Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

CeBIT: Early-warning system for health risks

25.02.2014
That environmental factors affect health is neither unknown nor new. But how are the two actually connected? How can predictions be better used to avoid, for example epidemics by initiating countermeasures on time? In the EU project EO2HEAVEN researchers aimed to answer exactly those questions. The IT architecture for evaluating and correlating data was provided by Dr. Kym Watson and his team at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe.

That environmental factors affect health is neither unknown nor new. But how are the two actually connected? How can predictions be better used to avoid, for example epidemics by initiating countermeasures on time? In the EU project EO2HEAVEN researchers aimed to answer exactly those questions. The IT architecture for evaluating and correlating data was provided by Dr. Kym Watson and his team at the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe.The scientists will present the system concept at CeBIT at the Fraunhofer stand in Hall 9.


In the future, sensors, data and risk analysis should provide hospitals and health authorities with timely decision support in the event of an impending health threat.


Within this project three case studies were examined: In Dresden the relationship between air quality – measured in terms of temperature, particulate matter and ozone – and cardiovascular disease; in the South African city of Durban the relationship between air pollution in an industrial area and asthma; and in Uganda the influence of various environmental factors on cholera outbreaks. To this end the researchers at the IOSB developed a software architecture for early warning systems that correlates the environmental and health data and represents it in graphical form. “This allowed us for the first time to visualize the relationships between these factors on risk maps to create a better understanding of the complex environment-health nexus,” explains project coordinator Dr. Kym Watson.
For example, cholera in Uganda

 
This bacterial disease is transmitted mainly through water. Using sensors the project partners measure environmental parameters, such as rainfall, sunlight, pH value, temperature and nutrient concentrations in the water. They also included weather and climate forecasts in their analysis. On the other hand, the researchers recorded cholera-related health data from hospitals and physicians’ practices with mobile applications: What are the symptoms? Where has the patient been, etc.? This data is anonymized and transferred to a central server at the health authority in the capital. With the new software, the cases can now, for the first time, be shown as red dots on a digital map, illustrating their spatial and temporal correlation with the environmental data. This allows decision-makers to make better use of the resources in the affected areas and warn hospitals and doctors in advance.

The visualization has helped officials in Uganda to become fully aware of the significance of cholera outbreaks. Previously, individual cases had been recorded only in lists on paper. Hospitals and physicians can now prepare reports effectively and more rapidly. Scientists, too, have recognized the benefits of this solution: it saves them the effort of entering data manually and integrating it into their models for correlation analysis.

 
Citizens also benefit

 
In the long term it is conceivable, for example, that asthmatics could create their own personal profile in an app. Kym Watson explains the principle: “Users can define the thresholds above which they haven an allergic reaction to pollen or poor air quality. The user can view his / her personal risk map that relates these thresholds to measured or forecasted environmental data. The app could even warn the user when a limit value is or is likely to be exceeded. ”

 
But it is not quite that simple. 

 
Firstly, it is difficult, especially in Germany, to obtain the required health data from the health insurance companies because these are, of course, strictly confidential. It is therefore important to process these data anonymously to ensure data protection, which presents a challenge. On the other hand, it is not always easy to implement the right measures required in the light of the interactions between the environment, people and socio-economic factors. Our IT solution provides “only” a tool for further decision-making. Whether cholera outbreaks can actually be contained, depends mainly on the actions taken, the quality of drinking water, hygiene, and available medical resources.

 
The researchers are implementing the cholera early warning system in collaboration with the World Health Organization WHO and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA. Kym Watson says: “We are currently still looking for sponsors and funding sources. It will probably take another two to five years until the solution is systematically used by decision-makers and scientists.”

 
The scientists will present the system at CeBIT at the Fraunhofer stand in Hall 9.

 
For further information about the project visit:

 
http://www.eo2heaven.org

EO2HEAVEN data
Coordinator: Fraunhofer IOSB
Duration: 02/2010–05/2013
Project partners: Ten from the EU and three from Africa
Budget: about € 8.7 million, EU funding: about € 6.3 million


Weitere Informationen:

http://www.iosb.fraunhofer.de/servlet/is/43483/


Dipl.-Ing. Sibylle Wirth | Fraunhofer-Institut

Further reports about: Health decision-makers early-warning system eo2heaven physicians scientists

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht IVAM Product Market „High-tech for Medical Devices“ at COMPAMED 2017
18.10.2017 | IVAM Fachverband für Mikrotechnik

nachricht Fiber Optic Collimation C-Lenses will be Exhibited by FISBA at OFC 2017
14.03.2017 | FISBA AG

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>