TILDA’s Biomedical Engineering Team focuses its research and education on a number of key areas:
Data analytics and physiological modelling.
- Devising novel and sensitive predictors of future health outcomes is key to future population health.
- TILDA’s biomedical engineering team is exploring development of novel mathematical tools for physiological signal and data analytics.
Design, develop and implementation of novel ways of capturing health information for population level health initiatives.
- Enabling easy capture of health information at a population level is key for future cost effective population health management.
- TILDA’s biomedical engineering team is exploring novel ways of capturing metrics of population health using connected health technologies including mobile phones, tablets etc.
TILDA Signal Processing Software Development
Cardiovascular Signal Processing
Biosignal processing and visualisation software has been co-developed by Dr. Chris Soraghan, Dr. Ciarán Finucane, and Dr. CW Fan for the analysis of cardiovascular signals. This system allows easy and rapid analysis of active stand responses for small and large cohort studies. A paper has been submitted to an international conference and a software package will be made available to researchers in the near future.
FibScan - Atrial Fibrillation Screening Technology
FibScan developed by Dr.Ciaran Finucane, John Frewen is a non-invasive method for screening for Atrial Fibrillation (AFib). AFib is the most common cardiac arrhythmia (irregular heart beat), affecting >3.2% of over 50s and >10% of over 80s. Individuals with AFib are almost 5 times more likely to have a stroke or TIA. Crucially, research at TILDA indicates that at least 35% of AFib individuals in Ireland are undiagnosed and hence unaware of the risk. FibScan is based on a signal analysis algorithm which processes heart-rate and pulse waveforms. This technology can be applied widely in a community-based setting (at home, pharmacy, GP surgery, etc) as opposed to the current gold standard technique of Electrocardiography (ECG) which is typically deployed in the clinic. This technology is available for license through TCD http://www.tcd.ie/research_innovation/technology/biomed.php. A demonstrator tablet app has been created for TILDA incorporating the FibScan approach.
Physical Activity and Sleep Signal Processing
Dr. Hugh Nolan has developed software for analysis of gait, sleep and physical activity patterns from wrist worn accelerometers. This work has been recently presented at national and international events and will enable future collection of population scale objective behavioural health data. Ongoing collaborations with researchers from The English Longitudinal Study on Ageing is enabling the validation of these approaches. A set of software tools for researchers is also in development.
New Medical Technologies being evaluated in TILDA. Alivecor mobile ECG platform (left) and OralEye remote dental health assessment (right)
TILDA Next Phase Health Technology Trials
In preparation for TILDA Wave 3 – mobile app technology was developed and trialled for home based ECG and AF screening in collaboration with the TILDA team. A new oral health assessment app was successfully trialled in collaboration with the School of Dentistry and an Irish Start-up company OralEye (www.oraleye.com).
Novel measures of muscle architecture, cerebral perfusion (Near Infrared Spectroscopy) and accelerometry have been trialled recently for the use in future waves of TILDA. Trials of Near Infrared Spectroscopy, a measure of oxygenation levels in the brain, have been performed in the Falls and Blackout Unit in St James’s hospital and will continue in 2014 in collaboration with the Falls and Blackout Unit staff and the Dept. of Medical Physics.
TILDA App Development
Two major projects are underway in TILDA focusing on app development.
Dr. Ciarán Finucane, Dr. Hugh Nolan and John Frewen have been working towards the design, development and trialling of TILDA FIBSCAN a mobile tool for community based AF screening. An AF detection algorithm is now available for license through the TCD Technology Transfer Office www.tcd.ie/research_innovation and a patent has been filed. A prototype app, demonstrated at the recent IGS conference in Dublin has been developed and is scheduled for clinical testing in 2014.
TILDA Mobile App in Development
Significant progress has also been made towards a comprehensive TILDA Mobile platform for mobile population health assessment. This work is being led by Hugh Nolan with initial research findings presented at the IGS this autumn. The TILDA Mobile platform has also been presented to the TILDA Scientific Advisory Board Meeting in TCD, to delegates from the European commission and industrial partners.