February 27, 2024

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New Device from Columbia Guides Recovery after Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer

Image source: engineering.columbia.edu

A new robotic neck brace from U.S. researchers may help doctors analyse the impact of cancer treatments on the neck mobility of patients and guide their recovery. Head and neck cancer was the seventh most common cancer worldwide in 2018, with 890,000 new cases and 450,000 deaths, accounting for 3% of all cancers and more than 1.5% of all cancer deaths in the United States.

Such cancer can spread to lymph nodes in the neck, as well as other organs in the body. Surgically removing lymph nodes in the neck can help doctors investigate the risk of spread, but may result in pain and stiffness in the shoulders and neck for years afterwards.

Identifying which patients may have issues with neck movement can be difficult, as the findings are often subtle and challenging to quantify. However, successfully targeting what difficulties they might have with mobility can help patients benefit from targeted physical therapy interventions.

The current techniques and tools that doctors have to judge the range of motion a patient may have lost in their neck and shoulders are somewhat crude. They usually either provide unreliable measurements or require too much time and space to set up for use in routine clinical visits.

To develop a more reliable and portable tool to analyse neck mobility, the researchers drew inspiration from a robotic neck brace they previously developed to analyse head and neck motions in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). In partnership with Troob’s group, they have now designed a new wearable robotic neck brace.

The new brace was made using 3D-printed materials and inexpensive sensors. The easy-to-wear device was based on the head and neck movements of 10 healthy individuals. This is the first study of this kind where a wearable robotic neck brace has been designed to characterize the full head and neck range of motion.

In the new study, the researchers used the prototype brace, along with electrical measurements of muscle activity, to compare the neck mobility of five cancer patients before and one month after surgical removal of neck lymph nodes. They found their device could precisely detect changes in patient neck movements during routine clinical visits.

The use of the sensing neck brace allows a surgeon to screen patients postoperatively for movement difficulty, quantify their degree of impairment, and select patients for physical therapy and rehabilitation. Patients consistently identify the need for rehabilitation and guided exercises after surgery as an unmet need in their medical care. This work will lay the foundation for the appropriate identification of patients for intervention. The team additionally hope that through using the neck brace, they will be able to objectively quantify their improvement and develop evidence-based rehabilitative programs.

In the future, the researchers hope to investigate larger groups of patients and use the neck brace to follow patients through physical therapy to develop evidence-based protocols for rehabilitation. They also would like to develop similar braces for other surgical sites, such as the forearm, ankle, or knee

U.S. researchers have been creating robots for a variety of purposes, including identifying and picking up objects. As reported by OpenGov Asia, U.S. researchers have developed robotic piece-picking systems which combine unique gripper designs with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine vision to help companies sort products and get orders out the door.

The robotic system is helping companies respond to two broad trends that have transformed retail operations. The first trend is the explosion of e-commerce, which has been accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The other is a shift to just-in-time inventory fulfilment, in which pharmacies, grocery stores, and apparel companies restock items based on what has been purchased that day or week to improve efficiency.

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Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

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SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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