Medication-free treatment for depression launches in the UK

Flow, a medical device company, launches a medication-free treatment for depression comprising a brain stimulation headset and therapy app. In Europe, Flow is classified as a Class IIa medical deviceintended for use as a treatment for depression and was certified by BSI’s Netherlands notified body. It is the first approved treatment of its kind in Europe available to buy and use at home. Randomised controlled trials published in theNew England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that brain stimulation, of the type used in the Flow headset, had a similar impact to antidepressants but with fewer and less-severe side effects.1,2,3

Flow is starting talks with the NHS to have its brain stimulation headset available on prescription. In 2019, Flow will also be working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to seek regulatory clearance in the U.S.

People diagnosed with depression often have a lower neural activity in their left frontal lobe, the part of the brain controlling important cognitive skills, including emotional expression. The Flow headset uses transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), a form of neurostimulation that delivers constant, low direct current via electrodes on the head to stimulate neurons in this area and help rebalance activity.  The brain stimulation delivered in the Flow headset is technically and clinically equivalent to devices used in these randomised controlled trials.

“By combining tDCS with behavioural therapy, the Flow team has created a powerful medical device treatment. I have seen first-hand the possibilities this technique has in providing a treatment for unipolar depression without the several adverse effects associated with pharmacological therapies,” said Andre Russowsky Brunoni, Psychiatrist, Associate Professor at the University of São Paulo Medical School and co-author of the New England Journal of Medicine andBritish Journal of Psychiatry study.

Treatment typically lasts for 30 minutes per session, with 18 sessions over 6 weeks. Continued treatment is then possible for 1-2 sessions per week.

During brain stimulation, users engage with a virtual therapist, via an app. This features videos and advice about depression, and how to reduce symptoms, using recent expert knowledge from the fields of sleep, nutrition, fitness and meditation.

“We want to support the improvement of the current standard of care for people living with depression by increasing treatment choice and empowering patients to self-manage their symptoms at home with effective, non-pharmacological, alternatives,” said Daniel Mansson, Co-Founder and CEO of Flow.

Depression statistics

Over 300 million people of all ages and genders suffer from depression, and it is the leading cause of disability worldwideaffecting more women than men.5 Nearly one in four adults in the UK are affected by a mental illness.6 Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.7 The economic costs of mental illness in England is estimated at £105.2 billion annually.8 And one in three work sickness notes handed out by GPs are for mental health reasons, including depression.9

About the clinical evidence1,2,3,4

In one randomised controlled trial (RCT), 245 patients diagnosed with unipolar depression were randomly assigned to three groups. The first group were assigned to the antidepressant escitalopram (n=91), the second to tDCS (n=94) and the third to a placebo (n=60). The primary outcome measure was the change in the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS-17) score (range, 0 to 52, with higher scores indicating more depression). Within the study, 24% of patients using tDCS completely overcame their depression. 41% found that at least half of their symptoms disappeared after 6 weeks, whilst 47% of patients taking antidepressants found that at least half of their symptoms disappeared in the same period.1 And in the largest review of its kind, with over 33,000 stimulation sessions, it was concluded that tDCS did not produce any serious adverse effects or irreversible injuries.3

In a meta analysis from 2016 comprising 6 RCT studies (n=289) it was shown that 23% of patients using tDCS completely overcame their depression whilst 34% found that at least half of their symptoms disappeared.2

And a recently published systematic review and network meta-analysis examining brain stimulation for the acute treatment of major depressive episodes in adults concluded that “we found tDCS to be efficacious across outcomes in both pairwise and network meta-analyses. Given that tDCS tends to be a less expensive treatment than transcranial magnetic stimulation, ECT, or psychotherapy, this finding is particularly relevant for policy makers who might consider tDCS as a clinical therapy outside the research setting.”4

Those considering using Flow should have a diagnosis of depression and consult with their GP or healthcare professional beforehand. Individuals should not stop their current treatment for depression but seek advice from their GP or healthcare professional before making any changes to their current treatment protocol. Flow is not recommended for certain groups, including pregnant women and people under 18 years of age. For more information, click here.

