Biomedical Engineering

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Biomedical engineering encompasses multiple disciplines, including physics, chemistry, biology, electronics, mechanics, and materials. The devices and procedures developed by biomedical engineers reflect this multidisciplinary field, and can include anything from computers that analyze blood, lasers for eye surgery, and advanced imaging systems, to miniature implantable pumps and tissue-engineered artificial organs.

The field has become so specialized that many biomedical engineers, in addition to their degree in one of the basic engineering specialities, also have advanced biomedical training.

The challenge for the information specialist is not in finding information on these topics, because the literature is abundant and growing. The important issue is identifying the most appropriate sources to use depending on the nature of the question. Technical literature, proceedings, and symposia are often more research-oriented, while the clinical literature focuses on use and outcomes of a given procedure or device. Market reports can provide useful data on procedure numbers, projections, competitors, and comparative reviews of competing procedures. Associations are good sources for upcoming conference information, potential experts, special interest groups, updates on new technologies, and links to related sites of interest.

Due to the large amount ofbiomedical engineering sources available, the following resource lists are selective and focus specifically on biomedical engineering. In your own research, don't discount the many other publications, organizations, etc.—including those not devoted solely to biomedicine—which will also provide valuable information on the many aspects of biomedical engineering. Key science-technology-medical publishers include Marcel Dekker, Kluwer, Lippincott, CRC Press, Wiley, and Elsevier and its numerous imprints.

Abstracts and Indexes

Several databases provide excellent coverage of the technical, biomedical, medical engineering, medical materials, and drug delivery literature. These databases are the best sources for finding information on existing technologies, and perhaps are even more valuable as resources for identifying new technologies, prototype devices and experimental methods. All of the databases listed below are available by subscription from a number ofdifferent vendors. I have not listed specific vendors, prices, or details on search interfaces, as these are all subject to change.

Ei Compendex®. 1970- . Hoboken, NJ: Elsevier Engineering Information. A comprehensive source for articles and conferences covering all aspects of engineering. Indexes about 5000 journals, technical reports, conference papers, and publications from professional societies (including IEEE). Use Ei classification codes (CC) to narrow your search to specific topics within the biomedical industry. CCs 461 Bioengineering and 462 Biomedical Equipment are the most relevant for medical devices. Within each CC are subcodes, which still tend to be relatively broad. Some examples: 461.1 Biomedical Engineering, 461.6 Medicine, 461.7 Health Care, 461.8 Biotechnology

(461.8.1 Genetic Engineering), 462.5 Biomedical Equipment, General. Use the CCs to ensure your results will fall within the realm of medicine or biotechnology, and combine CCs to get the most comprehensive results. For example, for a search of materials used in the medical arena, use both CC 461.2 Biological Materials and CC 462.5 Biomaterials. Then apply appropriate keywords or descriptors. Ei publishes the Ei Thesaurus, both in print and online. Ei provides good coverage of the technical drug delivery literature, but no CC exists specifically for the topic. Available online.

Engineering Village 2TM. Hoboken, NJ: Elsevier Engineering Information. Engineering Information also offers Engineering Village 2 (EV2), allowing access to several engineering databases via a single interface. Searches can be performed simultaneously in EI Compendex, Inspec, and NTIS, with duplicate citations removed. EV2 also includes the Engineering Backfile, covering the years 1884-1969; Referex Engineering electronic reference sources; ENGnetBASE, incorporating over 160 CRC Press handbooks; and more. EV2's combined products include over 5000 engineering journals. Available online.

INSPEC. Edison, NJ: INSPEC Inc. Called "The Database for Physics, Electronics and Computing,'' it corresponds to three print abstracts. Principle subject areas are divided into four subfiles: Subfile A Physics, Subfile B Electrical Engineering and Electronics, Subfile C Computers & Control, and Subfile D Information Technology. Indexes over 4000 journals, 750 cover-to-cover. Inspec uses very specifc Classification Codes (CC) and subclasses to organize its broad subject coverage. The most relevant CCs for medical engineering and devices include: A8745 Biomechanics, biorheology, and biological fluid dynamics; A8760 Medical and biomedical uses of fields, radiations, and radioactivity; health physics; B7500 Medical physics and biomedical engineering. Inspec's coverage of drug delivery is extremely limited. The Outline of Inspec Classification 1999 is available online at the Inspec Web site. Available online.

JICST-Eplus—Japanese Science & Technology. Tokyo: Japan Information Center of Science and Technology. This database covers all fields of science, technology and medicine, and includes the file of both JISCT-E and PreJICST-E. JICST-E and PreJICST-E contain bibliographic data and English-language abstracts, when available. JICST-E covers 1985 to present. PreJICST-E contains no indexing and covers 1994 onward. Technical reports, conference papers, preprints, and over 6000 journals are covered. The Japanese are noted for their research in cutting-edge medical technologies, making this database an especially valuable resource for finding early stage information not yet available in English-language publications. Available online.

