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Testing cutting-edge health tech in Las Vegas

  • Health devices at CES
  • Abbott’s Lingo: Blood sugar insight
  • Innovations for the impaired

The ‘implant’ adorning my arm is the size of a £2 coin; however, it is said to enhance my vitality, mood, metabolism, and concentration and facilitate improved athletic performance.

Many of the millions of people with type 1 diabetes are undoubtedly acquainted with the technological device known as a continuous blood glucose monitor (CGM); former Prime Minister Theresa May, who disclosed she had the condition in 2013, is one such celebrity who has been observed using one. A hair-fine needle resides in the uppermost layer of skin beneath the circular patch, continuously monitoring blood sugar levels and transmitting the information to a mobile application. This information is crucial for diabetes management… even though I do not have the condition and am otherwise in excellent health.

Abbott, the medical company that manufactures the device, provided me with the testing instrument. The company’s sales representatives have been actively present at CES in Las Vegas, the yearly convention where all influential figures in the technology industry unveil their most recent products.

Why would a medical company be present at a consumer electronics exhibit?

Abbott, however, believes that the Lingo (as the monitor is referred to) is beneficial not only for people with diabetes but also for all of us.

Abbott claims that healthy individuals who don the Lingo can gain insight into the impact of foods on their blood sugar levels and adjust their diets to reduce fluctuations. By making “better” food selections informed by the data, users will experience weight loss, increased vitality, and a decreased risk of developing chronic diseases.

The device, introduced in the United Kingdom last week, is rumored to be “the new Fitbit,” according to a company spokesperson, who was alluding to the fitness tracker that more than three million people in the United Kingdom currently wear.

“We believe that observing how your body manages energy is beneficial for anyone, regardless of age, who wishes to live a healthy life,” he continued.

For £89, users can purchase a Lingo starter bundle that includes a two-week-designed wearable monitor and access to the company’s app, which provides dietary and lifestyle recommendations and blood sugar monitoring.

A similar device, which requires a two-week commitment, is a component of the £200 Zoe diet program, which Davina McCall, a presenter, endorses.

The primary distinction, however, is that Abbott advertises its monitors as potentially permanent fixtures and charges £300 for a subscription plan that includes four monitors for two months of use.

What, then, have I gained by donning a Lingo?

My granola, yogurt, and fruit breakfast with a glass of orange juice initially activated an alert on the app indicating a “blood sugar spike.” It recommended alternatives such as boiled eggs, poultry, or chicken breast, none of which I particularly enjoyed. After consuming a banana in the middle of the morning to sustain my energy levels while exploring the convention center, I experienced another surge.

The Lingo Count feature of the application quantifies the intensity of each surge using a points system and establishes a daily limit – in my case; it was sixty – according to the user-entered height, weight, age, and other relevant metrics. The banana surge resulted in a deduction of four points, and the application recommended that I increase my physical activity.

I subsequently discovered that devouring a burger, fries, and beverage cost me four Lingo penalty points, taking me aback. Does this indicate a minor deficiency in this system? Despite this, I am confident that the Lingo will be as popular as the Zoe monitor, which I have observed numerous individuals using since its introduction in 2022.

Although specialists are adamant about the contrary, there is scant evidence to support the notion that these devices benefit individuals without type 1 diabetes.

The condition above, characterized by insulin resistance in the pancreas, impairs the body’s ability to metabolize sugar, leading to its accumulation in the bloodstream.

“In type 1 diabetics, the blood becomes acidic due to an excessive accumulation of sugar,” explains dietician Dr. Nicola Guess of the University of Oxford. This results in arterial injury and is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. However, there is currently no empirical evidence to suggest that the normal fluctuations in blood sugar levels that transpire within twenty minutes following a meal and are not life-threatening to individuals without diabetes are detrimental to the body.

Furthermore, scholars contend that the criteria used by the Lingo to classify a surge as such are inconsistent. The application categorizes blood sugar levels as excessive or excessively low if they exceed 7.8. Dr. Guess further states, “There is no evidence to suggest that a blood sugar level of eight or nine is cause for concern.” “Diabetics may experience levels as high as 25 or 30.”

“There is no benefit to wearing one of these monitors if you do not already have diabetes,” says Dr Margaret McCartney, a screening expert based in Glasgow. “There are no empirical studies demonstrating that these devices improve health.” These individuals amass substantial wealth by monitoring routine bodily functions and offering extra information and recommendations.

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Dr. Guess asserts that by having Lingo alarm patients unnecessarily about their blood sugar, the company distracts them from more critical health concerns.

