Digital Body Monitoring Devices

August 13th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Tech giants such as Apple, Samsung and Google are all developing amazingly innovative health monitoring products. This is no surprise as it has been forecast that the global fitness and health monitoring market will be worth around $2.8 Billion by 2018.

Health tracking technology could really change and improve the way that we manage and monitor our health and wellbeing. Here are just a few recent examples.

Diabetes Monitoring

Last week Google and Novartis revealed that they are teaming up to develop contact lenses that monitor glucose levels.

One of the prototypes contains a device about the size of a speck of glitter that measures glucose in tears. A wireless antenna then transmits the measurement to an external device. This design would ease the burden of diabetics who have to prick their fingers to test blood sugar levels.

“I have many patients that are managing diabetes, and they described it as having a part-time job. It’s so arduous to monitor,” says Thomas Quinn, the head of the American Optometric Association’s contact lens and cornea section. “To have a way that patients can do that more easily and get some of their life back is really exciting.”

Quinn stated that tears also contain a chemical called lacryglobin that serves as measurable indicator for breast, colon, lung, prostate and ovarian cancers. Monitoring lacryglobin levels would be especially useful for cancer patients in remission.

Health & Wellbeing Tracking

Samsung have presented their prototype for Simband at a press event in San Francisco. Simband is a wristband that can be fitted with third party sensors to present a range of health information about the wearers body such as precise heart rate, blood flow, respiration, galvanic skin response, hydration and gas and glucose concentrations in the blood as well as data about substances present in the air.

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They suggested that to help users interpret the data they would present them with a “wellness score” that would evidence how well the wearer was looking after his body.

Total Health Tracking

Apple, working with a team of fitness, nutrition, sleep and medical experts, are currently developing what is expected to be the most advanced body monitor yet.

“If Apple delivers, this could be to health tracking what the iPod was to music,” says Mark Gurman, a Senior Editor with website 9to5Mac.

Just some of the features that iWatch is most likely to feature include:

  • Monitoring Blood Sugar – enabling you to see how what you eat affects you both immediately and over time

  • Read Body Temperature

  • Measure O2 Levels – allowing you to know when you are fully recovered from exercise which is crucial for optimum workout results.

  • Detect Muscle Engagement – measuring how hard you are working when doing a specific exercise.

  • Get Hydration Levels – confirming how much more water you need to drink for optimum health.

These monitoring devices could allow us to understand our own bodies better and in turn help us stay healthier as well as unidentified health problems.

Moreover they provide an amazing opportunity for users to share this data with healthcare practitioners and eventually the possibility of real-time guidance based on highly accurate data.


Innovative Way To Identify Healthcare Professionals

July 15th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Untitled design (15)Do you need to uniquely identify healthcare professionals on printed documentation?

One of our NHS clients, employing over 1,100 AHP’s, came up with an innovative but simple solution to include the staff HCPC number after the name of each clinician in their user field.

Gareth Lloyd-Hughes, Clinical Lead of Operations: Podiatry & Orthotics commented that aside from the obvious governance benefit it had also resulted in a number of other advantages, including: enabling the recipient (and the creator) to easily check HCPC registration, enhancing the credibility of documentation, reducing confusion where staff members have the same name and avoiding embarrassment for staff by avoiding the need to publish their DOB.

Scientists Are Getting Closer To Developing A Blood Test For Alzheimers

July 11th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Research carried out in over 1000 people has led to the discovery of a set of proteins in the blood which predict the start of Dementia with 87% accuracy. Scientists believe that this could eventually lead to a blood test for Alzheimer’s and improve clinical trials for Alzheimer’s drugs.

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Alzheimers is the most common form of Dementia most commonly affecting people over the age of 65. There are 44 million people worldwide currently living with Dementia, however this number is predicted to rise to 135 million in 2050. Sadly there are no effective drug treatments for Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe this is because patients receive treatment too late, however the symptoms of Alzheimer’s don’t usually appear for around 10 years after disease onset making it very hard to detect.

“A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments which could prevent the progression of the disease,” said Lead Researcher Simon Lovestone in a news-release. “The next step will be to validate our findings in further sample sets, to see if we can improve accuracy and reduce the risk of misdiagnosis, and to develop a reliable test suitable to be used by doctors.”

A co-author of the study has said that the team are currently looking for commercial partners in order to combine their findings into a blood test for the global market.

Whilst this news offers hope to those at risk of Alzheimers unfortunately it will be some time before this breakthrough makes it into day to day use as extensive clinical trials still need to be completed.


Supercooling Could Lead To Organs Being Shared Around The World

July 1st, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Between April 1 2011 and March 31 2012, 3,960 organ transplants were carried out in the UK alone. One of the biggest challenges that medical professionals face is the period of viability of the donated organs.

However, US researchers claim that a new organ cooling technique can preserve organs three times longer than the current method used.

‘Supercooling’ combines chilling the organ and pumping nutrients and oxygen into it’s blood vessels.

As soon as the organ is removed from the body its cells begin to die. An organ such as a liver is viable for less than 24 hours, but when supercooled it can last for 3 days.

One of the researchers, Dr Korkut Uygun from the Harvard Medical School, stated that this technique could lead to organs being shared around the world.

“That would lead to better donor matching, which would reduce-long term organ rejection and complications, which is one of the major issues in organ transplant,” he said.

Dr Rosemarie Hunziker, from the US National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, said: “This is a critically important step in advancing the practice of organ storage for transplantation.”

Further testing is now needed to see if the technology can work on human organs, although the researchers believe that it should work.

Source:  The BBC

New Medication For Coeliac Disease

June 19th, 2014 by Deimante Baurinaite

Coeliac disease is a common condition affecting 1 in 100 of people living in the UK. It causes inflammation in the lining of the small intestine (part of the gut) when foods containing gluten are consumed.

Image by Oliver Peel

Image by Oliver Peel

Bottom line: If you are a coeliac you can’t eat cake, bread or pasta!

The only treatment currently available is a gluten-free diet. However it turns out that even those on the strictest diets are still exposing their digestive systems to gluten. Gluten can hide in the most unexpected of foods and even in gluten-free products.

Thankfully soon there should be a solution for accidental gluten consumption. Scientists at Alvine Pharmaceuticals have created a new pill which may protect the small intestine against the adverse effects of gluten by breaking it down and making it safe to digest for coeliacs.

Lead researcher and Chief Medical Officer of Alvine Pharmaceuticals Daniel Adelman stated that: “The treated patients were indistinguishable from baseline after six weeks, which means the drug appeared to protect against gluten-induced mucosal injury and intestinal inflammation,”

He further informed that: “This drug is not intended to allow you to go have a pizza or French bread,”…”It’s not intended to replace the gluten-free diet — just allow it to be more effective, we hope.”

“There’s a compelling unmet medical need in this disease for the development of a non-dietary treatment for coeliac disease, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Adelman added.

Another re-engineered enzyme named KumaMax could mean that people who are gluten intolerant could introduce cake, muffins and pizza back into their lives.

The study leader Justin Siegel, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of California, said:

“For some people, even flour in the air makes them stop breathing. Some are very sensitive, and in some it just upsets their stomach a little,” Siegel said. “For those who are hypersensitive, this probably is not going to solve the problem, but it would allow them to go to dinner, and in case any gluten ended up in their meal, they wouldn’t have to worry about it.”

“For those less sensitive, they could pop one before each meal and eat anything they want,” he added.

This is great news for both ceoliacs and people with gluten intolerance however there needs to be many controlled trials carried out first. If all goes well the pills should be available to buy in 2018.