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Medical Engineering, Masters Research Project: Executive Summary, Queen Mary, University of London

  1. Read the task in Box 1.
  2. Download each of the pdfs and read them. Keep these open so you can refer to them as you watch the video.
  3. Watch the video.

Step 1

The Task

Medical Engineering, Masters Research Project: Executive Summary, Queen Mary, University of London

Masters in Engineering students conduct a research / design group project with industry. This is a year long project for which groups also produce an Extended Abstract, a State of the Art Report and a Final Technical Report (see separate collections for Extended Abstract and State of the Art Report).

At the end of the project, students write a lengthy technical report (up to 200 pages) which details the background to the project, the methods used, results and discussion of the work carried out by six students. The group also write an executive summary. This is a short document (3 to 5 pages) which summarises the major findings of the technical report. Executive summaries are for readers who do not have time to read the in-depth technical report. The audience could be a professional, an academic or a non-technical person who has an interest in the research field. The executive summary summarises the key findings and benefits of the research. It begins with a brief introduction to the topic including the aims, objectives and conclusions the project has reached. This is followed with a concise statement of the key findings and evidence to support each finding, recommendations for action and justification for the proposed actions. The executive summary therefore allows the reader to understand in a short space of time how the project reached its major conclusions.

Step 2

Texts

Text 1 

Introduction

The recent implementation of innovative shape-memory metallic stents in urology has potential to enhance  quality of life; novel targeted ureteral drainage at the precise region of ureteral damage and easy removal  of the stent are intrinsic to the stent design. However, as with all urological devices, encrustation due to urine exposure eventually limits the efficiency of the stent, resulting in obstructed urinary pathway. This has highlighted the need to develop a technique for removing the deposits to restore urinary drainage. A non-invasive (NI) approach has been explored in this research by in vitro experimental modelling.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the transmission of externally generated high energy shock waves, used as a primary treatment for urinary tract stones with an overall success rate of up to 92%. (Smith, 2008) Current intervention for the encrusted stent is removal at 12-18 months. The impact of removing  encrustation by a non-invasive approach, rather than minimally-invasive (MI) endourological removal of the  stent and replacement,  can be dramatic. Significant reduction in replacement rates for the stent would  considerably enhance the quality of life for patients who require continuous stenting. Successful  application  of this  novel technique for the clearance of encrusted shape-memory stents could potentially  revolutionise current routine treatment in the clinical setting.

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Text 2

Rationale

Bone grafting is traditionally the procedure used to replace missing bone or repair bone defects (Czitrom & Gross, 1992; Meeder & Eggers, 1994). Moreover, grafts are used to reinforce the repaired area by encouraging new bone growth into the defect site. Ideally the newly formed bone would, with time, penetrate and replace much of the graft through a process known as remodelling (Sikavitsas et al., 2001), a phenomenon in which old bone is sequentially removed by phagocytic cells.

Bone surgeons have, thus far, implemented three techniques for bone repair: autografting (healthy bone tissue taken from the patient’s own body), allografting (healthy bone tissue taken from a donor) and synthetic bone graft substitutes (artificial biomaterial similar to bone).  Autografting is considered the ‘gold’ standard, however the volume of bone that can be safely harvested is limited, and the additional surgical procedure may be complicated by donor site pain and morbidity. Modern allografting using materials stored at regulated bone banks overcome these difficulties, however, healing can be unpredictable and there are concerns regarding disease transfer (Le Guéhennec et al., 2004; Hing et al., 2007; Togawa et al., 2004). In view of the limitations of biologically-derived grafts, synthetic bone substitutes have been developed and clinically used (Le Guéhennec et al., 2004). The aim of such substitutes is to interact in an appropriate manner with their bio-surroundings and mimic the properties of bone (Guéhennec et al., 2004).

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Text 3

Rationale

Lower back pain is one of the most common problems associated with the spine causing disability which affects the everyday living. (O'Halloran, et al., 2007) The spine consists of bony elements known as vertebrae and the fibrocartilage tissue that lay between each bony element is the intervertebral disc (IVD). The IVD is responsible of transferring load providing flexibility to the spine. (Nerurkar, et al., 2010) The normal IVD clinically acts to support and dissipate loads while permitting multi-axial motions of the spine. The well defined micro-structural organisation and biochemical composition of the IVD makes these demanding mechanical functions possible. The IVD is subjected to dynamic, static and torsional loads which incorporate shear, tensile and compressive stresses. (Jongeneelen, 2006) The disc consists of nucleus pulposus (NP), annulus fibrosus (AF) and cartilaginous end plates. (Guilak, et al., 1999)

“Disc Degeneration Disease” is believed to be the main cause of lower back pain. (O'Halloran, et al., 2007) Research suggests that that the NP is most affected during degradation (Sebastine, et al., 2007) due to the loss of proteoglycan (PG) and water. Due to the central role PG plays in the functioning of the IVD, restoration of normal PG production is critical. One important strategy developed by many researchers is the repair of the tissue for restoration through tissue engineering. (Portner, et al., 2005)

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Step 3

Step 4

Download the transcript of the executive summary video.

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