Friday December 6, 2019

This New Toilet Can Monitor And Improve Health

Smart Toilets can improve and monitor our health

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Smart toilet
This new smart toilet technology can monitor and improve health. Pixabay

Wearable, smart technologies are transforming the ability to monitor and improve health, but a decidedly low-tech commodity — the humble toilet — may have the potential to outperform them all, a new study suggests.

The Coon Research Group is designing a toilet that will incorporate a portable mass spectrometer that can recognise the individual and process samples across a variety of subjects.

Coon also believes the “smart toilet” concept could have major population health implications .

For the study, published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Morgridge Institute for Research are working to put the tremendous range of metabolic health information contained in urine to work for personalised medicine.

“We’re pretty sure we can design a toilet that could sample urine. I think the real challenge is we’re going to have to invest in the engineering to make this instrument simple enough and cheap enough. That’s where this will either go far or not happen at all,” said study lead author Joshua Coon.

Urine contains a virtual liquid history of an individual’s nutritional habits, exercise, medication use, sleep patterns and other lifestyle choices.

Urine also contains metabolic links to more than 600 human conditions, including some of the major killers such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease.

Toilet
The Coon Research Group is designing a toilet that will incorporate a portable mass spectrometer. Pixabay

For the study, two research subjects consistently collected all urine samples over a 10-day period, submitted those samples for tests with both gas chromatography and mass spectrometry for a complete readout of metabolic signatures.

The two subjects also happen to be lead authors on the paper– Joshua Coon and Ian Miller. However, the sample size used in the study is too small.

Collectively they provided 110 samples over the 10-day period, and also used wearable technology to track heart rates and steps, calorie consumption and sleep patterns.

The samples do indeed contain a remarkable health fingerprint that follows the ebbs and flows of daily life.

For example, the subjects kept records of coffee and alcohol consumption, and the biomarkers with a known connection to both those drinks were abundantly measured.

One subject took acetaminophen, which was measured in urine by a spike in ion intensity.

The metabolic outputs from exercise and sleep could also be measured with precision.

While the pilot experiment didn’t examine health questions, many possibilities exist.

For example, testing could show how an individual metabolises certain types of prescription drugs, in ways that could be healthy or dangerous.

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Also, as the population gets older with more stay-at-home care, urine tests would indicate whether medications are being taken properly and are having their intended effect.

“If you had tens of thousands of users and you could correlate that data with health and lifestyle, you could then start to have real diagnostic capabilities, it might provide early warning of viral or bacterial outbreaks,” Coon said. (IANS)

Next Story

Start Checking Your Cholestrol Level from Mid-20s to Avoid Heart Disease: Study

Cholesterol is a fatty substance - a lipid - found in some foods and also produced in our liver

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Heart
Researchers analysed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries and found a strong link between bad-cholesterol levels and risk of Heart disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more. Pixabay

A study has said that people should get their cholesterol levels checked from their mid-20s as the readings can be used to calculate lifetime risks of Heart disease and stroke.

The study, published in “The Lancet”, is the most comprehensive yet to look at the long-term health risks of having too much “bad” cholesterol for decades, the BBC reported.

Researchers maintain that earlier the people take action to reduce cholesterol through diet changes and medication, the better.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance – a lipid – found in some foods and also produced in our liver. It is needed to make hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, Vitamin D and other compounds.

While High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is “good” as it keeps the body healthy, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is “bad” as it can clog arteries.

Researchers analysed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries and found a strong link between bad-cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more.

They were able to estimate the probability of a heart attack or stroke for people aged 35 and over, according to their gender, bad-cholesterol level, age and risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, height and weight, and blood pressure.

The BBC quoted the report’s co-author Stefan Blankenberg of the University Heart Center in Hamburg: “The risk scores currently used in the clinic to decide whether a person should have lipid-lowering treatment only assess the risk of cardiovascular disease over 10 years and so may underestimate lifetime risk, particularly in young people.”

Heart
A study has said that people should get their cholesterol levels checked from their mid-20s as the readings can be used to calculate lifetime risks of Heart disease and stroke. Pixabay

Blankenberg told BBC: “I strongly recommend that young people know their cholesterol levels and make an informed decision about the result – and that could include taking a statin.”

However, he added, there is a danger that people could rely on statins rather than leading a health lifestyle and although they were usually well tolerated, studies had not been done on the potential side-effects of taking them over decades.

ALSO READ: Upcoming Apple iPhone May Have Qualcomm Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor

British Heart Foundation medical director Nilesh Samani said: “This large study again emphasises the importance of cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

“It also shows that for some people, taking measures at a much earlier stage to lower cholesterol, for example by taking statins, may have a substantial benefit in reducing their lifelong risk from these diseases.” (IANS)