First evidence-based online service launches to empower cancer patients to help themselves after diagnosis

Cancer patients now have access to evidence-based information about how their lifestyle and other choices can affect both the quality of life and outcomes after diagnosis, thanks to a new online service developed in the UK.

The service, developed by Curve.life (http://curve.life/video_series/cancer-self-help/), is the end result of a major collaboration between leading oncologists, exercise and wellbeing experts, nutritionists and patients. Content on the site includes the latest scientific evidence, put in easy to understand terms, about how patients can empower themselves after diagnosis. There is particular emphasis on how exercise, diet and mental health can improve the quality of life, reduce the risk of recurrence or, in some cases, extend life expectancy.

The website features a course of specially commissioned animated videos outlining measures cancer patients can take to help try to improve their position alongside conventional treatment – advice usually not given by specialists.

Following diagnosis, many patients and their families turn to ‘Dr Google’ in an attempt to seek further information on what more can be done to improve their position. Resorting to the internet can be overwhelming, negative and, in some cases, result in worse outcomes if conventional treatment is shunned in favour of alternatives, or if patients try experimental therapies that are dangerous.

Curve seeks to address this knowledge gap and encourages patients to take an active role in their treatment whilst working collaboratively with doctors during their treatment.

Placing physical exercise and diet as potential major influencers on outcomes for cancer patients, the service is the first of its kind to provide an online destination for patients to help them not only feel better but also live longer, whatever the prognosis.

For example, exercise has repeatedly been shown in observational studies to reduce rates of recurrence, improve wellbeing and significantly reduce treatment side effects, yet it is not recommended as a matter of course in cancer treatments or as part of the accepted NHS ‘pathway.’

The online videos, designed to help and empower cancer patients, are hosted and voiced by the Scottish born comic and former host of ‘The Late, Late Show’, Craig Ferguson* who donated his involvement fee to fund further Curve.life research.

The service is the brainchild of entrepreneur, Jed Coleman. Jed Coleman founded Curve.life after trying to help his father deal with metastatic cancer and quickly realising that there were many things his father could do alongside his medical team to help himself.

Jed Coleman commented: “There is substantial evidence in favour of exercise and improved outcomes in treating chronic illnesses and cancers. Yet frustratingly, it’s still not standard practice to recommend exercise for cancer patients, let alone help them actually exercise or even make it part of the standard of care. It’s often dismissed and not even touched upon as a legitimate form of treatment that can begin on diagnosis. The reason for the reluctance to push exercise among many health professionals is that they say more evidence is needed which we believe perfectly highlights the point that patients need to think for themselves.

“Any rational cancer patient reviewing the current evidence on exercise would conclude that they ought to be exercising because it will not only make them feel better but will probably also make them live longer too. This can make all the difference to patients with cancer who are being told that more evidence is needed before it can be said with certainty that exercise will definitely help. Patients, who don’t have the luxury of time, don’t require certainty – they require reasonable evidence that exercise can help and the evidence supports this conclusion.”

Dr. Jonathan Krell, an expert advisor to Curve, notes a good support network is key when dealing with cancer: “Evidence shows that those with poor social ties fare much worse overall, and this is related not just to cancer but all chronic diseases. This is what we are trying to achieve with Curve, encouraging self-help, personal research and insight and the sharing of information that might be helpful to people on their own cancer journeys.”

Jed Coleman added: “Curve’s sole aim is to help cancer patients do better whatever their prognosis. Doing better means beating the average outcome by a long way. We want to encourage patients to take an active role in their treatment and work collaboratively with their doctors as complementing treatment programmes with lifestyle and other interventions can help improve the quality of life and outcomes. This is, in our view, the best way that patients can maximise their chances of beating average cancer survival rates by a long way.

“The bedrock of cancer self-help is diet, exercise and stress management, which evidence shows all have a significant role to play and can help. They are also all factors within easy reach of all patients. Curve helps fulfil a key aim of the NHS which is to activate patients to help themselves and better manage chronic conditions such as cancer. It’s not just in prevention that patients have a key role to play – after diagnosis it’s just as important.”

