Thursday, May 29, 2014

Samsung unveils wristband that can measure health, fitness

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd moved deeper into the wearable technology market on Wednesday as it unveiled a wristband that it claims can give a range of real-time health and fitness information.
At a press event in San Francisco, the world's biggest handset maker announced Simband, a new "investigational" device that can be used to measure body temperature, blood oxygen levels, motion and other metrics on a continuous basis.
The prototype "smart" band is not intended to be sold as is but serve as a "foundation" for third party developers to build a device that incorporates "optical, acoustic and electronic sensors," Samsung's vice president of digital health Ram Fish said.
Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer for Samsung Electronics, speaks in San Francisco. Photo: AP/Ben Margot
"We want to bring in talent from the outside," said Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer for Samsung Electronics' Device Solutions.
Samsung unveiled the Simband at a time when Apple Inc is said to be developing its own wrist device to compete in the wearable technology sector.
Executives for the Korean company said Simband features a shuttle battery, which charges when the wearer is inactive, and is equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
The device was developed in concert with researchers from Belgium-based IMEC and the University of California San Francisco.
This new platform goes hand-in-hand with Samsung Architecture Multimodal Interactions ("SAMI"), a "bank" to store sensitive health data on the Galaxy S devices. The goal for SAMI is to gather data from various health and fitness applications, and offer "insights" to consumers, Samsung said.
Ram Fish, Vice President of Digital Health for Samsung Electronics, displays the Simband he is wearing on an overhead screen in San Francisco.Photo: AP/Ben Margot
"Samsung doesn't own the data, you do," said Fish. "We are a custodian of it."
Samsung plans to market SAMI by hosting a developer challenge and setting aside a $50 million fund for early-stage digital health entrepreneurs. Sohn said the company has already begun investing, recently providing funding to an early-stage entrepreneur building a noninvasive glucose monitoring solution.
The company has struggled to woo developers in recent years, notably with Tizen, its operating system that competes with Google Inc. Samsung may fail to gain much traction with wearable device makers, sources said.
Sohn declined to comment on Apple, which is rumored to be building its own wearable iWatch.
Ram Fish, Vice President of Digital Health for Samsung Electronics, gestures while speaking in San Francisco. Samsung executives are outlining their vision for sensors that track fitness and other gauges of health. Samsung is pushing for a common system so that different manufacturers can interchange key parts such as the wristband. Photo: AP/Ben Margot
Samsung's announcement could be seen as a preemptive move, with Apple hosting its much-anticipated developer conference in less than a week.

Samsung plans to provide more specific information about both new platforms at its own developer conference, which is expected to take place in November. Sohn said the research and development teams are already exploring "locations" for wearable devices other than the wrist.

NYU College of Nursing Researchers Pilot Patient-Centered Educational and Behavioral Program to Reduce Lymphedema Risk

The study, designed to promote lymph flow and optimize body mass index (BMI) after breast cancer surgery, saw a 97% success rate for patients in the program one year after surgery.

Released: 5/28/2014 10:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: New York University
Contact Information
Available for logged-in reporters only
CitationsAnnals of Surgical Oncology (May 2014)
Newswise — Viewed as one of the most unfortunate outcomes of breast cancer treatment, lymphedema is characterized by an accumulation of lymph fluid in the interstitial spaces of the affected limb, leading to chronic ipsilateral limb swelling causing psychosocial distress and physical challenges for patients.
Even conservative estimates suggest that 3% of women who have had sentinel lymph node biopsy and 20% of those who have had axillary lymph node dissection may develop lymphedema a year after breast cancer surgery. Two established risk factors for lymphedema are compromised lymphatic drainage and higher body mass index (BMI).
To date, there is little high-quality evidence to support the role of precautionary life-style strategies in reducing these risk factors.
Now, a team of researchers led by Mei R. Fu, PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, associate professor of Chronic Disease Management at the New York University College of Nursing (NYUCN) conducted a pilot study to evaluate a patient-centered educational and behavioral self-care program called The Optimal Lymph Flow. The goals of the program were to promote lymph flow and optimize BMI over a 12-month period after breast cancer surgery. Findings of the study entitled “Proactive Approach to Lymphedema Risk Reduction: A Prospective Study” was published first on-line in the Annals of Surgical Oncology(May 2014). They offer initial evidence in support of a shift in the focus of lymphedema care away from treatment and toward proactive risk reduction.
“A patient-centered educational and behavioral program focusing on self-care strategies appears to be an effective way to reduce the risk of lymphedema in survivors of breast cancer,” said Dr. Fu. “Based on these study findings, the New York University College of Nursing has established this patient-centered lymphedema risk reduction program as a web-based avatar technology intervention.”
Dr. Fu’s team enrolled 140 women and followed them for 12 months after surgery for breast cancer. Women who had metastatic breast cancer, a history of breast cancer and lymphedema, or bilateral breast cancer were excluded from the study.
Nearly 60% of patients had undergone axillary lymph node dissection, and approximately 40% had undergone sentinel lymph node biopsy. Although more women in the dissection group had had a mastectomy and chemotherapy than in the biopsy group, both groups were similar in terms of body weight and BMI.
The educational and behavioral program consisted of an assortment of self-care strategies. They included shoulder mobility exercises, muscle-tightening deep breathing, muscle-tightening pumping exercises, and large-muscle exercises to promote lymph flow and drainage (eg, walking, marching, dancing, swimming, yoga, tai chi). In addition, to maintain their preoperative BMI, the women were offered nutritional instructions and encouraged to follow a balanced, portion-appropriate diet.
Limb volume change assessed by an infrared perometer and BMI via a bioimpedance device were outcome measures. Assessments were performed before surgery (baseline) and after surgery (at 2–4 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months). Lymphedema was defined as ≥ 10% increase in limb volume from baseline in the ipsilateral arm compared with changes in the contralateral arm.
Of the 134 women who completed the study, 97% of patients maintained and improved their preoperative limb volume and BMI at 12 months after surgery. No patients exceeded a 10% increase in limb volume at 12-month follow-up. No patients reported injury or discomfort associated with The Optimal Lymph Flow program at any follow-up visit, according to the investigators.
“The Optimal Lymph Flow Program promotes lymph flow and optimal [BMI] by empowering, rather than inhibiting, how survivors live their lives,” said Dr. Fu. “Its underlying premise is ‘what to do’ rather than ‘what to avoid.”
These preliminary findings suggest that self-care strategies such as The Optimal Lymph Flow program may prove to be an effective way to reduce the risk of lymphedema in survivors of breast cancer. In fact, nearly 90% of the women studied reported that the program helped them to understand how to reduce their risk of lymphedema as well as dispel their fear and anxiety about developing this side effect. Future research requires a larger study with a randomized, controlled design to confirm the program’s overall benefits.