Life signs will be heard from the top of the world

October 3, 2006

In these days when information can travel across the world in a heartbeat, a pulse will travel across the world just as quickly.

A new tele-health device designed and developed at the University of Alberta will make sure that researchers in Edmonton can monitor climber Martin Lebeuf's every heartbeat as he climbs Mount Kilimanjaro. Lebeuf, an employee with the Canadian Space Agency, will be tackling the 4,600-metre mountain in November for an Arthritis Society fundraising. He's excited about the possibilities posed by the watch-sized contraption.

"I think if we could prove that this will work, it will open the door for many applications. I've been in Nunavut several times, and I see a lot of applications for that, for remote communities," said Lebeuf. "There might be some application for people with medical conditions who want to do some outdoor activities but are scared of being away from home. Also, I can foresee interesting implications in space. You never know."

The device, a wireless wearable physiological monitor (WWPM), can be used to track and transmit a patient's vital signs to his or her physician or other health-care provider over the Internet. Using leading-edge sensor technology it can provide information about the wearer's physical state, such as blood pressure and pulse. It will also alert health-care providers when intervention is needed or to prompt patients to take necessary actions (i.e. reminder to take medications).

Dr. Masako Miyazaki, principal investigator on the WWPM from the U of A Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, said developers are especially proud of the gadget's simplicity.

"Capital Health was very helpful is creating a system that is user-friendly, without too many wires, so elderly patients can use it and stay the rest of their lives in their own homes and communities," she said. "The fact that it's designed like a watch, means it's wearable. It's something even patients with dementia will not remove - anything that feels different, like a ring or necklace, they try to remove it."

Preliminary testing with patients has received positive feedback, said Miyazaki.

"Users are very happy that it's not intrusive, and they get peace of mind. We're very, very proud that, behind this simplistic device a lot of sophisticated technology has been embedded. This is just the beginning. This is going to continue to become smaller and sophisticated."

Development of the WWPM was a model of interdisciplinary work, said Miyazaki, with help from U of A computer sciences and electrical engineering experts, Capital Health and Japan's Sapporo Medical University.

Lebeuf will also carry with him a wireless station, which will collect data from the wristwatch monitor, and a satellite telephone, which will send the data back to Edmonton.

"This is the only tele-health device, to my knowledge, that allows a hospital to communicate with a patient in a remote location," he said. "I think it's absolutely incredible to have this kind of technology developed here in Canada."

Source: University of Alberta

Explore further: Early study shows shoe attachment can help stroke patients improve their gait

Related Stories

Early study shows shoe attachment can help stroke patients improve their gait

December 14, 2017
A new device created at the University of South Florida – and including a cross-disciplinary team of experts from USF engineering, physical therapy and neurology – is showing early promise for helping correct the signature ...

High success rate reported for diabetic Charcot foot surgery

December 14, 2017
Nearly four out of five diabetic patients with severe cases of a disabling condition called Charcot foot were able to walk normally again following surgery, a Loyola Medicine study has found.

Straight from the patient's mouth: Videos can clearly state your end-of-life wishes

December 8, 2017
For years, Wendy Forman, considered how to make her wishes known if she became horribly ill and couldn't speak for herself.

New study shows patients need help understanding online test results

December 13, 2017
Although patients increasingly use online portals to access their test results, do they really understand what the results mean for their health and what steps they should take next? To help explore this question, researchers ...

Deadly heart rhythm halted by noninvasive radiation therapy

December 13, 2017
Radiation therapy often is used to treat cancer patients. Now, doctors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have shown that radiation therapy—aimed directly at the heart—can be used to treat patients ...

Clinical trial reveals risky clot busters do not benefit most patients suffering from deep vein thrombosis

December 11, 2017
A clinical trial almost 10 years in the making has revealed that risky, but powerful, clot busting drugs and medical devices do not improve outcomes for patients experiencing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), nor do they prevent ...

Recommended for you

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.