Visit http://curve.life/video_series/cancer-self-help/ for more information.

Two Cannabis-based Medicines Approved but Other Sufferers Left in Limbo

Two cannabis-based medicines used to treat epilepsy and multiple sclerosis has been approved for use by NHS England. The move is a welcome step forward following repeated campaigns by the families of two children, Billy Caldwell and Alfie Dingley. The guidelines approved by NICE will help MS and epilepsy sufferers but any cannabis medicine that contains active THC as a painkiller – remains banned. Many charities say thousands of people have been left in limbo, Need2Know Books explains why.

Change in the law in 2018 made it legal for doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis however many GPs have still been reluctant to do so, citing a lack of clear guidance. NICE, the drugs advisory body, has stated, “People with chronic pain should not be prescribed drugs containing THC, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.” These restrictions leave thousands of people with a range of conditions in limbo.

The Essential Guide to Cannabis by Need2Know Books helps to demystify the stigmas that surround cannabis. It includes chapters covering risks and addiction; the legal status of cannabis and a comprehensive guide for parents. Whether the reader is a ‘user’, ‘concerned parent’, ‘teacher’ or just an ‘interested party’ the book covers all aspects of cannabis use in easy to understand language.

Cannabis is widely available in the UK. It can be bought on almost every street corner albeit, illegally. The 2018 change in law recognised, after much campaigning, that there is conclusive evidence of medicinal benefit for patients who use cannabis-based medicines containing both THC and cannabidiol (CBD).

Clinical trials for Children with epilepsy have shown the oral solution, which contains cannabidiol (CBD), could reduce the number of seizures by up to 40%. Unfortunately this evidence has been ignored and those who suffer with pain, MS, epilepsy and a range of conditions are forced to buy from abroad which is expensive and risks a criminal record.

Missie Hinton, from the campaign End Our Pain, said, “This restrictive guidance is condemning many patients to having to pay for life-transforming medicine privately, to go without or to consider accessing illegal and unregulated sources.”

“It is particularly devastating that there is no positive recommendation that the NHS should allow prescribing of whole-plant medical cannabis containing both CBD (cannabidiol) and THC in appropriate cases of intractable childhood epilepsy,” she said.

For further information and to receive a press copy of The Essential Guide to Cannabis please email: shelleyn2k@gmail.com

Evolving medical monitors for earlier recognition of critical illness

A new startup business that could fundamentally change the way critical illness is identified and responded to in remote communities to improve survival rates is looking for cofounders to help evolve the future of patient monitoring technology.

Specialist training to read the raw data of patient monitoring displays is often not available in remote and small communities, especially where rarer languages are involved. This leads to the colonisation of healthcare and reduces opportunities for early recognition of critical illness, which greatly increases mortality rates.

Evolved Monitors is a new start-up that seeks to change this by using clinical algorithms built into their remote-patient monitoring system to analyse the raw data – such as blood pressure, pulse rate and oxygenation levels – and allow minimally trained users to identify critical illness through its user interface. Armed with this knowledge, people can then direct remote medics to where the resource is needed most.

Nicholas Dillon, an Associate Lecturer at Robert Gordon University (RGU) and an experienced remote medic, is the Founder of Evolved Monitors. He said: “We’ve continuously gone down a road where we keep adding raw data to the screens of medical monitors like the electrocardiogram, and it’s quite a high skillset to analyse them. These machines are locked away in a critical care ward where we have the smartest doctors and nurses already. We want to move that knowledge far, far forward into the hands of everyday users so that we can start picking up on these illnesses at home and in remote areas because we realise that early recognition of critical illness is the key to survival.