Knovel®. Norwich, NY: Knovel Corporation. Avaiable online. A subscription-based service providing access to over 500 science and engineering textbooks and databases, embedded with "productivity tools'' via one online interface. Several key sci-tech publishers and societies are partners in this service. The resources are organized by subject collections, including Adhe-sives, Sealings, Coatings and Inks; Biochemistry, Biology and Biotechnology; Mechanics and Mechanical Engineering; Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics and Toiletry; General Engineering References; and Semiconductors and Electronics. Subject content is organized by the individual subscriber's particular needs. Productivity tools include Graph Digitizer, Tables with Graph Plotter and Equation Plotter, Unit Converter, and more.

MEDITEC-Medical Engineering. Germany: FIZ Technik e.V. This database provides abstracts to medical engineering literature from German and international publications. Geographic coverage includes Eastern and Western Europe and Asia. Seventy percent of the database is in English with additional German search terms, and 30% is in German with additional English search terms. Information comes from over 600 journals and conference papers, books, technical reports, and dissertations. Online classification codes (CC) enable more precise searching. For example, the CC "Materials properties'' has narrower terms, including "Biomedical/biochemical properties of materials.'' If you want to find out about biochemical properties of collagen, select this term and add the keyword

"collagen" to your search strategy in order to get more targeted search results. Available online.

National Technical Information Service (NTIS). URL: http:// A principle source for unclassified government-sponsored research. Report summaries are contributed by federal agencies, contractors, grant award winners, and some government funded research from other countries. Broad subject coverage includes materials, biomedical technology and engineering, physics, and medicine and biology. Available online.

SciSearch®: A Cited Reference Science Database. Philadelphia: Institute for Scientific Information. The online version of Science Citation Index, SciSearch is an international, multi-disciplinary database covering the literature of science, bio-medicine, technology, and related disciplines. As a citation database, the journals selected for inclusion are based on citation analysis—that is, those journals publishing the most frequently cited articles are considered to be of greater importance. In addition, SciSearch offers citation indexing, allowing the user to search cited references. SciSearch is especially valuable in its coverage of biomaterials, coatings, and drug delivery. While there is some overlap with the more traditional clinical databases (Medline® and Embase), SciSearch does offer some unique titles, including conference proceedings. Available online.


The American Insitute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). 1901 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 401 Washington, DC 20006, U.S.A. Phone: +1 202-496-9660, Fax: +1 202466-8489. E-mail: [email protected]. URL: http://www.aimbe. org. AIMBE is a non-profit organization founded to establish a clear identity for the field of medical and biological engineering. Members are scientific and technical societies, academic institutions, and 800 peer-inducted individuals in their College of Fellows. Holds an "annual event'' focusing on a key topic in medical engineering, holds public policy forums, and advocates for increased funding for medical technology research.

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). 1110 North Glebe Road, Suite 220, Arlington, VA 22201-4795, U.S.A. Phone: +1 703-525-4890 or 800-332-2264 ext. 217, Fax: +1 703-276-0793. E-mail: membership® URL: Founded 1967. AAMI is an alliance of over 6000 members from industry, academia, and governmental organizations. It issues AAMI standards, which can be purchased on their Web site, provides continuing education programs and certification for health technology specialists, and holds an annual conference and regular meetings and classes on such topics as Industrial Sterilization for Devices, Quality System Requirements, and Risk Management. Publishes the bimonthly journal Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology and books on various quality, safety, and education topics. Available online.

Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). 8401 Corporate Drive, Suite 225, Landover, MD 20785-2224. Phone: (301) 4591999, Fax: (301) 459-2444. E-mail: [email protected]. URL: http:// BME's goal is to "promote the increase of biomedical engineering knowledge and its utilization.'' The organization sponsors annual meetings; is the lead society for the accreditation of biomedical and bioengineering programs in conjunction with the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET); publishes BMES Bulletin, the Society's official newsletter; provides peer interaction and networking via members-only member-restricted areas of the BMES Web site, including member, company, faculty, and internship directories.

