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Sunday, 6 May 2012

A bra `that can tell your doc if you`re having heart attack`


Ladies, imagine sporting a bra which can tell your doctor if you`re having a heart attack -- and where to send the ambulance. Well, it`s now a reality, all thanks to an Indian-origin researcher-led team in the US.

Vijay Varadan and colleagues at University of Arkansas have designed such an "e-bra" which is meant for sick women and atheletes.

The bra has integrated sensors that measures vital health signals and uploads the information to a wireless network such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, which the patient and their doctor can then access, the `Daily Mail` online reported.

Varadan said: "Our e-bra enables continuous, real- time monitoring to identify any pathophysiological changes. It is a platform on which various sensors for cardiac-health monitoring are integrated into the fabric. The garment collects and transmits vital health signals to any desired location in the world."

The system monitors blood pressure, body temperature, respiratory rate, oxygen consumption and some neural activity. It takes the same readings as conventional electrocardiograph (ECG), and so can even tell if a patient is having a heart attack, the researchers say.

The system doesn`t require a cuff or any extra accessories to measure blood pressure and could therefore replace conventional blood-pressure monitors.

The sensors are smaller than a dime and are made of arrays of gold nano-electrodes fabricated on to a flexible base, they are woven in to the bra material, according to the researchers.
They communicate with system software via a wireless module that snaps on to the bra. This collects and compresses the information before sending it over a network to a secure database, that doctors can then access.

The data can be viewed on one screen or separate windows for each measurement. The software includes GPS that can track the patient anywhere in the world.

The researchers said the sports bra could also be used by athletes to monitor their own vitals during exercise sessions via their mobile phones. The system can also be programmed to send emergency messages, via voice or text messaging, if it detects extreme or abnormal conditions.

The findings have been published in the `Journal of Nanotechnology in Engineering and Medicine`.

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