“I teach remote healthcare internationally, often through language barriers, and have taught via translators and even mime. It really makes you get down to the basics of what people need to know and get rid of anything overly complicated. Using this concept, we’re taking what was a really high-end clinical skill and, through the combination of technology and user design, made it so that anyone can see a problem hours before you’d normally pick it up. This is what we are doing in hospitals and it’s what paramedics are doing. Imagine having a device like that in a small village where it takes five days to walk to a hospital.”

Early detection of critical illness within the home allows healthcare providers to be more effective and efficient when working in remote areas by giving first responders the right information to make the call on where to send resources. The mass availability of remote monitoring can also enable early detection of illnesses affecting large populations.

“Years ago, Google used search data for cold and flu recipes to predict flu epidemics and the rise of illnesses,” said Nicholas. “If you have enough of these devices out there, we can do the same thing. You’d have a really good, live understanding of population health and you can use that information to start predicting epidemics before they happen. This helps you to intervene before the problem gets much larger.”

Evolved Monitors is one of 25 businesses to first successfully complete RGU’s Startup Accelerator programme, part of a suite of initiatives launched by RGU designed to promote entrepreneurship and strengthen the economy through the diversification of services and products.

RGU’s Startup Accelerator is the only funded programme of its kind in the north-east of Scotland that delivers mentor-led development as well as seed funding and incubation space to turn creative ideas into viable, high-growth businesses. Now with an understanding of the business behind his vision, Nicholas is looking for additional cofounders to take the next steps with him.

Nicholas said: “Anybody with a passion for helping people and making a difference – you could be an accountant, a tech person or medical person – get in contact with me. It’s an opportunity to get involved at a grassroots level with something that could be big.”

Evolving medical monitors for earlier recognition of critical illness

A new startup business that could fundamentally change the way critical illness is identified and responded to in remote communities to improve survival rates is looking for cofounders to help evolve the future of patient monitoring technology.

Specialist training to read the raw data of patient monitoring displays is often not available in remote and small communities, especially where rarer languages are involved. This leads to the colonisation of healthcare and reduces opportunities for early recognition of critical illness, which greatly increases mortality rates.

Evolved Monitors is a new start-up that seeks to change this by using clinical algorithms built into their remote-patient monitoring system to analyse the raw data – such as blood pressure, pulse rate and oxygenation levels – and allow minimally trained users to identify critical illness through its user interface. Armed with this knowledge, people can then direct remote medics to where the resource is needed most.

Nicholas Dillon, an Associate Lecturer at Robert Gordon University (RGU) and an experienced remote medic, is the Founder of Evolved Monitors. He said: “We’ve continuously gone down a road where we keep adding raw data to the screens of medical monitors like the electrocardiogram, and it’s quite a high skillset to analyse them. These machines are locked away in a critical care ward where we have the smartest doctors and nurses already. We want to move that knowledge far, far forward into the hands of everyday users so that we can start picking up on these illnesses at home and in remote areas because we realise that early recognition of critical illness is the key to survival.

“I teach remote healthcare internationally, often through language barriers, and have taught via translators and even mime. It really makes you get down to the basics of what people need to know and get rid of anything overly complicated. Using this concept, we’re taking what was a really high-end clinical skill and, through the combination of technology and user design, made it so that anyone can see a problem hours before you’d normally pick it up. This is what we are doing in hospitals and it’s what paramedics are doing. Imagine having a device like that in a small village where it takes five days to walk to a hospital.”

Early detection of critical illness within the home allows healthcare providers to be more effective and efficient when working in remote areas by giving first responders the right information to make the call on where to send resources. The mass availability of remote monitoring can also enable early detection of illnesses affecting large populations.

“Years ago, Google used search data for cold and flu recipes to predict flu epidemics and the rise of illnesses,” said Nicholas. “If you have enough of these devices out there, we can do the same thing. You’d have a really good, live understanding of population health and you can use that information to start predicting epidemics before they happen. This helps you to intervene before the problem gets much larger.”

Evolved Monitors is one of 25 businesses to first successfully complete RGU’s Startup Accelerator programme, part of a suite of initiatives launched by RGU designed to promote entrepreneurship and strengthen the economy through the diversification of services and products.

