The Personal Health Monitor Blog
The Latest Health Gadgets and Technology

Blog Archive

November 24th - December 29th, 2005

A new website, BlogBanquet, with the slogan "A feast of bloggy deliciousness," acts as portal to my new blogs. They are:

The Breathalyzer Blog
Health Thermometers
BPM (blood pressure monitors)
The Heart Rate Monitor Blog
Body Fat Monitors
Massage Chairs (and Cushions)

Please check them out.

December 29th, 2005


Breathalyzer Boom in Australia

Aussies are stocking up on breathalyzers, according to a report in Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper. Yet at the same time the local Choice magazine has warned that personal breathalyzers are a waste of money.


According to the newspaper:


Retailers have reported record sales of personal breathalysers in the past two months as the police blitz on yuletide drink-drivers moves into top gear.


Breathalysers are the top-selling accessory at Autobarn, with almost 7,000 Sober Checks sold this year. Store product manager Peter Cheney said demand had been highest in the past month….Mr Cheney said parents often bought the devices for children.


An article based on the Choice magazine report says:


Drinkers who use personal breathalysers to test if they are over the limit are wasting their money on useless gadgets, new research has found. The study, in which males and females of varying age and weights tested six personal breathalysers, found many were inaccurate - in most cases recording over-cautious results.


…Choice said it would not recommend buying any of the six models tested. "While they won't have you thinking you can drive when you can't, you might just as well stick to one drink as pay for a device that doesn't discriminate any better than that," [Choice spokeswoman Lisa] Tait said. "There might be more accurate personal breathalysers out there, but finding one you can trust could be pretty hit and miss."

December 13th, 2005


A Good Little Motivator – Tanita Ironman InnerScan Body Composition Monitor

At the triathlon site, Mark Steckel reviews the Tanita Ironman InnerScan body composition monitor.


His conclusions:


I loved the ability of this scale to measure body fat. And I'm not too concerned if it's 100% accurate or not, because I'm just interested in trends. Off-season versus racing form, that kind of thing. For me, the scale could become a good little motivator that helped keep me from getting too far 'off-season' over the holidays. But that's also my one concern about a monitor like this. I'd hate to see someone with an eating disorder use it as a tool which only weakened their self image. The monitor comes with information about what healthy body fat levels are for men and women and I hope that would serve to educate everyone that certain levels of fat in the body are necessary for good health.

…Overall, this is a great scale that fills a void in the home market. And when one considers that prices range from US$99.99 to $129.99, they are very reasonably priced compared to their non-body fat monitoring cousins.

December 9th, 2005


Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Monitor

Lifestream Technologies, a leading supplier of cholesterol monitors, is to market a novel “three-In-one” blood pressure monitor, measuring blood pressure, cholesterol and HDL, all in less than three minutes. It will be manufactured by Korean company GenExel-Sein, which is launching its own blood pressure/glucose monitor.


In a statement, Lifestream CEO Christopher Maus noted that “between 5 to 7 million blood pressure monitors are sold each year in the US, or 14 million worldwide.”


"The health conscious consumer, who uses or will use a blood pressure monitor, now has a real clear choice," continued Maus. "This dual-use device supplies more meaningful information about a consumer's cardiac health. The combined unit is also more cost effective and will play an essential role for individuals who are managing both blood pressure and cholesterol. There is an estimated 73% overlap of individuals with elevated blood pressure and high cholesterol. About 20 million people are on both blood pressure and cholesterol lowering medications."

December 3rd, 2005


"Tragedy Waiting to Happen"

Canadian police and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization are expressing concern about $6 pocket breathalyzers.


"Using the pocket breathalyzer is like playing Russian-roulette with your life and the lives of other motorists," said MADD Canada's Chief Executive Officer Andrew Murie. "These personal breathalyzers can be inaccurate in their readings and, therefore, are not at all a reliable read of a person's intoxication level. More importantly, they encourage the risky behaviour of drinking up to a certain limit. This product is a tragedy waiting to happen. It's dangerous."