Based in Sweden, Flow was developed by clinical psychologist Daniel Mansson and neuroscientist Erik Rehn, together with a team of prominent researchers in the field of psychiatry and brain stimulation.

The Flow headset retails at £399 and can be purchased here. The Flow virtual therapy app, available on iOS, is free and can be downloaded here.

Biotechnology Disruptors Report – 2019

Chicago, IL: PreScouter, a Chicago-based research intelligence company, has released a detailed report on the recent advances in biotechnology and how these advances are helping promote better treatments of disease and slow down the aging process. With the biotechnology sector expected to reach nearly 727 billion USD by 2025 and with the enormous number of advances in the field every month, PreScouter identifies in this report which innovations are particularly likely to have an impact in the next 5 to 10 years and what groups are powering these discoveries.

Dr. Vidhya Sivakumaran, the author of the report, notes that while advances in biotechnology open up the treatment and even the cure of chronic disease, “one of the current barriers facing biotechnology moving forward is purely logistical; a number of steps in the research process face logistical hurdles which have yet to be overcome by the development of novel processes.” By providing both a scientific and business perspective on the industry, this report highlights what these logistic barriers are and how they may be overcome by the cutting-edge research happening today.

The report first highlights advances in cell therapies and gene editing and their potential in slowing down the aging process and curing disease. The second part addresses the challenges faced in curing diseases and advancing health, exploring areas such as the microbiome, nano-scale therapies, and personalized medicine. The report includes an exclusive interview with Dr. Trevor Martin, CEO of Mammoth Biosciences, a biotechnology company specializing in developing CRISPR-based diagnostic tools. According to Dr. Martin, he sees “CRISPR systems becoming the platform for a wide variety of applications beyond gene editing over the next 5-10 years.”

“Biotechnology may lead to the creation of new tissue for transplantation, cell, and gene therapies which may lead to cures for chronic diseases and even a treatment for aging,” notes Dr. Sivakumaran. However, improvements in the underlying science are required to power these discoveries, adds Sivakumaran. PreScouter presents this report to serve as a robust primer, highlighting potentially disruptive advances in the field of biotechnology. The report comes as the first chapter of a series of  “disruptors” reports PreScouter will be releasing successively.

About PreScouter, Inc.: PreScouter provides research support services to help business leaders make better R&D, product development, and corporate development decisions. PreScouter’s custom-selected teams of Advanced Degree Researchers and Industrial Experts connect business leaders with new markets, commercializable technologies, industry-impacting startups, and other actionable data. PreScouter’s growing list of 500+ clients includes GE Healthcare, Coca-Cola, BAE Systems, Clorox, and Volvo. For more info, please visit www.prescouter.com.

NICE publishes final recommendation for Almirall’s ILUMETRI®▼ (Tildrakizumab), as a cost-effective option for adults with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis

  • Dermatologists in the UK now have an additional biologic treatment option and suitable patients can be considered for treatment with ILUMETRI® (Tildrakizumab)
  • Tildrakizumab is a high-affinity humanized monoclonal antibody that inhibits the p19 subunit of IL-231, that has demonstrated lasting efficacy and safety through 3 years according to the positive results of a pooled analysis2 of two phase III clinical trials
  • Tildrakizumab was approved by the European Commission in September 2018, is already available in Germany and is due to be marketed in all EU Member states
  • ILUMETRI® received a provisional approval from NICE on March 8th 2019

Almirall, S.A. (ALM)

announced today that the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, in the UK) has published its final guidance approving ILUMETRI® (Tildrakizumab), a humanized, high-affinity IL-23p19 monoclonal antibody, for treating adult patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who are candidates for systemic therapy.1 Following a single health technology assessment submission to NICE in August 2018 and the subsequent questions for clarification and appraisal committee meetings, NICE completed their assessment of Tildrakizumab and has recommended Tildrakizumab as a cost effective treatment option for the  NHS for the patients specified in the Final Appraisal Determination (FAD).

