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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  3. The aim of this work is to propose a mosquito-inspired (bioinspired) design of a surgical needle that can decrease the insertion force and the tissue deformation, which are the main causes of target inaccuracy during percutaneous procedures. The bioinspired needle was developed by mimicking the geometrical shapes of mosquito proboscis. Needle prototypes were manufactured and tested to determine optimized needle shapes and geometries. Needle insertion tests on a tissue-mimicking polyvinylchloride (PVC) gel were then performed to emulate the mosquito-proboscis stinging dynamics by applying vibration and insertion velocity during the insertion. An insertion test setup equipped with a sensing system was constructed to measure the insertion force and to assess the deformation of the tissue. It was discovered that using the proposed bioinspired design, the needle insertion force was decreased by 60% and the tissue deformation was reduced by 48%. This finding is significant for improving needle-based medical procedures. 
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  4. Protein redox is responsible for many crucial biological processes; thus, the ability to modulate the redox proteins through external stimuli presents a unique opportunity to tune the system. In this work, we present an acousto-nanodevice that is capable of oxidizing redox protein under ultrasonic irradiation via surface-engineered barium titanate (BTO) nanoparticles with a gold half-coating. Using cytochrome c as the model protein, we demonstrate nanodevice-mediated protein oxidation. BINased on our experimental observations, we reveal that the electron transfer occurs in one direction due to the alternating electrical polarization of BTO under ultrasound. Such unique unidirectional electron transfer is enabled by modulating the work function of the gold surface with respect to the redox center. The new class of ultrasonically powered nano-sized protein redox agents could be a modulator for biological processes with high selectivity and deeper treatment sites. 
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  5. The precise spatiotemporal control and manipulation of fluid dynamics on a small scale granted by lab-on-a-chip devices provide a new biomedical research realm as a substitute for in vivo studies of host–pathogen interactions. While there has been a rise in the use of various medical devices/implants for human use, the applicability of microfluidic models that integrate such functional biomaterials is currently limited. Here, we introduced a novel dental implant-on-a-chip model to better understand host–material–pathogen interactions in the context of peri-implant diseases. The implant-on-a-chip integrates gingival cells with relevant biomaterials – keratinocytes with dental resin and fibroblasts with titanium while maintaining a spatially separated co-culture. To enable this co-culture, the implant-on-a-chip's core structure necessitates closely spaced, tall microtrenches. Thus, an SU-8 master mold with a high aspect-ratio pillar array was created by employing a unique backside UV exposure with a selective optical filter. With this model, we successfully replicated the morphology of keratinocytes and fibroblasts in the vicinity of dental implant biomaterials. Furthermore, we demonstrated how photobiomodulation therapy might be used to protect the epithelial layer from recurrent bacterial challenges (∼3.5-fold reduction in cellular damage vs. control). Overall, our dental implant-on-a-chip approach proposes a new microfluidic model for multiplexed host–material–pathogen investigations and the evaluation of novel treatment strategies for infectious diseases. 
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  6. Understanding language requires readers and listeners to cull meaning from fast-unfolding messages that often contain conflicting cues pointing to incompatible ways of interpreting the input (e.g., “The cat was chased by the mouse”). This article reviews mounting evidence from multiple methods demonstrating that cognitive control plays an essential role in resolving conflict during language comprehension. How does cognitive control accomplish this task? Psycholinguistic proposals have conspicuously failed to address this question. We introduce an account in which cognitive control aids language processing when cues conflict by sending top-down biasing signals that strengthen the interpretation supported by the most reliable evidence available. We also provide a computationally plausible model that solves the critical problem of how cognitive control “knows” which way to direct its biasing signal by allowing linguistic knowledge itself to issue crucial guidance. Such a mental architecture can explain a range of experimental findings, including how moment-to-moment shifts in cognitive-control state—its level of activity within a person—directly impact how quickly and successfully language comprehension is achieved.

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  7. Viscoelasticity of human tissue often carries important physiological information linking to many fatal diseases, such as heart failure, renal impairment, and liver failure. Fluid retention due to these diseases cause swelling of body parts (edema) and changes the viscoelastic characteristic of the tissue. We hypothesize that the viscoelastic behavior change of the tissue can be estimated by creating and quantifying the pit on the swelled body parts. Here, we present a smartphone tactile imaging probe with an indenter (STIP-I) system that measures the pitting parameters and characterizes the viscoelastic behavior. This system consists of tactile imaging sensing that utilizes a light diffusion in a polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-based optical waveguide and a Viscoelastic Pitting Recovery (VPR) computation model. The prototype STIP-I system is tested using edematous tissue phantoms, which show a moderate measurement error of 29.5% for the pitting parameters and excellent performance of 7.60 % error in elastic modulus estimation. The STIP-I system is expected to bring a new approach to understanding viscoelasticity changes due to various diseases. 
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  8. Microneedles are highly sought after for medicinal and cosmetic applications. However, the current manufacturing process for microneedles remains complicated, hindering its applicability to a broader variety of applications. As diffraction lithography has been recently reported as a simple method for fabricating solid microneedles, this paper presents the experimental validation of the use of ultraviolet light diffraction to control the liquid-to-solid transition of photosensitive resin to define the microneedle shape. The shapes of the resultant microneedles were investigated utilizing the primary experimental parameters including the photopattern size, ultraviolet light intensity, and the exposure time. Our fabrication results indicated that the fabricated microneedles became taller and larger in general when the experimental parameters were increased. Additionally, our investigation revealed four unique crosslinked resin morphologies during the first growth of the microneedle: microlens, first harmonic, first bell-tip, and second harmonic shapes. Additionally, by tilting the light exposure direction, a novel inclined microneedle array was fabricated for the first time. The fabricated microneedles were characterized with skin insertion and force-displacement tests. This experimental study enables the shapes and mechanical properties of the microneedles to be predicted in advance for mass production and wide practical use for biomedical or cosmetic applications. 
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