New version of Maventy Android app

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Recently we have released the new version of the Maventy Android app available at Google Play

More information

childhealth.maventy.org is a free application to track child malnutrition online. We offer data storage, a history view, reports, nutrition recommendations and search through secured access from anywhere (including mobile phones).

Our software provides z-scores and percentiles for basic anthropometric measures such as weight, height, head circumference and weight for height, based on a child’s vital statistics. The results are calibrated against World Health Organization (WHO) standards (link).

We also have a mobile application that volunteers can use offline in remote villages. This tool uploads data to the main database whenever the connection to the internet is available.

Maventy’s mission is to save lives, and improve health and quality of life through the most modern ways of prevention and early intervention. See maventy.org.

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Reverse innovation in mHealth. Innovating in emerging countries to impact in the global market.

Recently, doctors in Austria implanted into a patient the first pacemaker which does not require surgery. Medtronic says it is the smallest pacemaker in the world. The device is 24 millimeters long and 0.75 cubic centimeters in volume—a tenth the size of a conventional pacemaker. Earlier this year, another device manufacturer, St. Jude Medical, bought a startup called Nanostim that makes another tiny pacemaker, and St. Jude is offering it to patients in Europe. This device is 41 millimeters long and one cubic centimeter in volume. The main advantage of the reduced dimesions of this pacemaker is that doctors can implant it into the heart through blood vessels, via an incision in the thigh. They use steerable, flexible tubes called catheters to push the pacemakers through a large vein.

Moreover the novel features of this pacemaker extend beyond its innovative implantation. The mini-pacemaker’s telemetry might facilitate a development in the future that would allow healthcare professionals to control the device and monitor patients using a standard programmer via smartphones, thereby providing individual treatment to patients in the most rural of areas. –

Why did Medtronic start working on this?. This post at the Harvard Business Review addresses the topic very well. It explains how Medtronic started working on this tiny pacemaker to fit the requirements of emerging markets such as India. Eventually, they come up with an innovative product for the global market.

Sixty-nine percent of deaths in the developing world are due to chronic disease, yet only 2.3% of international aid is allocated to chronic disease. In the United States, hospitalization of chronic disease patients accounts for the majority of health care costs. But innovation in managing chronic disease is happening faster in emerging markets such as India as a result of the scarcity of physicians.

At this point, few specialists are actually trained to monitor this device, or other Medtronic devices. In addition, the fragmentation of India’s healthcare system means that clinical outcomes aren’t monitored and evaluated in a standardized way. This increases the potential for device failure, and personal-injury lawsuits — a serious concern for Medtronic in a market with millions of customers. Medtronic recently paid $268 million to settle cases stemming from fracture-prone cables used to connect hearts to defibrillators, which earlier recalls could have avoided.

But Medtronic anticipated these institutional voids in the healthcare regulatory system. To preempt poor clinical-outcome monitoring, Medtronic placed passive remote sensors in the stent and pacemaker that transmit signals via any mobile handset to a cloud computing infrastructure — “patient care in the cloud.” The technology is being adapted for remote monitoring and adjustment of other products, including neuromodulators for Parkinson’s patients, and glucose modules.

At this point, few specialists are actually trained to monitor this device, or other Medtronic devices. In addition, the fragmentation of India’s healthcare system means that clinical outcomes aren’t monitored and evaluated in a standardized way. This increases the potential for device failure, and personal-injury lawsuits — a serious concern for Medtronic in a market with millions of customers. Medtronic recently paid $268 million to settle cases stemming from fracture-prone cables used to connect hearts to defibrillators, which earlier recalls could have avoided.

Actually, this process is known from some time ago as reverse innovation :

The process of reverse innovation begins by focusing on needs and requirements for low-cost products in countries like India and China. Once products are developed for these markets, they are then sold elsewhere – even in the West – at low prices which creates new markets and uses for these innovations.

We can see it as another consequence of globalization, medical device innovators have been embracing the notion of making products simpler, stripping out costs to make devices affordable for those who have very little income, and adapting devices to make them invaluable for healthcare professionals who don’t have the state-of-the-art facilities of a Western hospital. For sure, we will continue to see this process in the coming years.

Stephen Oesterle, Medtronic’s Vice President for Medicine and Technology, announced the development of the mini-pacemaker at the 2010 TEDMED

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#brainmonth hangout

#brainmonth hangout poster
The EC has promoted May 2013 as the European Month of the Brain “a full month packed with events and activities to make decision-makers, stakeholders, the media and the public aware of the successes achieved and the challenges still laying ahead for brain research.”