RGU’s Startup Accelerator is the only funded programme of its kind in the north-east of Scotland that delivers mentor-led development as well as seed funding and incubation space to turn creative ideas into viable, high-growth businesses. Now with an understanding of the business behind his vision, Nicholas is looking for additional cofounders to take the next steps with him.

Nicholas said: “Anybody with a passion for helping people and making a difference – you could be an accountant, a tech person or medical person – get in contact with me. It’s an opportunity to get involved at a grassroots level with something that could be big.”

BRITISH ENGINEERS INSPIRE NEW GENERATION BY FOCUSING ON NATION’S HEALTH AND WELLBEING

Engineers are key to helping the nation keep healthy and well from helping find cures for cancer and keeping people safe at sea to helping dementia patients.

Today marks the beginning of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week – this year it shines the light on engineers that make the world a better place.

Five engineers from across the UK were handpicked to front #EngineerOnAMission for Tomorrow’s Engineers Week 2019 to inspire a new generation into the profession.

Each Engineer on a Mission is the star of a film that highlights the impact engineers have on people’s lives, which will be shown to around 50,000 students at the Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Big Assembly on Wednesday 6 November.

Engineers featured during Tomorrow’s Engineers Week include:

Ellen Harper, 22, a masters student at University of Strathclyde who helps those with restricted mobility to swim. Ellen designs and manufactures Poolpods, which provide dignified, independent access to swimming pools and were used during the Paralympic Games in London, 2012.

Hiba Khan, 29, a civil engineer keeping people’s homes safe. Hiba works on international flood defences and her biggest project is in Bangladesh, where rivers up to 8km wide can erode hundreds of metres of bank per year.

Rhodri Lewis, 39, a lifeboat systems engineer at RNLI. Rhodri builds, develops and maintains the rescue equipment to ensure they are in good working order when the volunteers go to sea, often in dangerous situations.

Rebecca Shipley, 36, a healthcare engineer helping to beat cancer for University College London, develops tools to visualise the structure of cancerous tissues in the body and better predict where drugs will be delivered to within the tumours.

Severin Skillman, 26, is a software engineer with the UK Dementia Research Institute.  He develops software that helps people affected by dementia to live in their own homes by monitoring their health and behaviour.

Dr Hilary Leevers, CEO at EngineeringUK, the organisers of Tomorrow’s Engineers Week, commented:

“We want every young person to see that engineering offers a varied, stimulating and rewarding career.

“The UK needs tens of thousands more engineers and Tomorrow’s Engineers Week provides an opportunity for the engineering community to work together to inspire the next generation of engineers to meet this demand.”

Now in its seventh year, Tomorrow’s Engineers Week takes place from 4-8 November and provides a unique opportunity for universities, schools, employers, professional institutions and engineers to drive interest in engineering careers, showing young people the ways in which engineers are on a mission to make the world a better place, find innovative solutions and shape the way we live.

Employers, professional bodies, universities, schools and individual engineers are invited to get involved to help inspire the next generation of engineers by downloading toolkits of ideas at www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk/teweek.

Further highlights of the Week include the first This is Engineering Day on Wednesday 6 November, challenging the public stereotype of the engineer and the second Tomorrow’s Engineers Week Big Assembly, which will see over 50,000 pupils taking part in the same assembly, at the same time.

One born every minute? 4 born every second!

  • New interactive counter designed by Stem Cell Storage Company Smart Cells reveals how many babies are born on each continent, every second, minute and hour that passes.

  • They also revealed the percentage of children under 5 who have the blood disease anaemia, had access to prenatal healthcare and had a healthcare professional attend the birth.

  • On average in Europe and Central Asia, 21 babies are born every minute.

  • In Sub-Saharan Africa 60% of children have anaemia

  • Only 86% of women in the Middle East & North Africa receive prenatal care compared to 100% of women in North America.

