Jun 1, 2020

App Promises To Improve Pain Management For Dementia Patients

dementia
Kayleigh Shooter
3 min
We take a look into an application being developed at the University of Alberta, that will help health-care staff assess and manage pain in patients wit...

We take a look into an application being developed at the University of Alberta, that will help health-care staff assess and manage pain in patients with dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. 

"The challenge with understanding pain in patients with dementia is that the expressions of pain in these individuals are often mistaken for psychiatric problems," said Eleni Stroulia, who co-leads the project. "So we asked, how can we use technology to better understand the pain of people with dementia?"

The app will digitize a pen-and-paper observational checklist that past research has shown helps health-care workers, such as nurses, assess pain in their patients suffering from dementia.

"Our work is to develop an application for nurses to use, as well as a back-end repository that stores and manages this data safely," explained Stroulia. "This new research demonstrates the promising results from our initial trial."

In the trial, researchers compared the digital app on a tablet with the traditional pen-and-paper assessment. They found that nurses preferred to use the app with patients, and even reported that it helped them feel less stressed and burned out.

The researchers are now working to build an app that can be adopted more widely. Stroulia noted that the app will allow health-care workers to see more quickly whether pain management techniques are working or not, with individual patients. On a broader scale, widespread use of the tool could help improve the quality and efficacy of care for patients with dementia, she added.

"When we have this kind of data, we can build models to understand the impact of different interventions," said Stroulia. "This is what can change policy and care in the long term—an evidence-based policy that changes the state of how we practise medicine."

Along with Stroulia, the project is led by Thomas Hadjistavropoulos at the University of Regina as part of AGE-WELL, a national network that aims to help older Canadians maintain their independence, health and quality of life through accessible technologies.
 

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University of Alberta: 

The University of Alberta in Edmonton is one of Canada's top teaching and research universities, with an international reputation for excellence across the humanities, sciences, creative arts, business, engineering and health sciences. 

Within a vibrant and supportive learning environment, the University of Alberta discovers, disseminates and applies new knowledge through teaching and learning, research and creative activity, community involvement and partnerships. The U of A gives a national and international voice to innovation in our province, taking a lead role in placing Canada at the global forefront. 

The university is one of the world's top research universities-fourth in Canada and eighty-first in the world for research impact. From making discoveries that answer fundamental questions to building new businesses and industries, to improving human health and fostering social change, our researchers are at the forefront of advancing knowledge for the benefit of all.

Source: MedicalPress

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Jun 17, 2021

Peloton vulnerable to cyber attacks, McAfee research finds

cyberattack
fitness
Cybersecurity
verification
2 min
​​​​​​​Software security experts McAfee discovered exercise bikes by Peloton are vulnerable to cyber attacks, which the company have since resolved 

Peloton, the popular exercise bikes, were found to be vulnerable to cyber attacks in the latest research from McAfee. 

Peloton is a brand of electric bikes that combines high end exercise equipment with cutting-edge technology. Its products use wi fi to connect to a large tablet that interfaces with the components of the exercise device, and provides an easy way for physical activity enthusiasts to attend virtual workout classes over the internet several times a week.

Peloton has garnered attention recently around the privacy and security of its products. So McAfee decided to take a look for themselves and purchased a Peloton Bike+.

The problem

Researchers looked at the Android devices and uncovered a vulnerability  that could allow an attacker with either physical access to the Bike+ or access during any point in the supply chain to gain to hack into the bike’s tablet, including the camera, microphone and personal data. 

For the person using it there would be no indication the Bike+ has been tampered with, potentially putting Peloton’s 16.7 million users at risk.  

The flaw was found in the Android Verified Boot (AVB) process. McAfee researchers were able to bypass the Android Verified Boot process, which normally verifies all code and data before booting. They were then able to get the device to boot bypassing this step. 

This could potentially lead to the Android OS being compromised by an attacker who is physically present. Even worse, the attacker could boot up the Peloton with a modified credential to gain privileges, granting them access to the bike remotely. 

As the attacker never has to unlock the device to boot it up, there would be no trace of their access on the device. This type of attack could also happen at any point from construction to warehouse to delivery, by installing a backdoor into the Android tablet without the user ever knowing. 

The solution

Given the simplicity and criticality of the flaw, McAfee informed Peloton while auditing was ongoing. The vendor was sent full details,  and shortly after, Peloton confirmed the issue and released a fix for it. 

Further conversations between McAfee and  Peloton confirmed that this vulnerability had also been present on the Peloton Tread exercise equipment. 

Peloton’s Head of Global Information Security Adrian Stone, commented on the research: “This vulnerability reported by McAfee would require direct, physical access to a Peloton Bike+ or Tread. Like with any connected device in the home, if an attacker is able to gain physical access to it, additional physical controls and safeguards become increasingly important.

"To keep our members safe, we acted quickly and in coordination with McAfee. We pushed a mandatory update in early June and every device with the update installed is protected from this issue.”

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