Posts Tagged ‘personal health’

The yealthlife team has been lagging on updating its blog, we apologize to our followers. There’s a reason for this though, the yealthlife team works in a project of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Comission, and we just got done, a little over a week ago, with a technical review at Clinica Universitaria de Navarra, a well known clinic in Pamplona, Spain.

The project (www.perform-project.com) is about developing a comprehensive platform for the management of Parkinson’s disease patients. This includes a set of wearable motion sensors and a wide range of algorithms. The latter are used to identify and assess the severity of motor symptoms, profile the symptom’s patterns of appearance in each patient, keep track of the evolution of the disease and suggest better treatment regimes based on all this information and on the medication intake schedule of each patient.

One of the areas of the Information Society Technologies, one of the areas in which the European Commission invests heavily, consists in optimizing patient care processes for chronic diseases that are expensive to manage through the development of IT systems capable of constantly monitoring the status of the patient, generating alerts and providing advice to physicians on how to improve treatments.

Investing in optimizing healthcare related processes by taking advantage of Information Technologies seems to be a requirement for the long term sustainability of most of today’s healthcare systems. Both the cost and the number of people affected by chronic diseases have been, and will continue to be on the rise, for a long time.

Yealthlife comes into play in a similar niche, as it is similar to PERFORM in the way that both consist on integrating a technological platform (sensors, smart software, communications) to optimize care and improve quality of life for patients. The main difference is that PERFORM has been mainly envisioned as a R&D project, while yealthlife has been thought as going into the market right away, a more pragmatic approach. It’s also a big difference that PERFORM is limited to the frame of motor neurodegenerative diseases (i.e. Parkinson’s, ALS) while yealthlife is a comprehensive platform that addresses a variety sensors, a wide range of chronic diseases and the lifestyle of the user in general, even if he or she is not ill.

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Una parte muy importante del futuro de la medicina y la salud no se podrá ver a simple vista.  Desde hace décdas el sector tecnológico lucha por conseguir dispositivos que ofrezcan más funcionalidades, que cuesten menos, que ocupen menos espacio y que consuman menos.

La solución a todos estas necesidades surge es la tecnología de MEMS:

Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) is the integration of mechanical elements, sensors, actuators, and electronics on a common silicon substrate through microfabrication technology. While the electronics are fabricated using integrated circuit (IC) process sequences (e.g., CMOS, Bipolar, or BICMOS processes), the micromechanical components are fabricated using compatible “micromachining” processes that selectively etch away parts of the silicon wafer or add new structural layers to form the mechanical and electromechanical devices.

En resumen, los MEMS son pequeños dispositivos, en la escala de las micras y de los nanometros que funcionan como auténticos dispositivos electro mecánicos de tamaño natural. Este tipo de dispositivos combinados con la microfluídica permiten elaborar complejos dispositivos para por ejemplo análisis clínico, lo que se denomina el lab-on-a-chip:


Design, fabrication and cell-handling of microfluidic device for single cell electroporation

En este video se muestra un dispositivo MEMS que permite la realización de la  electroporación en una célula individual. La electroporación es un significativo aumento de la conductividad eléctrica y la permeabilidad de la membrana plasmática celular causado por un campo eléctrico aplicado externamente. Es habitual en biología molecular como forma de introducción de diferentes sustancias en células, como por ejemplo sondas moleculares, un fármaco que puede cambiar las funciones celulares o un fragmento de DNA codificante, como puede ser un plásmido.


DNA microarrays

Otro uso de los MEMS y la microfluídica es la de manejar dispositivos como estos microarrays en los que con una sola gota de sangre se puede estudiar la expresión o no de determinados genes.


DNA Lab on a Chip

Researchers at Duke University foresee devices no bigger than a wristwatch replacing the table-top sized machinery now used for monitoring enzymes in the bloodstream or measuring harmful chemicals in the environment. Learn more athttp://research.duke.edu/microfluidic/.

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