  • And just 58% of births in Sub-Saharan Africa are attended by skilled health staff compared to 99% in Europe and Central Asia.

An estimated 130 million* babies are born globally each year. The current estimated global population stands at over 7.7 billion** and is expected to keep rising.

But how do birth rates compare continent by continent, and what is the level of healthcare for pregnant women like globally?

Stem Cell Storage Company Smart Cells have created an interactive counter which shows how many babies are born every second, minute and hour by continent. As well as highlighting how many children under the age of 5 have anaemia.

The counter

When you open the page, the counter starts charting birth rates by continent, continuing until you close the webpage.

Sub-Saharan Africa sees the most babies born globally, there is one child born less than every second, 72 born a minute and 4,344 every hour.

The below table shows the population for each continent, CBR, and then from that the total births in that period.

 

East Asia & Pacific

Europe & Central Asia

Latin America & Caribbean

Middle East & North Africa

North America

South Asia

Sub-Saharan Africa

Population

2,314,000,000

915,483,880

644,124,651

444,326,024

361,920,645

1,788,388,850

1,061,107,720

CBR

13.65

12.01

16.56

22.22

11.64

19.98

35.86

Total Births

31,593,042

11,000,454

10,666,704

9,872,924

4,212,76

35,732,009

38,051,323

 

The Crude Birth Rate (CBR, number of live births per 1,000 in a population in a set period) compared to population shows whilst East Asian & the Pacific has the highest population its CBR is lower than both the Middle East &North African and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The below table shows births per second, minute and hour for each continent.

 

Births

East Asia & Pacific

Europe & Central Asia

Latin America & Caribbean

Middle East & North Africa

North America

South Asia

Sub-Saharan Africa

Second

1

0.35

0.34

0.31

0.13

1.13

1.21

Minute

60

21

20

19

8

68

72

Hour

3607

1256

1218

1127

481

4079

4344

 

Only East Asia & Pacific, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa have a birth every second, North America has the lowest number of births as well as the lowest population of the continents. Every hour over 4,000 babies are born in South Asia and over 4,300 in Subsaharan Africa.

The below table shows the percentage of children under the age of 5 have anaemia, the percentage of pregnant women receiving prenatal care and the percentage of women whose births are attended by skilled health staff.

 

East Asia & Pacific

Europe & Central Asia

Latin America & Caribbean

Middle East & North Africa

North America

South Asia

Sub-Saharan Africa

Children with Anemia

25%

22%

28%

35%

9%

55%

60%

Prenatal care

95%

93%

97%

86%

100%

79%

82%

Birth attended by skilled staff

95%

99%

95%

86%

99%

76%

58%

 

Anaemia is the most common of all blood disorders, and it affects almost one-third of the world’s population, most commonly found in children under the age of five.

Millions of pregnant women globally don’t have access to suitable prenatal care. Only 50%*** of women globally receive the recommended amount of care during pregnancy. Additionally, not every birth is attended by skilled health staff. An estimated 303,000 mothers and 2.5 million newborns in the first month of life in 2017 died, partly due to inadequate care during delivery.****

Shamshad Ahmed, CEO at Smart Cells, commented:

“Our research has shown that there are huge variations in the number of births globally, some countries seeing significantly less than others and the disparities in healthcare for pregnant women from those in the developed world to those from less developed nations. We show that Anaemia, which is the most common of all blood disorders and affects almost one-third of the world’s population is significantly more prevalent in certain continents compared to others, with children in the poorer regions across Asia and Africa most affected. Stem cell therapy, however, can help alleviate the symptoms of anaemia, by boosting the production of healthy red blood cells. Additionally, our research highlighted, there are still women who do not have access to or only limited access to prenatal health care, whilst even more, do not have a skilled member of health staff in attendance for the birth. Maternal healthcare is still inadequate in many nations.

