Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Different Chronic Illnesses Demand Different Connected Health Strategies [Reblog]

From a May 2015 post at The cHealth blog

….

We made a decision some years ago to build the case for connected health around the management of these illnesses because:

  1. They are costly. By some estimates these chronic diseases account for 70% of U.S. health care costs.
  2. They have a significant lifestyle component. This backdrop seems an ideal canvas for connected health interventions because they involve motivational psychology, self-tracking and engagement with health messages. These chronic illnesses pose a unique challenge in that the lifestyle choices that accelerate them are for the most part pleasurable (another piece of cheese cake? spending Sunday afternoon on the couch watching football, smoking more cigarettes and drinking more beer.) In contrast, the reward for healthy behavior is abstract and distant (a few more minutes of life sometime down the road or an avoided heart attack or stroke). This combination of lack of symptoms and the uphill battle around lifestyle improvement makes these illnesses uniquely challenging.
  3. They are mostly amenable to tracking some objective bit of information about you (e.g. your blood pressure, blood glucose or activity level) in order to make you more aware and, hopefully improve your lifestyle in order to improve your health.

20100811 - Wednesday, August 11, 2010, Fairhaven, MA, USA – LIGHTCHASER PHOTOGRAPHY – Images of a Mass General Hospital diabetes patient in his own home using an advanced home monitoring system for the Partners HealthCare Center for Connected Health's 2010 Progress Report, Forward Currents.   ( lightchaser photography 2010 © image by j. kiely jr. )

 

 

ocused on these illnesses and the attendant challenges, we developed programs for home blood pressure monitoring, home glucose monitoring and various activity challenges (nothing on cholesterol just yet). By iteration, trial and error, we’ve become comfortable with the psychology around these illnesses and how it affects both our ability to manage patients and the patient’s ability to improve these conditions.

Because these conditions are silent and because most people would rather not be reminded that they have an illness, we found that a strong engagement platform is needed to get people’s attention. We also found that we need to create tools that nudge people to adopt and sustain a healthy lifestyle rather than ignore our natural tendencies to ignore these silent conditions and engage in unhealthy behaviors.

Read the entire blog post here 

July 20, 2015 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Health monitoring? There’s an app for that

From the 9 March 2011 Science Daily article

Stay in the pink with Bluetooth personal health monitoring

Researchers in New Zealand have developed a prototype Bluetooth-enabled medical monitoring device that can be connected wirelessly to your smart phone and keep track of various physiological parameters, such as body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and movements. The prototype could be extended to include sensors for other factors such as blood glucose as well as markers for specific diseases. The connectivity would allow patients to send data directly to their healthcare provider and receive timely advice and medication suggestions….

 

 

March 12, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , , | Leave a comment

Microneedle sensors may allow real-time monitoring of body chemistry

 IMAGE: This is a scanning electron micrograph of a hollow microneedle, which was prepared out of an acrylate-based polymer. In this study, hollow microneedles were integrated with sensors for detection of glucose, lactate, and pH levels in a selective and simultaneous manner.

From the 15 December 2011 Eureka News Alert

Researchers from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego have developed new technology that uses microneedles to allow doctors to detect real-time chemical changes in the body – and to continuously do so for an extended period of time.

“We’ve loaded the hollow channels within microneedles with electrochemical sensors that can be used to detect specific molecules or pH levels,” says Dr. Roger Narayan, co-author of a paper describing the research, and a professor in the joint biomedical engineering department of NC State’s College of Engineering and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Existing technology relies on taking samples and testing them, whereas this approach allows continuous monitoring, Narayan explains. “For example, it could monitor glucose levels in a diabetic patient,” Narayan says. Microneedles are very small needles in which at least one dimension – such as length – is less than one millimeter.

“The idea is that customized microneedle sensor arrays could be developed and incorporated into wearable devices, such as something like a wristwatch, to help answer specific medical or research questions,” Narayan says. “It’s also worth pointing out that microneedles are not painful.”

In addition to its clinical applications, the new technology may also create opportunities for new research endeavors. For example, the microneedle sensor arrays could be used to track changes in lactate levels while people are exercising – rather than measuring those levels only before and after exercise.

The researchers developed a proof-of-concept sensor array incorporating three types of sensors, which could measure pH, glucose and lactate. However, Narayan says the array could be modified to monitor a wide variety of chemicals.

The paper, “Multiplexed Microneedle-based Biosensor Array for Characterization of Metabolic Acidosis,” is published online in the journal Talanta. The paper was co-authored by Narayan and NC State Ph.D. students Philip Miller and Shelby Skoog as well as researchers from Sandia National Laboratories and the University of California, San Diego. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy.

December 14, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , | Leave a comment

Researchers Turn A Smart Phone Into A Medical Monitor

From the 10 October 2011 issue of Medical News Today

 team led by Ki Chon, professor and head of biomedical engineering at WPI, has developed a smart phone application that can measure not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation using the phone’s built-in video camera. The new app yields vital signs as accurate as standard medical monitors now in clinical use. Details of the new technology are reported in the paper “Physiological Parameter Monitoring from Optical Recordings with a Mobile Phone,” published online, in advance of print, by the journal IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

Read the article

October 15, 2011 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , | Leave a comment

   

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