Tildrakizumab is a high affinity, humanised, IgG1 K antibody targeting interleukin IL 23 p19 that represents an evolving treatment strategy in chronic plaque psoriasis.3 Tildrakizumab constitutes an important step forward in the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic plaque psoriasis.3

Tildrakizumab is administered by subcutaneous injection. Its convenient dosing regimen, every 3 months during maintenance, could offer convenience and quality of life for patients, potentially achieving an improved treatment satisfaction.4 The low frequency of injections, only 4 doses per year during maintenance, may also encourage adherence.

Almirall in-licensed Tildrakizumab from Sun Pharma Global FZE (Sun Pharma) in May 2016. The agreement is for commercialization of ILUMETRI® (Tildrakizumab) in Europe. It was approved by the European Commission in September 2018, is already available in Germany and is due to be marketed in all EU Member states.

 

Approval based on reSURFACE 1 and reSURFACE 2 phase III trials positive results

Its approval in Europe is based on reSURFACE 1 and 23 positive results, with the dose of 100mg. Both pivotal phase III clinical trials, which included over 1,800 patients from more than 200 clinical sites worldwide, showed that Tildrakizumab offers clinically meaningful benefits over time, which is promising news for patients and physicians.3

According to both studies’ data, an average of 62% of patients achieved 75% of skin clearance (Psoriasis Area Sensitivity Index or PASI 75) by week 12 and an average of 77% at week 28 after only three doses. Moreover, an average of 54% of patients treated with Tildrakizumab 100mg achieved PASI 90 and an average of 23% reached PASI 100 at week 28; while an average of 58% of patients treated with Tildrakizumab 200mg achieved PASI 90 and an average of 29% reached PASI 200 at week 28.5

The results of a pooled analysis through 3 yearsfrom reSURFACE 1 and reSURFACE 2 phase III trials3 show the consistent maintenance of efficacy and safety over 3 years of Tildrakizumab in patients with moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis who were responders at week 28. According to the data, PASI 75 responses were maintained with continued treatment with Tildrakizumab in 9 out of 10 patients up to week 148.3,4 More than 50% of patients reported that psoriasis no longer affected their lives after only 3 doses.1,3,4 Tildrakizumab was well-tolerated with very low drug-related serious adverse events and discontinuation rates.1,2

 

About Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic immune disease that appears on the skin. It affects an estimated 7.8 million adults in Europe and approximately 125 million people worldwide.6 It is a non-contagious disorder that accelerates the growth cycle of skin cells and results in thick scaly areas of skin. The most common form of psoriasis, called plaque psoriasis, appears as red, raised areas of skin covered with flaky white scales, which may be itchy and painful and can crack and bleed. Despite different treatment options existing, many people with plaque psoriasis continue to struggle with the ongoing, persistent nature of this chronic disease.

About Almirall

Almirall is a leading skin-health focused global pharmaceutical company that partners with healthcare professionals, applying Science to provide medical solutions to patients and future generations. Our efforts are focused on fighting against skin health diseases and helping people feel and look their best. We support healthcare professionals by continuous improvement, bringing our innovative solutions where they are needed.

 

The company, founded more than 75 years ago with headquarters in Barcelona, is listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange (ticker: ALM). Almirall has been key in value creation to society according to its commitment with major shareholders and through its decision to help others, to understand their challenges and to use Science to provide solutions for real life. Total revenues in 2018 were 811 million euros. More than 1,800 employees are devoted to Science.

 

For more information, please visit almirall.com

 

References

1. ILUMETRI® Summary of Product Characteristics. Available at: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/product/9819  Accessed: February 2019

2. Thaçi D, Iversen L, Pau-Charles I, Rozzo S, Blauvelt A, Reich K. Long-term efficacy and safety of Tildrakizumab in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis who were responders at week 28: pooled analysis through 3 years (148 weeks) from reSURFACE 1 and reSURFACE 2 phase 3 trials. EADV 2018

3. Reich K, et al. Tildrakizumab versus placebo or etanercept for chronic plaque psoriasis (reSURFACE 1 and reSURFACE 2): Results from two randomized controlled, phase 3 trials. Lancet 2017; 390: 276-88

4. Thaci D, et al. Long-term efficacy and safety of Tildrakizumab in patients with moderate-to-severe psoriasis who were responders at week 28: pooled analysis through 3 years (148 weeks) from reSURFACE 1 and reSURFACE 2 phase 3 trials. 27th EADV Congress. 12-16 September 2018. Paris, France

5. Kim A. Papp, et al. Efficacy of Tildrakizumab for Moderate-to-Severe Chronic Plaque Psoriasis: Pooled Analysis of Three Randomized Controlled Studies at Weeks 12 and 28. P1724. Presented at the 26th EADV Congress; Geneva, Switzerland; 13-17 September 2017.