Advances in medicine, sanitation, and food production, has helped population numbers increase faster from the 1900s onwards. However, experts do believe population growth will peak in the next 100 years. Recently the negative effect that higher population has on our planet has been highlighted, by campaigners, celebrities and the Royal Family. Experts believe limiting your family to only one or two children can help stabilise population growth to a level that won’t put as much strain on our planets natural resources.***** It’s hard to imagine the global population and births until you see it in numbers.”

You can find the Global Birth Rate counter here: https://www.smartcells.com/birth-rate-counter/

Videos via YouTube: https://youtu.be/9_gj8htM7Z8 and https://youtu.be/n9W2gxOYk-s

The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK charity operating solely for the people at risk from severe allergic reactions

The Anaphylaxis Campaign is the only UK charity operating solely for the people at risk from severe allergic reactions www.anaphylaxis.org.uk. We provide information & support to enable people living with anaphylaxis to be more confident and in control of their lives.
The aim of the charity is to create a safe environment for all people with allergies by working with and educating the food industry, schools, pre-schools, colleges, health professionals and other key audiences. As part of what we offer, we provide a National helpline service for anyone wanting advice or support over the phone, over email or via social media. The helpline is open Monday to Friday from 9am-5pm and is made up of in-house specialist advisors who can answer questions and give advice on everything from allergy care to food labelling.
With over 2 million people living with food allergy, we asked our helpline team about the type of questions they receive on a daily basis….

  1. In your time at the charity have you seen an increase in calls to the helpline? If so, can you estimate the percentage for this this time?

“Yes, the number of enquiries made to the helpline is increasing year on year and so far this year we have received over 2000 calls, emails and social media enquiries. We had a dramatic increase in enquiries between 2016 to 2017 when we extended the helpline to social media messages, which was really well received”.

 

  1. Are there any questions that are continually being asked by people that contact you?

“It really depends on the time of the year, we can certainly spot trends. Around festive periods we get lots of questions about free-from products, in the summer there are lots of questions about travelling with an allergy or managing a venom allergy and in September we get a lot of school related questions”.

 

  1. Do you find that it is mainly parents calling for information for their children or individuals ring up about their own allergens?

“It is mainly parents and carers who have questions around the management of their child’s allergy, however we do get lot of allergic adults calling us too. Occasionally we receive enquires from teenagers and young adults, however they do tend to connect with us more via social media”.

 

  1. The helpline offers support via telephone, email and social media, which channel do you find is most popular?

“The introduction of social media messages created a shift in the way people contact us, especially young people but calls currently remain the most popular form of contact (47%), followed by emails (43%) and then social media messages (10%)”.

 

  1. Do you receive questions from outside the UK? If so, how many did you receivelast year and has this increasedfrom previous years?

“In 2018 we received 45 enquires from overseas and in 2017 we received 76 from overseas, so the amount has decreased slightly over the last few years. We find these are mostly people travelling to the UK who are after help, support or advice while they travel”.

 

 

If you have an allergy or care for some who does or if you work in education, healthcare or the food industry

and need information or support on allergies, you can call, email or message our helpline team by:

 

Phone: 01252 542029

Email: info@anaphylaxis.org.uk

Or via our Facebook page @Anaphylaxiscampaign

IDTechEx Analysts Share 5 Key Lessons from Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019

Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019 was a conference and table-top exhibition organized by IDTechEx, a market intelligence and events company. The event was held over 25-26 September 2019 in Cambridge, United Kingdom and attracted over 185 delegates from over 23 countries. Forty speakers from the healthcare, electronics, and materials industries shared their progress in wearables and sensors for point-of-care diagnostics and continuous monitoring. IDTechEx technology analysts Dr Nadia Tsao and Dr Ivan De Backer explore the technology developments and market trends presented at Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019 (www.HealthcareSensorInnovations.com).

