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Wearable health monitor could prevent heart attacks

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Just before putting on your winter coat, hat and gloves to go shovel yet another snowstorm a few years from now, you may first put on a special t-shirt which will monitor your heart and your health.

Many people are familiar with the gadgetry of medicine today, from the tubular machines put into your insides to the glued-on sensors of a heart stress test. A local company and UB researchers are looking at something else, sensors which talk to a smart phone and in turn e-mail test results to your doctor.

The military research is being paid for by the Office of Naval Research to Sentient Science and the university.

"It's for military, but also for civilians. The idea of using this for developing the technology so it's easy enough to use and low-cost and very unobtrusive. So, people can wear it and don't really know they are wearing it but yet it will help them, hopefully, see going on with their bodies, if they are shoveling snow or something before something more serious happens," said Albert Titus, chair and professor of Biomedical Engineering.

Titus says a lot of the technology has to be further developed to make it smaller and not glued to the skin but it could reach the stage of football helmets with sensors inside which measure the force of hits on the field and potentially monitor the effects of hits over time.

A number of Western New Yorkers died in last month's snowstorm due to cardiac issues suffered while shoveling.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.