Now Available: CED Data Acquisition and Analysis System

Our new partnership with Cambridge Electronic Design allows us to offer our customers the full range of CED’s well known high-quality data acquisition and analysis products.  For over 40 years, CED has been offering laboratories around the world the latest in data acquisition tools.

They currently offer two different software programs (Spike2 and Signal) designed for users requiring continuous or episodic data acquisition, as well as two different hardware systems to support the programs.

All of their offerings are directly compatible with A-M Systems’ own amplifiers and stimulators.  Of note, CED’s innovative solution to Dynamic Patch Clamping is directly compatible with A-M Systems Model 2400 Patch Clamp Amplifier.

Check out the full line of CED’s data acquisition and analysis software and hardware.

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New Opsin Enables Non-Invasive Optogenetics

Researchers at MIT have overcome the current challenges in optogenetics by creating a new opsin that responds to red light from outside the skull.) (Courtesy Jose-Louis Olivares/MIT/McGovern Institute for Brain Research)

Researchers at MIT have overcome the current challenges in optogenetics by creating a new opsin that responds to red light from outside the skull.)
(Courtesy Jose-Louis Olivares/MIT/McGovern Institute for Brain Research)

Researchers at MIT have overcome a key hurdle in optogenetics by creating a new photosensitive protein that responds to a light source outside the brain. The latest findings, announced by the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, would allow the use of optogenetics in long-term studies without the need for implanting a light source, the researchers said.

Current opsins used in optogenetics respond best to blue and green lights, but the newly engineered protein, Jaws, responds to red light.

Ed Boyden’s team at MIT turned to bacteria Haloarcula marismortui and Haloarcula vallismortis, where they had previously identified red-light sensitive opsins, but found their photocurrent insufficient. Graduate student Amy Chuong and the team tested the electrical properties of various mutations of the protein until they found one that was just as responsive to red light and strong enough to switch off neural activity.

The new opsin allowed the researchers to turn off neuronal activities as deep as 3 mm in the brain, according to the McGovern Institute.

In addition to using optogenetics for long-term studies, where invasive optogenetic light sources are undesirable, the new findings could help researchers inhibit a larger area of the brain in larger animals.

Researchers at Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research in Switzerland, who have already tested Jaws in the mouse retina, found that it could also be useful in treating a degenerative disease of the cone cells known as retinitis pigmentosa.

(Sources: McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT)

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MIR Spirobank II Spirometer Gets Overhauled

MIR Spirobank II Spirometer Showing Plethysmographic CurvesMIR’s latest Spirobank II spirometer represents a complete redesign of its older model and comes with all the latest features that are indispensable to modern spirometry. The new Spirobank II is 20-percent lighter and 15-percent smaller, and comes with a longer-lasting, USB-rechargeable lithium battery (about 40 hours).

Beside the form factor, two conspicuous improvements are the high-resolution, backlit screen and, to its left, indicator lights used for instant diagnosis—from normal spirometry to very severe restriction or obstruction.

MIR Spirobank II Spirometer features intuitive menu options. (Image Courtesy: MIR)

With Bluetooth® (2.1) and an expanded memory capacity (10,000 tests), the new MIR Spirobank II makes an ideal pulmonary diagnostic tool for field tests in occupational settings, bedside tests in hospitals as well as at primary care clinics.

Spirobank II is available in three versions: Basic, Advanced and Advanced Plus. As its name suggests Spirobank II Basic was designed for quick, but accurate screening for 12 main spirometry parameters: FVC, FEV1, FEV1%, PEF, FEF25-75%, FET, EVOL, ELA, VC, IVC, IC, and ERV.

Both Advanced versions of Spirobank II come with the Winspiro Pro software and measure and/or calculate dozens of additional parameters: FEV1/FVC%, DTPEF, FEV 0.5, FEV0.5/FVC%, FEV0.75, FEV0.75/FVC%, FEV2, FEV2/FVC%, FEV3,FEV3/FVC%, FEV6, FEV1/FEV6%, FEF25%, FEF50%, FEF75%, FEF 75-85, FIVC, FIV1,FIV1/FIVC%, FIF25%, FIF50%, FIF75%,R50, PIF, IRV, VT, VE, Rf, ti, te, ti/t-tot,VT/ti, MVV measured, and MVV calculated.

