The Importance of Public Funding of Research

Full Month of Continuous Blood Pressure Monitoring

By Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick
Twitter: @drnic1
Host of Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist – #TheIncrementalist

On this episode I talked to Josep Sola, Ph.D. Co-Founder and CTO for Aktiia (@aktiiaglobal), who have created a wrist-worn cuffless continuous blood pressure monitor that lasts a month on one battery charge. How and why does a telecoms engineer end up in medical device and sensor research looking at Plethysmography? We discuss the importance of public funding, in their case from CSCM in Switzerland for basic research and like so many other guests the importance of failure – in their case at least 3-4 years of “failure” but as Josep describes it learning and understanding catchy why things were not working. The history to this point goes back as far as the 1970’s when we had Pulse Oximetry but with large industrial type devices used in specialized settings and the move to wrist-based sensors (that at the time were seen by many as impossible). You can read more details based on my post and interview with Prof. Arik Eisenkraft, MD, MHA, the Chief Medical Officer for BioBeats (Tackling the Epidemic of Chronic Illness).

Episode NOW on Demand

You can read more on the science here that delves into the pulse wave that propagates through the arterial system and the various factors that contribute to its character including the blood pressure, stiffness of vasculature and vascular disease. If you want a really deep dive read Josep’s book: Cuffless Blood Pressure Monitoring.

The clear learning point and one I make repeatedly in Incremental steps;

It takes 10 years to be an overnight success

In their case closer to 16 years and still some steps to go!

The other clear incremental learning point is the sharing and publishing of data and science was a big positive that was benefitted by the community of scientists who participated and provided valuable feedback. It reminds me a lot of Andy Weir’s journey to his outstanding novel “The Martian” and ultimately the movie.

He published chapter by chapter his story to the community and took feedback, suggestions, and corrections along the way from a very generous community of interested scientists and fans. He still got to publish the novel even though it had already been self-published.

Aktiia is solving a fundamental disconnect between tracking and treating Hypertension that today relies on single measurements that struggle to represent the reality of actual blood pressure and all the factors contributing. Listen in to hear about their journey, the technology and how it works and where they are going.

About the Show
For years Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick, has served as a voice on the impact of new technologies on healthcare, earning a reputation as a leading authority on where the future of medicine is going. Combining powers of observation and real world experience, Dr. Nick has seen many predictions come true and makes the case that innovations in healthcare can be accomplished incrementally, not just by moonshot events. Tune in to hear Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist and his guests discuss what the future of healthcare looks like, how we will get there, and what it will take to improve healthcare for all.

This article was originally published on the Dr. Nick – The Incrementalist blog and is republished here with permission.