London, Aug 1 (IANS) Pulse oximeters used extensively during the coronavirus pandemic to detect falls in oxygen levels in Covid patients, work less well in people with darker skin, warned experts from NHS England and medicines regulator the MHRA.The device beams light through the blood and skin pigmentation and may sometimes overestimate oxygen levels depending on how light is absorbed, the BBC reported.The regulators do not advise against the use, but ask "to look for changes over time rather than relying on a single reading and seek advice from a healthcare professional".NHS England is also issuing updated guidance, advising patients from black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups, the report said."Although a valuable clinical tool, clinicians are increasingly becoming aware of the potential errors or inconsistencies associated with pulse oximeters, so we need to have this in mind when using the devices," Dr. Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory, was quoted as saying.In people with Covid-19, oxygen levels in the blood can drop to dangerously low levels without them noticing -- a condition known as "silent hypoxia".Inaccuracies in pulse oximeter readings in black Covid patients were observed by Dr. Omar Jundi, an intensive care consultant in West Yorkshire, the BBC reported."It's something I would pick up on at least once a day, in maybe two or three patients. It's an aspect of the sort of systemic biases and systemic racism that occur in the NHS and the care that we provide in the NHS every day," he said.The UK figures show that people from black, Asian and other ethnic minority groups are more likely to get Covid, and become seriously unwell or die from it. Experts believe the inaccuracies in pulse oximeters may be a contributing factor to this, the report said."We need to ensure there is common knowledge on potential limitations in healthcare equipment and devices, particularly for populations at heightened risk of life-changing illness, this includes black, Asian and diverse communities using pulse oximeters to monitor their oxygen levels at home," Naqvi said.He added it was vital that culturally-inclusive research now took place to ensure that pulse oximeters performed accurately on people with darker skin tones, the report said.--IANSrvt/pgh
Bengaluru, May 10 (IANS) Karnataka has decided to buy 2 lakh pulse oximeters for treating Covid patients, Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan said on Monday."We have decided to procure 2 lakh pulse oximeters, including 25,000 in the first phase, to overcome their shortage and supply them to state-run hospitals for treating Covid patients," Narayan, who heads the state's task force set up to contain the virus spread, told reporters here.Warning of legal action against those taking advantage of shortages and selling medical oxygen, pulse oximeters and anti-viral drug Remdesivir at exorbitant prices, Narayan urged the public to file complaints against offenders at 112, the helpline number the state government has set up for fighting Covid."Medical devices and drugs for treating Covid should not be sold above the MRP (maximum retail price). The offenders will be prosecuted. People should call up 112 and register a complaint against those selling anti-Covid medicines over and above their retail price," he said.He also directed the state health officials to upload in real-time data on availability of beds in private hospitals, oxygen, ventilators, Remdesivir for treating Covid patients on the state government's Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) portal."The portal should show in real time how many beds are available in private hospitals, which have been directed to reserve 50 per cent of their capacity to treat Covid patients referred by the state Health Department," said Narayan.Admitting that the state healthcare system would not be able to deliver services efficiently without data from private hospitals integrated into the portal, he said the nodal officers should ensure compliance for optimal utilisation of resources, including beds, drugs and medical equipment.The minister also instructed hospitals and diagnostic labs to submit results of rapid antigen detection and RT-PCR tests within 24 hours of collecting the samples."Hospitals and labs which delay in giving the test results beyond 24 hours will be fined Rs 150 per case," he warned.--IANSfb/vd
Thiruvananthapuram, April 28 (IANS) With the second wave of Covid pandemic striking hard at Kerala, pulse oximeter, one of the vital instruments required at all homes at this point of time, has gone out of stock. Not only has it gone out of stock, a good quality one which was hitherto available in the open market for around Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 has gone above Rs 2,200, recently, after Covid spike started. Across the state as on Tuesday, there were 2,47,181 active cases, which is by far the biggest numbers as it has increased by over 250 per cent, with Tuesday alone recording an all time high of 32,819 positive cases. K. Praveen, a stockist of pulse oximeter said that for the past few days it has been frantic calls from retailers and friends demanding one piece. "We get our stocks from Delhi, Mumbai and at times from Bengaluru and when we speak to them, they are asking if we have unsold items, to send it to them urgently," said Praveen. "All along we have been selling it to our retailers in the price range from Rs 900 and upwards. But for the past two weeks all the stocks have vanished. What we are told is all cargo flights from China have been stopped in the past two weeks and hence this serious situation has risen," added Praveen. The most crowded medical shops in the state are those in front of the Medical College hospital here and not a single piece of pulse oximeter is available as anxious people come in large numbers searching to buy one.--IANSsg/skp/
Washington - Researchers have developed a method that uses the camera on a person's smartphone or computer to take their pulse and respiration signal from a real-time video of their face.
The development comes at a time when telehealth has become a critical way for doctors to provide health care while minimising in-person contact during Covid-19.
The University of Washington-led team's system uses machine learning to capture subtle changes in how light reflects off a person's face, which is correlated with changing blood flow. Then it converts these changes into both pulse and respiration rate.
The researchers presented the system in December at the Neural Information Processing Systems conference.
Now the team is proposing a better system to measure these physiological signals.