ECRI. 5200 Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462-1298, U.S.A. Phone: +1 610-825-6000, Fax: +1 610-834-1275. E-mail: [email protected]. URL: ECRI is an independent non-profit health services research agency providing high quality and unique research, publishing, education, and consultation in the areas of healthcare technology, healthcare risk and quality management, and healthcare environmental management. All ECRI content is subscription based, with various levels offered. Some subscription packages compile groups of ECRI resources, and are directed toward specific audiences. Of particular interest to medical device companies and professionals are the Health Devices System, Health Technology Assessment Information Service (HTAIS), and Operating Room Risk Management System (ORRM). A key ECRI resource is Healthcare Product Comparison System (HPCS) online. HPCS' comparative reports include a text overview and side-by-side comparison charts of currently marketed models. Search by product name using ECRI's Universal Medical Device Nomenclature System (UMDNS) or by their broad categories Surgical, Medical Imaging, and Clinical Laboratory with alphabetical lists by instrument title. Health Technology Trends is a monthly newsletter on the latest innovations in healthcare technologies used by hospitals, ECRI's perspective on new technologies, and the regulatory and reimbursement developments affecting technology use in hospitals. The TARGET Technology Assessment Resource Guide for Emerging Technologies database provides information on new devices, drugs, biotechnologies, procedures, and information systems used in healthcare services. ECRI also publishes the monthly journals Health Devices and Health Devices Alerts, both available both in print and online; ECRI Health Technology Monitor monthly newsletter; and Medical Device Safety Reports. ECRI offers many other resources and services both available in print and online.

Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE). 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 1202, Washington DC 20036-5104, U.S.A. Phone: +1 202-785-0017, Fax: +1 202-785-0835. E-mail: ieeeusa URL: IEEE is an important organization covering all areas of engineering. The organization is a recognized standards-issuing body and is comprised of many technical societies. Of particular interest for the medical device researcher is the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology (EMB) Society, which publishes a journal, holds an annual conference, and provides a Web site. Other important IEEE publications include Transactions in Medical Imaging, Robotics and Automation, Medical Imaging, and Biomedical Engineering. IEEE subscribers can access EMB's magazine and the IEEE/IEE Electronic Library.

International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineers (IFMBE). URL: IFMBE

was established in 1959 as a vehicle to promote international research collaboration. Membership is composed of 48 national members and 2 transnational organizations, representing a total worldwide membership of over 30,000. Sponsors World Conference on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering every three years. Federation meetings are combined with those of the Organization for Medical Physics. Publishes Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing, proceedings of their world congresses and meetings, and the Series in Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering.

National Science Foundation (NSF)—Division of Bioengineering and Environmental Systems (BES). 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22230, U.S.A. Phone: +1 703-292-5111 or +1800877-8339, Fax: +1 703-2929-098. E-mail: [email protected]. URL: An independent agency of the U.S. government, the NSF awards grants, contracts and graduate fellowships to support scientific and engineering research, and supports program clusters in Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering. The NSF supports research in special emphasis areas such as tissue engineering and nanotechnology. The site lists specific funding opportunities, a step-by-step guide to apply for funding, and details about previously funded research.


Bronzino JD. The Biomedical Engineering Handbook. 2nd ed. Boca Raton FL: CRC Press Inc., 1999. Two volume set. Called "the bible of biomedical engineering.''

Justiniano JM, Gopalaswamy V. Six Sigma for Medical Device Design. 1st ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Inc., 2004. First book available on applying Six-Sigma concepts to medical device design and development.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2003. A standard international reference.

Moore J, Zouridakis G. Biomedical Technology and Devices Handbook. 1st ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Inc., 2004. The Mechanical Engineering Handbook Series Vol. 12.

Perez R. Design of Medical Electronic Devices. Burlington, MA: Academic Press/Elsevier, 2002. Includes chapters on power subsystems, particle accelerator design, sensor characteristics, data acquisition, and optical sensors.

Yadin D, von Maltzahn WW, Neuman MR. Clinical Engineering. 1st ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Inc., 2003. Principles and Applications in Engineering Series. Vol. 13. Focuses on managing the deployment of medical technology and integrating it appropriately with desired clinical practices.

Yarmush ML, Toner M, Plonsey R. Biotechnology for Biomedical Engineers. 1st ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Inc., 2003. Principles and Applications in Engineering Series Vol. 11. Covers the aspects of biotechnology relevant to biomedical engineers.


Annals of Biomedical Engineering. The Netherlands: Kluwer. ISSN 0090-6964. Official journal of the Biomedical Engineering Society.

Biomedical Engineering. The Netherlands: Kluwer. ISSN 0006-3398. Translated from Russian.

Biomedical Engineering Online. London: Biomed Central. No ISSN. An Open Access, peer-reviewed online journal, which publishes research in all areas of biomedical engineering.

Biomedical Instrumentation and Technology. Arlington, VA: Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation. ISSN: 0899-8205.

Biomedical Microdevices—BioMEMS and Biomedical Nano-technology. The Netherlands: Kluwer. ISSN: 1387-2176.

Biotechnology and Bioengineering. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. ISSN: 0006-3592.

Critical Reviews in Biomedical Engineering. New York: Begell House. ISSN: 0278-940X.

IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine. New York: IEEE. ISSN: 0739-5175. Quarterly magazine of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.

IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering. New York: IEEE. ISSN: 0018-9294.

Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers. ISSN: 1389-1723.

