New Research Team at NUI Galway to Focus on Bioelectronics
Monday, 25 February 2008
The research cluster draws on the full range of technical epertise at NUI Galway's Department of Electronic Engineering. The research group was officially launched by Harvard Medical School academic and Biomedical Engineer Professor Paolo Bonato.
One of the key technologies to be developed by the Bioelectronics Research Cluster is known as 'Wearable Electronics for Health Management'. The team will develop a range of body-worn electronic devices to monitor a person's health status and transmit this information on an on-going basis to their health care providers.
Patient trials are about to commence on a wearable muscle stimulation device, developed by the Bioelectronics Research Cluster, for the treatment of venous leg ulcers. Older people are particularly susceptible to venous leg ulcers if they have been immobilised for a sustained period.
The Bioelectronics Research Cluster is also currently investigating wearable electronics systems for fall detection in the elderly, the management of diabetic foot, gait correction following stroke and mobility monitoring in the elderly.
Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Bioelectronics Research Cluster leader at the NCBES, NUI Galway, said "It is generally expected that a significantly increased use of electronic and other technologies will be required to provide an efficient healthcare delivery system in the face of ongoing demographic change. In 2001, 17% of the European Union (EU) was aged over 65, however it is estimated that by the year 2035 this figure will have reached 33%. Therefore healthcare delivery methods will need to be adapted to meet the challenges posed by these changing demographics, while constrained by limited resources."
It is anticipated that this approach to healthcare management will facilitate elderly persons continuing to live in their own home, while having the sense of wellbeing associated with knowing that their health status is being automatically monitored on an on-going basis and that in the event of a medical emergency, assistance will be automatically sought by the system.
The Bioelectronics Research Cluster at the NCBES also has a significant research activity in Diagnostic and Therapeutic Engineering for Cancer.