Monday, 30 July 2007

Smart shoe insole for diabetics

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Chris just shared flip flops are not the wisest choice of footwear, especially for a diabetic. I love 'em at the pool, but nearly all other moments I sport shoes with plenty of support -- I only torture myself with heels on special occasions.

Check out this innovative product in the pipeline for the feet of people with diabetes. Zephyr Technology is developing a high tech inner sole to help detect and prevent foot ulcerations. Zephyr already makes smart fabrics capable of measuring skin temperature, heart beat, posture, activity and even breathing rates. They have recently teamed up with AUT University scientists to help develop its ShoePad product to measure temperature and pressure for early warning of problem areas. Zephyr says the ShoePad could prevent around 85 percent of the foot amputations performed on diabetics in the United States annually. Neuropathy and ischaemia are two main disorders underlying foot problems. If you don't feel an ulceration on the foot, it can become infected and possibly lead to amputation. Here is a clinical review of the diabetic foot, adapted from the ABC of Diabetes. Be prepared, there are some graphic pictures. But don't get freaked out, foot ulcerations are preventable and very treatable in the early stages.

This new insole has fewer sensors than existing products, delivering an affordable, simple-to-use product. A marketable product will be awhile, the insole is still in research and development, but maybe you'll have the outside chance to slip a pair into your shoes during the clinical trials. I need a smart insole that tells me to "kick off those impractical high heels!" next time I'm on a wedding dance floor.

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