The Henry Wallman prize is an innovation prize in medical technology, which from 2018 will be awarded annually, to young researchers or graduate students who, in close collaboration between expertise in technology and health care, successfully have transferred new knowledge from academia to practical medical care. The Foundation for Biomedical Engineering (Stiftelsen Medicin &amp; Teknik) at Chalmers is hosting the prize. The scholarship amounts to SEK 50,000.</div> <div>Henry Wallman came to Chalmers in 1948 and was a pioneer in biomedical engineering research and development.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><strong>Contact</strong></div> <div><a href="/en/staff/Pages/sabine-reinfeldt.aspx">Sabine Reinfeldt</a>, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers</div> <div><a href=""></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>Photo: Helene Lindström, MedTech West</div></div> ​Fri, 21 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0200 innovation improves the diagnosis of dizziness<p><b>​Half of over-65s suffer from dizziness and problems with balance. But some tests to identify the causes of such problems are painful and can risk hearing damage. Now, researchers from Chalmers have developed a new testing device using bone conduction technology, that offers significant advantages over the current tests.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Hearing and balance have something in common. For patients with dizziness, this relationship is used to diagnose issues with balance. Commonly, a ‘VEMP’ test (Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials) needs to be performed. A VEMP test uses loud sounds to evoke a muscle reflex contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by the vestibular system – the system responsible for our balance. The Chalmers researchers have now used bone conducted sounds to achieve better results.</span><div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20metod%20ger%20bättre%20diagnos%20för%20yrsel/bo_hakansson_200px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Bo Håkansson" style="margin:5px" />&quot;We have developed a new type of vibrating device that is placed behind the ear of the patient during the test,&quot; says Bo Håkansson, a professor in the research group 'Biomedical signals and systems' at Chalmers. The vibrating device is small and compact in size, and optimised to provide an adequate sound level for triggering the reflex at frequencies as low as 250 Hz. Previously, no vibrating device has been available that was directly adapted for this type of test of the balance system.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In bone conduction transmission, sound waves are transformed into vibrations through the skull, stimulating the cochlea within the ear, in the same way as when sound waves normally go through the ear canal, the eardrum and the middle ear.<a href=""> Bo Håkansson has over 40 years of experience in this field and has previously developed hearing aids using this technology.</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><br />Half of over-65s suffer from dizziness, but the causes can be difficult to diagnose for several reasons. In 50% of those cases, dizziness is due to problems in the vestibular system. But today's VEMP methods have major shortcomings, and can cause hearing loss and discomfort for patients. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>For example, the VEMP test uses very high sound levels, and may in fact cause permanent hearing damage itself. And, if the patient already suffers from certain types of hearing loss, it may be impossible to draw any conclusions from the test. The Chalmers researchers’ new method offers significant advantages.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20metod%20ger%20bättre%20diagnos%20för%20yrsel/Karl-Johan_Freden_Jansson_200px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px" />&quot;Thanks to this bone conduction technology, the sound levels which patients are exposed to can be minimised. The previous test was like a machine gun going off next to the ear – with this method it will be much more comfortable. The new vibrating device provides a maximum sound level of 75 decibels. The test can be performed at 40 decibels lower than today's method using air conducted sounds through headphones. This eliminates any risk that the test itself could cause hearing damage,” says postdoctoral researcher Karl-Johan Fredén Jansson, who made all the measurements in the project.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The benefits also include safer testing for children, and that patients with impaired hearing function due to chronic ear infections or congenital malformations in the ear canal and middle ear can be diagnosed for the origin of their dizziness.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>The vibrating device is compatible with standardised equipment for balance diagnostics in healthcare, making it easy to start using. The cost of the new technology is also estimated to be lower than the corresponding equipment used today.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>A pilot study has been conducted and recently published. The next step is to conduct a larger patient study, under a recently received ethical approval, in collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, where 30 participants with normal hearing will also be included.</div> <div><br /></div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More about the research</h5> <div><span style="background-color:initial">The scientific article <a href="" target="_blank">&quot;VEMP using a new low-frequency bone conduction transducer&quot;</a> has recently been published by Dove Medical Press, in the journal Medical Devices: Evidence and Research.</span><br /></div> <div>Chalmers’ partners in the study are the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, and the Danish audio companies Ortofon and Interacoustics. Grants for this project are received from Vinnova (Swedish Innovations Agency) and Hörselskadades Riksförbund (Hearing Impairment Federation).</div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="" target="_blank"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/icgen.gif" alt="" />See the researchers' own presentation of the project</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-signals-and-systems.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about research on medical signals and systems</a></div> <div><br /></div> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More about Diagnostics for Dizziness</h5> <div>A common method of diagnosing the cause of dizziness is a VEMP test – Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potentials. The test uses sound stimulation to evoke a muscle contraction in the neck and eye muscles, triggered by a reflex from the vestibular system – the system that is responsible for our sense of balance. The muscular response is measured and provides you information on whether the disorders responsible for the patient’s dizziness are in the vestibular system, or in its pathways to the brain.</div> <div><br /></div> <div>In a traditional vestibular investigation, two variants of VEMP tests are used today: air transmitted sound through headphones or bone conducted sounds via a vibrating device attached to the head. When air transmitted sounds are used, high sound levels are required, which is uncomfortable to the patient and there is a risk of hearing damage. For bone conducted sound, the sound levels are lower, but the equipment currently available on the market is large and cumbersome, and therefore difficult to use. </div> <div><br /></div> <div>The new method uses new transducer technology, is smaller in size and generates bone conducted sound at a lower frequency than has been possible before (around 250 Hz). At this level, the muscle reflexes are more efficiently evoked. <span style="background-color:initial">The muscle contractions in both the neck and the eye muscles are measured using fairly standardised equipment, so it should be easy to start incorporating it into healthcare systems.</span></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20metod%20ger%20bättre%20diagnos%20för%20yrsel/yrsel_500px.