Guest editorial: Information Technologies in Medicine and Rehabilitation

Information and emerging medical technologies brought immense progress in the broad fields of bioengineering, clinical engineering, and medical and health informatics, particularly during the last two decades. The evident interdisciplinary nature of these fields is making clear that modern medicine cannot exist without modern diagnostic and therapeutic equipment that are the result of synergy of medical and engineering knowledge. Improvements in human health and clinical practice are direct consequences of coupling between novel biomedical methods and applications, and advances in information technologies. For example, 3D modeling and analysis of musculoskeletal and vascular systems, medical implants, clinical equipment, therapeutic and rehabilitation devices, tissue modeling, etc. On the other side, medical informatics comprises of clinical knowledge, information processing and communication through development of new algorithms, knowledge representation, and data analysis. In addition, health informatics essentially contributes to the storage, retrieval, and optimal use of the biomedical information, data, and knowledge. For example, electronic medical records organize patients’ health and clinical information and data, enabling the improvement of health care quality, efficiency and data collection.

Having that ubiquitous information technologies integrate the engineering sciences with the biomedical sciences and clinical practice is the key motivation for organizing the Special Section of the ComSIS journal devoted to the Information Technologies in Medicine and Rehabilitation. New developments and advances in the interdisciplinary scientific field of bioengineering presented in this issue of the ComSIS journal span over different sub disciplines, which include hearing instruments, embedded biomedical devices, gait analysis and arterial stiffness analysis.

Tessendorf et al. present a newly developed wireless multimodal hearing system, which is a context-aware device that analyzes the acoustic environment in order to automatically adapt sound processing to the user’s current hearing wish. In order to satisfy user’s different hearing wishes in the same acoustic environment, the authors investigated additional modalities to sound that can provide the missing information, which determines the user’s hearing wish, to improve the adaption. Their platform takes into account additional sensor modalities such as the user’s body movement and location.

Motivated by telemedicine and home care systems Stojanović et al. present a methodology and techniques that implement discrete wavelet transform in low-complexity fixed point embedded architectures of biomedical devices. These are intended to be a low-cost, miniature and telemetry capable to overcome the distance barrier between the doctor and patient, e.g. remote vital sign monitors. They implemented their methodology to a “systems on chip” device, consisting of a single microprocessor/microcontroller. The approach resulted in an increased processing speed, minimized memory requirement and decreased power consumption.

Filipović et al. in their study offer an innovative and robust approach to assess 3D kinetics of a knee and the stress and strain distributions in the knee-based subject-specific biomechanical models of the human knee joint. For the study they used the MRI imaging and the measured kinematic data. The paper presents an algorithm for contour recognition and 3D reconstruction of the bones, cartilages and meniscuses geometry obtained by the MRI scans. These 3D models, together with the measurement data are the inputs for the computational analysis, using the finite element method, that determine the stress and strain distribution at different body postures during the gait analysis. Such an approach opens new avenues for an objective assessment of pre- and post-operation knee functioning.

Peulić et al. use a finite elements method to model effects of the arterial stiffness using the different signal patterns of the pulse transit time (PTT). They measured the PTT signal of several different breathing patterns of the three subjects and applied finite element model of the straight elastic artery to compute arterial elastic behavior, as well as the simplex optimization method for fitting procedure to estimate Young’s module of the arterial stiffness. The result suggests that approximately the same value of Young’s module can be fitted for specific subject with different breathing patterns, which validate this methodology for possible noninvasive determination of the arterial stiffness. The proposed method allows the implementation of screening diagnostics. For clinical usage it is sufficient to register equal duration of an ECG signal and the distal arterial pulse, which are carried out with the non-invasive methods by means of widely available monitoring devices.

Organizing the Special Section devoted to the Information Technologies in Medicine and Rehabilitation would not be possible without genuine encouragement and support of Prof. Mirjana Ivanovic, Editor-in-Chief of ComSIS, and Prof. Ivan Lukovic, Journal’s Vice Editor-in-Chief, who have kindly accepted the request to publish the new achievements in applications of information technologies in the field of biomedical engineering.

Special Section Guest Editor
Goran Devedžić