6. Greb JE, Goldminz AM, Elder JT, et al. Psoriasis. Nat Rev Dis Primers. 2016;2:16082.

This medicinal product is subject to additional monitoring. This will allow quick identification of new safety information. Adverse events should be reported. Reporting forms and information can be found at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard. Adverse events should also be reported to Almirall at: https://www.almirall.com/en/patients/report-a-side-effect#344414

Bowel cancer outcomes in Wales amongst the poorest in Europe

An alarmingly low number of eligible people in Wales take part in bowel screening programmes, and the majority of the country’s health boards breach waiting times for tests that can diagnose bowel cancer.

This evidence was gathered during a recent one-day inquiry into endoscopy services in Wales, held by the National Assembly’s Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, which concluded that bowl cancer outcomes in Wales are among the worst in Europe.

Screening is the best way to diagnose bowel cancer early but between April 2017 and March 2018 only 55.7 per cent of people eligible to take the bowel screening test in Wales actually completed it. Uptake is higher in females (57.2 per cent) compared to males (54.1 per cent). There is also a strong correlation with deprivation – with uptake in the most deprived areas being 45.6 per cent compared to least deprived areas at 63.3 per cent.

From 2019, Wales will replace the current screening test with a simpler and more accurate one called the Faecal Immunochemical Test (FIT), which is expected to increase the uptake of screening, but there are concerns that endoscopy units in Welsh hospitals are already struggling to cope with demand, and so even though the new screening test is a positive improvement, it could put more strain on an already overstretched service.

While the Committee welcomes the introduction of FIT, it is, however, disappointed that the sensitivity threshold planned within the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in Wales is lower than that of its UK counterparts.

The FIT sensitivity threshold planned within the Bowel Cancer Screening Programme in Wales is 150 micograms of haemoglobin per gram of faeces (μg Hb/g), lower than that in Scotland, where it is 80μg Hb/g. In England, the change is expected to happen in Spring/Summer 2019, with a proposed starting sensitivity threshold of 120μg Hb/g.

In written evidence, the Welsh Government said that the decision to introduce FIT at a sensitivity of 150 μg Hb/g is based on the associated resource implications for NHS Wales, and is a practical starting point based on existing NHS capacity.

The Committee also heard that, despite additional funding from the Welsh Government over recent years, waiting times still give cause for concern. Investment is needed to get waiting times under control, but there also needs to be a more sustainable approach as outsourcing and insourcing is expensive and does not deliver a long-term solution.

“Endoscopy services in Wales are struggling and it is disappointing there has been little progress made in improving them since the report of the Welsh Government’s Endoscopy Task and Finish Group in 2014,” said Dai Lloyd AM, Chair of the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee.

“The introduction of the FIT test is a positive step as we believe bowel screening significantly reduces the risk of a person dying from bowel cancer.

“While we accept demand has to be properly managed, we are disappointed that the thresholds for FIT testing are lower in Wales, and are concerned that without a clear plan to optimise the programme, Wales will fall further behind its counterparts in other parts of the UK.

“What is now needed is for significant progress and strong leadership to be shown by the Welsh Government to address the issues facing this important area of the Welsh health service.”

The Committee makes just one recommendation in its report:

By October 2019, the Welsh Government should work with the National Endoscopy Improvement Programme to create and publish a national endoscopy action plan that addresses current and future demand for services with clear timescales and targets for improvement.

