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Breath

The Babalung Apnea Monitor is a student-designed device that could save the lives of infan...

Although it’s normal for infants to have some disruptions in their breathing while sleeping, prolonged periods of sleep apnea can cause their blood oxygen levels to fall dangerously low, sometimes even resulting in death – this is a particular risk for babies born prematurely. Usually, when an infant does stop breathing while asleep, all that’s required to get them started again is a gentle nudge or some other kind of disturbance. Unfortunately, however, neonatal wards in developing nations are often understaffed, so nurses might not notice a non-breathing infant until it’s too late. That’s why a group of five bioengineering students from Houston’s Rice University invented the Babalung Apnea Monitor.  Read More

The MicroPEM measures air pollution, along with its wearer's activity level

For decades now, scientists have been monitoring air pollution in order to better understand how atmospheric contaminants affect our health. The gathered data can tell us the amount and type of pollutants that are in the air, which can in turn sometimes be linked to health problems in the area. What that data doesn’t tell us, however, is the effect that different types of physical activities can have on the amount of pollutants that are breathed in – if a smog warning is issued, for instance, does that mean we shouldn’t go outside at all, or just that we shouldn’t go jogging outside? A new personal exposure monitoring device, known as the MicroPEM, has been designed to answer such questions.  Read More

Doctors could soon be diagnosing diseases using breathalyzer-like technology like that use...

Scientists – and dogs – have known for some time that our breath can reveal much more about us than our estimated blood alcohol content. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison believe that “breathalyzer”-like technology they currently have under development could be used to diagnose a wide range of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and infections. Such technology, which relies on the fact that many diseases alter the body’s metabolism in distinctive ways, would provide a non-invasive method of detecting disease even before typical symptoms appear.  Read More

The Protexo is a device that blows cool air on asthma sufferers as they sleep, to keep all...

Asthmatics have it hard enough when they’re awake, having to periodically use their inhalers, or remove themselves from situations that could trigger an attack. For some of them, however, their symptoms get even worse when they go to bed, preventing them from getting a good night’s sleep. Airsonett, a Swedish medical tech company, is attempting make life easier for those people. It has created a device called the Protexo, which it claims should be of great assistance to night-time asthma sufferers.  Read More

Electrical engineer Neal Patwari testing his wireless respiration-monitoring system

Two years ago, University of Utah assistant professor of electrical engineering Neal Patwari demonstrated how radio signals could be used to “see” people through solid walls. Now, he is leading a team that is using that same technology to wirelessly monitor peoples’ breathing as they sleep. The system could be particularly useful for observing patients who are recovering from surgery, people with sleep apnea, and babies who are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). While respiration-monitoring systems do already exist, Patwari’s doesn’t require anything to be physically attached to the subject’s body, plus he claims that it should be cheaper.  Read More

A new system based on old technology may allow for chemical-free CO2-scrubbing onboard sub...

Submarine crews could be breathing much healthier air thanks to miniscule devices based on 62 year-old technology. Currently, carbon dioxide is removed from the air in submarines through a reaction with chemicals such as calcium hydroxide. Chemical engineers from England’s University of Bath are collaborating with mechanical engineers from Duke University in the US, to develop a chemical-free filtration system. It utilizes seawater and tiny folded wire mesh rings known as Dixon rings.  Read More

Several small particles on a (wavy) leaf (Photo: Sadie Belica, Western Washington Universi...

Measuring the level of magnetism of tree leaves could be a powerful tool to monitor the air quality of streets. A new study has shown that leaves along bus routes were up to ten times more magnetic than leaves on quieter streets. The magnetism comes from tiny particles of pollution, such as iron oxides from diesel exhaust, that float through the air and either stick to the leaves, or grow right into them.  Read More

Dust storms like that seen in Sydney, Australia last week can pose serious health risks th...

Out of sight might mean out of mind, but it doesn’t necessarily mean out of danger, particularly in the case of small airborne particles. Such particles can severely affect your health, with effects ranging from asthma and bronchitis to lung cancer. If you’re worried about the possible presence of airborne particles in your home researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) have developed a sensor called ‘Dust Alert’ that could confirm your suspicions or better yet, set your mind at ease.  Read More

Gold particles are being used in a new breath-testing device to detect lung cancer in pati...

Gold nanoparticles are being used by researchers in Israel in a new type of breath test to detect lung cancer in patients. Breath particulate analysis isn’t new but the scientists say this is the first time a technique has been used without the need to pre-treat the exhaled breath, delivering a quicker and less expensive diagnosis. Early detection can result in faster treatment and hopefully save lives. Around 25 percent of all cancer-related deaths are lung cancer sufferers, with estimates put at around 1.3 million people dying from the disease each year.  Read More

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