Personally, I had the opportunity to attend the European Brain Research conference in Brussels a few weeks ago. It was a great opportunity to listen relevant scientics, researchers, policymaker and companies discussing about the future and next challengues of the brain research.

To wrap up the #brainmonth a Google Hangout was hold yesterday and I was kindly asked to participate on it (thank again to EC for the invitation).

And here is the video of the hangout:

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European Brain Research

European Brain Research logo

The European Commission decided to make May 2013 the European Month of the Brain (#brainmonth). Events and activities are planned across Europe to increase the profile of all brain diseases and to contribute to the development of plans addressing these extremely important societal challenges. Two key events will be organized by the EC during the European Month of the Brain 2013:

  • A conference to showcase European projects in the field and outline future scientific challenges titled: European brain research. Successes and New Challenges– Brussels, 14 May 201
  • A conference on European foresight policy for brain research and healthcare organised under the Irish EU Presidency and titled: Healthy brain: healthy Europe A new horizon for brain research and health care – Dublin 27-28 May 2013.

 

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the European brain research in Brussels. The objectives of the conference were to showcase and raise awareness about benefits, added value and impact of EU-supported research in the area of brain research and healthcare and to define the next scientific challenges for brain research (in particular in the fields of understanding how the brain works, disease prevention, diagnosis and therapy of brain diseases, and industry-driven research). Actually, it was a very inspiring event. The high level of all the speakers as well as the diversity in the background of all of them i.e. scientists, laypeople, industry and patient representatives, policymakers and media made an interesting mix. I would like to highlight to great initiatives promoted by European institutions presented during the Brain conference. Both of them are leading the brain research and I’m pretty sure they would have a huge impact on the coming decades:

The Human Brain project. It is one of two ten-year one billion Euro Flagship Projects recently approved by the European Commission. As its website states:

The end result [of the Human Brain Project] will be not just a new understanding of the brain but transformational new ICT. As modern computers exploit ever-higher numbers of parallel computing elements, they face a power wall: power consumption rises with the number of processors, potentially to unsustainable levels. By contrast, the brain manages billions of processing units connected via kilometres of fibres and trillions of synapses, while consuming no more power than a light bulb. Understanding how it does this – the way it computes reliably with unreliable elements, the way the different elements of the brain communicate – can provide the key not only to a completely new category of hardware (Neuromorphic Computing Systems) but to a paradigm shift for computing as a whole, moving away from current models of “bit precise” computing towards new techniques that exploit the stochastic behaviour of simple, very fast, low-power computing devices embedded in intensely recursive architectures. The economic and industrial impact of such a shift is potentially enormous.

In short, the goal of the Human Brain Project is to build a completely new ICT infrastructure for future neuroscience, future medicine and future computing that will catalyse a global collaborative effort to understand the human brain and its diseases and ultimately to emulate its computational capabilities.

International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility . They lead a very interesting projects such as the Allen Brain Atlas and thethe Digital Atlasing Program. Brain modellign is one of the most promising fields for the future. It will have a deep impact both on the medical and on the computer science field.

NCF develops collaborative neuroinformatics infrastructure and promotes the sharing of data and computing resources to the international research community. Neuroinformatics integrates information across all levels and scales of neuroscience to help understand the brain and treat disease.

What is the purpose of the INCF? Our mission is to facilitate the work of neuroscientists around the world, and to catalyze and coordinate the global development of neuroinformatics. We also aim to foster scientific interaction through information flow within our global network; valuate neuroinformatics activities and infrastructures; and to facilitate training in neuroinformatics.

How is the INCF funded? INCF is funded by contributions from its member countries, based on gross domestic expenditures on research and development (GERD). Karolinska Institutet and the Royal Institute of Technology are the host institutions of INCF. Further support is also received from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and the National Science Foundation.

Some tweets about the conference:

 

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PERFORM: “Nuevos sensores para ayudar a los enfermos de Parkinson.”