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><div><span style="background-color:initial">Bo Håkansson, Professor of Electrical Engineering, undergoes testing using the new compact vibrating device he and the team helped design. </span><span style="background-color:initial">​</span><br /></div></div> <div><span style="background-color:initial"><br /></span></div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">​<span>For more information contact</span></h5></div> <div><strong><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/bo-hakansson.aspx">Bo Håkansson</a></strong>, Professor in Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers,</div> <div>031-772 18 07, <a href=""></a></div> <div><strong><a href="/en/staff/Pages/karl-johan-freden-jansson.aspx">Karl-Johan Fredén Jansson</a></strong>, Postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers and in charge of clinical studies, 031-772 17 83, <a href="​"></a></div> <div><br /></div> <div>​<br /></div></div> <div>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</div> <div>Translation: Joshua Worth<br />Photo: Johan Bodell</div> <div><br /></div>Mon, 10 Sep 2018 07:30:00 +0200 new theory for phantom limb pain points the way to more effective treatment<p><b>​Dr Max Ortiz Catalan at Chalmers has developed a new theory for the origin of the mysterious condition, ‘phantom limb pain’. Published in the journal Frontiers in Neurology, his hypothesis builds upon his previous work on a revolutionary treatment for the condition, that uses machine learning and augmented reality.​</b></p>​<span style="background-color:initial">Phantom limb pain is a poorly understood phenomenon, in which people who have lost a limb can experience severe pain, seemingly located in that missing part of the body. The condition can be seriously debilitating and can drastically reduce the sufferer’s quality of life. But current ideas on its origins cannot explain clinical findings, nor provide a comprehensive theoretical framework for its study and treatment. </span><div><br /><span style="background-color:initial"></span><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="Max Ortiz Catalan" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20teori%20om%20fantomsmärtor%20visar%20vägen%20mot%20effektivare%20behandling/max_ortiz_catalan_250px.jpg" style="margin:5px" /><div>​Now, Max Ortiz Catalan, Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering, has published a paper that offers up a promising new theory – one that he terms ‘stochastic entanglement’. </div> <div> </div> <div>He proposes that after an amputation, neural circuitry related to the missing limb loses its role and becomes susceptible to entanglement with other neural networks – in this case, the network responsible for pain perception. </div> <div><br />“Imagine you lose your hand. That leaves a big chunk of ‘real estate’ in your brain, and in your nervous system as a whole, without a job. It stops processing any sensory input, it stops producing any motor output to move the hand. It goes idle – but not silent,” explains Max Ortiz Catalan. </div> <div> </div> <div>Neurons are never completely silent. When not processing a particular job, they might fire at random. This may result in coincidental firing of neurons in that part of the sensorimotor network, at the same time as from the network of pain perception. When they fire together, that will create the experience of pain in that part of the body.</div> <div> </div> <div>“Normally, sporadic synchronised firing wouldn’t be a big deal, because it’s just part of the background noise, and it won’t stand out,” continues Max Ortiz Catalan. “But in patients with a missing limb, such event could stand out when little else is going on at the same time. This can result in a surprising, emotionally charged experience – to feel pain in a part of the body you don’t have. Such a remarkable sensation could reinforce a neural connection, make it stick out, and help establish an undesirable link.”</div> <div> </div> <div>Through a principle known as ‘Hebb’s Law’ – ‘neurons that fire together, wire together’ – neurons in the sensorimotor and pain perception networks become entangled, resulting in phantom limb pain. The new theory also explains why not all amputees suffer from the condition– the randomness, or stochasticity, means that simultaneous firing may not occur, and become linked, in all patients.</div> <div> </div> <div>In the new paper, Max Ortiz Catalan goes on to examine how this theory can explain the effectiveness of Phantom Motor Execution (PME), <a href="" target="_blank">the novel treatment method he previously developed​</a>. During PME treatment, electrodes attached to the patient’s residual limb pick up electrical signals intended for the missing limb, which are then translated through AI algorithms, into movements of a virtual limb in real time. <span style="background-color:initial">The patients see themselves on a screen, with a digitally rendered limb in place of their missing one, and can then control it just as if it were their own biological limb. This allows the patient to stimulate and reactivate those dormant areas of the brain.​ </span></div> <div><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="Treatment of phantom limb pain" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Ny%20teori%20om%20fantomsmärtor%20visar%20vägen%20mot%20effektivare%20behandling/PME_500px.jpg" style="margin:5px" /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /></div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <em> </em><div><br /> </div> <em> </em><div><em style="background-color:initial"><br /></em></div> <div><em style="background-color:initial">The patient, missing his right arm, can see himself on screen in augmented reality, with a virtual limb. He can control it through the electrodes attached to his skin, which in this treatment called Phantom Motor Execution allows the patient to stimulate and reactivate those dormant areas of the brain. Source: Catalan, Frontiers in Neurology, 2018</em><br /></div> <div> </div> <div>“The patients can start reusing those areas of brain that had gone idle. Making use of that circuitry helps to weaken and disconnect the entanglement to the pain network. It’s a kind of ‘inverse Hebb’s law’ – the more those neurons fire apart, the weaker their connection. Or, it can be used preventatively, to protect against the formation of those links in the first place,” he says. </div> <div> </div> <div>The PME treatment method has been previously shown to help patients for whom other therapies have failed. Understanding exactly how and why it can help is crucial to ensuring it is administered correctly and in the most effective manner. Max Ortiz Catalan’s new theory could help unravel some of the mysteries surrounding phantom limb pain, and offer relief for some of the most affected sufferers.</div> <div> </div> <div><h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">More Information</h4> <h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">Phantom Motor Execution undergoing global trial</h5> <div> <span style="background-color:initial">Dr Max Ortiz Catalan developed Phantom Motor Execution (PME) as a treatment for phantom limb pain, in which phantom movements are decoded from the residual limb using machine learning, and then visualised via virtual and augmented reality. The new hypothesis provides an explanation for the clinical successes observed for this therapy. PME has been shown to reduce phantom limb pain in chronic sufferers, for whom other treatments failed. At present, PME is being tested in clinics around the world, from Canada to Australia, with the majority of patients treated in Europe. A device allowing for this treatment is being commercialized by Integrum AB, a Swedish medical device company, and a large international clinical trial in 7 countries is currently in progress. On-going brain imaging studies on these patients treated with PME will support or challenge Max Ortiz Catalan’s theories. </span></div> <div> </div> <div>See a <a href=";" target="_blank">video presentation of Phantom Motor Execution in action</a>.​</div></div> <div> </div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">More on the research</h5> <div>Dr Max Ortiz Catalan is an Associate Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, and head of <a href="" target="_blank">the Biomechatronics and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory</a>. </div> <div>He has previously attracted international attention, for his pioneering work on osseointegrated bionic limbs, published in <a href="" target="_blank">Science Translational Medicine</a>, and for his Phantom Motor Execution treatment for phantom limb pain, published in <a href="" target="_blank">The Lancet</a>. </div> <div>His new paper, <a href="" target="_blank">‘The stochastic entanglement and phantom motor execution hypotheses: a theoretical framework for the origin and treatment of PLP’</a> is published in the journal Frontiers of Neurology. </div></div> <div> </div> <div><h5 class="chalmersElement-H5">Contact information</h5> <div>Max Ortiz Catalan, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, +46 70 846 10 65, <a href=""></a></div> <div> </div> <div>Visit the<a href="" target="_blank"> Biomechatronics and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory website</a>. </div></div> <div>​<span style="background-color:initial">​Read more about Chalmers´reserach on </span><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-signals-and-systems.aspx">Biomedical signals and systems​</a></div> <div><br /></div> <div> </div> <div><div>Text: Joshua Worth</div> <div>Photo of Max Ortiz Catalan: Oscar Matsson​</div></div> </div> ​​Thu, 06 Sep 2018 07:30:00 +0200 big investment to make Chalmers equal<p><b>​Through an investment of several hundred million kronor, Chalmers is considerably stepping up its gender equality work. Through concrete, ground-breaking changes of the system, and direct recruitment of top female researchers, Chalmers will achieve a significantly more equal gender balance within the faculty over ten years.