Technologies to Watch in 2019 By Raghu Das, CEO, IDTechEx

Bendable Displays have finally become a consumer product. It’s been no easy feat – making multiple layers of sensitive materials work reliably while the whole device is being flexed. The ‘supplier push’ for such displays is due to the increasing need to differentiate a relatively saturated smart phone and tablet market and enable higher pricing by offering something with added value. The ‘user pull’ comes from the ideal of having a large display when you need it but in a portable format. Many new foldable display products will come to market from 2019 but apps and user interface design now need to catch up.

The automotive ivory tower is beginning to crumble. For decades a few companies have dominated the automotive market. Today they are generally all mis-footed with high amounts of capital in the dying technology of internal combustion engines. Pure-play EV companies are racing forward without the ties of old technology legacy. Additionally, software and consumer electronic companies are automating vehicles resulting in a peak car scenario in 2030. China is vying for global vehicle domination through shrewd strategies and investments in electric power train vehicles and batteries. There are opportunities galore for the new enabling materials and components in electric power train vehicles, but the incumbents that blink may go the way of Polaroid.

The wearable medical revolution. Wearables were fun while the fun of wearing them lasted. Then they became a chore to charge and sales slowed. Providers are now switching to wearables with ongoing healthcare value. This is increasingly being supported by changes in regulation allowing the data from such devices to provide a valuable stream of medical information. New form factors are untethering patients from wired machines, such as heart rate monitoring skin patches; or overcoming the absurd need to continuously cut yourself to draw blood for glucose testing, thanks to continuousglucose sensors. Preventing and diagnosing quickly at the point of care is the priority of many – healthcare providers, governments and consumer electronics alike.

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Consultancy and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. Find out more about IDTechEx research on display technologiesprinted electronics,electric vehicles and enabling componentswearable healthcare technologies and more at www.IDTechEx.com.

The IDTechEx Show! features a superb line-up of global speakers from many end-user organisations in addition to technology developers discussing their latest breakthroughs, allowing you to gain actionable business insights and meet potential customers and partners. The full supply chain is represented in the hands-on exhibition. For more information on future IDTechEx events visit www.IDTechEx.com/events.

Five apps for achieving a new and better you

Predictions have been made that the wellness and fitness market across the UK will hit £22.8 billion by the time we reach 2020. So much of this industry is currently dominated by the purchasing of sports equipment, gym memberships, alternative medicine and weight loss initiatives, while a lot of people would have begun 2019 by starting a new health regime.

Close to 29 per cent of the population of Britain — which is equivalent to around 14.5 million people — made a resolution to lose weight in 2018, according to data gathered last year. What’s more, 19 per cent of people were keen to improve their fitness levels. However, reports show that over half of us fail to stick to our resolutions after just one month. So, how can we stick to our guns and improve our health in the new year? Here, Pharma Nord, who stock omega 7 supplements, take a peek at some of the best health apps to download:

Why you should download the Smokefree app

Is quitting smoking proving to be a huge hurdle for you to get across? Kicking this habit is something five million people in the UK tried to do in 2017, but one in five didn’t achieve a month without a cigarette. With the Smokefree app, you will be provided with daily tips, advice and support over a 28-day programme. Better still, you’ll be rewarded if you meet your goals! The app states that you are up to five times more likely to quit for good If you stay smoke free for the four-week programme.

Available to download from: iTunes and Google Play

How much does it cost? It’s free.

Why you should download the Couch to 5k app

If you want to enhance your fitness levels by running but put off by the thought of getting around a marathon, the couch to 5k app provides a fantastic alternative. Presented by Public Health England, it builds you up gradually with a mix of running and walking so that within 9 weeks you should be able to run 5 kilometres (3.1 miles). There’s also a choice of five virtual trainers to help you on your fitness journey and keep you motivated.

Download it from: iTunes and Google Play

How much does it cost? It’s free.

Why you should download the Calorie checker app

So many of us struggle to stick to a strict diet. While the odd takeaway or cheat meal is often encouraged by health experts, so too is portion control. The NHS’s calorie checker is a great way to monitor your intake, with over 150,000 food and drink itemised products showing the calorie and fat content.

Available to download from: NHS website

How much does it cost? It’s free.

