This review discussed recent trends of bioinformatics toward personalized medicine based on projects in which the author participated. First, as an example of a bioinformatics project, an omics analysis on microRNA (miRNA) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) was described. Then, examples in multi-omics approaches followed. One of the features of such approaches is in an integrative analysis of different datasets. Two such examples were given:an analysis on effects of miRNA on neighboring genes and an integrative analysis of miRNA and gene expressions in HCC. The latter evolved into systems biology of cancer, which was described after the multi-omics approaches. Next, a project on exploration of potential biomarkers was described for discontinuation of imatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia. Finally, a brief explanation of the basic principle of next generation sequencer (NGS) was given with its major applications and future perspective.
The author has continued to research on cytomechanics since 1983 when he visited Professor Nerem’s laboratory, University of Houston, Texas, USA as a visiting scholar. In those days the effects of shear stress on functions of endothelial cells (EC) are focused from the point of view of atherogenesis. In this review, progress of cytomechanics on EC is mainly summarized. First, the definition and the significance of cytomechanics are introduced. EC are located at the innermost layer of vascular wall and always exposed to three different external forces (i.e. shear stress, cyclic stretch and hydrostatic pressure). These mechanical forces affect the configuration and functions of EC and the cells finally adapt a physical environment. Cultured EC elongates and aligns to direction of flow and the degree of shape change depends on many factors such as animal and cell species, magnitude of shear stress, duration of stimulation, material of substrate and so on. Cytoskeletal structure is also changed prior to change of cell shape. Cyclic stretch induces cell elongation and the orientation transversely to the strain direction. Pressured EC exhibit multilayered structure and marked elongation and orientation with the random direction, together with development of centrally located, thick stress fibers. Mechanical forces stimulate signal transduction, gene regulation, protein synthesis and so on. The details of the time course of responses is summarized in the text. Recent progresses on cytomechanics are two topics as follows. One is an effect of substrate elasticity on differentiation of stem cells. Human mesenchymal stem cells are cultured on three different elastic substrate (i.e. soft, moderate and stiff matrices), and then respectively differentiated into neuron, muscle and bone. Another is discovery of mechanosensing molecule called mechanosensor. Living cells respond to external and internal forces, however, the sensing mechanism is not elucidated yet. Mechanosensors such as stretch-activated channel in cell membrane, p130Cas, α-catenin, talin at cell junctions and stress fiber itself are explained as the typical examples.
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) has advanced dramatically in the past 50 years since the first neuromagnetic recording in 1968. Recent MEGs have both high spatial resolution of a few millimeters and high temporal resolution on the order of millisecond. MEG is applied not only clinically, but also in many academic fields including physiology and psychology. In this article, the basic principle and structure, and brief history of developing MEG are described.
Information technology has been applied to monitor health condition. In our laboratory, we have developted and attempted to monitor non-invasively and unobtrusively. In this paper, our researches related sensor development are reviewed. The contents are unobtrusive monitoring with bed, bath and toilet, and smart house. Then wearable monitors with photoplethysmogram, inertia sensor, deep body temperature and oxygen uptake sensor are presented. Finally, the requirement of regulatory science is commented.
Optical imaging based on intrinsic signals records the activity of cells in a wide cortical area simultaneously. We have applied this technique to the studies of functional organizations of various visual areas of cats and monkeys. In general, due to the low signal-to-noise ratio of captured signals, signal extraction is critical for a successful experiment. Here, we summarize some of the signal processing methods we have proposed. Optical imaging is with high spatial but relative low temporal resolution. In contrast, the electrophysiological recording with micro-electrodes reveals the cell activity in millisecond order or higher temporal resolution but only from a single or a few cells simultaneously. To overcome such drawback, we proposed to combine the optical imaging with single cell recording with micro-electrodes, which makes it possible to map the functional organization in large cortical areas, and in addition evaluate the interaction between neurons or cortical areas such as activity correlation, synchronizations of underlying cells. This review also introduces the application of such technology.
Our human race is now facing to the greatest mass extinction in the whole history of life. The author, who have been involved in the field of biomedical engineering, worried the fate of our species and published some papers and monographs in which various risk factors possibly relating to human extinction were discussed. Among them, individualism was taken into account in the list of risk factors. Due to the individualism, people tend to be indifferent to others especially to future generations. To avoid this risk, the author tried to persuade people to have compassion to future generations. In order to help intuitive grasp of this concept, the author and Peter Rolfe created a website entitled “Love Future Neighbours”. Another risk factor seriously discussed here is the lack of scientific understanding of mind. Physical side of human nature have been clarified extensively especially in the last century, however, scientific understanding of mental nature is still vacant. This blind spot in scientific understanding cause problems in clinical patient care where advanced physical care is given at one hand, mental care remains at poor level on the other hand. Similar situation may occur for caring future generations. To solve this problem, to establish science of mind must be an urgent matter. The field of biomedical engineering will be a possible ground from where essentially new approach to scientific understanding of mind can be emerged. When the danger of human extinction is becoming reality, such a basic approach to serious risk factors must be most appreciated.
Research and development of biomedical technology are not limited to the advancement of diagnosis and treatment technology itself. The other direction is to bring existing diagnosis and treatment techniques used in hospitals to home or daily life. Observation of needs and seeds of biomedical technologies bring us the R & D direction of next biomedical technology. In this paper, the developmental direction was examined from the author’s clinical experience and experience of the development of wearable biosignal monitoring technologies.
Cardiovascular physiology and biomedical engineering are disciplines closely related with each other. Besides, understanding cardiovascular physiology, especially macroscopic cardiovascular dynamics or Guyton’s circulatory equilibrium theory, is a must in routine cardiology practice. Unfortunately many medical students fail to master Guyton’s circulatory equilibrium before graduating and starting practice, probably due to the scarceness of engineering education. In this short paper, the author would like to itemize some minimal basic engineering knowledges necessary to understand Guyton’s circulatory equilibrium, to show how not difficult to understand the theory.
This manuscript is to introduce the recording and analytic methodologies of surface electromyography (sEMG). sEMG is often concerned not only biomechanics and sport sciences but also recently IoT and ordinary life monitoring. However, although there are many publications for studies of biomechanics or rehabilitation, their documents for EMG is not understandable enough for the persons who are not specialized as EMG users. In view of the development of IoT or computer technologies, it must increase the researches and the novel technologies with EMG recordings in our daily lives but, because there is no standard for EMG, the beginners for EMG might face the difficulties to use EMG in their own interests. The author will try to explain for them on the physiological basis, the recording and analyses for EMG and then will also describe the applications of EMG.