</b></p>​Like other technical universities, Chalmers has a very low share of women at faculty levels. At Chalmers, the share is currently 22 percent. However, research shows that a more equal gender balance leads to greater scientific success, and also to a better work environment, both for men and women.<br /><br />Therefore, Chalmers is now making a great effort to deal with the skewed gender distribution. The investment is funded by the Chalmers Foundation and has a budget of 300 million SEK over ten years.<br /><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20180101-20180630/StefanBengtsson_170907_150x200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatRight" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:145px;height:193px" /><br />“Different studies clearly show that the academy is not equal today – men and women are judged and treated differently. With this powerful investment, in addition to what we already do, we want to correct the imbalance and in addition become a stronger and more successful university. It's about making better use of the competence of the entire population,&quot; says Stefan Bengtsson, president and CEO of Chalmers.<br /><br />Chalmers has been working on gender equality for a long time. But the new investment, named Genie as an abbreviation of Gender Initiative for Excellence, represents a huge move to speed up the changes.<br /><br />Genie consists mainly of two parts. One is concrete work at each department in order to identify and eliminate structural and cultural barriers that impede women's careers. Departments that meet Chalmers’ gender equality requirements will receive a bonus in the internal funding distribution.<br /><br />The second p<span></span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span>art is direct recruitment of top female scientists, and to ensure that other recruitments, for example due to retirements, result in at least 50 percent women.<br /><span><span><span><span><span><img src="/SiteCollectionImages/20180101-20180630/PernillaWittungStafshede_150x200.jpg" class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" alt="" style="margin:5px;width:140px;height:186px" /></span></span></span></span></span><br /><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>&quot;It is abou<span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span>t bui<span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span>lding a critical mass of women. A small minority has difficulty gaining proper support. But that does not mean that we are lowering our competence requirements –<span><span><span></span></span></span> there are many female researchers who are extremely competent,” says professor<span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span> Pernilla Wittung Stafshede, one of the initiators of Genie.<span><span><span><span><span><span><span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span><br /><span><span><br /><br /><br /></span></span><br />Text: Ingela Roos<br />Photo: Johan BodellFri, 29 Jun 2018 09:00:00 +0200 controls his robotic arm with his mind<p><b>​Ulf Karlsson was far out at sea when a fan tore his arm off and he had to instruct his coworkers on how to stop the bleeding. While some said he could never work again, Ulf wanted to strive on. And through a collaboration between Chalmers, Sahlgrenska and Integrum, Ulf now has a robotic arm attached to his skeletal and nervous system, and he is one out of four in the world who can control and feel with his prosthetic hand as with his real hand.</b></p><p>​The neuroprosthetic tehnology is developed by <a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/max-jair-ortiz-catalan.aspx">Max Ortiz Catalan</a>, <span style="background-color:initial">an Associate Professor </span><span style="background-color:initial">at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers.</span></p> <span></span><p></p>Mon, 28 May 2018 15:00:00 +0200 fish could prevent Parkinson’s disease<p><b>​A new study from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, shines more light on the link between consumption of fish and better long-term neurological health. Parvalbumin, a protein found in great quantities in several different fish species, has been shown to help prevent the formation of certain protein structures closely associated with Parkinson’s disease.</b></p>​Fish has long been considered a healthy food, linked to improved long-term cognitive health, but the reasons for this have been unclear. Omega-3 and -6, fatty acids commonly found in fish, are often assumed to be responsible, and are commonly marketed in this fashion. However, the scientific research regarding this topic has drawn mixed conclusions. Now, new research from Chalmers has shown that the protein parvalbumin, which is very common in many fish species, may be contributing to this effect.<br /><br />One of the hallmarks of Parkinson’s disease is amyloid formation of a particular human protein, called alpha-synuclein. Alpha-synuclein is even sometimes referred to as the ‘Parkinson’s protein’. <br />What the Chalmers researchers have now discovered, is that parvalbumin can form amyloid structures that bind together with the alpha-synuclein protein. Parvalbumin effectively ‘scavenges’ the alpha-synuclein proteins, using them for its own purposes, thus preventing them from forming their own potentially harmful amyloids later on. <br /><br />“Parvalbumin collects up the ‘Parkinson’s protein’ and actually prevents it from aggregating, simply by aggregating itself first,” explains Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede, Professor and Head of the Chemical Biology division at Chalmers, and lead author on the study. <br /><br />With the parvalbumin protein so highly abundant in certain fish species, increasing the amount of fish in our diet might be a simple way to fight off Parkinson’s disease. Herring, cod, carp, and redfish, including sockeye salmon and red snapper, have particularly high levels of parvalbumin, but it is common in many other fish species too. The levels of parvalbumin can also vary greatly throughout the year.<br /><br />“Fish is normally a lot more nutritious at the end of the summer, because of increased metabolic activity. Levels of parvalbumin are much higher in fish after they have had a lot of sun, so it could be worthwhile increasing consumption during autumn,” says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and researcher on the study. It was Nathalie who first had the inspiration to investigate parvalbumin more closely, after a previous study she did looking at biomarkers for fish consumption. <br /><br />Other neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease, are also caused by certain amyloid structures interfering in the brain. The team is therefore keen to research this topic further, to see if the discovery relating to Parkinson’s disease could have implications for other neurodegenerative disorders as well. Pernilla Wittung-Stafshede stresses the importance of finding ways to combat these neurological conditions in the future: <br /><br />“These diseases come with age, and people are living longer and longer. There’s going to be an explosion of these diseases in the future – and the scary part is that we currently have no cures. So we need to follow up on anything that looks promising.” <br /><br />A follow up study, looking at parvalbumin from another angle, is indeed planned for this autumn. Nathalie Scheers, together with Professor Ingrid Undeland, also of Chalmers, will investigate parvalbumin from herring, and its transport in human tissues. <br /><br />“It will be very interesting to study how parvalbumin distributes within human tissues in more depth. There could be some really exciting results.” <br /><br /><strong>More About: Fish and Better Neurological Health</strong><br />The link between higher consumption of fish and better long-term health for the brain has been long established. There is correlation between certain diets and decreased rates of Parkinson’s disease – as well as other neurodegenerative conditions. “Among those who follow a Mediterranean diet, with more fish, one sees lower rates of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s,” says Tony Werner, a PhD student in the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, and lead researcher on the study. This has also been observed in Japan, where seafood forms a central part of the diet. The team is careful to note that no definite links can be established at this point, however. <br /><br /><strong>More About: Amyloids and Aggregation</strong><br />Proteins are long chains of amino acids that fold into specific structures to carry out their function. But sometimes, proteins can fold incorrectly, and get tangled up with other proteins, a process known as aggregation.As these misfolded proteins aggregate together, they create long fibrous structures known as amyloids. Amyloids are not necessarily a bad thing, but can be responsible for various diseases. Some of them can interfere with neurons in the brain, killing those cells, and causing a variety of neurodegenerative conditions.