Research & Development
Research and Development of the company and my research experience as a professor at UTM.
Given the importance of health and the wellbeing of all Malaysian citizens and the economic potential of the medical device industry in Malaysia, innovation and development in biomedical engineering and technology are of an increasing socio-economy importance to our nation. It is a vision and aspiration for all Malaysian to become competitive and a knowledge-based economy by vision 2020. The company HEAL ULTRA aims to promote visibility and public awareness on Biomedical Signal Processing for health.
One of the objectives of my work is to highlight how the study of biological science and biomedical engineering especially in the field of Digital Signal processing (DSP) plays a significant contribution to the needs of the health care industry. First, the discussion focuses on the need of the nation where it addresses the high cost of medical imported engineering technology which is a great burden to the economy. The company was established to tackle the challenges of the nation in health care industry. The proposed ideas are meant to promote fundamental studies, as well as engineering aspects to promote the growth of biomedical application. I believe that there is a need for health policy in the use of fundamental theories developed in biomedical engineering technology and the mechanism by which it affects the growth in health care cost.
Meeting the Challenges
The objective of the company is to help Malaysia exploit the opportunities for generating new knowledge and transforming it into applications which address the health needs of this nation. Both fundamental and applied research with an emphasis on integrated, multidisciplinary, and coordinated efforts will help to increase the competitiveness of the Malaysian healthcare system. My experienced as a researcher at Center for Biomedical Research (CBE) at UTM has contributed significantly to enhance competitiveness in research and development which includes hearing screening, heart murmurs, speech therapy and stroke, brain biometric and effective connectivity modeling of the brain.
In spite of our excellent healthcare programs, education and nutrition awareness, heart disease still remains the number one killer in Malaysia. More and more, doctors are diagnosing coronary disease without any invasive test. In the early 60’s and 70’s the stethoscope was the only tool doctors had for diagnosing heart trouble. In today’s scenario, the magnetic and ultrasound scanner can take a detailed 3-dimensional moving picture of the heart. Echocardiograms which use the principle of rebounding waves are utilized to calculate the size shape and structure inside the heart. Normally, doctors will take an echo of the heart in resting as well as a heart under stress (e.g. after the patient exercises on a treadmill). One disadvantage of ultrasound is that it does not produce image with a high resolution. In magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), powerful magnets create a field that sets the nuclear of atoms in heart cells vibrating. The new technology such as MRI and computed tomography (CT) can provide accurate evidence, however they are highly expensive, high maintenance in cost and require experience personal to operate the complex machines. This situation has hindered Ministry of Health (MOH) in applying these services in all government and private hospitals. Due to the lack of an early detection system, a substantial amount of healthcare money is spent each year on healthy people instead of real patients; this is mainly due to unnecessary false rate detection. An alternative solution is the use of traditional approach based of the stethoscope.
Unfortunately, detecting relevant symptoms and forming a diagnosis based on heart sound through stethoscope is difficult. The reason as why General Practitioner (GP) find difficult is that the heart sounds are often of short duration and being separated from one another by less than 30ms. Heart sound auscultation is the primary test conducted by GPs. Many heart diseases of the heart cause changes in heart sound waveform before other signs and symptoms appear. Analyzing such heart sounds require a quiet environment with ambient noise minimized. In order to address such issues, research are carried out to develop new techniques which include denoise, feature extraction and classification of the heart signal base on Hidden Markov Model and currently using Artificial Intelligence such as Deep Learning.
The company intends to collaborate with other research institution such as Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) and Clinical Research Centre (CRC) from Ministry of Health (MOH). Engineering and medicine must be integrated to improve health care in this specific area. New devices and technology can be constructed based on the advice and guidance from the experts from cardiologist, engineers and researchers. CRC can play the role to promote and support education, training and professional development to scientist at the University as well as local companies in Malaysia in order to develop a home grown technology.
Brain Computer Interface
In Auditory Brain Response (ABR) research according to WHO statistics, 5 per 1000 newborns are born with significant hearing loss. This means that, of the Malaysian population of approximately 31 million people, 155,000 are born with hearing loss. As an example, in 2009 alone, from 516,645 newborns, approximately 2,583 of them faced hearing problem. The effect on the children with the hearing loss is very severe, both socially and economically. They may develop no speech ability at all, leading not only to serious communication problems but also impaired intellectual and emotional development. For these special kids, government has to set-up special school in order to help them to have a normal life and giving them education. Therefore, newborn hearing screening (NHS) is strongly recommended by pediatricians to ensure early detection of hearing loss for young children. Malaysian has a quite high birth rate, failure to do so will in some cases lead to permanent deafness in our children. However, the early treatment of hearing loss (i.e. within the first 6 months of life) can prevent the dramatic consequences of hearing loss in newborn children. Besides deafness or hearing problem, speech difficulty is also due to physical speech organ impairment or brain disorder (dyslexia, autism, Down syndrome etc.).
