Posts Tagged ‘ urinary tract infections ’

‘Smart Diapers’ Promise to Collect Data from Urine

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Diapers embedded with a medical analysis device that syncs with a smartphone app promise to give parents more information than ever about their babies’ health–based on the contents of their diapers.  More on the in-development, and sure to be controversial, “Smart Diapers” from ABC News:

About a year and a half ago Jennie Rubinshteyn and Yaroslav Faybishenko’s 1-year-old daughter was crying in the back seat of their car.

“I was being paranoid. I couldn’t stop asking myself and my husband, ‘What is in her diaper? What’s in her diaper?” Rubinshteyn, 35, told ABC News. Faybishenko responded, “Data is her diaper. Urine is full of so much health information.”

And that, the couple says, was the start of a new family business in making what they call “Smart Diapers.” No, the diapers don’t send tweets or alerts about when there’s pee or poop inside — that’s still a job for Huggies’ TweetPee app. Instead, the husband-wife team have invented a regular disposable diaper with a medical trick — it collects information about a child’s urine.

A dry-reagent panel, just like those colorful sticks you pee on at the doctor, sits on the front of the diaper. It works a lot like a QR code. Using the Smart Diapers iOS and Android app, a parent can scan the panel and see information about the urine.

Rubinshteyn and Faybishenko explain that parents would do this once a day, and the information about their child’s urine would be stored in the app. The goal is to accumulate data about urination patterns and then use that data to spot urinary tract infections, dehydration or developing kidney problems. The app will fire off an alert if something peculiar is found.

“This is about health monitoring, not understanding whether the diaper is wet,” Rubinshteyn, who has an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania and experience working in finance, said. Her husband brings the computer science and health technology experience to the table. In addition, they have two biomedical engineers on staff at their company, called Pixie Scientific.

The Smart Diapers are still in testing, though. The couple is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on approval and testing them at pediatric hospitals. The goal is to bring them to hospitals and then to the broader market. The pricing isn’t set yet, but according to Faybishenko, the diapers will be 30 to 40 percent more expensive than regular diapers. They plan to sell the Smart Diapers in a package with regular diapers, since they only need to be worn once a day.

Image: Mom changing diaper, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment

Lower Circumcision Rates Could Mean Increased Health Care Costs

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been studying the ongoing decline in the number baby boys who are circumcised, concluding that the drop could mean increased health care costs, to the tune of billions of dollars.  The study comes as a growing number of states’ Medicaid insurance programs are cutting coverage for the procedure. Time Magazine reports:

Studies link circumcision with numerous health benefits: the procedure is associated with lower risks of urinary tract infections in babies and young boys, and reductions in men’s risk of contracting HIV, genital herpes and human papillomavirus (HPV); it may also help reduce the odds of penile and prostate cancers. By reducing the burden of sexually transmitted infections among men, it may also help keep more women infection-free as well.

If circumcision rates were to drop from the current 55% to 10%, urinary tract infections in baby boys may rise a whopping 212%, and in men, HIV infections could increase by 12%, HPV infections by 29% and herpes simplex virus type 2 by 20%. In women, dropping rates of male circumcision could increase cases of bacterial vaginosis by 18% and low-risk HPV by 13%.

As gaps in insurance coverage increasingly lead parents to opt out of circumcision, the researchers say a drop to 10% is not unlikely — that’s in line with circumcision rates in Europe, where the procedure is typically not covered by insurance. Medicaid programs in many states have eliminated coverage of the procedure: currently, 18 states no longer pay for it, with South Carolina and Colorado most recently ending coverage last year. According to the study authors, the rate of circumcision rates had remained steady at about 79% between 1970 and ’80, but fell to 63% in 1999 and then dropped again to 55% in 2010.

Image: Newborn boy, via Shutterstock

Add a Comment