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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3--4

Plasma Technologies for Health Applications

P Sarat Chandra 
 Editor, Head of Unit I, Department of Neurosurgery, AIIMS, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. P Sarat Chandra
Head of Unit I, Department of Neurosurgery, AIIMS, New Delhi

How to cite this article:
Chandra P S. Plasma Technologies for Health Applications.Neurol India 2020;68:3-4

How to cite this URL:
Chandra P S. Plasma Technologies for Health Applications. Neurol India [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 7 ];68:3-4
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Full Text

The Editorial Board of Neurology India welcomes its readers to the first edition of Neurology India for the year 2020 and wishes all its readers a very happy new year.

The following issue carries a number of exciting new original articles apart from a plethora of case reports, letters to Editors and brief commentaries. We at first offer our most profound condolences to the family of Prof AK Meena, a dear colleague and mourn for her untimely demise and pray that her soul rests in peace.

This issue features an exciting new section called “Pearls from the Past” where we have decided to re-publish some landmark articles which have fashioned the development of Neurosciences in India. We are honoured that Prof PN Tandon has agreed to provide Expert commentary for these articles (His Master's Voice). It is more relevant that these articles are important as they are not PubMed indexed (done only from the 1990s) and will thus provide our readers with an insight into the work of our predecessors who worked hard to create the neurosciences infrastructure for our country.

The cover page carries the guest highlight of this issue. This shows an enigmatic purple hue created by plasma in a plasma sterilization unit. We are very grateful to the Institute of Plasma Research for having provided us with this beautiful picture and a highly educational research article.

Plasma, (from Ancient Greek meaning 'moldable substance) is one of the four fundamental states of matter ( first described by chemist Irving Langmuir, 1920s). It consists of a gas of ions and free electrons. Plasma can be artificially generated by heating or subjecting a neutral gas to a strong electromagnetic field to the point where an ionized gaseous substance becomes increasingly electrically conductive. Over the last decade, research has intensified worldwide on the use of low-temperature plasmas in medicine & healthcare. The Institute for Plasma Research (IPR), an aided institute of the Dept. of Atomic Energy, has also developed various plasma-based technologies in some of these areas. One of these is an Atmospheric Pressure Plasma Jet (APPJ). The application of APPJ to treat skin diseases (Tinea Cruris-fungal infection) without the administration of antifungal medicines is currently under study. APPJ has also been developed for coagulation of blood -- coagulation rates were found to be faster with this device and are being explored for application in emergencies. The interaction of APPJ with oral, lung and brain cancer cells is being studied in collaboration with various medical Institutes. In certain cases, in-vitro studies have yielded encouraging results, and limited in-vivo studies have been initiated. Low-temperature plasmas also have dental procedures such as root canal treatment, whitening of teeth, etc.

Plasma activated water has been produced in the laboratory for microbial disinfection, with potential applications in the health sector. Various plasma-based biocompatible coatings (TiN, CuO, etc.) are being developed to ensure service longevity of body implants. Plasmonic nanoparticle arrays allow detection of very low concentrations of chemicals, which could allow early-stage detection of diseases.

IPR has also developed plasma pyrolysis systems for safe disposal of biomedical waste. This technology has been patented and transferred to several Indian Companies for commercialisation. The institute is now in the process of setting up a 4.8 ton/day Biomedical Waste Treatment Facility for a Govt. hospital.

Large volumes of data are generated daily from medical imaging systems, procedure reports, lab and pathology reports, waveforms, data downloaded from implantable electrophysiology devices (EEG/ECG/MRI), etc., This has made possible the application of Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine/deep learning in medical imaging, radiology and neuroradiology. This is particularly important in smaller towns/rural areas, where diagnostic experts are not available in sufficient numbers; as a result, automated, high-speed processing of images & signals to shortlist high-risk cases can significantly cut down the workload of experts. Algorithms like Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) and Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) are being deployed for computer vision and time-series pattern analysis, respectively, for automated, high-speed detection of anomalies. IPR has been developing software called DeepCXR for automated, high-speed screening & detection of footprints of TB in Chest X-ray images. Currently, DeepCXR is trained with 6000-30000 normal/abnormal images, yielding an overall accuracy of 93% on a test dataset. This software can be executed on laptops, mobiles or Raspberry Pi processors, and does not require any internet connectivity. Software on similar lines can be used for recognising single/multiple TB bacilli in sputum smear test images. Deep Learning systems are increasingly being used around the world for analysing EEG signals for emotion recognition, mental workload and seizure detection. A variety of other diagnoses are being carried out around the world in areas like diabetic retinopathy, histopathology and dental image analysis.