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February - March 2006


Revolutionary New Blood Pressure Monitor
A new kind of monitor is set to revolutionize the way we check our blood pressure. But until prices come down - drastically - it'll be mainly doctors and clinics who will be buying it. Home users - for whom it will be most beneficial - will likely have to wait.

It's the Primo, which does away with the traditional cuff technology that squeezes the arm all the way around. Instead, the Primo puts pressure on just one point on the wrist.

It has been developed over three years by a small US company, MedWave, and has just received FDA approval.

According to a news report:

Primo's Inventor, Kevin Evans, says the device is particularly effective for bariatric patients, "Some of them are morbidly obese and they cant get a cuff on their arm and typically in those situations their wrists aren't as fleshy as the arm would be."

He says it's good for geriatric patients too, "Typically the problem there is the sensitivity to the cuff the squeezing of it they can bruise very easily ours won't do that were just going on the wrist and were squeezing very lightly in comparison."

Another advantage to the Primo is that it doesn't need annual maintenance and recalibration like the traditional cuff. It maintains its accuracy throughout its lifetime.

Unfortunately, the initial price of $1,000 puts it out of the reach of most individuals. Most popular home-use blood pressure monitors currently on the market cost well under $100.
March 15th, 2006

A Whole New Generation of Bathroom Scales
Thanks to the obesity problem, Homedics has revealed that it has increased the capacity of its bathroom scales to 350 pounds. According to a short UPI report from the Chicago International Housewares Show:

America's growing obesity problem has inspired a whole new generation of bathroom scales that measure everything from pounds to visceral fat. Tanita introduced its Innerscan Body Composition Monitor, which also can give a muscle-to-water ratio, measure bone mass and metabolic age and let the consumer know how many calories should be eaten to maintain weight.

Homedics has increased the capacity of its scales to 350 pounds. They also measure more than weight and some scales are designed with decor in mind, clothed in terrycloth or faux suede to blend in with other bathroom features.

March 13th, 2006


Why Australians Don't Buy So Much Personal Health Equipment
A brochure arrived in the letter box yesterday, with details of a sale at a local department store. Included was some electronic health equipment. I live in Australia, and even on sale these gadgets seemed to be priced far higher than in the US.

It's difficult to make direct comparisons, as product names and model numbers here are sometimes different from in the US. But, as an example, an Emjoi epilator that's $42.69 at is advertised in my pamphlet at a sale price of US$80.50.

A Homedics hand-held massager that's $14.99 at is on sale at my local department store for US$22.15. A Homedics massaging cushion, $39.99 at, is on sale in Australia for US$65.75.

And so on. Little wonder these products do not - apparently - sell in large numbers here.
March 7th, 2006

Thermotek No Touch Thermometer
I've been writing (scroll down) about the Italian-developed no-contact thermometer that's to be released in the US. A press release suggested it was the world's first totally non-contact thermometer.

Thanks to No Touch Thermometers Australia I've learned of another non-contact thermometer, made by Thermotek. This takes an instant reading when held close to the temporal artery above either eye, without touching or wiping across the forehead. It is a fast, accurate and non-invasive method of taking temperatures without even touching the body, and is apparently gaining in popularity in hospitals, especially in infectious disease units.

You can read here of a Norwegian study which found the Thermotek (known in Norway as the Comaco) to be superior to most rivals. A little more detail is at this British commercial site, and further information is available by emailing No Touch Thermometers Australia.
February 17th, 2006


Bathroom Scales Go High-Tech
Bathroom scales go high-tech, according to an article on the MSNBC website. It looks at regular bathroom scales, and also at body fat monitors. About the former it notes:

Most digital scales rely on an array of electronic sensors to calculate weight rather than the spring loaded mechanisms of their predecessors. As such, their readings are considered more precise and require less knob-fiddling adjustments to keep them true.

Of course, the traditional spring-loaded styles that read weight like a speedometer going zero to @#$%! in a few blinks of the eye are still around. And unlike their digital cousins, no batteries are required. Several manufactures make them and many are updated with a trendy, retro-styled look.

For example, the Analog Dial Scale from Homedics ($25) comes with an easy-to-read speedometer dial, a 300 pound weight capacity, and color choice of black and white or all white. Basic scales in the $10-$15 price point include the Thinner Compact Scale and the Taylor Basic Analog Scale.

About body fat monitors, it says:

The digital Innerscan and Ironman lines from Tanita ($70 to $130) come packed with features that do everything from sending a low-level electric current through the body in order to measure body fat percentage and hydration levels to allowing up to four individual users to track their progress over time.

Some models, such as the glass-and-stainless BC-533 ($120), also analyze muscle mass, bone mass and daily caloric intake, gauge stomach fat and provide a "physique" rating based on body type.

Tanita claims these additional measurements can be important to maintaining overall health and monitoring the effects of a diet and exercise plan. For example, a stand-alone weight reading does not distinguish muscle from fat. Too much fat can be a warning sign of serious medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Cathy Nonas, a dietician and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association in New York, cautioned that before people opt for these features, they should know how they intend to use the information. Do they really need to know their percent body fat on a regular basis? "If so, then by all means, spend the extra money," she said.

February 17th, 2006

Contactless Thermometer
The Italian-developed no-contact thermometer is to be marketed in the US. According to a press release:

American Scientific Resources today announced an agreement between its subsidiary, Kidz-Med Inc. and Italian manufacturer Tecnimed srl to handle the U.S. retail and consumer distribution of the Thermofocus clinical thermometer. The Thermofocus is the world's first totally "non-contact" thermometer and has been marketed successfully for years in Europe and globally.

The Thermofocus will be the newest product in the Kidz-Med line of children's health and safety devices. The thermometer has patented infrared technology that allows a temperature to be taken without touching or waking a patient or sleeping baby. The device is totally non-invasive and takes a temporal artery temperature at the forehead, which is a preferred site because of its source of blood flow directly from the head. The Thermofocus is accurate, immediate, and hygienic because it never touches the body.

February 9th, 2006

Omron - Healthcare Business Continues Double-Digit Growth

JCN Newswire provides a summary of Omron's financial results for the nine months to December 31st, 2005. Concerning the Healthcare division, the following is reported:

In Japan, sales of digital blood pressure monitors, digital thermometers, body composition monitors and other products were favorable and increased over the same period in the previous fiscal year. Overseas, sales of digital blood pressure monitors in the United States declined due to slack demand, but in Europe, Southeast Asia and China, sales of digital blood pressure monitors, a core product, increased from the same period in the previous fiscal year.

As a result, segment sales were JPY 44,864 million [US$380 million], a 16.3 percent increase from the same period in the previous fiscal year.

February 2nd, 2006



People Just Like Gadgets
US sales of fitness gear probably surpassed $5 billion last year, with a third of all American homes owning something. The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Like bikers, runners also want the latest toys to help them get in shape, said John Baus, manager at Track Shack of Orlando.

"You can buy a heart monitor, which helps you maximize your workout program, for about $65," he said. "Walkers can get a pedometer to keep track of the distance they've covered, and people training for a marathon can get a device that fits on a shoe and gives feedback while they're running."

Along with improving fitness, technology has additional appeal, said Kim Boere, master trainer at RDV Sportsplex in Maitland.

"People just like gadgets," she said. "They want stuff that's easy and user-friendly."
February 1st, 2006



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