Advanced Plus includes a pulse oximeter unit, which can be used for built-in oximetry tests.

Spirobank II Advanced Plus (with oximetry option) during an FVC maneuver.

Spirobank II Advanced Plus (with oximetry option) during an FVC maneuver.

Ready to upgrade your spirometer? Contact us for more information.


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Performance Heat and Moisture Exchanger for Clinicians and Patients

Heat and Moisture Exchanger: Filter HMENot all filter HME is created the same. HydroMax™ HMEf was designed to be a heat and moisture exchanger with a built-in filter without compromising performance, efficiency or cost. And for a limited time, you can try them for free.

Passive humidification under anesthesia is widely accepted as an alternative to costlier, active humidification, which some patients might still require.

Passive humidification with an efficient HMEf can be a cost-effective alternative to costlier, active humidification.

HydroMax™ combines a heat-and-moisture exchanger (HME) with a viral and bacterial filter for passive humidification applications in anesthesia, respiratory care and critical care. After an extensive development and testing phase, HydroMax rivals or exceeds the specifications, including moisture output and resistance to flow, of many HME filters out there today.

We followed our goal to develop a filter HME that not only exceeds ATS recommendations, but also meets the needs of clinicians in the O.R.

Use the promotion code “HMEFREE” at check-out to try HydroMax HMEf in your environment.

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Ready for the “Pollen Vortex?”

Layer of pollen inside a loft in Atlanta, Ga., in March 2007. (Courtesy flickr/Brooke Novak)

Layer of pollen inside a loft in Atlanta, Ga., in March 2007. (Courtesy flickr/Brooke Novak)

The polar vortex that swept across a large swath of the United States has messed with the natural order of things and, experts say, could lead to an unusually harsh allergy season being referred to as the “pollen vortex.”

Spring is getting a late start after record-setting cold temperatures and snowfall in many parts of the U.S., delaying the release of pollen by trees, grass and weeds. Thanks to colder temperatures, the daily pollen count has been 50 percent or below the average for this time of year, Dr. Susan Kosisky, head of the U.S. Army Centralized Allergen Extract Laboratory, told NBC News.

The delay could lead to a “perfect storm of pollen” in the coming days and weeks and a more intense allergy season than usual, according to The Washington Post. “If it warms quickly, everything is going to pollinate at once,” Dr. Estelle Levetin, biology professor at the University of Tulsa told The Post.

Almost 45 million Americans suffer from nasal allergies and another 25 million from asthma, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma alone accounts for $18 billion in hospitalization costs and lost productivity, according to the foundation.

You might be more likely to be affected by allergies if you live in Louisville, Memphis, Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City or Jackson, Miss., which rounded out the top five metropolitan area where spring allergies are expected to be most challenging. The foundation’s annual “Allergy Capitals” report lists 100 areas based on the average pollen count, the use of allergy medication , and the availability of allergy specialists.

Here are some tips from allergy and asthma specialists on how to survive the season:

  • Shower before bed to wash off any pollen on your skin, and toss the clothes in the hamper.
  • Use a neti pot to wash out pollen from the sinus.
  • Keep windows closed and set your car air to recirculate.
  • Watch the pollen count to determine whether to limit outdoor activities.
  • Wear large sunglasses to keep pollen out.
  • Get tested for seasonal allergies.
  • Use a dose counter if you’re using an inhaler.

[Sources: AAFA, USA Today, ABC News, The Washington Post]




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Introducing the HumBug Noise Eliminator

humbug_fpA-M Systems is proud to offer to our customers another high quality instrument designed to improve electrophysiological recordings at an affordable price: The HumBug Noise Eliminator from Quest Scientific. The ‘HumBug’ Line Noise Eliminator removes line frequency noise from electrophysiological signals without filtering or requiring ongoing user attention. That means more time getting results, and less time solving continuously evolving noise and ground loop problems. The Humbug has been used successfully in neurophysiology laboratories worldwide.  For a short time, receive free ground shipping on any Humbug sold and shipped to an address in the continental United States or Canada.