PERFORM project at Madri+d

Note de prensa del proyecto PERFORM que ha aparecido en diferentes medios:

Madri+d, redpacientes.com, abc.es, upm.es, tendencias21.net, fayerwayer.com, rtunoticias.com, isaude.net, iies.com, techtechboom.com, liveconexion.blogspot.com.es, es.globedia.com, techtechboom.com. edicionesmedicas.com.ar

El proyecto PERFORM, coordinado por el grupo Life Supporting Technologies de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, persigue mover el hospital a la casa del paciente, e incluso a la ropa del paciente, por medio de dispositivos conocidos como sensores “vestibles”. Las señales recogidas con estos sensores se envían diariamente a un PC instalado en el propio hogar donde se procesan de forma automática para detectar y cuantificar los síntomas del enfermo. Una vez hecho esto, la información se envía al hospital y se genera un informe diario que alertará al médico en caso de que se detecte algún valor anómalo.

Imagen del prototipo de la red de sensores utilizados durante las pruebas del proyecto PERFORM. Autor: Life Supporting Technologies
El envejecimiento de la población en los países desarrollados se ha convertido en una preocupación permanente. Más allá de su dimensión estrictamente demográfica, el envejecimiento preocupa por sus efectos sociales, políticos y económicos. Y es que, aunque vivimos más años, pasamos más tiempo enfermos. Muchas de las enfermedades crónicas con mayor prevalencia en España suelen comenzar a mostrar sus primeros síntomas a partir de los 40-50 años de edad.

Estos cambios han hecho necesario el desarrollo de nuevas estrategias que, por una parte, permitan a los pacientes gestionar su propia enfermedad; y, por otra parte, que ayude a los profesionales clínicos a gestionar este tipo de enfermedades de una forma más efectiva y precisa ofreciéndoles información objetiva que les ayude a tomar mejores decisiones en el diagnóstico y que les facilite el seguimiento clínico de sus pacientes. Es aquí donde las nuevas tecnologías pueden aportar un gran valor. Concretamente, las Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (TIC) han logrado que el campo sanitario se haya visto especialmente beneficiado con dispositivos más pequeños y potentes que hacen que la monitorización y el seguimiento de los enfermos sean mucho más sencillos y automáticos. El desafío, de cara a su generalización, estriba en disponer de aparatos económicamente asequibles para los consumidores.

Desde el punto de vista puramente tecnológico para lograr este objetivo los mayores retos que hay que afrontar son dos: conseguir que la tecnología sea transparente al usuario y gestionar toda la información que se genera de forma inteligente. El sistema PERFORM llega a generar 2 Gigabytes de información por paciente y semana si el paciente viste los sensores una media de 8 horas al día. Revisar semejante cantidad de información diariamente es físicamente imposible, por esta razón uno de los principales desafíos fue el diseño de herramientas de minería de datos que se encargan de hacer ese trabajo. La información obtenida se utiliza para crear una herramienta de ayuda a la decisión para profesionales que les ayude a gestionar toda la información que se genera, crear un perfil de la enfermedad por cada pacientes y finalmente lograr la personalización del tratamiento para cada uno de ellos.

Prototipo de sensores de monitorización del proyecto PERFORM. Autor: Life Supporting Technologies
Tras cuatro años de investigación, y tres estudios pilotos realizados con más de 100 pacientes en hospitales de España, Italia y Grecia los resultados positivos invitan a ser optimistas y pensar en el despliegue de este tipo de sistemas en los próximos años.

El proyecto europeo PERFORM (A soPhisticatEd multi-paRametric system FOR the continuous effective assessment and Monitoring of motor status in Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases) es un proyecto de investigación europeo parcialmente financiado por la Comisión Europea a través del Programa Marco FP7 y coordinado por el grupo Life Supporting Technologies de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. El Consorcio del proyecto incluye Universidades, hospitales, PYMES y grandes empresas de España, Italia, Reino Unido, Polonia, Chipre y Grecia. Dicho proyecto ha dado lugar a diversas publicaciones entre las que cabe destacar:

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Mobile Systems as a Challenge for Neurological Diseases Management – The Case of Parkinson’s Disease

Book cover: Diagnostics and Rehabilitation of Parkinson's Disease

Este es el título del capitulo del libro Diagnostics and Rehabilitation of Parkinson’s Disease del que soy coautor y que ha sido publicado este mes bajo licencia Creative Commons – Attribution, Non Commercial, Share Alike por Intech.

Aquí está el enlace al capítulo.

Source: Diagnostics and Rehabilitation of Parkinson’s Disease
ISBN 978-953-307-791-8
Edited by: Juliana Dushanova
Publisher: InTech, December 2011

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