SEQUANTA Chronicles

IoT and healthcare: prevention is better than cure

According to the 2030 scenario of the French National Institute of statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), people over 60 years old from the baby boom generation will outnumber those under 20 years old. Prevention, monitoring and treatment of chronic disease is an economic and societal major issue in the industrialized countries facing an average longer life expectancy. More or less serious and crippling, these long-term and progressive disease are one of the main cause of death and disability in France.

Wireless wearable sensors for predictive medicine  

Predictive medicine has created much expectations to prevent risk of disease before the first clinical symptoms. Classical instrumentation systems didn’t allow researchers to experiment in real conditions required by the research subjects and become obsolete to analyse and understand the human body evolution.

Wearable wireless miniaturized sensors network allow clinician to avoid any cabling systems and capture body movements as close to the field reality as possible. This system provides useful real-time motion data to gain knowledge on deficient movements. It makes possible a faster diagnosis and save precious time to clinicians and researchers.

Accelerate research on Parkinson’s disease 

INRIA CAMIN’s team (the French National Institute for computer science and applied mathematics) has chosen the HIKOB wireless data acquisition system to conduct researches on Parkinson disease in collaboration with Dr. Geny, a neurologist at the University Hospital of Montpellier. This chronic disease affects today 195.000 persons and 25.000 new cases every year. (Source: France Parkinson)

Freezing of gait is a common symptom in Parkinsonism, which affects the gait pattern and is associated to a fall risk. « We are currently working on the footstep parameters analysis. On a patient, the system don’t have to be too cumbersome. A wireless and miniaturized system is better for our field-testing validation. » says Christine AZEVEDO, INRIA research officer.

Motion analysis of upper limb of patients with essential tremor (INRIA, Montpellier University Hospital, France) – Photo credit: INRIA

Christine AZEVEDO’s team is interested in the analysis of impaired movements in other clinical situations such as essential tremor of the upper limb with the Montpellier University Hospital, gait analysis in the hemiplegic patient with Nîmes University Hospital or children gait analysis with cerebral palsy in collaboration with Stanford University in the USA. HIKOB FOX are used in these different projects to collect real-time data in all context and conditions.

Data coordination of clinical and sports movements data

The INRIA researchers approach is based on a single wireless inertial measurement unit placed on the patient’s lower limbs in the real conditions required by the research subjects. In collaboration with the FFS (French Federation of Ski), INRIA has also been able to equip skiers with HIKOB FOX acquisition nodes in real conditions of practice. Using the same acquisition system in both sport and clinical domains minimizes tests on the patient. New knowledge is then interpreted and used to develop adapted assistance and rehab systems.

« The new knowledge acquired and the reliability of data enabled us to make a bridge between two different sports and clinical domains and to consider new research directions. » some bright prospects for the future of the fight against this Parkinson’s disease.

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