<br /><br /><strong>More About: The Study</strong><br />The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.<br /><a href="">Abundant fish protein inhibits α-synuclein amyloid formation</a><br /><br />Text: Joshua Worth<br />Photo: Johan BodellMon, 23 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0200 of graphene can kill bacteria on implants<p><b>​A tiny layer of graphene flakes becomes a deadly weapon and kills bacteria, stopping infections during procedures such as implant surgery. This is the findings of new research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently published in the scientific journal Advanced Materials Interfaces.</b></p><p>​Operations for surgical implants, such as hip and knee replacements or dental implants, have increased in recent years. However, in such procedures, there is always a risk of bacterial infection. In the worst case scenario, this can cause the implant to not attach to the skeleton, meaning it must be removed.<br /><br />Bacteria travel around in fluids, such as blood, looking for a surface to cling on to. Once in place, they start to grow and propagate, forming a protective layer, known as a biofilm.<br /><br />A research team at Chalmers has now shown that a layer of vertical graphene flakes forms a protective surface that makes it impossible for bacteria to attach. Instead, bacteria are sliced apart by the sharp graphene flakes and killed. Coating implants with a layer of graphene flakes can therefore help protect the patient against infection, eliminate the need for antibiotic treatment, and reduce the risk of implant rejection. The osseointegration – the process by which the bone structure grow to attach the implant – is not disturbed. In fact, the graphene has been shown to benefit the bone cells.<br /><br />Chalmers is a leader in the area of graphene research, but the biological applications did not begin to materialise until a few years ago. The researchers saw conflicting results in earlier studies. Some showed that graphene damaged the bacteria, others that they were not affected.<br /><br />“We discovered that the key parameter is to orient the graphene vertically. If it is horizontal, the bacteria are not harmed,” says Ivan Mijakovic, Professor at the Department of Biology and Biological Engineering.<br /><br />The sharp flakes do not damage human cells. The reason is simple: one bacterium is one micrometer – one thousandth of a millimeter – in diameter, while a human cell is 25 micrometers. So, what constitutes a deadly knife attack for a bacterium, is therefore only a tiny scratch for a human cell.<br /><br />&quot;Graphene has high potential for health applications. But more research is needed before we can claim it is entirely safe. Among other things, we know that graphene does not degrade easily,” says Jie Sun, Associate Professor at the Department of Micro Technology and Nanoscience.<br /><br />Good bacteria are also killed by the graphene. But that’s not a problem, as the effect is localised and the balance of microflora in the body remains undisturbed.<br /><br />&quot;We want to prevent bacteria from creating an infection. Otherwise, you may need antibiotics, which could disrupt the balance of normal bacteria and also enhance the risk of antimicrobial resistance by pathogens,” says Santosh Pandit, postdoc at Biology and Biological Engineering.<br /><br />Vertical flakes of graphene are not a new invention, having existed for a few years. But the Chalmers research teams are the first to use the vertical graphene in this way. The next step for the research team will be to test the graphene flakes further, by coating implant surfaces and studying the effect on animal cells.<br /><br />Chalmers cooperated with <a href="">Wellspect Healthcare</a>, a company which makes catheters and other medical instruments, in this research. They will now continue with a second study. <br /><br />The projects are a part of the national strategic innovation programme SIO Grafen, supported by the Swedish government agencies Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency), the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Research Council Formas. The research results are published in Advanced Materials Interfaces: &quot;<a href="">Vertically Aligned Graphene Coating is Bactericidal and Prevents the Formation of Bacterial Biofilms</a>&quot;<br /><br /><strong>The making of vertical graphene</strong><br />Graphene is made of carbon atoms. It is only a single atomic layer thick, and therefore the world's thinnest material. Graphene is made in flakes or films. It is 200 times stronger than steel and has very good conductivity thanks to its rapid electron mobility. Graphene is also extremely sensitive to molecules, which allows it to be used in sensors.<br /><br />Graphene can be made by CVD, or Chemical Vapor Deposition. The method is used to create a thin surface coating on a sample. The sample is placed in a vacuum chamber and heated to a high temperature at the same time as three gases – usually hydrogen, methane and argon – are released into the chamber. The high heat causes gas molecules to react with each other, and a thin layer of carbon atoms is created.<br />To produce vertical graphene forms, a process known as Plasma-Enhanced Chemical Vapor Deposition, or PECVD, is used. Then, an electric field – a plasma – is applied over the sample, which causes the gas to be ionized near the surface. With the plasma, the layer of carbon grows vertically from the surface, instead of horizontally as with CVD.<br /></p> <div class="ms-rtestate-read ms-rte-wpbox"><div class="ms-rtestate-notify ms-rtestate-read 21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" id="div_21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" unselectable="on"></div> <div id="vid_21aa3563-502e-4205-bcb8-3e04875a5b8d" unselectable="on" style="display:none"></div></div> <p><br />Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo and video: Johan Bodell<br />Illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Mon, 16 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0200 builder awarded new prize in medical technology<p><b>​The newly established prize in medical technology, in the spirit of Henry Wallman, is awarded to Sabine Reinfeldt, Associate Professor and leader of the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems at Chalmers. She receives the prize for her research on bone conduction hearing aids, and for her ability to build bridges between disciplines.</b></p>​&quot;I was very happy and surprised when I learned that I got the prize,&quot; says Sabine Reinfeldt. “It is great that my work, and the work of the whole group, has received recognition through the first Henry Wallman prize.”<br /><br />Sabine Reinfeldt's research focuses on improved hearing aids based on bone conduction. Her work includes everything from basic bone conduction physiology and transmission to the development of implantable hearing aids ready for market introduction.<br /><br />In the justification of the prize, it is emphasized that Sabine Reinfeldt's research and working methods are characterized by multidisciplinary collaboration with representatives from clinical science, and she is therefore an excellent representative of the ideals that Henry Wallman wished to see in medical technology and its clinical utilisation. In addition to building bridges between disciplines, Sabine Reinfeldt has successfully created well-functioning multidisciplinary teams.<br /><br />“The collaboration across disciplines has always been a success factor in the field of bone conduction hearing,” says Sabine Reinfeldt. “My predecessor, Bosse Håkansson at Chalmers, started already in 1977 a successful collaboration with Anders Tjellström at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and the Brånemark Osseointegration Center. I´m trying to carry on in the same spirit. We are a whole team of engineers, <br />medical doctors and audiologists who work together contributing with our respective skills to find the best solutions, for the benefit of the patients. Nowadays, Måns Eeg-Olofsson at Sahlgrenska is a very important partner.<br /><br />Sabine Reinfeldt will receive the prize at a ceremony early autumn 2018.