Why you should download the Sworkit app

Would you rather work out in the comfort of your own home instead of trying to get onto a fitness machine within a busy gym scene? We advise you download the Sworkit app. With their ‘no gym, no excuse’ slogan, it pretty much speaks for itself. With a host of exercise ideas and programmes to choose from, including strength, cardio and stretching, you can mould your perfect workout. The app will deliver an array of exercises to follow during your session and is a great option for those who already have a good knowledge of where they want to target.

Available to download from: iTunes and Google Play

How much does it cost? It’s free, though with options of in-app purchases.

Why you should download the Seven app

Does gaming make up one of your list of interests? This app treats fitness as a classic video game and sets you challenges to complete using no more than a chair, your own weight or a wall. These tasks are set daily for seven months and each day you miss, you will lose a life (you start with three). If you lose all three in a month, your progress is reset to zero. Stick with it and you’re sure to see results!

Available to download from: iTunes and Google Play

How much does it cost? It’s free, or you can pay £3.99 per month for the premium version.

Once these five apps are installed onto your smartphone, you’ll be a lot closer to achieving that health and wellbeing goal which you’ve set yourself. Whether you’re working towards quitting smoking, improving your diet or upping your exercise regime, these helpful tools can be a great aid for your targets. Good luck!

Sources

https://www.statista.com/topics/3411/fitness-industry-in-the-united-kingdom-uk/

https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2018/11/16/the-rise-the-micro-resolution-new-year-fitness-and-wellbeing-marketing-trends

https://www.marieclaire.com/health-fitness/news/g3845/best-workout-and-exercise-apps/

https://www.mirror.co.uk/lifestyle/health/five-million-uk-smokers-tried-11462443

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/tools-and-technology-that-can-help/

https://www.techradar.com/uk/news/best-fitness-apps-best-hiit-apps-best-strength-apps

THOUSANDS MORE CARE WORKERS NEEDED IN WALES BY 2030

Wales will need thousands more people to work in caring roles with adults and children by 2030 if it is to keep pace with the growing demand for care services and provide support for communities across the country.

To help attract more people to work in care, a national campaign called WeCare has been launched today.

The campaign is a collaboration between Social Care Wales and leading organisations representing social care, early years and childcare in Wales, as well as other national bodies involved in job-seeking and careers advice.

It is part of a long-term strategy to develop the workforces in the care and health sectors over the next decade, to provide a high-quality, seamless service to the people of Wales.

The campaign will highlight the breadth of career opportunities in care, from childminders and nursery practitioners to home care co-ordinators and care home managers.

As more people in Wales live longer, more will have specific needs that require support inside and outside the home. Projections indicate that around 20,000 more employees will be needed over the next 10 years1 to answer the growing demands of the population.

Currently, around one in 17 adults in Wales works in social care or early years and childcare (around 113,000 people), making it a bigger employer than the NHS. But this area of work is still growing.

The WeCare campaign aims to show the variety of roles and career progression opportunities available. By using real care workers, the campaign focuses on the challenges they face, as well as what makes their work rewarding and worthwhile.

Aled Burkitt from Monmouthshire works as a care and support worker for people living with dementia. He says: “I used to work quite unsociable hours as a chef. But when my son was born, I needed something with more flexibility.

1 Based on a study The size and structure by Skills for Care, which forecast an increase of between 21 and 44 per cent of adult social care workers would be needed by 2030 https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Documents/NMDS-SC-and-intelligence/NMDS-SC/Analysis-pages/Size-and-Structure-2017.pdf

Digital therapeutics company Kaia Health raises $10m to transform treatment of chronic pain conditions

Digital therapeutics pioneer Kaia Health, creator of the world’s leading back pain app, today announces it has raised $10 million in a Series A round led by Balderton Capital to tackle some of the world’s most urgent health challenges, including a range of chronic conditions. The investment will be used to support Kaia Health’s US rollout, including a new office in New York City, and fund further clinical studies.

Since launching in 2016, Kaia Health, has created scientifically-validated digital treatments for a range of disorders including back pain and COPD. Its Kaia back pain app has been rapidly adopted by over 250,000 individuals as well as organisations across Europe and the US. This includes some of Europe’s biggest health insurance companies, such as BARMER, Germany’s largest, which offers the service free to members.