Journal of Clinical Engineering. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISSN: 0363-8855.

Journal of Medical Engineering and Technology. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis. ISSN: 0309-1902.

Medical and Biological Engineering and Computing. UK: The Institution of Electrical Engineers. ISSN: 0140-0118. Bimonthly Journal of the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Medical Device Technology. UK: Advanstar Communications Ltd. ISSN: 1096-1801. Technical information on all aspects of the design, production and manufacture of finished medical devices and in vitro diagnostic products. European focus. Free to qualified readers in Europe.

Medical Engineering and Physics. Amsterdam: Elsevier. ISSN: 1350-4533. An official publication of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

Physics in Medicine and Biology. UK: Institute of Physics Publishing. ISSN: 0031-9155. An official publication of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.

Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers—Part H—Journal of Engineering in Medicine. London: Professional Engineering Publishing. ISSN: 0954-4119.

Technology and Healthcare: Official Journal of the European Society for Engineering and Medicine. The Netherlands: IOS Press. ISSN: 0928-7329.

Reference Works

Medical Device Register and International Medical Device Register. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC. ISSN: 1064-8518 (print), ISBN: 1563632640 (CD-ROM). URL: http:// The leading directory for devices and manufacturers since 1979. Provides information on more than 65,000 medical products and over 13,000 manufacturers. Print and CD-ROM versions updated annually. Web version has enhanced search capabilities and value-added resources, including new product and product recall alerts, enhanced product information, and links to SEC filings, manufacturers' stock indexes, and FDA product approval records. Also available from database vendors, including Dialog® and Lexis-Nexis®.

Trade Publications

Trade magazines, while usually not indexed in online databases and often called "throw-aways," can nonetheless provide useful information not readily available in other sources. These publications tend to focus on manufacturing, products and services, and include a lot of photos—sometimes just what you are looking for. The many advertisements may also provide some useful data a company is not divulging on its own Web site. Canon Communications specializes in trade shows and publications for the medical devices, microelectronics, plastics processing, packaging, and general design engineering fields. Their publications are available free to qualified users, and some include an annual buyers guide.

Drug Delivery Technology. Montville, NJ: Drug Delivery Technologies LLC. ISSN: 1537-2898. Covers the science and business of specialty pharmas, biotechnology and drug delivery. Free in the U.S., but registration required.

European Device Manufacturers. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC.

MD&DI—Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC. ISSN: 0194-844X.

Medical Electronics Manufacturing. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC. ISSN: 1087-9447.

Medical Product Manufacturing News. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC. ISSN: 0893-6250.

Modern Plastics. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC. ISSN: 0026-8275.

Pharmaceutical and Medical Packaging News. Los Angeles, CA: Canon Communications LLC. ISSN: 1081-5481.

Web Sites

Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library (EEVL). URL: http:// (accessed October 2005). A respected Internet Guide to Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing. Created and maintained by a team of information specialists in the United Kingdom, this free site is a central resource to engineering information on the Internet. Specific topic areas include Bioengineering, Manufacturing Engineering, and Tissue Engineering. Within each specialty area there are links to relevant publications, associations, academic programs, companies, Web sites, conferences, educational material, and more.

Medical DeviceLink. URL: (accessed October 2005). A platform Web site for the medical device industry, predominately in the design and manufacturing areas. Includes directories to North American and European suppliers, packaging suppliers, industry consultants, and more. The site provides resource centers for adhesives and adhesive products, sterilization, and tubing. The FDA Zone, offers links to news, newly issued FDA documents and Federal Register notices pertaining to medical devices. Healthcare news items are posted daily, and subcategorized in various sectors, including medical device manufacturing and surgical instrumentation. An extensive list of relevant industry links are organized by such categories as Engineering, Legal and Regulatory, Quality, and International websites; Industry Organizations; Venture Capital websites; and Market Research Sources. The database of products and suppliers is fairly limited. DeviceLink is produced by Canon Communications Inc., so beware that much of the material presented in this site is from their own publications—including articles from their many trade magazines. Despite some limitations, DeviceLink is at least a starting point for information on different types of device product components and manufacturers, and the industry links are good.

Scirus. URL: While it is never advisable to rely solely on a Web search engine to find comprehensive, reliable information, Scirus has some useful features that make it an interesting alternative to the more general search engines, such as GoogleTM. It focuses only on science-specific web site pages, and allows you to limit your results by information type (e.g., books, abstracts, and company pages); content sources (journal and Web-based); and subject areas (e.g., Medicine, Materials Science, and Engineering, Energy and Technology). An easy to use interface allows you to search by including all words, any of the words, or exact phrase, and combining search terms with the connectors AND, OR, or NOT. A search using the exact phrase "drug delivery,'' then applying the AND connector for the term "microsphere," provided some useful results.

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