<br /><br /><em></em><em></em><strong>About the prize</strong><br />The Henry Wallman prize is an innovation prize in medical technology, which from 2018 will be awarded annually, to young researchers or graduate students who, in close collaboration between expertise in technology and health care, successfully have transferred new knowledge from academia to practical medical care. The Foundation for Biomedical Engineering (Stiftelsen Medicin &amp; Teknik) at Chalmers is hosting the prize. The scholarship amounts to SEK 50,000.<br />Henry Wallman came to Chalmers in 1948 and was a pioneer in biomedical engineering research and development.<br /><br /><span><em>Text: Yvonne Jonsson</em><br /><em>Photo: Oscar Mattsson<span style="display:inline-block"></span></em></span><br /><br /><strong>Contact</strong><br /><a href="/en/Staff/Pages/sabine-reinfeldt.aspx">Sabine </a><span>Reinfeld</span>t, Associate Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers<br /><a href=""></a><br /><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Biomedical-signals-and-systems.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about the research group Biomedical Signals and Systems</a>Fri, 13 Apr 2018 12:00:00 +0200 iron supplements may influence the development of colon cancer<p><b>​Two common iron compounds increase the formation of a known biomarker for cancer, according to a new study of cancer cells from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden. The two compounds, ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, are often used in dietary supplements and as a food additive respectively, in worldwide markets including the USA and the EU.</b></p>​The researchers studied ferric citrate and ferric EDTA, which have both previously been shown to worsen tumour formation in mice with colon cancer. The science behind this has been little understood until now, and possible effects on human cells were not previously investigated. <br /><br />The new study, which was in collaboration with the UK Medical Research Council and Cambridge University, looked at the effect of normal supplemental doses of these compounds on two types of cultured human colon cancer cells. As a comparison, they also measured the effects of ferrous sulphate, another very commonly available iron compound.<br /><br />While ferrous sulphate had no effect, both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA caused an increase in cellular levels of amphiregulin, a biomarker for cancer. This was the case even at low doses.<br /><br />&quot;We can conclude that ferric citrate and ferric EDTA might be carcinogenic, as they both increase the formation of amphiregulin, a known cancer marker most often associated with long-term cancer with poor prognosis,&quot; says Nathalie Scheers, Assistant Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, and lead writer on the study.<br /><br />Today there are many different types of iron supplements on the market. These can be based on at least 20 different iron compounds, and sold under a wide range of brands. Ferric sulphate is one of the most common, but ferric citrate, which is said to be gentler for the stomach, is also widely available in stores and online. It is also more easily absorbed by the body through foods such as granary bread, beans and nuts.<br /><br />But for consumers looking to make an informed choice, it can often be difficult to know what exactly they are buying. <br /><br />“Many stores and suppliers don’t actually state what kind of iron compound is present – even in pharmacies. Usually it just says ‘iron’ or ‘iron mineral’, which is problematic for consumers,” says Nathalie Scheers. <br /><br />Iron is also added to some foods, to combat iron deficiency. Ferric EDTA is approved as a fortifying agent in both the USA and the EU. It is also used in countries such as China, Pakistan, Brazil, Mexico and The Philippines, where it is added to flour and powdered drinks. Additionally, it is present in certain medicines for children with low iron levels in countries such as the UK and France. <br /><br />With both ferric citrate and ferric EDTA in widespread use, how should consumers or patients relate to these new findings?<br /><br />“First, we must bear in mind that the study was done on human cancer cells cultured in the laboratory, since it would be unethical to do it in humans. But, the possible mechanisms and effects observed still call for caution. They must be further investigated,&quot; says Nathalie Scheers. &quot;At the moment, people should still follow recommended medical advice. As a researcher, I cannot recommend anything – that advice needs to come from the authorities. But speaking personally, if I needed an iron supplement, I would try to avoid ferric citrate,” she continues. <br /><br />Beyond this, she is not willing to comment. Research in the field has so far been limited, even concerning the more common ferrous sulphate. The key thing for her is that we begin to differentiate between different forms of iron. <br /><br />&quot;Most importantly, researchers and authorities need to start to distinguish between this form of iron and that form of iron. We need to consider that different forms can have different biological effects,” she concludes.<br /><br /><strong>Women at greater risk</strong><br />Most of the iron that the body needs is obtained through food such as meat, fish, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But sometimes this is not enough. Pregnant women may need additional iron, as well as people who have lost blood or have low haemoglobin levels for other reasons. In patients with kidney disease, high doses of iron may be needed to bind phosphates into the bloodstream.<br /><br /><strong>More about the study</strong><br />The research was funded by Formas, (The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning) and was in collaboration with a research team at Elsie Widdowson laboratory, Medical Research Council, Cambridge/University of Cambridge. The study was recently published in the journal Oncotarget: <a href=";page=article&amp;op=view&amp;path%5b%5d=24899">‘Ferric citrate and ferric EDTA but not ferrous sulfate drive amphiregulin-mediated activation of the MAP kinase ERK in gut epithelial cancer cells’</a><br /><p><br />Text: Christian Borg<br />Photo/illustration: Yen Strandqvist </p>Thu, 12 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0200 malnutrition using germinated fluor<p><b>​Chalmers researcher Ulf Svanberg wanted to devote his time to pressing global problems, like the malnourished population of low-income countries. The cooperation with Tanzania and Mozambique has resulted in unique applications of germinated flour and lactic fermented gruels which have improved the health of women and children.</b></p>​After three years at the Department of Chemical Engineering, Ulf Svanberg was quite tired of heat exchangers and oil refineries and turned to Food and Nutrition Science. But once he got there, he was not particularly interested in finding a smoother way to make ketchup.<br />As early as the mid-1970’s, he was involved in forming a multidisciplinary group, interested in finding out the actual reasons behind malnutrition in the least developed countries.<br /><br /><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/1-Ulf%20och%20Serafina.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br />Ulf Svanberg together with Serafina Vilanculos, PhD student from Mozambique. Photo: Anna-Lena Lundqvist<br /><br /><strong>Malnutrition due to lack of food</strong><br /><br />In the 1970’s and -80’s, it was believed that malnutrition was due only to protein deficiency.<br />– Later, we realized that malnutrition was mainly due to the fact that people simply didn’t receive enough amounts of nutritious food, Ulf Svanberg says.<br />– Above all, infants and young children were affected and an important reason was the gruel made of corn. It has to be diluted with a lot of water, and therefore has a low nutritional value. With a smaller amount of water, the gruel becomes more nutritious, but also thicker and much harder for small children to eat.<br /><br /><strong>Magic that porridge becomes gruel</strong><br /><br />Together with the first doctoral student from Tanzania Food and Nutrition Institute, TFNC, Ulf Svanberg found that a nutritious liquid gruel could be made of thick porridge using germinated flour – a flour they named <em>Power flour</em>.<br />– We were standing in the Chalmers lab with the thick porridge that we mixed with a teaspoon of <em>power flour</em>. And we were fascinated to see the porridge turn into a liquid gruel in just a few minutes! The <em>power flour</em>, made of sprouted millet or sorghum, contains activated amylase enzymes that will degrade the starch molecules in the thick porridge, and thereby releases water to make it liquid. The use of germinated flour has been a long traditional practice in Tanzania, not however for making weaning foods, but for local beer production.