“Since the inception of the Zoe diet, I’ve been inundated with patients who are concerned they have diabetes after observing a spike in their glucose reading on a monitor.” Although nearly all of these individuals had perfectly normal blood sugar levels, the applications caused them to feel apprehensive.

Therefore, those three physicians and I all rejected Lingo (I also discussed it with Prof. Partha Kar, the national specialist consultant for diabetes at NHS England; he dismissed it as “a fad”).

Thankfully, CES unveiled additional health innovations that exhibited a greater degree of promise.

Numerous health-improving devices, including spectacles that can read to the blind, ankle tags that indicate how to walk, and even applications that alleviate insect bites, are en route to the United Kingdom. The following is my recommendation for the finest.

Intelligent specifications that can communicate what they see

OrCam has developed a compact digital camera that affixes to a pair of eyeglasses and provides the wearer with information regarding their visual surroundings. The £3,300 device, known as MyEye, is the lightest an AA battery could be and interprets what the camera sees using artificial intelligence technology. The software subsequently communicates the information orally and can respond to inquiries. It permits those with severe visual impairment to read vital documents, watch television, and read novels.

‘When you are given a bill, you don’t need to peruse every detail; you only need the essentials, such as “How much do I owe?” said

an OrCam spokesperson. as well as “When is it due?” That is the capability of this device. You only need to press a button to have the AI respond to any inquiries regarding the visual content.

It can also indicate whether something is in the way of your progress or the appearance of the individual in front of you.

Due to its diminutive size, users must recharge the MyEye every ninety minutes; nevertheless, a portable charger is included.

The device is currently available in the United Kingdom. When (orcam.com)

Ankle device that facilitates walking

It is universally recognized that 10,000 steps per day indicates a healthful lifestyle. According to the Australian health technology company Evolve Mvmt, as opposed to this, the ‘quality’ of the steps matters.

The company has developed an ankle-mounted wearable device that analyzes the wearer’s gait. Doing so may alleviate joint pain and prevent the condition from developing further.

The £400 device, which resembles ankle bands worn by thieves, transmits updates to an app that assigns a score of ten to the wearer’s walking technique. Numerous running injuries, for instance, may be caused by individuals disproportionately placing excessive weight on their heels or toes, according to studies.

Barbie Silvera of Evolve Mvmt asserts that the same holds regarding walking.

“You should place your heel down first and then transfer the weight to your toes effortlessly,” she instructs. This increases muscle engagement and relieves pressure on the feet. However, this is something that a significant number of individuals fail to do, and improper walking techniques can strain joints and ultimately result in excruciating injuries.

The application prompts users of the Evolve Mvmt monitor to modify their walking technique. It may indicate, for instance, that the user is placing excessive weight on their heel or one side of their foot. The company anticipates introducing the device to the United Kingdom market within two years.

“Our foremost objective is to protect individuals’ joints,” asserts Ms. Silvera. According to evolvemvmt.com,

An application that provides voice to stroke victims

Because of facial muscle injury, more than one-third of those who experience a stroke will subsequently have difficulty communicating and speaking. Additionally, patients diagnosed with pharynx cancer and Parkinson’s disease frequently experience impaired speech clarity.

A Dutch AI firm may provide a remedy through innovative technology.

Whisper, an organization, has developed an application that converts murmured or impaired speech into coherent and audible sentences. Verbally transmitting their speech into their mobile device requires no more than one second.

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It employs artificial intelligence software that has analyzed the altered speech of thousands of individuals. Whispp, according to its founder, Joris Castermans, enables individuals with limited vocal capacity to engage in complete and effortless telephone conversations.

“Experiencing a disability that prevents you from speaking in its entirety can be extremely isolating because you feel disconnected from the people around you,” he explains. “This application is also functional for individuals with severe stutter.”

Although users are provided with a range of preset dialects to select from, the application can also replicate their own voice.

Whispp is currently available. A free version is available, giving users a monthly allowance of ten minutes of voice communications. A subscription to the complete version costs approximately £32 per month. According to Whispp.com,

Unlock the digital existence of deceased family members

When an individual passes away, their loved ones face a lamentable predicament as cherished photographs, videos, and files stored on their mobile device become inaccessible. The Adam application endeavors to provide a straightforward method to circumvent this.

Individuals can include photos, videos, and notes in a password-protected folder passable to an attorney or bequeathed in a will.

A free version of the application is currently accessible, allowing users to submit fifty photos and five videos.

The premium version, which offers significantly more storage space, costs approximately £40 per year or £5 per month.

“Unless arrangements are made, everything on your digital device will be permanently deleted upon death,” says Adam’s Michael Okoye.

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