December 13-15, 2018

MedTech Impact 2018

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Las Vegas, NV

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Tag Archives: smartphones

Smartphone Apps Help Identify and Treat Atrial Fibrillation

The accelerometers built into most smartphones can identify atrial fibrillation (Afib). Known as gyrocardiography, this method is now known to compete with electrocardiography (ECG) for detecting Afib in many use cases, particularly letting patients assess their own heart rhythms without relying on additional devices beyond smartphones that nearly everyone now has.

According to Finnish researchers at the University of Turku and the Heart Centre of the Turku University Hospital, they began with specialized, stand-alone sensors attached to the skin. As processing software improved and accelerometers within smartphones became more sensitive, they were able to translate all the technology into a smartphone app.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common heart rhythm disorder, and significantly increases the risk of stroke and death. One in every four middle-aged adults in Europe and the US will develop atrial fibrillation, and the incidence and prevalence are continuously rising.

“Around two-thirds of people in Europe and the US have a mobile device and use it as their main way of accessing online information,” says Dr. Dipak Kotecha, a clinician scientist in cardiovascular medicine at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, UK. “This presents a big opportunity to improve self management and shared decision making in atrial fibrillation.”

In a related development, the My AF app and AF Manager app were developed by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines Task Force on Atrial Fibrillation and the CATCH ME.

My AF offers data to patients with atrial fibrillation concerning the condition of stroke, the risk involved, atrial fibrillation treatments, and tips on improving lifestyle. Patients can record symptoms and quality of life in a personal journal, which can subsequently be shared with a health professional before consultations.

Dr. Kotecha states, “The app aims to encourage active patient involvement in the management of their condition. There is evidence that patient education can improve self-care, adherence to therapy, and long-term outcomes.”

AF Manager targeted towards doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals is in the final stages of approval. “AF Manager imports information shared by the patient and allows the healthcare professional to amend details and enter other medical information, such as electrocardiogram or echocardiography data.


Wireless Wearables: Potential to Predict Disease 

A recent study at the 2016 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons confirms the burgeoning theory that wearable health technology, an innovation that has progressively gained traction in medical and consumer arenas, can positively affect healthcare and patients’ wellness. Moreover, researchers have found that data from smartwatches have the capabilities to both detect—and even predict—the onset of disease.

Because a large segment of the population utilizes smartwatches, an enormous amount of data and metrics portray a more comprehensive overview of health, as opposed to a solitary visit to the doctor. Researchers from Stanford University conducted a study during which they gave participants smartwatches, and subsequently analyzed almost a year of the data. Measurements included skin temperature, heart rate, and data collected from sleep.

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Smartphones: Accurately Testing Sperm Count

Smartphones now have the capability to accurately test for sperm count, led by a team of researchers at Harvard who work on developing new tools for patient care. According to the World Health Organization, low sperm count is one of the primary markers for male infertility, which is a globally neglected health issue.

The scientists have developed a rapid infertility diagnostic tool that attaches to a smartphone; the attachment itself is compatible with an app created to count the numbers of sperm and measure motility: markers for infertility. While the team at Harvard is not the first to develop an at-home fertility test designed for men, they are the first to successfully determine sperm concentration in addition to motility.

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