Kaia Health develops innovative machine learning and computer vision technology and works with medical experts to create a home-based, affordable and clinically-validated alternative to painkillers, delivered through a smartphone. The app offers users a daily plan which features physical exercises, relaxation techniques and medical educational content.

Additionally, therapy can be tailored for each user via a proprietary algorithm which adapts the exercise program to that individual’s input. Patent-pending motion tracking technology monitors and provides real-time audio feedback on patients’ exercise performance. Uniquely, Kaia’s app informs users in natural language if they’re performing exercises correctly, and how to improve them – without requiring any extra hardware.

‘Epidemic levels’

With back pain being one of the leading self-reported medical issues in the world, proven digital alternatives to painkillers cannot come soon enough. In America alone the condition is estimated to affect 100m people a year and is the number one reason why people are prescribed painkillers. The growing use of opioid-based painkillers has driven reliance on such drugs in the US to epidemic levels.

Meanwhile, in the UK, 30% of all GP appointments are Musculoskeletal-related, costing the NHS at least £5bn a year. Reducing the need to prescribe painkillers and the number of MSK interventions isn’t just a hugely beneficial outcome for patients, but it will also release considerable resources for healthcare institutions to use elsewhere.

Konstantin Mehl, co-founder and CEO of Kaia Health, says: “Over the last twelve months, we’ve demonstrated a universal, unmet need for affordable and accessible digital therapy products, such as our world’s first computer vision-powered back pain app. These improve treatment paths for patients and reduce costs for payers in healthcare around the globe. Balderton’s investment will support the next stage of our journey, as we expand across the US, undertake further clinical studies and cement our position as a global leader in the digital healthcare market.”

Dr. Mani Rafii, board member of BARMER, Germany’s largest health insurance company, says: “We have to deal with a problem such as back pain with easily accessible and effective care. The bespoke training with Kaia is straightforward and applicable. Relaxation units and information modules can be used at home or on the go, making the holistic therapy ideal for everyday use.”

James Wise, Partner at Balderton Capital adds: “Providing high-quality and affordable health care for everyone is an urgent issue. Kaia Health is helping to tackle this through its revolutionary technology, which we believe could offer millions of chronic-pain sufferers best-in-class clinical solutions from the comfort of their own homes. We look forward to being able to support Kaia on their mission to put treatment and pain management into the hands of patients and improve lives.”

Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, an association of international manufacturers for digital therapeutic products which works to expand access to high quality, evidence-based digital therapeutics to improve outcomes.

www.kaia-health.com

@KaiaHealth

Facebook.com/KaiaHealth

#kaiahealth

Healthcare Sensors: Piezoelectrics the New Gymnasts, Finds New Global IDTechEx Research Market Report

Healthcare Sensors: Piezoelectrics the New Gymnasts, Finds New Global IDTechEx Research Market Report

Healthcare electronics is rapidly deploying for wellness, electroceuticals, intrusive medical procedures and more, powered by new technologies. Much of it is trending to diagnostics and treatment on the move and removing the need for the patient to perform procedures on time. Instruments become wearables including electronic skin patches and implants. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029” notes that preferably sensors should be self-powered, non-poisonous even on disposal and many need to be biocompatible and even biodegradable. We need to detect biology, vibration, force, acceleration, stress and linear movement and do imaging. Devices must reject bacteria and be useful in wearables and Internet of Things nodes. Preferably we must move to one device performing multiple tasks.

So is there a gymnast material category that has that awesome versatility? Piezoelectrics has a good claim. It measures all those parameters. That even includes biosensors where the piezo senses the swelling of a biomolecule recognizing a target analyte. The most important form of self-powered (one material, two functions) piezo sensing is ultrasound imaging, a market growing at 5.1% yearly. The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029” looks at what comes next based on global travel and interviewing by its PhD level analysts in 2018 with continuous updates.

