June 21th - Wearable system


Wearable system for monitoring vital signs in hypoglycemia



Fernanda Irrera
Dipartimento di Ingegneria dell’Informazione, elettronica e telecomunicazioni, Sapienza

Angelo Avogaro
Università di Padova


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by high blood glucose. It affects, today, around half a billion persons worldwide, with an estimated year cost of 10% of the global health expenditure. Diabetes Mellitus of type 1 (T1D) is due to insulin total deficiency and is treated pharmacologically by insulin administration, which cannot replicate the physiological secretion and leads to glucose oscillations. In particular, hypoglycemia is a main threat for people with T1D, as it influences physical and mental abilities. T1D patients suffer, in average, thousands of symptomatic hypoglycemia episodes, which worsen the life quality and the possibility to reach the ideal blood glucose concentrations. Nocturnal episodes are particularly dangerous because symptoms are often blurred by sleep, with a probability of resulting in coma and death.

It is known that during the transition from eucemia to hypoglycemia, in order to bring blood glucose level back up to normal, the body elicits a hormonal response which in turn manifests into a number of different ways including: heart rate variability, degradation of cognitive functionality and cerebral activity.

To get deeper insight into physiological signals in hypoglycemia, we developed a wireless wearable system able to record, in domestic environment, the electrocardiogram (ECG) and specific waves of electroencephalogram (EEG). In the case under study, we focused onto alpha waves from occipital sites, but successful detection of beta waves from frontal lobes was also demonstrated. The system is based on the integration of microelectromachined (MEMS) electrostatic sensors into two miniaturized boards with low power microprocessors, microSDs and batteries. The two boards are positioned in a chest band out of which just four electrodes collect the ECG and the EEG channel. Data are amplified, filtered and stored on the microSD. Post-processing algorithms in time and frequency domain yield information about some key parameters derived from the two biopotentials. Operation of the wearable system has been validated with a gold standard and then tested on a T1D patient, with interesting results which will be presented at the seminar.

Thanks to its high sensitivity, low cost, comfortable package and low power consumption, the wearable system candidates for massive monitoring of ECG and specific EEG waves in domestic environment, allowing for deeper knowledge of the physiological derangements occurring before and during hypoglycemia.


Mercoledì 21 giugno 2023, ore 15:00
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