Electrical Impedance Tomography (EIT) is a well-known imaging method that provides information about the spatial electrical conductivity distribution within the human body. The technique is based on applying small magnitude alternative electric currents to the body and measuring the developing electric potentials on the surface of the body. The large variation of the tissues’ electric and dielectric properties makes EIT a possible technique for body
monitoring and imaging.
The developed technology is a system with a small number of electrodes, suitable for a clinical environment that was previously applied for measuring the amount of fluids in the lungs in Heart Failure patients. The technology and a prototype were developed and are used for validating the application for osteoporosis diagnostics and monitoring.
About 52 million Americans (55% of Americans aged 50 and above, of these, approximately 80% are women) have Osteoporosis and low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for fractures. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), around the world, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men are at risk of an osteoporotic fracture. In fact, an osteoporotic fracture is estimated to occur 9 million times each year worldwide. Approximately 50% of people with one osteoporotic fracture will have another, with the risk of new fractures rising exponentially with each fracture (International Osteoporosis Foundation - IOF).
There is no known cure for Osteoporosis. However, once diagnosed, there are steps a patient can take to prevent, slow or stop its progress. In some cases, it is possible to improve bone density and reverse the disorder to some degree.
The current existing diagnosis methods (e.g. DEXA) carry expensive burden and are performed using a large device which uses ionizing radiation.
Our EIT technology based product proposes a novel alternative to the existing solutions, providing advantages such as:
- It is inexpensive relative to the other existing techniques
- It does not use ionizing radiation, thus it is well suited for long-term tracking that is often required in Osteoporosis management
- It can be utilized using simple, compact hardware, thus can be performed at the physician clinic/outpatient at their convenience and even at home
A product for easy and inexpensive detection and screening of the decrease in Bone Mineral Density (BMD) in the body, which is common in Osteoporosis. The product uses a technology of injecting current into a body, measuring electric potential at the surface of the body, and using a model of the body to calculate bone dielectric properties for diagnosis and monitoring of Osteoporosis. Two main solutions will be developed:
- Hospital/clinic type device for full diagnosis of BMD that can be used for clinical purpose at the hospital or physician clinic
- Product targeting the home devices market – wearable hand wrist with a smart-phone interface that can be used at home and during all activities
Stage of Development
In order to assess the feasibility of the idea, computerized simulations have been done using 3D body models. The simulations results suggest that there is a correlation between the BMD and the surface potential.
In addition, a wrist prototype connected to a portable recorder was developed and is being used for validating the technology.