Forearm cooling for intention tremor in multiple sclerosis

Aliazizi, Fereshteh (2017). Forearm cooling for intention tremor in multiple sclerosis. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an illness, which affects the immune system functionality in human body including spinal cord and brain. The MS symptoms include vision problems, difficulties in walking, fatigue, muscle spasms, ataxia and tremor. Medical research has shown that extracting heat from the patient’s body through specialized subcutaneous vascular structures that underlie the non-hairy skin surfaces of the human body (upper limbs: the palms of the hands and forearms), improves performances for the daily activity of MS patients. Traditional techniques like cold-water bath or ice pack are used by MS patients but are not power intensive, portable or convenient. Therefore, it is vital to develop a biomedical-cooling device that is lightweight, effective and easy to use for MS patients.
This research project aims to investigate experimentally the feasibility of using peltier cooling technology to develop an efficient, lightweight, portable cooling device with no moving parts and no circulating liquids to be used by MS patients in daily life routines as well as in hospital environment. This aim was achieved through the following objectives:
➢ Develop an effective heat sink device capable of extracting the heat rejected by the peltier device through experimentally testing various heat sink configurations and testing various phase change materials (PCMs) at various power inputs of 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 6 and 9 watts.
➢ Develop a multi peltier cooling module and characterise its cooling performance using PCM based heat sink.
In this research, two sets of experimental studies were carried out to identify temperature changes, the cooling rate and the power demand. The first set of experiments investigated various heat sink configurations to characterise the cooling performance of a single peltier device in terms of the cooling temperature, temperature at which heat is rejected, time duration through which cooling is achieved at various power inputs. The second set of experiments utilised three peltier devices with PCM based heat sink to characterise a cooling unit that forms the basic structure of the overall cooling device. The experiments involved testing the three peltier unit at various power inputs of 0.5, 1, 1.5, 2, 3, 6 and 9 watts and during cyclic operation.
Results of the single peltier testing showed that a PCM based heat sink is needed to absorb the heat rejected by the peltier device to achieve cooling temperature below 10°C for a period of 3600 sec. For the three peltier cooling unit, the use of PCM OM37 with 3Watt power input to the peltier produced cooling at low temperature of 15°C for a period of about 800 sec and with 6Watt the temperature decreased to 11.66°C after 1020 sec. The temperature of 11.66°C achieved by OM37P using 6 W is the lowest temperature attained compared to 3 and 9 W. For the cyclic operation, with 3 W power input, the device was able to maintain the temperature of the water box around 5°C below the ambient temperature and by applying 6 W, cooling will be produced only during the first cycle.
This research project investigated using the combination of peltiers with PCM materials to reduce the temperature to 11.66°C for period of 17 minutes, which can help to alleviate the symptoms of MS patients like intention tremor, heat intolerance and fatigue. The results illustrated that PCM OM37P with power input of 6 W to the thermoelectric coolers has the capability to attain such requirement.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery


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