Piezo is already sold as a variety of self-powered sensors but there is more to come. It is reinvented as paint, as layers on integrated circuits and in microelectromechanical systems MEMS chips. New applications for lead-based ceramics in new formats are revealed but polymer film comes center stage. New piezotronics means piezoelectric doubles as semiconductor. Piezo-phototronics takes that up a notch. Light modulation enhances performance of photocells, sensitivity of photodetectors, efficiency of an LED, even strain-controlled LED emission directly images force/pressure distribution on the device with micrometer-resolution. The resulting piezopotential gated diodes, strain sensors, force/flow sensors and more revealed in the report promise to be invaluable in healthcare. Where needed, one will even map of the pressure distribution on a surface. easy to integrate with photonic technologies for fast data transmission, processing and recording, Enable the development of highly intelligent human-machine interfaces? A major step towards on-chip recording of mechanical signals by optical means, yet another case of multi-functionality? Hospital pad, pillow and bolt sensors using piezos revealed in 2018 look promising but so do harvesters implanted on the heart and many other emerging capabilities discussed.

The IDTechEx Research report, “Piezoelectric Harvesting and Sensing for Healthcare 2019-2029” starts with an Executive Summary and conclusions sufficient for those with limited time to grasp the emerging capabilities, issues and dreams with market forecasts for the piezoelectric harvesting and sensing systems, transducers and materials.  Chapter 2 is the introduction giving the global healthcare situation and how energy harvesting and particularly sensors are increasingly vital. Piezoelectrics are at the heart of that. Chapter 4 Fundamentals goes deeper into the operating modes, theory, chemistry and electronics involved even embracing routes to biodegradability.

Chapter 4 reveals inspiring examples of present and future piezoelectric harvesting and sensing in healthcare. It draws lessons from this. Finally Chapter 5 profiles 13 interesting organisations involved in researching, manufacturing and integrating harvesting and sensor piezoelectric devices and materials for healthcare.

For more contact the IDTechEx research team at research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com/piezohealth.IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Consultancy and Events services, helping you profit from emerging technologies. Find out more at www.IDTechEx.com.

I was exhausted, in constant pain and waiting for neck surgery – until I tried ‘Intervertebral Disc Decompression’

Facing a major operation on her neck and frightened of the potential consequences, Gail Redpath was desperate to find an alternative to relieve her debilitating pain.

The 46-year-old payroll officer was suffering pins and needles and numbness in her arms which was making her working life unbearable.

“I was having to stop what I was doing all the time to shake out my hands,” says Gail.

Added to that, severe pain in her neck and head was leaving her exhausted after disturbed sleep and restricting her from carrying out everyday chores such as shopping and gardening.

Over a period of two years she underwent physiotherapy, acupuncture and sports massage but nothing was working – in fact things were getting worse.

An MRI scan showed Gail had two bulging discs in her neck which were responsible for the pain she was suffering.  She was booked in to see a neurosurgeon who said she needed surgery. This would involve making a small incision at the front of her throat from where the surgeon would then move behind her vocal chords to get to the discs.

Gail was anxious from the start, and desperate to find an alternative as the risks of the operation just seemed too great. So, she started doing some research and discovered IDD Therapy (Intervertebral Differential Dynamics) – a non-surgical spinal decompression treatment which treats targeted segments of the spine in the lower back or neck.

By around the fourth or fifth session I started to feel a difference,” she says. And now Gail has he life back, and is living pain-free, sleeping at night and able to get back to the gym and yoga.

“For me IDD was the answer I was looking for and I can honestly say it has been the best thing I could have done.”

Daniel Cassells, clinic director at Move Freely Sports and Spinal said he first became aware of the IDD Therapy around five years ago. “The way we can now treat targeted spinal segments in such a controlled manner is a game changer. Back problems don’t have to be a life-sentence.”

‘Intervertebral Disc Decompression’ or IDD Therapy is the fastest growing non-surgical spinal treatment for intervertebral discs with over 1,000 clinics worldwide and 34 clinics across the UK. Safe, gentle and non-invasive, IDD Therapy helps patients who need something more for their pain when manual therapy alone is insufficient to achieve lasting pain relief. http://iddtherapy.co.uk/

Gail Redpath, clinic director Daniel Cassells, and Stephen Small from IDD Therapy UK.