Clinicians from Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center together with engineers from the university’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) came up with this nifty monitor that checks a patient’s finger for symptoms of Raynaud’s disease. Early results from the evaluation of the device seem to be promising:
The Ambulatory Raynaud’s Monitor wraps around a patient’s finger and is secured with a bandage or medical tape. It contains two sensors that alternately record skin and ambient temperature — indicators of surface blood flow — every 36 seconds. A week’s data is held by the monitor’s electronics and is retained even if the device’s power is unexpectedly interrupted.
The monitoring system’s batteries store enough energy to operate for several months, and devices can be cleaned and reinitialized for use with multiple patients.
The device was developed by APL researchers, in collaboration with physicians from the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center, to objectively characterize a patient’s condition and severity, measure symptoms in real time, and help gauge treatment effectiveness. . .
The device recently underwent initial testing on patients with Raynaud’s being treated at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Patients wore a monitor for one week in their homes, pressing an “event button” on the device to indicate when a Raynaud’s event was occurring. The data — processed by APL engineers and evaluated by JHMI physicians — indicates Raynaud’s events can be successfully identified. Patients said the devices are comfortable and easy to use. “The data from this preliminary study suggests that the monitor can help scientists and physicians learn more about Raynaud’s phenomenon and help investigators evaluate the effectiveness of drugs being developed to treat this disease,” says APL’s Binh Le, one of the inventors of the device.
Based on initial data, APL researchers have enhanced the monitor’s design and are gearing up for the next round of trials at JHMI later this winter.
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