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Join Us for the Unveiling of Optopatcher and SIU at Neuroscience 2013

Optopatcher: Micropipette Holder with Integrated Fiber Optics for Optogenetics

The Optopatcher combines a recording electrode with an optical fiber in a compact holder for optogenetic applications.

Welcome to Neuroscience 2013! We’re unveiling the optopatcher, a new tool for optogenetics, as well as Model 3820 Stimulus Isolator, at our booth (#1729) today.

The optopatcher is a new micropipette holder with an integrated optical fiber and a recording electrode for optogenetic activation in in-vivo patch clamp protocols. The compact electrode holder is compatible with many connectors and capillary glasses and eliminates the need for a second manipulator.

Model 3820: Stimulus Isolator

Model 3820: Stimulus Isolator

Also on display are our MultiStim: Programmable 8-Channel Stimulator (Model 3800) and Stimulus Isolator (Model 3820) as well as the Model 2400 Patch Clamp Amplifier and a range of intra- and extracellular amplifiers.

Stop by our booth (#1729) and say hi to Dr. Jon Bakin and Dr. Dave Mittmann who’ll be happy to answer your questions.

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Optopatcher: Micropipette Holder with Integrated Fiber Optics for Optogenetics

Optopatcher: Micropipette Holder with Integrated Fiber Optics for Optogenetics

Optopatcher eliminates the need for a second manipulator for optogenetic activation by combining a recording electrode and an optical fiber in the same holder.

The optopatcher is a new micropipette holder with integrated optical fiber to allow simultaneous patch-clamp recording and optogenetic activation. The design eliminates the need for a separate manipulator for optical stimulation.

The optopatcher was developed by A-M Systems under the guidance of its inventors, Dr. Ilan Llampl, Dr. Yonatan Katz and Dr. Ofer Yizhar of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and Dr. Jochen Staiger of the Georg-August University in Germany.

Dr. Katz et al. hope the optopatcher’s compatibility with recording equipment will facilitate the use of optogenetics in neuroscience research. In the paper published in the Journal of Neuroscience Methods earlier this year, they concluded:

we designed an electrode holder for simultaneous intracellular patch-clamp recording and optical stimulation, and showed examples of recorded cortical neurons in anesthetized mice. The optopatcher prevents the need for a second manipulator and for insertion of the optical fiber into the tissue. It can be also used for any other type of recordings that make use of glass capillaries, such as LFP recording and single unit recording. Without any modifications, the optopatcher can be utilized for in vitro recordings in brain slices or organotypic cultures and can be also used for discrete or concurrent photolysis of caged compounds.

The optopatcher is available with the most common connectors used on patch clamps:

  • Axon’s Threaded Collar,
  • Axon Axopatch,
  • Axon Axoclamp, and
  • standard BNC used by Heka and A-M Systems.

It can accept just about any capillary glass diameter between 1.2 mm and 2.0 mm O.D.; and custom diameters can be ordered.

Dr. Jonathan Bakin, the neuroscience and physiology product manager, and Dr. David Mittmann, the lead engineer, will be at Neuroscience 2013 in San Diego to answer your questions. Stop by Booth #1729, and check out the optopatcher.


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Smartphone As a Medical Device: Is It Useful?

Smartphones can easily transform into simple diagnostic tools, such as a heart monitor, ultrasound, otoscope, ophthalmoscope, stethoscope, blood pressure monitor and even a spirometer. It’s been shown that telemedicine can improve outcomes, reduce hospital admissions and ultimately cut mortality rates. But whether the adoption of smartphones as remote monitoring tools will become widespread enough to have an impact remains unanswered.

Ravi Parikh, a Harvard medical student and contributor to MedGadget, noted recently:

As difficult as I find them, the otoscope and other traditional tools will remain a large part of medical practice for the near future. And to be fair, doctors grew up training with these tools; learning the smartphone physical would come with time and opportunity costs. But doctors should also realize the deficiencies in some of these older technologies and how smartphones can address them.

To demonstrate the usefulness of smartphones as routine diagnostic tools, MedGadget organized a “Smartphone Physical” at this year’s TEDMED in Washington, D.C. Most of the tools were attachments that turn ordinary iPhones into a state-of-the-art ophthalmoscope or an ECG machine.

