Science & Technology
AI-enabled wearable devices
Advancements in biophysical and biochemical sensors are paving the way for personalized healthcare through smart wearable devices. These devices can record physiological parameters and metabolic status, facilitating health monitoring, disease diagnosis and treatment. Wearable medical devices are set to play a crucial role in health and safety monitoring, chronic disease management and prevention. Challenges include user-friendliness, security and data privacy, compounded by varying industry standards across continents. We develop customized sensor platforms for specific diseases, like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and osteoporosis and incorporate biophysical sensors to track motions, magnetic fields and sounds as well as optical and electrical on-skin sensors. Biochemical sensors, such as ISFET/BioFET/ChemFET, will enhance medication management and treatment effectiveness through AI-assisted data analysis.
Mechanisms (of action) in biology are fundamental concepts that help us understand how various biological processes occur or are triggered and how different components within living organisms interact. They are critical for the functioning and regulation of life at the molecular, cellular and organismal levels.
A series of connected and coordinated biological mechanisms that work together to accomplish a larger biological function or process are called pathways, which often involve multiple steps, with each step being catalyzed or regulated by specific enzymes or molecules. Pathways are important for the regulation and control of various cellular and physiological functions. External or internal factors can trigger so-called signaling pathways that enable the cells to react and regulate their activities accordingly. In addition, the cells have feedback mechanisms for monitoring and controlling biological processes.
Mechanisms of action of electromagnetic fields in biology
Understanding the physical mechanisms of how electromagnetic fields (EMF) can affect biological systems is crucial to deciphering the complexity of life processes and developing targeted interventions or treatments. EMFs can interact with biological systems in various ways; here are some physical interaction theories for pure constant and alternating magnetic fields:
- Occurrence of ion cyclotron, stochastic and paramagnetic resonance [1-4] – ionic movements play a key role in biology.
- Zeeman splitting of spectral lines on biochemical reaction intermediates [5-7], specifically radical-pair-mechanism.
- Re-orientation of magnetite nanoparticles in magnetic fields , e.g. transmitting small forces on molecules.
- Induction of eddy currents .
Effects of electromagnetic fields on biological systems can vary depending on frequency, intensity and duration of the exposure as well as on other ambient physical and biological conditions. Some electromagnetic fields are used in medical applications, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and certain therapies. Pharmaceutical and physical interventions (e.g. ultrasound, EMF, etc.) have similar effects on signaling pathways the further downstream they are. However, drugs and EMF can affect similar targets in different magnitudes. Due to technology advances weaker physiological effects can now be measured much better over time with wearable sensors (real world data), hence intervention effects and methods can now be assessed much better.
Therapeutic power of EMF
Electromagnetic waves and fields, as described by the Maxwell equations, are manifestations of the electromagnetic force, which is one of the four fundamental forces governing the universe. This force plays a crucial role in all chemical bonds, reactions and biological activities. It is responsible for the interactions between atoms, which in turn affect the evolution of biological life on Earth, influenced even by the planet’s own magnetic field, including the Schumann resonance at 7.8 Hz and higher harmonics.
In the 1970s, researchers began to investigate the health-relevant effects of artificial EMFs – harmful ones such as the emissions from mobile phones, WLAN and AC power supplies, but also beneficial ones such as the therapeutic potential of EMFs. As far as the interaction of low-frequency electromagnetic fields (LF EMF) with biological cells and tissues is concerned, various biophysical theories, as mentioned above, explain the mechanisms of action.
The therapeutic use of electromagnetic fields has become increasingly important in recent years. The main advantages of EMFs are their non-invasive, localized and precisely controlled application, e.g. to inflamed tissue.
A special combination of EMF parameters, which we called cell information therapy (CIT), was integrated into certified medical devices (product risk class IIa according to the European MDD) from 2003 to 2023, allowing us to collect empirical data. In addition, certain CIT and exposure parameters have been the subject of our long-term research in disease-related biological contexts. CIT uses pulsed electromagnetic fields with frequencies from 3 to 100 Hz, which fall within the spectrum of low-frequency EMF. Although field strengths of up to 300 µT (6 to 7 times higher than the earth’s magnetic field) can be achieved, the time-averaged intensity remains lower due to the short pulse duration. This low energy consumption makes CIT technology “wearable”.
It is even possible to integrate the EMF generation components into the same platform and housing used for the sensors. This innovation opens up fascinating possibilities for personalized monitoring and intervention in diseases such as IBD and bone health.
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