Peel Insp. Steve Dolan, head of the force's traffic unit, also ripped into the devices and the people who use them. "These drivers are not in tune with the concept of zero tolerance that our officers promote and enforce when it comes to drinking and driving," he said. "This device may give people a false sense of security."

December 1st, 2005



The Home Blood Pressure Monitor – How to Get It Right

It never hurts to be reminded how to ensure the accuracy of home blood pressure monitor readings. The Syracuse Post-Standard gives the following pointers:


Take measurements at or near the same time each day, to give the best comparison.


Don't eat, smoke, exercise or ingest caffeine for at least 30 minutes before taking a reading. Instead, rest for at least 15 minutes and empty your bladder at least five minutes before the measurement.


Sit in a quiet place with your back supported and feet on the floor.


Use your left arm unless a mastectomy, stroke or other condition has impaired circulation in that arm. Position the monitor roughly one inch above the elbow, and wrap it snugly around your bare upper arm, leaving enough room to slide one finger underneath. Place your measuring arm palm-up on a table at a 120-degree angle so that the cuff is at the same level as your heart. If your arm circumference is greater than 13 inches, purchase a large cuff to ensure an accurate reading.

Remain still and quiet throughout the entire reading.


Wait five to 10 minutes between measurements to allow your blood vessels to return to their normal state. Be sure the cuff is completely deflated before repeating a measurement.

November 30th, 2005


“A Little Breath Test She Wasn’t Expecting”

Cheap micro-breathalyzers aren’t especially accurate, and are not recommended for drivers who have been drinking and want to check if they’ve gone over the legal limit.


But a story in North-West Indiana’s The Times newspaper suggests the devices do serve a purpose:


Brad Campbell suspected his young stepdaughter was drinking alcohol whenever she and her friends went out at night, but she strongly denied it.

Until one Friday night.


Campbell, an electronics importer and exporter, decided to have his stepdaughter try a new product he'd received from China -- a $10 Micro-Breathalyzer.

"She took a little breath test she wasn't expecting and the device lit up like a Christmas tree," Campbell said.

The girl was held accountable for her actions and the drinking problem went away, Campbell said.


Now Brad Campbell is selling the devices to parents concerned that their children are drinking. He has sold 1,800 units in three months, with proceeds going to alcohol-related charities.

November 29th, 2005



Cell Phone Breathalyzers

The Orange County Weekly’s Trendzilla column features a snide but fun commentary on new South Korean cell phones that incorporate breathalyzers.


All this useless beauty: coming soon to a store near you. In Korea, just before just-in-time-for-the-holidays, a company called LG releases three new cell phones, the SD-410, the KP-4100 and the LP-4100—each with a breathalyzer, so Koreans can breathe into it at 3 a.m. to ascertain whether to booty-call their exes or drive home.

The question is, why do they need a telephone to tell them how lit they are, when their wives would do the job cheap—with a frying pan? On the head. Also, why do you need a breathalyzer on your cell phone? The last one’s easy: because they say you do.

November 26th, 2005


Omron Healthcare’s Aggressive Expansion Plans

Omron Healthcare’s CEO provides some interesting details (pdf file) of the company’s plans for future expansion.


The key paragraph:


Recent years have seen the field of preventive medicine grow in importance. Preventive medicine requires daily attention to one’s state of health, and it is increasingly recognized that bio-information obtained, for instance, by blood pressure measurements taken at home can be useful even in diagnoses performed at medical institutions. For this reason, we are focusing attention on product development that links home health checks to medical institutions. We have already begun sales (in January 2005) of a portable electrocardiograph that can display electrocardiogram waveforms, information useful at medical institutions. We have also commenced sales (in April 2005) of Medinote, a blood pressure monitor and manager designed under guidelines for self-monitoring of blood pressure at home prepared by the Japanese Society of Hypertension. We intend to propel growth upward by aggressively introducing this new category of products.

November 24th, 2005


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