SpiroSmart, however, used only a user’s lip reverberation and iPhone’s built-in microphone to measure common spirometry values, such as FEV1, FVC and PEF. SpiroSmart’s creators, at the University of Washington’s Ubiquitous Computing Lab, say that when compared to clinical spirometers, the app returned a mean error  of 5.1%. The lab has reportedly applied for regulatory approval with the FDA to market the software as a viable home diagnostic tool.

One smartphone-based medical device that has received not only FDA’s blessing, but also a lot of media attention is AliveCor’s ECG monitor. Cardiologist Eric Topol has used the iPhone-based single-lead ECG to evaluate passengers during onboard emergencies when no other tools were available.

The device wasn’t intended to be a replacement for 12-lead ECGs used in clinics and hospitals. Yet citations show its accuracy is remarkable when compared to a 12-lead ECG. The benefit of portability is obvious. And at one-tenth the cost of a traditional 12-lead monitor, a $199 investment in a portable heart monitor, or in a rumored, consumer version, seems like a no brainer. But not everyone’s heralding the dawn of smartphone-based medical devices.

In an essay published in the Journal of the American Medical Association last year, Dr. Caroline Wellbery laments the distracting aspects of technology especially during doctor-patient interactions. “The threesome with our devices has altered the terms of our engagement,” she writes. She describes the computer as “a sort of enchanting—and ever-distracting—mistress to the plain and stolid wife of… physician-patient conventions.”

Still there’s no shortage of smartphone-inspired medical devices that promise to make diagnoses easier and our lives healthier. Fraunhoffer’s Institute for Applied Information Technology is set to unveil its latest remote, mobile diagnostic and monitoring tool at Biotechnica 2013 next month.

(Courtesy Fraunhoffer Press Release 12.09.2013)

Designed for remote and continuous monitoring of the elderly, Fraunhoffer’s device houses the following:

A nano potentiostat measures biochemical information in a patient’s assay, e.g. glucose, lactate or cholesterol levels. A fluorescence sensor is used to detect color-marked biomarkers. A SpO2 sensor monitors heart rate and arterial oxygen saturation.

Data from the sensors are then processed by an app which also transmits the results to the attending physician’s office for monitoring, according to Fraunhoffer.

At UCLA Professor Aydogan Ozcan, a prolific inventor of new imaging technologies, has come up with a portable fluorescence microscopy platform, which along with your smartphone, can detect fluorescent-labeled polystyrene particles that are about 100 nm in diameter.

OzcanNanoCameraIn the study published in ACS Nano, Prof. Ozcan’s team repeated the experiment with individual human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), which can be life-threatening to the immunocompromised, neonates as well as transplant recipients. Individual HCMV virions, about 150 nm to 300 nm in diameter, were also fluorescent-labeled and detected with the smartphone ‘microscope.’

Prof. Ozcan’s team concludes that this smartphone-based fluorescence imaging platform

… could be used for specific and sensitive imaging of subwavelength objects including various bacteria and viruses and, therefore, could provide a valuable platform for the practice of nanotechnology in field settings and for conducting viral load measurements and other biomedical tests even in remote and resource-limited environments.

A few smartphones and all of the attachments mentioned above could fit in a small carry-on bag which would allow a clinician to bring a mobile laboratory and an examining room to the farthest corners of the world.

Results from smartphone spirometry, like the one offered by SpiroSmart, could easily be used by clinicians to detect sudden changes in condition without a daily visit  by a patient to a pulmonary lab. It’s not a replacement for clinical spirometry, but a prototype for cheap, daily spot checks for those who would otherwise skip or couldn’t afford such tests.

What do you think of smartphones as medical devices? Share your comments in the space below.

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HydroMax Heat and Moisture Exchange (HME) Filter: Tool for Passive Humidification

HydroMax Heat and Moisture Exchange (HME) Filter by A-M Systems

HydroMax™ combines heat and moisture exchanger (HME) with a viral and bacterial filter for passive humidification applications in anesthesia, respiratory care and critical care. After an extensive development and testing phase, HydroMax rivals or exceeds the specifications, including moisture output and resistance to flow, of many HME filters out there today.

Learn more about its features and specifications and contact us today for a sample and/or a quote.

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