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Aging... A Reason to be Excited?

By BETH RUDLOFF

Not many of us over the age of 21 say, "I can't wait 'til I am older!" After touring the WHIT house and hearing from the speakers at the Florida Health Innovators' (www.healthinnovators.info) meetup, we can feel much better about our gray hairs and advancing years. There is quite a bit to look forward to because of the hard work being done in medical technology.

The home of the future, as far as health, is definitely the WHIT house at Lake Nona (http://www.meetwhit.com/). This home is a place to implement and try out new health technology from initial prototypes to the commercial available. For example, Phillips has developed lighting that simulates natural light circadian rhythms. Phillips uses this technology in light bulbs around the home and alarm lights by the bed for waking up and calming down more naturally. These light bulbs and alarm lights are now commercially available. There are also appliances developed to grow plants and micro greens hydroponically in a small space, ultraviolet lights that destroy bacteria in the bathroom, as well as the use of cleaner building materials like cork floors and wall paint low in VOCs.

Even with technology in our homes to keep us healthy as we age, many of us still worry about our mental capacity while growing older from dementia. We don't want to be a danger by leaving the stove on, or forgetting to take our meds. Technology is also being developed in this area to help us age in place instead of being institutionalized. Augmented cognition is an effective term for this intervention, where we are helped to do the things that keep us healthy and monitor our routines to catch problems early. Senscio (http://www.sensciosystems.com/) has developed systems that passively collect data and then use the data to habituate the best health habits. It also can pick up on subtle changes to notify caregivers that action needs to be taken before it becomes a crisis. Dr. David Metcalf, director of the Mixed Emerging Technology Integration Lab at UCF's Institute for Simulation and Training discussed the work being done to develop avatars that look like us and can provide health support and information at home in a conversational way with socioemotional programming.

With these and many more innovations in play...bring on aging! We are ready!

MedSpeaks ™ is an engagement ­focused organization created to showcase the most exciting events, experts, and healthcare developments within our region. Our strength isin our community network of Health Innovators as well as our platform for promoting/facilitating medical events and expertise. Our engagement model has enabled us to converge over 1,300 healthcare professionals, clinicians, entrepreneurs, and technology enthusiasts to fuse ideas on the problems and solutions facing healthcare.



 
 
 
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