Smartwatch study looks at patient and carer health links
IoT service provider Tracmo has partnered with the University of California Berkeley to carry out a study into the relationship between the health of a patient and their familial or spousal carer.
The university has recruited 300 patients and their caregivers who will wear a smartwatch - Tracmo's CareActive Watch - continuously for six months. Caregivers will be monitored periodically for their mental and physical health changes.
Recent research by the university's Dr. Robert Levenson and Dr. Kuan-Hua Chen found that couples with higher relationship satisfaction showed similarities in their physiological responses , such as heart rate and skin conditions. The academics believe this suggests a greater “biological connection” between the couples.
In addition, there is emerging evidence that this connection to a partner’s physiological response may have important implications for the carers' mental and physical health. Findings from Dr. Levenson and Dr. Chen’s group suggested that this linkage can predict their mental and physical health. This applied to both healthy married couples and couples in which one person is the spousal carer of the other who is diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease, such as dementia.
In another recent study, Dr. Levenson and Dr. Chen had 22 patients and their spousal caregivers wear a wrist-mounted monitor in their homes for seven days. They found that the more synchronised the patient’s and the caregiver’s activity was, the less anxiety the caregiver reported experiencing.
In all these studies data was collected around the same time, therefore the researchers could not know whether greater symcronicity produced better relationship and health outcomes. In addition, research participants were mostly living in the San Francisco and Northern California areas, so the researchers couldn't establish whether the effects could apply to couples living in other, more rural areas parts of the US.
The current study will enable researchers to collect daily, real-time data with the least amount of interference possible. The goal is to establish models that can predict behaviour changes and give early warnings of potential risks to the mental health for caregivers.
The researchers explain they selected Tracmo’s CareActive Watch because it is easier to use than other wearable devices they tried. “We selected the Tracmo CareActive Watch because of its long battery life, ability to provide near continuous monitoring of wearers’ movement and relative position in the home, and ready access to data uploaded to the cloud” Dr. Chen said.
“In our view, the CareActive Watch provided the optimal feature set for our needs and the company’s technical support was exemplary.”
Dr Levenson added: “The Tracmo CareActive Watch’s user-friendly app allowed our sample of elderly research participants to complete self-installation with minimum frustration.”
“By having people with dementia and their familial caregivers both wear CareActive Watches, we are able to monitor and analyse changes in movement and in-home location during individual activities and social interactions. This data is useful in helping us predict changes in the health and wellbeing of participants in our research studies.”
Bachem turns 50 - a timeline
Bachem, a supplier to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month. We take a look at the Swiss company's history.
1971 - beginnings
Bachem is founded by entrepreneur Peter Grogg in Liestal, a small town near Basel in Switzerland. Grogg started the firm with just two employees, and with a focus on peptide synthesis - peptides are composed of amino acids that have a variety of functions treating health conditions such as cancer and diabetes.
1977 - 1981 - early growth
Bachem moves its headquarters to the Swiss town of Bubendorf, with eight employees. In 1978 the company produces peptides for use in medicines for the first time. In 1981 production capacity triples and the workforce grows to 150.
1987 - 1996 - worldwide expansion
The company expands into the US with Bachem Bioscience, Inc. in Philadelphia. To strengthen its presence in Europe, Bachem opens sales and marketing centres in Germany in 1988.
Further sales centres open in France in 1993. By 1995 the company employs 190 people. In 1996 it acquires the second largest manufacturer of peptides in the world and forms Bachem California with a site in Torrance.
1998 - 2003 - Bachem goes public
Bachem company goes public and lists shares on the Swiss Stock Exchange. Further acquisitions include Peninsula Laboratories, Inc, based in California, and Sochinaz SA, a Swiss-based manufacturer of active pharmaceutical ingredients. By 2001, the company has 500 employees and sales reach 141 million CHF.
In 2003 the organisation is given a new legal holding structure to support its continued growth, which remains in place to this day.
2007 - 2013 - acquisitions
Bachem acquires a brand by Merck Biosciences for ready-to-use clinical trial materials and related services.
In 2013, together with GlyTech, Inc. Bachem announces the development of a new amino acid that can help to treat multiple sclerosis, with a world market of more than $4 billion.
In 2015 it acquires the American Peptide Company (APC), which becomes integrated into Bachem Americas.
2016 - 2019 - a global leader
In 2016 the group opens a new building dedicated to R&D projects and small series production in Bubendorf. With a total of 1,022 employees, the workforce exceeds the 1,000 mark for the first time in the company’s history. Sales are over the 200 million mark for the first time at 236.5 million CHF.
Bachem expands into Asia with the establishment of a new company in Tokyo called Bachem Japan K.K.
By 2019 Bachem has a growing oligonucleotide portfolio - these are DNA molecules used in genetic testing, research, and forensics. It is hoped this will become a significant product range in the future.
2020 - COVID-19
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Bachem secures its supply of active ingredients, and even increases it in critical areas. Sales exceed the 400 million Swiss franc mark for the first time, and 272 new employees are hired.
2021 - a milestone anniversary
Bachem celebrates its 50th anniversary and position as a global leader in the manufacture of peptides. While it remains headquartered in Bubendorf, the company employs 1,500 people at six locations worldwide. In the next five years there are plans to continue expanding.
Commemorating the company's anniversary, Kuno Sommer, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said: "Bachem's exceptional success story from a small laboratory to a global market leader is closely linked to Peter Grogg's values, and has been shaped by innovation, consistent quality and cost awareness, as well as by entrepreneurial vision."