This system is less likely to be tripped up by different cameras, lighting conditions or facial features, such as skin colour, according to the researchers who will present these findings on April 8 at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Health, Interference, and Learning.
"Every person is different," said lead study author Xin Liu, a UW doctoral student.
"So this system needs to be able to quickly adapt to each person's unique physiological signature, and separate this from other variations, such as what they look like and what environment they are in."
The first version of this system was trained with a dataset that contained both videos of people's faces and "ground truth" information: each person's pulse and respiration rate measured by standard instruments in the field.
The system then used spatial and temporal information from the videos to calculate both vital signs.
While the system worked well on some datasets, it still struggled with others that contained different people, backgrounds and lighting. This is a common problem known as "overfitting," the team said.
The researchers improved the system by having it produce a personalised machine learning model for each individual.
Specifically, it helps look for important areas in a video frame that likely contain physiological features correlated with changing blood flow in a face under different contexts, such as different skin tones, lighting conditions and environments.
From there, it can focus on that area and measure the pulse and respiration rate.
While this new system outperforms its predecessor when given more challenging datasets, especially for people with darker skin tones, there is still more work to do, the team said. (IANS)
Hyderabad/Amaravati, Jan 31 (IANS) Pulse polio programme began in the Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday to cover 91 lakh children below five years.Children of 0-5 years were administered the drops at thousands of booths set up in all 33 districts of Telangana and 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh.The programme was launched by Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender in Hyderabad while it was rolled out in Andhra Pradesh by Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.Health authorities in both the states made elaborate arrangements for the programme at pulse polio booths and transit points. They also took all precautionary measures in view of Covid-19 pandemic.The vaccinators would be provided surgical masks, hand sanitisers and disposable gloves at all pulse polio booths.On Monday and Tuesday, the health workers will go door to door to immunize the children who miss the drops. In Hyderabad, the programme would continue till Wednesday.Officials said special emphasis was being laid on immunizing children of high risk groups such as nomads, migrants, urban slum dwellers and brick kiln workers.In Telangana, a total of 38,31,907 children in the 0-5 years age group are targetted to be covered during the pulse polio programme.Health Minister Eatala Rajender, who administered the drops at Shameerpet, said 23,331 polio booths were set up while 877 mobile teams were also pressed into service.Around 50.14 lakh doses of bOPV vaccine doses have been supplied to districts.In Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan launched the pulse polio immunization programme by administering polio drops to children aged below five years at Raj Bhavan. Speaking on the occasion, he said the campaign has been launched with an aim to eliminate poliomyelitis (polio) in the country by vaccinating all children under the age of five years.Harichandan said around 52.72 lakh children of less than five years of age are targeted for administration of polio drops in the state, as part of the drive to sustain polio eradication from the country. He noted that there has been not a single case of polio reported in the country since 2011.Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy launched the programme by administering polio drops to children at his official residence in Amaravati.Deputy Chief Minister Alla Krishna Srinivas, Health Principal Secretary Anil Kumar Singhal, Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar and other officials were present on the occasion.--IANSms/pgh
Sydney, June 24 (IANS) In a promising find to prevent dementia, scientists now report that reducing elevated pulse pressure in blood can herald new therapeutic target for preventing or slowing cognitive impairment.Pulse pressure is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and commonly increases with age due to the stiffening of arteries and blood vessels. The normal range of pulse pressure is between 40 and 60 mm Hg. In a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, researchers have outlined a pulse-pressure-induced pathway of cognitive decline that sheds light on why previous treatments for dementia may have failed."Over the last couple years, a sea change in dementia and Alzheimer's disease research has occurred. Focus has shifted from solely targeting amyloid-beta in the brain to the opinion that more fruitful progress could be made by addressing factors that compromise the blood brain barrier," explained study co-author Mark Carnegie of The Brain Protection Company based in Australia. Connecting a large and rapidly growing body of evidence, the researchers elucidate how elevated pulse pressure may cause dementia by disturbing the blood brain barrier.Elevated pulse pressure in blood travelling to the brain can cause inflammation, oxidative stress, mechanical stress, cellular dysfunction, and cell death in the blood brain barrier that leads to brain damage.There is significant evidence supporting that disruption of the blood brain barrier is a key driver of cognitive decline and dementia.Professor David Celermajer of The Brain Protection Company said that "this is an important paradigm shift in our understanding of the pathogenesis of dementia".For the past two decades, a primary focus of drug development for Alzheimer's disease, the most prevalent form of dementia, has been to target the molecule amyloid-beta. However, despite billions of dollars spent on R&D, that approach has yet to be successful.The researchers suggest that targeting amyloid-beta alone to treat dementia may be an uphill battle since concurrent elevated pulse pressure will continue to activate secretion of various inflammatory and oxidative molecules and amyloid-beta from the blood brain barrier into brain tissue.Stem and progenitor cell therapies have gained significant attention as potential strategies to repair blood brain barrier damage and treat dementia, but chronic inflammatory and oxidative stress due to elevated pulse pressure can impact the health of stem and progenitor cells, said the researchers."The combination therapy has been paramount in the treatment of other challenging diseases, in particular cancer. Therefore, in dementia, reducing elevated pulse pressure could prove to be synergistic with other therapeutic approaches such as anti-amyloid-beta drugs or stem cell therapy," suggested Dr Rachel Levin, lead author of the paper.--IANSna/