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Health Monitoring Device for Women: Portable to Track Hormones and Symptoms

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In a remarkable development, scientists are actively working on a portable health monitoring device that empowers women to track and monitor their health and hormone levels effortlessly, even on the go. This groundbreaking gadget promises to identify symptoms associated with common female health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), providing timely alerts to women if their symptoms warrant a doctor’s attention.

The compact device, smaller than an iPhone, aims to comprehensively track women’s health, encompassing a range of aspects, from menstrual cycle symptoms to hormone fluctuations, mood changes, and sleep patterns. It will gather data on various fertility-related hormones, including luteinizing hormone, responsible for stimulating ovulation, and thyroid-stimulating hormone.

The pioneering project is spearheaded by Dr. Sadeque Reza Khan, an expert in biomedical devices and sensing at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and it receives funding from the Scottish Government. Dr. Khan collaborates with viO HealthTech, known for its OvuSense device providing continuous reproductive cycle monitoring, and Dr. Ruchi Gupta from the University of Birmingham, an authority in biosensor development.

Health Monitoring Device Aims to Tackle Gynecology Appointment Delays

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), there has been an alarming surge, up to 60%, in the waiting list for gynecology appointments, diagnoses, and treatments, adversely affecting over half a million female patients. A 2022 study conducted by RCOG highlighted that such delays significantly impact women’s physical and mental health, as well as their overall quality of life.

Dr. Sadeque Reza Khan elaborated on the device, stating, “We’re working on building a device that will be about half the size of an iPhone and completely portable. Women will be able to take it everywhere. They can test both blood and urine, record symptoms, and obtain the most accurate and real-time picture of their health.”

The device will wirelessly transmit crucial data to a dedicated app, enabling women to share it with gynecologists for professional evaluation. Heriot-Watt University is responsible for the hardware development and miniaturization of the device, ensuring that it is highly portable and user-friendly.

viO HealthTech, an industrial partner, introduced the OvuSense platform in 2016, offering continuous insights into the female reproductive cycle. With over 45,000 users in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, and Australia, the platform has been well-received. Rob Milnnes, CEO of viO HealthTech, emphasized that users seek personalized health information and insights to make informed decisions regarding their well-being, and this project aligns with that objective by adding targeted diagnostics to their existing monitoring system.

Dr. Ruchi Gupta from the University of Birmingham highlighted their work on a leaky waveguide (LW) biosensor capable of measuring various biomarkers, including proteins, DNA, hormones, and cells. This LW biosensor will serve as the core technology within the women’s health monitoring device, marking a pivotal step in translating their research from laboratory to practical application.

Health Monitoring

Innovation Project Poised for Accessibility and Global Impact

The project, currently in development for six months, will focus on establishing a proof of concept before progressing toward commercial availability, a process expected to span two to three years. Dr. Sadeque Reza Khan emphasized affordability and sustainability in material selection, aiming to ensure that the device is accessible to a broader demographic of women.

Heriot-Watt University is actively establishing a global research institute in health and care technologies, dedicated to expediting the adoption of innovative advancements in the field. This initiative signifies a significant milestone in their research endeavors, complemented by the expertise available through their Medical Device Manufacturing Centre (MDMC).

Professor Steve McLaughlin, Deputy Principal of Research and Impact at Heriot-Watt University, expressed enthusiasm for the project, highlighting how the new center of excellence aims to accelerate the introduction of groundbreaking technologies that have the potential to transform patient care. As academics and industry experts join forces, the next 12 months promise exciting developments that will be showcased on a global platform.


Resource: Medtechnews, December 13, 2023

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