As kids with deafness will have speech or language difficulty, one of the ways to help them is by giving them speech therapy care. However, the real problem in Malaysia is the lack of speech therapist that is unable to cater the need and demand of our society. Speech therapists are mostly available only in big state hospitals and not at district or lower level. It is an ongoing effort at HEAL ULTRA to automate and computerized speech therapy system, and by leveraging the ICT technology, the research and development will develop the necessary infrastructure that will help children and parents in therapy with minimal supervision from speech therapist.
Publication in high impact journal related to brain computer interfaceBrain signals are derived from underlying dynamic processes and interactions between populations of neurons in the brain. These signals are typically measured from distinct regions, in the forms of multivariate time series signals and exhibit non-stationarity. To analyze these multi-dimensional data with the latent dynamics, efficient statistical methods are needed. Conventional analyses of brain signals use stationary techniques and focus on analyzing a single dimensional signal, without taking into consideration the coherence between signals. Human brain signals are generally derived from physiological process of underlying biological systems interaction.
Publication in high impact journal related to brain computer interface
These physiological signals generally exhibit in non-stationary form by changing over time in term of amplitude, spectrum and connectivity. This novel framework can be applied to analysing state-related effective connectivity changes that can be associated with epileptic seizure recorded in EEG data. Seizure EEGs are realizations of a rapidly changing electrophysiological process resulting from abnormal firing behaviour of network of neuronal subpopulations. For example, people with epilepsy have a type of brain dysfunction that intermittently causes episodes of abnormal electrical activity. This can be caused by any type of brain injury, such as trauma, stroke, brain infection, or a brain tumor.
Examples of Brain Computer Interface video
1. Facial gesture computer interface
2. Auditory Brain Response interface
3. Ref: https://singularityhub.com/2012/05/17/paralyzed-woman-controls-robotic-arm-with-her-thoughts/ : Paralyzed Woman Controls Robotic Arm With Her Thoughts By David J. Hill May 17, 2012
Cathy Hutchinson hasn’t moved her limbs of her own volition for 15 years, but by imagining she was using her own hand, she controlled a robotic arm to pick up a thermos of coffee and took a sip. The technology is a neural interface system called BrainGate2, currently in clinical trials, which connects Cathy’s brain to a robot. The device is the result of over 10 years of research at Brown University and an extension of the first BrainGate in 2006, which allowed patients to control a computer cursor on a screen.
Good Clinical PracticeAccording to Datuk Dr Noor Hisham , Director General of Health Malaysia, the National Committee for Clinical research (NCCR) has commissioned the update of the Malaysian Guideline for Good Clinical Practice following the revision of International Council for Harmonisation (ICH) E6 Good Clinical Practice guidance in November 2016. The revision is intended to increase the efficiency and quality of clinical trials with the advance use of electronic data recording and also updates the standard for electronic records and essential documents. Dr Noor also mentioned that since the standardised GCP syllabus and exit examination in 2011 conducted by a pool of qualified trainers from public hospitals, universities and private sectors throughout the whole country, more than 12,000 have received their GCP certificates, which demonstrates the high level of interest in clinical trial amongst healthcare professionals and researchers.
One of the objectives of my work is to highlight how the study of biological science and biomedical engineering especially in the field of Digital Signal processing (DSP) plays a significant contribution to the needs of the health care industry which have been discussed earlier. The discussion was mainly focused on the need of the nations; it addresses the high cost of medical imported engineering technology which is a great burden to the nation. The Centre for Biomedical Engineering (CBE) at UTM was set up to tackle the challenges of the nation in health care industry.New ideas and algorithms have been implemented, addressing the preprocessing, selection of proper features and new classification techniques. The proposed ideas are meant to promote fundamental studies, as well as engineering aspects related to the growth of biomedical applications and these results in publications of books with academic standing. All the above activities are closely related to the rate of growth in health expenditure in Malaysia and foresee that there is a need for health policy biomedical engineering technology and the mechanism by analysis in the use these fundamental theories which affect growth in health care cost.
Engineering for Health and Education
Engineering for health can be defined as all aspects of medical, biological, science and engineering. It is an interdisciplinary field of science and engineering representing an integrated platform for all medical technology related applications. Heal Ultra has the interest to pursue the advancement of the fundamental concepts in engineering, biology and medicine to ensure high quality life for Malaysians. Contributions of academic research include: graduates trained in modern research techniques; fundamental concepts and “key ideas” resulting from basic and applied research; and the development and testing of tools, prototypes, and marketable products. Research is critical to societal development of our country where it can generates knowledge, provides useful information, and helps decision-making,
• Malaysia Technology Expo 2012 in Kuala Lumpur, project title ‘Smart ABR System for Hearing Screening’.
• Obtain Gold Medal and ‘Best Biotechnology Award’ from Japan Intellectual Property Association, JIPA.
• Other local and international awards are as follows:
Prof. Ir. Dr. Sheikh Hussain was awarded as ‘Top Research Scientist Malaysia’ by Akademi Sains Malaysia in December 2013
Research Contribution to Malaysian Society
Research Contribution to Malaysian Society
Education as defined by Google is the process of learning and expanding culture, and, as it contributes to the improvement of the human condition through better knowledge, health, living conditions, social equity and productivity, is a central tool for social progress. I think this is a very important issue and would like to raise a few ideas that don’t yet appear to have been covered.