College of Alberta researchers are teaming up with a precision-health innovator to develop a low-cost wearable sensor to assist individuals affected by persistent neurologic circumstances deal with their sickness remotely whereas decreasing the frequency and prices of hospital visits.
Hossein Rouhani, an assistant professor within the School of Engineering and first investigator within the Neuromuscular Management and Biomechanics Laboratory, mentioned health-care supplier lockdowns triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the numerous advantages of wearable gadgets that may develop digital well being care and distant affected person monitoring for a lot of completely different medical circumstances.
“We noticed how hospitals turn into a hub throughout occasions like COVID-19, so it’s higher to attenuate the variety of individuals referred to hospitals,” mentioned Rouhani. “It’s additionally the way forward for monitoring neurodegenerative ailments.”
PROTXX, which has workplaces in Calgary and Silicon Valley, developed a wearable sensor that matches behind the ear. The sensor know-how it makes use of is just like accelerometers and gyroscopes present in smartphones and tablets. These electromechanical gadgets allow non-invasive monitoring and measuring of neurological, sensory and musculoskeletal impairments.
“The proposed know-how may be life-saving for each sufferers and health-care staff, and considerably scale back direct and oblique health-care prices whereas bettering well being outcomes,” he mentioned.
Rouhani defined that his lab is liable for the event of machine studying algorithms that may flip the uncooked knowledge from the sensors into clinically related info.
Rouhani mentioned the brand new model of the gadget will likely be used to assist sufferers who’ve suffered stroke or spinal wire harm, or have a number of sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune inflammatory illness which will trigger progressive incapacity in features within the central nervous system.
“We are able to detect some physiological change within the movement sample of people with MS, and we will use it as a type of biomarker to detect the impact of MS,” he mentioned.
Not solely will MS sufferers profit from distant well being monitoring, the gadget—which additionally replaces the necessity for costly, cumbersome gear—can detect early indicators of signs akin to decreased mobility, lack of steadiness and alter in exercise stage, and talk them to health-care suppliers whereas offering sufferers with suggestions to attenuate their go to to hospitals.
Early detection is especially vital because the prevalence of MS in Canada is among the many highest reported on the earth. StatsCan studies that MS is affecting greater than 100,000 Canadians and costing the Canadian health-care system near $1 billion yearly. Furthermore, MS is on the rise in Canada, predominantly amongst girls, and is the main reason behind neurological incapacity amongst individuals aged 20 to 40.
“MS is a really high-priority on account of its excessive incidence in Alberta and throughout Canada, in addition to its excessive impression on the perform and high quality of life in individuals with MS,” mentioned Chester Ho, director of the division of bodily medication and rehabilitation, professor within the School of Medication & Dentistry and member of the Neuroscience and Psychological Well being Insititute. Ho, a co-lead investigator, will lead the testing of the gadget.
“This can be a very well timed investigation into the applying of distant personalised well being monitoring in rehabilitation medication, beginning with MS sufferers right here in Edmonton, however with important alternatives to boost health-care outcomes for different vital rehab populations akin to stroke and concussion.”
Supply: College of Alberta