 

Printed electronics are opening new doors for sensor devices

Printed electronics, and the benefits of their integration into healthcare devices, were a central theme at Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019. Electronics can be printed on a variety of materials and surfaces including plastic, textile, paper and foil to generate robust and durable medical device components. This enables electronic functionality to be added to places which are not possible using rigid electronics. A crucial advantage of printed electronics, which was mentioned repeatedly throughout the conference, is that they enable the development of new form factors for medical sensors. These sensors now can be flexible, foldable, stretchable and transparent, which considerably widens their applications.

 

Wearable sensors bring increased sensitivity to patient tracking…

The medical industry currently represents the biggest opportunity for wearable technology. IDTechEx forecasts that the market for medical wearables over the coming five years will grow faster than the overall wearable technology market. There are various uses for wearables in the healthcare space, including diagnostics, monitoring, and consumer health. Wearables enable remote patient monitoring (RPM), which is becoming a valuable tool in increasing convenience to patients and reducing treatment costs. In addition to providing more sensitive methods to tracking patients and disease progression, these technology innovations will keep people in their homes for longer and help reduce burdens on the healthcare system.

 

…but the value of data must be understood first

Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019 keynote speakers highlighted the importance of not only developing new healthcare sensors, but also in creating new ways to analyze and interpret the streams of data being collected. While there is a swathe of health-related parameters that can be measured using medical wearables, the value of each measurement must be weighed against the increased complexity it may bring to the patient or clinical workflow. Moreover, the data measured must be verified and validated before implementation of the technology on a mass scale. Finally, care must be taken in the misinterpretation of data that can lead to incorrect diagnostics and treatments.

 

Patient comfort and willingness are key to success

The need for sensors in wearables to be stretchable was unanimously acknowledged among the speakers and exhibitors at Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019. Patient comfort must be prioritized and thus sensor systems must be unobtrusive to the patient. Hence, wearable sensors should come in flexible and thin form factors, particularly in the case of electronic skin patches and smart clothing. But even when patients declare that they are willing to use a technology, adherence to their monitoring may still be low. Thus, devices must be easy to use and familiar to the patient for maximum efficacy.

 

Sensors play key role in helping patients with chronic diseases

Innovations in wearables and sensors have the potential to bring much needed help to patients suffering from chronic diseases. Throughout the 2 days of Healthcare Sensor Innovations 2019, speakers discussed their work in bringing sensors to better quantify disease symptoms in patients and help predict and prevent acute episodes. The former is particularly important in disease areas such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, where metrics of disease progression rely on patient perception, rather than an objective measurement. Moreover, in highly personalized conditions such as asthma and irritable bowel syndrome, sensors can help patients to understand their personal triggers and prevent future episodes.

 

The next Healthcare Sensor Innovations conference will be held 16 – 19 March 2020 in San Jose, CA, USA. To find out more about Healthcare Sensor Innovations and the opportunities for flexible, connected, and miniaturized electronics in healthcare, please visit www.HealthcareSensorInnovations.com.

 

IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Consultancy and Event products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information on IDTechEx Research and Consultancy contact research@IDTechEx.com or visit www.IDTechEx.com.

Our Vision Beyond 2020: Many Partners, One Voice

A decade of partnership Ten years ago, the Neglected Tropical Disease NGO Network (NNN) was established to enhance the contribution of NGOs towards a vision of a world free of neglected tropical diseases. The NNN is a dynamic and diverse network bringing together over 80 NGO members worldwide to speak with a unified NGO voice. The network has grown into an established forum for collaboration, developing a community of practice and partnerships to overcome barriers to beating NTDs.

Over the last decade, NNN members have worked together to make significant contributions to global progress on combating NTDs. The NNN successfully championed the inclusion of an indicator on NTDs in the SDG framework. In 2016 the NNN launched its BEST (Behaviour, Environment, Social inclusion, Treatment & Care) framework, which sets out the NTD community’s commitment to forging new partnerships and working across sectors to ensure equity and inclusion in efforts needed to reach control, elimination, and eradication targets for NTDs. In 2019, the NNN’s WASH working group partnered with the World Health Organization to publish a collaboration toolkit, WASH and health working together: A ‘how-to’ guide for Neglected Tropical Disease Programmes. It provides NTD programme managers and partners with practical guidance to build and deliver multi-sectoral partnerships and action.

