Tuesday, August 25, 2015

MouthLab--All in one vital signs taker

You know how tiresome it is in the hosp or doctor's office when they have to take your vitals?

First the sadistic blows-itself-up BP cuff that crushes your arm like a 300-lb bouncer, then the rub on your head thermometer where you feel like a baby, then the pinchy finger oxygen checker, and maybe even the EKG, where they spend 10 mins sticking stickers on you.

What if they had a "check engine" device that did it all?

Researchers at Johns Hopklins have designed a battery-powered, handheld device that uses a mouthpiece and fingertip device to collect this data. (Annals of Biomedical Engineering-Sept)

Easy-peasy.

This doodad--regrettably still only in prototype--measures heart rate, BP, temperatuire, breathing rate, and blood oxygen. It also takes a basic electrocardiogram.

People will be able to use this at home with no training, in addition to the hosp, doctor's office,  and emergency response uses.

Because it monitors signs by mouth, it will be adaptable to detect blood glucose levels, kidney failure, and oral, lung, or breast cancer.

The MouthLab has a small, flexible mouthpiece like those SCUBA divers use. This connects to a small unit the size of a phone receiver. Some data comes from the mouth, the rest from holding the device.

Blood pressure is recorded by measuring the changes in the upper and lower lip indicating how much blood volume is reaching them.

Right now all this info is being shipped to a laptop, but follow-on versions will have their own readout.

So how soon can we have this? Get going!

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