<br /><table class=" chalmersTable-default " width="100%" cellspacing="0" style="font-size:1em"><tbody><tr class="chalmersTableHeaderRow-default"><th class="chalmersTableHeaderFirstCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1">​<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/2-Porridge%20on%20spoon.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></th> <th class="chalmersTableHeaderOddCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1">​</th> <th class="chalmersTableHeaderLastCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1"><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/3-Kimea%20gruel%20on%20spoon.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></th></tr></tbody></table> <p><em>Power flour </em>mixed in porridge to make gruel – before and after. Photo: Ulf Svanberg<br /><br /><strong>The new method introduced by TFNC and UNICEF/WHO</strong><br /><br />– We had the opportunity to visit a village where the method would be taught. A few hundred mothers and children had gathered around a large barrel where traditional thick porridge was prepared. Staff from TFNC stirred a few cups of germinated flour into the porridge, which suddenly became a liquid gruel. Each mother then received a small cup of the gruel to give her child and they thought the whole process was pure magic.<br /><br /><strong>The children were dancing and singing</strong><br /><br />The sprouted flour – <em>Power flour </em>– was given the name <em>kimea </em>in Swahili, which means a sprout that grows big and strong.<br />– Sometimes when we got to the villages, the school children lined up and started to dance and sing: “Mom and Dad <em>Kimea </em>are coming”.<br />The method was spread through radio shows and Maternal Health Clinics that distributed instruction manuals in Swahili, showing mothers how to take care of their children, how to make germinated flour and use it to get a nutritious liquid gruel.<br />– It needed to be easy, the mothers should be able to make the gruel themselves at home in the small hut.</p> <table class="chalmersTable-default " width="100%" cellspacing="0" style="font-size:1em"><tbody><tr class="chalmersTableHeaderRow-default"><th class="chalmersTableHeaderFirstCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1">​<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/4-Kimea%20drinking%20child550.jpg" width="550" height="384" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></th> <th class="chalmersTableHeaderLastCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1">​</th></tr></tbody></table>  Child drinking gruel made with <em>kimea</em>. Photo: Ulf Svanberg<p><strong><br />Gruel to prevent diarrhea</strong><br /><br />Another result of Ulf Svanberg’s research is a lactic acid fermented gruel which help prevent small children from being infected with diarrheal diseases. Diarrhea is as big a problem as malnutrition, and poses an acute threat to the child, who might die within a few days.<br />In the villages, the population traditionally uses the method of producing fermented gruels, and Ulf Svanberg together with one of his doctoral students developed that technique further by using the germinated flour <em>kimea</em>.<br />– One of our PhD students showed in a number of studies that the most common diarrhea bacteria like shigella, campylobacter, salmonella or toxigenic e-coli did not survive in this fermented gruel. We had then found a way to prevent small children from getting diarrhea due to contaminated gruel.<br /><br /><strong>Traditional methods cures iron deficiency</strong><br /><br />The researchers also discovered that fermentation together with added germinated flour had a unique ability to break down phytic acid in the gruel – an antinutrient that binds iron and makes it unavailable for absorption. By degrading the phytic acid, the iron becomes more accessible.<br />– More than half of all young children in developing countries suffer from iron deficiency, which put them in risk of life-long problems. We now discovered means to degrade the phytic acid by a simple modification of traditional cooking methods.<br />TFNC has the responsibility to educate Health and Nutrition workers to be placed in the regions at Mother and Child Health clinics, informing about the importance about child care and how to prepare nutritious and safe foods for young children with the use of <em>kimea </em>and improved fermentation techniques.<br /></p> <table class="chalmersTable-default " width="100%" cellspacing="0" style="font-size:1em"><tbody><tr class="chalmersTableHeaderRow-default"><th class="chalmersTableHeaderFirstCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1">​<img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/Bio/Food/5-Tanzanian%20family%20sharing%20meal550.jpg" width="550" height="364" alt="" style="margin:5px" /></th> <th class="chalmersTableHeaderLastCol-default" rowspan="1" colspan="1">​</th></tr></tbody></table> The Tanzanian family shares a meal with corn porridge and vegetables full of vitamin A. Photo: Ellen Hedrén<br /><br /><strong>Former PhD students spread the knowledge</strong><br /><br />From the mid-1980’s to this day, six staff members from TFNC have done their doctoral studies at Chalmers under Ulf Svanberg’s supervision.<br />All six have stayed in Tanzania or another African country after graduation, and have been able to apply their research findings into practical action. The first doctoral candidate became head of the National Food Research Centre in Botswana. The second became head of TFNC and is also the president’s adviser on nutrition issues. A third became Head of the National Research Council for Science and Technology, and several continued working as heads of departments at TFNC.<br /><br />One of Ulf Svanberg’s former PhD students is Generose Mulokozi, a specialist in nutrition and vitamin supplementation and a student at Chalmers from 1998 to 2002. At the same time, she worked at TNFC before becoming responsible for a USAID programme devoted to enrich locally produced baby foods with vitamins and minerals. Generose Mulokozi is now in charge of a new programme, covering a large part of Tanzania that focuses on malnourished children under the age of five.<br />– My research results from Chalmers have been widely used to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition in women and children in Tanzania. Among other things, all children between the ages of six months and five years, receive vitamin A twice a year and vitamin enriched foods, she says.<br /><br /><strong>Defining the problems themselves</strong><br /><br />The success of the research projects, and the fact that they made some real change, is partly due to that the researchers in Tanzania themselves were identifying the health problems related to the diet, says Ulf Svanberg.<br />– It’s far too common for us to focus on what we think is an interesting research problem, rather than something of relevance to a developing country.<br /><br /><br />Text: Ragnhild Larsson/Mia Malmstedt<br /><p> </p>Thu, 22 Mar 2018 16:00:00 +0100 packaging helps you remember your medicine<p><b>​It all started at Chalmers’ school of entrepreneurship. Mevia is now in the process of developing and selling its technology; the medicine packaging that won´t let you forget your pill.</b></p>​A lot of people take some kind of drug every day. Blood pressure medicines, birth control pills, vitamins, anti-inflammatory... They all have one thing in common; they are very easy to forget.<div>The small company Mevia has developed a pharmaceutical packaging solution that alerts when the medicine seems to be forgotten. A small device connects to the graphite strips printed on the blister pack, and each time the patient takes a pill, a signal is sent in real time to Mevia. If there is no signal, a reminder is sent out to the patient, a relative or healthcare provider, via SMS or an automated phone call.</div> <div><br /><strong>Started at the school of entrepreneurship</strong></div> <div>The idea originated from Stora Enso. Jesper Hassel, CEO of Mevia, started working on the idea at Chalmers’ school of entrepreneurship, where he ended up after finishing his studies in industrial engineering and management.</div> <div>– The first year at the school of entrepreneurship was similar to a regular year of a Chalmers master’s program. Then, at the end of the first year, we had to choose three or four ideas that we wanted to work with, and try to develop into companies. We really had to think about our interests, what we wanted to do, and who in the group we thought we could work with, Jesper Hassel says.<br />– Then we were assigned one of the projects. I got my first choice! Much of what we did in school after that point was connected to the company. It was a great way to get started.</div> <div>What are the needs? Where should we start? How do you write a business plan? And where can we find knowledge? They went through the questions, one by one. For Jesper Hassel, it became important to quickly find persons with great knowledge and skills in this field. Boo Edgar and Karin Wingstrand, both with many years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, were approached early and are now members of Mevia's Board.