Hospitalized patients require intravenous (IV) access for various medications. For patients with challenging veins, ultrasound machines are increasingly being utilized to place IVs while looking at veins on screen. The location of the ultrasound screen away from the site of the procedure makes it necessary to look away from the patient's arm, leading to operator disconnect. This leads to many failed attempts. In this project, students will prototype a handheld ultrasound probe to improve technical accuracy at the point-of-procedure.
Delivery of Opioid Antagonists for Ventilatory Emergencies (DOVE)
Team: Alexander Lee, Sope Eweje, Stephen Landy, Ryan Gallagher
Advisors: Jake Brenner and James Weimer
Every year, 50,000 individuals die of opioid overdoses in the United States. Nalaxone, which is carried by first responders and bystanders as an intranasal spray called Narcan, is effective in reversing these overdoses if it is administered in time (within 5 minutes of the onset of respiratory depression). There are a number of reasons why this doesn’t always happen – people overdose alone, bystanders don’t recognize the overdose, and the first responders can’t arrive in time, to name a few. We propose the construction of a Narcan auto-injector that is capable of detecting an overdose and responding appropriately by administering Narcan and alerting first responders.
Automated Upper Airway Analysis for Sleep Apnea
Advisors: Richard Schwab and Charles Bae
Sleep apnea is a very common problem with significant adverse sequellae including daytime sleepiness (increased risk for car accidents) and cardiovascular complications (high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke). We do not understand the pathogenesis of sleep apnea but increased size of the pharyngeal structures is a key anatomic risk factor for sleep apnea. We have shown with sophisticated three-dimensional MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) that the volume of the upper airway structures (including the tongue, soft palate, lateral walls and fat pads) are enlarged in patients with sleep apnea compared to controls. We have also shown reductions in the craniofacial structures. We have performed over 2000 MRI’s but the volumetric analysis is time consuming (mostly related to segmenting the pharyngeal structures on each MRI slice). We need to automate the upper airway analysis (with machine learning tools and artificial intelligence) since we want to examine large cohorts of subjects in which MRI has already been performed. This will allow us to determine if patients in these cohorts have anatomic risk factors for sleep apnea. In addition, if we can develop an automated algorithm for the upper airway analysis we will be able to identify risk factors for sleep apnea in any patient undergoing a head MRI. We could run this program in the background of patients getting a head MRI and that would add significant value to the study without adding any costs. Thus the goals of this project are to develop an automated algorithm for determining the volumes of the upper airway soft tissue structures in patients undergoing an MRI of the head.
Web-Based Educational Simulator for Cleft Lip Repair
Advisors: Natalie M. Plana, Christopher L. Kalmar, Liana Cheung, and Jordan W. Swanson
Cleft lip/palate is the most commonly occurring craniofacial anomaly in children; yet, the burden of this reparable condition remains unmet worldwide partly because of little expertise. Global surgical education is invariably challenging to deliver as a result of limited resources, language barriers, and compromised sustainability. Even within the US, surgical teachings for complex, high-stakes procedures such as cleft lip repairs are hindered, particularly for the novel trainee seeking intellectualization of the anatomy and basic steps. Instructional literature in its current iteration can be difficult to conceptualize without verbal and visual guidance. Modern learners are increasingly turning to digital resources, but as they exist today, most are unvetted and present misleading information. Demand for a cost-effective, virtually accessed educational platform is soaring. The aim of the current project is to develop a web-based simulator for surgical markings of cleft lip repair that can be made available to anyone, anywhere with internet accessibility.
Prediabetes Monitoring Device
Advisors: Amanda Watson, Claire Kendell, and James Weimer
Prediabetes is a serious health condition affecting nearly half of the adult US population. It is characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar levels but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is treatable and can be reversed through lifestyle modifications such as healthy diet and exercise. If left untreated, it can progress to diabetes in as soon as five years. Early detection is challenging as prediabetes is largely asymptomatic, with more than 80% of prediabetics unaware. This delay in diagnosis allows the disease to progress, and opportunities to mitigate or reverse the disease are diminished. Consequently, to prevent the advancement of prediabetes, we must identify the higher-than-normal blood sugar levels as soon as they start occurring. At-home blood sugar testing can be uncomfortable and invasive. This has created a barrier for early detection. A non-invasive, comfortable wearable device that continuously monitors blood glucose changes would remove this barrier. The design and manufacturing of this device will be made possible by advances in 3D printing and manufacturing technology.
Fall Risk Prediction
Advisors: George Demiris
We are seeking for an hourly technical assistant for a research project at the Penn School of Nursing funded by the Centers for Disease Control that examines the role of depth sensors in fall risk prediction for community dwelling older adults. We are looking for someone to assist with the installation of commercially available depth sensors in residential settings and the oversight of data collection. Additional opportunities can be explored for data visualization or other research questions related to in home sensing. Anticipated workload is approx. 10 hours a week. For more information, please contact the study PI George Demiris
Real-time Monitoring for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
Advisors: Megan Boland and James Weimer
In most people, blood usually flows at a steady rate, whether you're sitting, standing, lying down, or hanging upside-down.
But if that rate changes when you change positions, that's a condition called orthostatic intolerance (OI). The effects of which result in dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) is a disorder that has OI as its most common symptom. When you have POTS, most of your blood pools in the lower part of your body when you stand up. This makes your heart beat faster (30 beats per minute or more compared to baseline) to try to get blood to your brain after you stand up. As that happens, your blood pressure is likely to drop. Monitoring these effects through a wearable device (e.g., fitbit) and/or cell phone app can aid POTS patients (of which there are 3 million in the USA alone) to manage their symptoms more effectively and live a fuller life.