2020: Year of action on NTDs

2020 is a defining year for the next, bolder phase of efforts to combat NTDs. During the opening plenary session, Dr. Mwele Malecela, WHO NTD Director stated “I was asked to speak today about WHO’s vision post-2020…but my main aim today is to talk of our shared vision. We would not be where we are today and would not have made the significant progress we have without the spirit of collaboration which I believe defines our NTD community.” In 2020, NNN members will champion a new ambitious WHO NTD Roadmap 2021 – 2030, underpinned by cross-cutting approaches.

Our commitment

This year the NNN launched two statements on sustainability and our commitment to safety, highlighting its alignment with the global health and development agenda. In the year ahead, the NNN community commits to expanding and strengthening existing and new partnerships between NTDs and across sectors inclusive of WASH, disability, education, one health and humanitarian aid. Through cross-cutting approaches codified through the BEST framework, we will contribute to strengthening health systems, ensure the sustainability of control and elimination efforts and amplify the voices of people affected by NTDs and those working on the front lines.

About the Neglected Tropical Diseases NGO Network

With over 70 members worldwide, the NNN is a forum for partners working together to improve health for the world’s poorest populations and build a brighter future for all people.

The NNN is built on partnerships: across diseases, between cross-cutting issues and with governments. https://www.ntd-ngonetwork.org/

© The Leprosy Mission by kind permission of Tom Bradley

Flow unveils chatbot therapist to combat depression

A chatbot therapist to treat depression has launched as recent figures show that NHS patients seeking help with their mental health are waiting more than eight weeks to see a doctor after their first appointment.1 The chatbot therapist was developed by medical device company Flow, which in June launched a brain stimulation headset treatment for depression, the first and only medically approved at-home treatment of its kind in the UK and EU.

The chatbot therapist, called Flow, engages users with daily chat conversations and offers self-help techniques, mood tracking, curated videos, meditation and mental exercises. It helps users to learn why sleep, exercise, nutrition and meditation are the main pillars in recovering from depression – and gathers mood data to offer a personalised response modelled on behavioural therapy.

“I feel like I have a buddy who’s just chatting with me, no judgement, and forcing me to pace myself.”

Flow user

Watch Flow in action

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yx828P33GjI&feature=youtu.be

Available to download free on iOS, the chatbot therapist is based on the latest psychology and neuroscience research, and was developed by clinical psychologists and machine learning experts. An Android version will be available in October 2019.

Nearly one in four adults in the UK are affected by a mental illness.2 Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales.3 The economic costs of mental illness in England is estimated at £105.2 billion annually.4 And one in three work sickness notes handed out by GPs are for mental health reasons, including depression.5

“Accessibility and early intervention in depression is crucial,” says Daniel Mansson, Clinical Psychologist, CEO and Co-Founder of Flow. “The ‘always-on’ source of therapy provided by Flow ensures people get the help they need as quickly as possible. Flow can provide anonymity without the fear of being judged by others. This is great as some people feel anxious when it comes to talking about their depression to another human.”

To maximise the chance of recovery, Flow can be used in conjunction with the Flow brain stimulation headset. Randomised controlled trials published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry show 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.6,7,8 The Flow headset retails at £399 and can be purchased here.

Flow joins a growing number of mental health chatbots, including Woebot and Wysa, which are playing an increasing role in the mental health landscape. Whilst Woebot and Wysa use a cognitive behavioural approach to change the way people think, Flow has one goal: to reduce clinical depression based on well-grounded science.

Flow is starting talks with the NHS to have its brain stimulation headset available on prescription. The company recently announced an investment of £1.2 million by Khosla Ventures to roll out its offering across Europe, introduce the Flow headset to healthcare clinics in the UK, and fund clinical studies.