<br /><br /><strong>Developing the company as well as the technique</strong></div> <div>Four years have passed since they left Chalmers and the company is progressing.</div> <div>– I think it’s developing quite slowly, but if you ask those who have done this earlier, they will tell you we’re doing just fine. It’s a slow industry. And the fact that we are a company is sort of a victory in itself. This means we’ve solved the problems we met so far, Jesper Hassel says.</div> <div>One of the major problems turned out to be that the technology initially was not good enough. Today, it has been updated and tested by home care providers and at retirement homes. And improvements are made all the time – continuous feedback makes it possible to develop the technique in the right way.</div> <div>– We have linked our technology to dose packaging; bags with the right dose of your daily medicines – one bag for every occasion of the day. This works well. Our technology can be linked to any type of packaging, bags or blister packs.</div> <div><br /><strong>What does it mean to miss a pill?</strong></div> <div>Why is it important to check if the medicine is taken? The question has several answers. There are some pharmaceuticals where a single missed dose can cause health problems. And some medications will not have an effect until after several weeks – and then the patient may lose faith and stop using it. A third scenario is a patient who forgets every other pill causing the doctor to raise the dosage, thinking that this is necessary. Suddenly, there is a risk of the patient being exposed to a much too high dosage.</div> <div>– We would like to primarily support those who are happy to take their medicines themselves, but would like some support. For example, elderly individuals who manage fine by themselves but see the reminder as an extra safety measure.</div> <div><br /><strong>Individual solutions</strong></div> <div>Somewhat unexpected, the idea has encountered some hesitation from home care staff.</div> <div>– They may think that their jobs will disappear, or that our system will cause them stress. Sometimes they are running late, and then the reminders can be annoying. But maybe you need to adjust the time on the dose package? We want to support the care givers and make it possible for them to spend time doing the right things, Jesper Hassel says.<br />– Everyone wants different kinds of solutions. Some want a reminder five minutes before the medication is to be taken, which would make others go insane. But it’s easy to adapt our system! You can also control who will receive the reminder. First, maybe the elderly patient will receive an SMS, and at a later stage, you may want a notification to go also to your relatives. It is easy to add and remove this.</div> <div><br /><strong>Hot company of 2017</strong></div> <div>For health economic reasons, it is of course important for the society as a whole to find systems that make it possible for elderly people to manage their health care issues themselves for a longer period of time, before home care providers step in. Or, for example, finding ways to remember vital pharmaceuticals as blood-thinning medicines and other preventive medicines, thus saving the individual from illness while at the same time reducing strain on hospitals.</div> <div>– Our vision and aim are right on track, and the fact that we’ve been appointed one of Sweden’s 33 hottest young technology companies in 2017 is a clear sign, says Jesper Hassel.</div> <div> </div> <div>Text: Mia Malmstedt<br />Photo: Private<br /></div>Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:00:00 +0100 computers learn how to diagnose brain diseases?<p><b>​Imaging technology has revolutionized healthcare and is widely used for diagnosis before treatment or surgery. Despite these advances, routine clinical MRI data interpretation is mostly performed by medical experts. Is it possible to use deep learning to teach computers to diagnose brain diseases as well as or in some aspect even better than medical doctors?</b></p>​<span><img class="chalmersPosition-FloatLeft" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Institutioner/E2/Nyheter/Kan%20datorer%20lära%20sig%20att%20diagnosticera%20hjärnsjukdomar/Inrene_Gu_200px.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><span style="display:inline-block"></span></span>Deep learning is about using powerful computers with embedded artificial intelligence to resemble the human brain's way of interpreting new information and draw conclusions in relation to what is already known. The difference is that computers, amongst other things, are able to analyse much larger amounts of data, which can be used to find better methods for solving difficult mathematical and technical problems.<br /><br />“Using a large amount of brain image data, deep learning methods can be used to find characteristic features related to some diseases, and provide powerful diagnostic tools to medical doctors”, says Irene Gu, Professor in the signal processing group at Chalmers. <br /><br />So far, only preliminary research work on deep learning is reported in the medical area. In computer vision, deep learning has reached or even surpassed human performance when it comes to face recognition. <br />Recently, Irene Gu has started a research initiative on brain image analytics using deep learning methods in close collaboration with medical doctors at Sahlgrenska University Hospital and several students. The question is: Would it be possible for artificial intelligence technology to diagnose Alzheimers’ disease, or to find brain tumors’ grading, by only using a large amount of brain image data?<br /><br />“We have obtained some initial promising results. Our ambition is to reach the performance of medical experts and yet in much simpler ways”, says Irene Gu.<br /><br /><strong>Detection of Alzheimer’s disease</strong><br />Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neuro-degenerative disease currently incurable, its cause is not yet completely understood. According to WHO’s statistics in 2015, roughly 30 million people in the world suffer from Alzheimer’s. The symptoms consist of disorientation, language difficulties, memory loss, mood swings and many more. Early diagnosis and treatment can potentially slow down the development of the disease.<br /><br />Brain scans by magnetic resonance imaging, MRI, is a commonly used diagnostic method for detecting Alzheimer’s disease. This is often used in combination with other diagnostic methods involving a set of clinical exams, by observing the progression of dementia symptoms.<br /><br />“In this project, two dedicated deep learning methods, simple yet effective, have been developed for detection of Alzheimer’s disease. One method is based on 3D convolutional networks, another on 3D multiscale residual networks. We use a large amount of brain MRI scans to learn our computers the features of Alzheimer’s disease, and subsequently to detect Alzheimer’s patients from unseen scans”, Irene Gu explains. <br /><br />The study involved 340 subjects and about 1200 MR images, obtained from a public available dataset, Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).<br /><br />“The proposed schemes have yielded high accuracies. For example, one method has reached an accuracy of 98,74 % on previously unseen MRI scans, and 90,11 % from MRI scans of unseen patients in the study. This almost reaches the highest state-of-the-art research results”, Irene Gu says. “This indicates that the method that we have developed is useful in this type of studies.”<br /><br />One of the projects was conducted by <a href="">Mahmood Nazari and Karl Bäckström as a master's thesis project</a>.<br />A paper submitted on this work has recently been accepted by IEEE International Symposium on Biomedical imaging (ISBI) 2018. Another MSc project is still ongoing.<br /><br /><strong>Brain tumor grading</strong><br />Encouraged by the good deep learning results using MR images, Irene Gu has started another project based on similar technology, performed by Karl Bäckström in 2017. <br /><br />“Thanks to the interest in computer-assisted brain tumor diagnostics shown by medical doctors at Sahlgrenska, and seed funding from the department of Electrical Engineering at Chalmers, we could perform a study on brain tumor (glioma) grading using deep learning”, says Irene Gu.<br /><br />A glioma is a type of tumor that starts in the glial cells of the brain or the spine. Gliomas comprise about 30 percent of all brain tumors and central nervous system tumors. About 80 percent of all malignant brain tumors are gliomas.<br /><br />The broad international collaboration networks, which the medical doctors are engaged in, have provided the researchers with brain tumor datasets from USA, France and Austria.