Health special: Towards a healthier 2015
From finding a vaccine for dengue to developing a wireless pacemaker, or taking wearable gadgets to a whole new level, 2014 saw several health innovations. the guide reveals some of the progress made this year that will make it a healthier 2015
Wearables to play a significant role
Wearable gadgets are finally taken seriously and will become more useful in the coming years, thanks to new advancements in wearable technology, believes Dr Pradeep Gadge, consultant diabetologist at Shreya Diabetes Care Centre, Borivali. We already saw the Moto 360 this year. Now, keeping in mind that 2015 will see the launch of several new such wearables including Apple’s iWatch, finally; this segment could play a larger, life-changing role. “While these technologies shouldn’t replace specialised care, wearable gadgets will help improve awareness and in early diagnosis of lifestyle diseases,” adds Gadge.
1 Dengue fever vaccine
We may soon have a vaccine for dengue fever at hand. A Paris-based company, Sanofi, has claimed to have developed and tested the world’s first dengue vaccine. The vaccine is expected to be submitted to the regularity groups soon, and may become available commercially by the end of 2015.
2 A wireless pacemaker
Developed by St Jude Medical, Minnesota, US, the wireless pacemaker, called Nanostim, is smaller than AAA battery. It reduces the risk of infection and doesn’t require surgery. The clinical trials (year-long) on humans showed promising results and may be available, commercially by end of 2015.
Log on to: sjm.com
3 Aina Device
Created by a US-based start-up, Jana Care, and funded by Grand Challenges Canada, Aina is a mobile device that turns any smartphone into a basic blood analyser, enabling lay users as well as health care professionals to measure blood glucose and five other basic blood parameters. The device and platform also integrates decision support and lifestyle tracking tools with a web-based patient management system for remote physician feedback. The device is expected to be available in the market in late 2015.
Log on to: janacare.com
4 One-drop blood test
Theranos, a young company started by 30-year-old Elizabeth Holmes, a Stanford dropout, recently unveiled its revolutionary blood-testing method, that can conduct 30 blood tests from standard cholesterol checks to sophisticated genetic analyses using just one drop of blood. The results are supposed to be faster, more accurate and far cheaper than alternate methods, and most importantly, this test doesn’t require a patient to give vials of blood.
“Keeping an eye on your food habits may now be easier, thanks to BitBite, a smart ear clip that can track, analyse and inform you about what you are eating,” says Dr Pradeep V Gadge, consultant diabetologist at Shreya Diabetes Care Centre, Borivali.
Currently under funding at indiegogo.com, BitBite contains a microphone and additional sensors that record, analyse and report eating habits, and if you are exceeding your goals, it warns you automatically, adds Dr Gadge.
Price: $119 (on indiegogo.com)
A modern version of the stethoscope, though much louder and accurate, Stethee helps everyone, be it a health professional or a homemaker, listen and understand the functioning of heart. Besides, its wireless functionality also allows one to share the data to a medical doctor in case of emergency. Currently seeking funds via Kickstarter, the device is expected to be available commercially by late 2015.
Mobile Stroke Unit
Developed by Cleveland Clinic, a US-based non-profit academic medical research organisation, the Mobile Stroke Unit looks like an ambulance from outside, but inside carries a proper set-up that can help save lives of people who suffer through stroke. Now, considering the soaring mercury levels in India in summer, it’s an alternative worth looking at.
The Bionic Eye
The Bionic Eye, which helps people with degenerative diseases like retinitis pigmentosa see light, saw several successful uses in the US. Though, the device doesn’t restore eyesight, it helps one see light and silhouettes, thus helping people navigate better. 2015 could see several new improvements on similar lines.