Approximately 3 million Canadians are currently living with diabetes and the number is ever-rising. The traditional approach of searching for new and improved anti-diabetic medication has not significantly slowed this increase in prevalence, so what about a technological approach?
Among the host of potential complications caused by diabetes, foot ulcers and consequent amputations are undoubtedly one of the most debilitating. High glucose levels damage nerve fibers that would ordinarily send signals to the brain when there is a foot injury. This loss of sensation can delay the healing of wounds and cause ulcers, which often become infected and require amputation. Foot problems are the most common cause of hospitalization in diabetics, of whom one in five patients undergo amputation.
In an attempt to find a solution to this problem, a Canadian MD based in Ottawa, Dr. Breanne Everett, invented a smart insole. The wearable technology, created by Orpyx, serves as a substitute for the body’s lost ability to alert the patient to vulnerable areas of the foot. The insole can sense pressure points that are not felt by the patient. Once alerted, advice is given on whether the individual should sit down, remove footwear or check their foot for a foreign object.
This smart-sole has gained international interest and has joined a small group of inventions paving the way for more innovative use of technology in medicine.
Written By: Saran Amin, MPharm