<br />We have already obtained some promising results, though on relatively small datasets”, says Irene Gu. “Now we are conducting further in-depth research, where more students and researchers from Chalmers participate in close collaboration with Sahlgrenska University Hospital.”<br /><br />Text: Yvonne Jonsson<br /><br /><strong>More information</strong><br /><a href="/sv/personal/Sidor/Irene-Yu-Hua-Gu.aspx">Irene Gu</a>, Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, Chalmers<br /><a href=""></a><br /><a href=""></a><br /><a href="/en/departments/e2/research/Signal-processing-and-Biomedical-engineering/Pages/Image-and-video-analysis.aspx"><img class="ms-asset-icon ms-rtePosition-4" src="/_layouts/images/ichtm.gif" alt="" />Read more about computer vision and medical image analysis</a><br />Thu, 08 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0100;s first support centre for people affected by cancer<p><b>​Strength to live and better psychosocial support. This is the goal for Kraftens Hus, Sweden’s first support centre for cancer patients and their families. Centre For Healthcare Improvement at Chalmers is an important part of this unique collaborative project.</b></p><div>​“You have cancer.”</div> <div>These three words change a person’s life, but also the lives of many around them. On receiving such a diagnosis, the patient, their family, relatives, friends, neighbours, colleagues and managers all have questions. The healthcare system takes care of the medical treatment, but who looks after everything else?</div> <div> </div> <div>“Cancer changes many aspects of life for everyone affected by the disease – at home with the family, at work and in other social contexts. We have therefore taken a new approach to how various resources and responsible authorities can join forces and develop the psychosocial support together,” says project manager Carina Mannefred from Regionalt Cancercentrum Väst (RCC Väst), the regional cancer centre in west Sweden.</div> <div> </div> <div>The pilot project is the result of unique collaboration involving patients, their families, RCC Väst, researchers from Chalmers, politicians and civil servants from Region Västra Götaland and representatives from a range of social welfare institutions and the business community in Borås.</div> <div> </div> <div>The initiative comes from people affected by cancer via RCC Väst’s Patient- och Närståenderåd, a regional council of cancer patients and their families who share their experiences and opinions of healthcare. Over 18 months the collaboration partners have met in design workshops and dialogue sessions to bring needs, requests and solutions to light. Study visits to support centres in the UK and Denmark have also been made.</div> <div> </div> <div>“The project is unique thanks to its co-creative approach: it is the result of collaboration between all relevant players in society together with the business community and the patients,” says Senior Lecturer Andreas Hellström at Centre For Healthcare Improvement at Chalmers University of Technology, who is leading the scientific part of the project regarding Kraftens Hus Sjuhärad. </div> <div> </div> <div>The non-profit organisation Kraftens Hus Sjuhärad was founded after the series of workshops. The premises are in Borås, but the support centre is for people affected by cancer throughout the whole of Sjuhärad: patients who are undergoing or have completed treatment and their families.</div> <div> </div> <div>Kraftens Hus is being partly funded through an annual grant from the Healthcare Board in Region Västra Götaland for three years and partly through sponsorship. This is a user-driven activity, which will be designed and developed on the basis of the visitors’ needs and requests.</div> <div> </div> <div>The opportunity to meet others in the same situation is key, but the centre also aims to a hub for information and activities by important welfare entities such as healthcare providers, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency and the Swedish Employment Service.</div> <div> <br /><br /><img src="/sv/institutioner/tme/nyheter/PublishingImages/KraftensHusPiaoLeni2_750x300.jpg" alt="" style="margin:5px" /><br /><strong><sub>Project that gives strength.</sub></strong><sub> Pia Bredegård has been declared free of her breast cancer and will work half-time at Kraftens Hus. Leine Persson Johansson lives with chronic lung cancer and is a patient representative on the board. “Ever since the day I entered the hospital I have felt extremely alone with my diagnosis and have asked about possible contact with others affected, perhaps a mentor system. Wow, it feels great to be part of launching such an activity now!” Leine says.</sub><br /><br /></div> <div>The goal is to supplement healthcare and provide emotional, social and practical support. Examples of other activities may include painting groups, discussion groups for children, yoga and walking groups, presentations on various themes and advice to managers on how they can support an employee who has cancer. The hope is that over time the model will reach the entire region and the rest of Sweden. </div> <div> </div> <div>“It’s not our intention to take over the healthcare system’s responsibility for cancer rehabilitation, but instead to be a supplement and offer activities that the system doesn’t have. Kraftens Hus will be a meeting place, where both patients and their families can meet other people in similar situations and chat in an informal context,” Carina Mannefred says.</div> <div> </div> <h4 class="chalmersElement-H4">ABOUT KRAFTENS HUS</h4> <div><a href="">More information (in Swedish) about Chalmer’s part of Kraftens hus &gt;&gt; </a><br /><br />Read more (in Swedish) at<a href=""></a><br /><a href=""></a><br />Kraftens Hus will be officially opened on <strong>Wednesday 7 February, 2018</strong>. <br />Address: Träffpunkt Simonsland, floor 6, at Viskastrandsgatan 5 in Borås.<br /><br />Contact: Andreas Hellström, Chalmers, phone: +46 76 119 1423, <br />email: <a href=""></a><br /></div>Wed, 07 Feb 2018 00:00:00 +0100 fuels are based on baker’s yeast<p><b>​Perfumes, flavours and biofuels from regular baker’s yeast. Now Chalmers makes further breakthrough in the search for more sustainable industrial chemicals.</b></p>Fatty acids form the basis of many industrial chemicals and are included in most plastics, flavours and perfumes, solvents and fuels. While fossil oils, animal fats or plant oils are traditionally used in the chemical production of those types of products, we have, since a few years back, experienced the transition towards more sustainable alternative such as using cell factories, e.g. the regular baker’s yeast, to obtain the necessary fatty acids. However, a common bottleneck arising from these alternatives remains the insufficient production of fatty acids to meet levels of the petrochemical industry. <br /><br />A problem to which Chalmers researchers Paulo Teixeira and Raphael Ferreira in Jens Nielsen’s team at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology are now one step closer to solve. <br /><br />– We have found a way to remove and modify the genes in the yeast cells to start producing large amounts of fatty acids, says Paulo Teixeira. <br />– It was amazing when I saw the first graphs about the amount of fatty acids that we now can bring out. I barely thought it was true! says Raphael Ferreira. <br /><br />While other researchers often invest in adding genes to increase fatty acid production, Paulo Teixeira and Raphael Ferreira have instead chosen to remove certain genes, thus reprogramming the lipid metabolism of the yeast. Paulo Teixeira describes how it works. <br />– Imagine that lipid metabolism is like roads and crossroads and the fatty acids are cars. A car can drive along different roads and come to different places. But by closing certain roads, as we do when we remove certain genes, we force the cars to only drive along the roads we leave open and thus all the cars – the fatty acids – end up in the same place, he says. <br /><br />Now as a confirmation on their pioneering research, their paper is published in the prestigious scientific journal “Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” – PNAS. <br /><br />– I was super happy when our paper was accepted! says Paulo Teixeira. <br />– Our research proves that you do not necessarily need to add genes. But by modifying and deleting certain genes you can achieve amazing results. <br /><br />– The great thing about this is that these new yeast cells that we created can now be used by other people together with other successful strategies to build even better yeast cells to produce fatty acids and one day reach those industrial levels we all want, says Raphael Ferreira. <br /><br />Read more in the scientific article in PNAS: <a href="">Redirection of lipid flux toward phospholipids in yeast increases fatty acid turnover and secretion</a><br /><br /><br />Text: Helena Österling af Wåhlberg <br />Photo: Martina Butorac Mon, 22 Jan 2018 11:00:00 +0100