Wearable technology: eating and playing our way to a longer life

Scientists expect that a person can rise to the level of 150 years without major medical intervention. The key to achieving this long life isn’t a kept secret: Eat better And exercise more. This is easier said than done.

Diet recommendations always seem to change, and exercise becomes more and more difficult as we get older. However, wearable technology is changing what we know about our nutritional needs while creating new possibilities for engaging in physical activity. In other words, our fancy gadgets help us eat and play our way to a longer life.

Get rid of food diaries and calorie trackers

In 2022, a group of Norwegian scientists Impact investigation Certain foods have a life expectancy. Some of the results were as expected: Eating more legumes could add one to four years. Other findings were a bit confusing: Eating more vegetables can cause a loss or year earnings. eat vegetables It is generally good for one’s health, so why is it sometimes associated with a shorter lifespan? In this regard, why do some legume eaters only get an extra year, while others get four? Not all vegetables or legumes are made the same way. Mung beans contain more iron than peanuts; Turnip contains more vitamin C than asparagus. To understand what we should eat to live a long, healthy life, we need a reliable way to measure the nutritional content of the food we eat.

In 2018, researchers at Tufts University’s School of Engineering Designer A wearable device that can detect certain molecules, such as glucose and salt, in food as you eat it. The 2mm x 2mm sensor contacts directly with the teeth and transmits radio frequency waves based on the food particles it detects. This technology can provide glimpses of exactly what nutrients our bodies are taking in.

“In theory, we could modify the biosphere in these sensors to target other chemicals — we’re only really limited by our creativity,” He said Fiorenzo Omenetto, Ph.D., one of the engineers who designed the sensor. C. Doble is Professor of Engineering at Tufts University.

A sensor attached to the teeth may be able to tell us the exact molecular makeup of our diet. (attributed to him: Tseng et al, Advanced Materials, 2018)

However, this information is only useful if we know How These specific nutrient levels affect health. What we eat affects us all differently. Two people may eat the same meal, but their bodies’ reactions can vary greatly. This has led health technology researchers to develop wearable technologies to assess the effects of diet in a more accurate way. In 2020, Melbourne-based startup Nutronimcs announced that it has partnered with engineers at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) to develop The world’s first nutrition monitoring patch. The smart thumb-sized patch measures key nutritional biomarkers and sends the information to an app, allowing users to accurately track how their bodies respond to different foods.

“This smart patch is an important development in wearable health monitoring technology,” said Charath Sriram, co-director of the Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group at RMIT. “Current wearable technologies can track your heart rate and steps, but they cannot monitor your health at the molecular level. This new technology delves deeper and targets precise biomarkers that cause lifestyle-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.”

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You’re unlikely to be wearing a dental-mounted sensor or a nutrition-monitoring patch in the next couple of years, but that doesn’t mean you won’t benefit from these wearable technologies in the near future. For the first time, scientists can monitor nutritional intake and physical effects in real time. These wearable sensors have the power to take us away from general dietary recommendations and toward understanding the unique needs that each individual has for a long life.

Wearable technology turns physical activity into play

For thousands of years, researchers have known that physical activity of the gel is important to health. Hippocrates and Galen Advised to lack From physical exercise is harmful to health. Unfortunately, these ancient sages also claimed that excessive stress was also unwise, and many Western cultures took this very seriously. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that scientists began to fall back on the 2,000-year mark and suggest that perhaps vigorous physical activity could improve life expectancy.

In the mid-20th century, researchers became interested in using daily steps to determine physical activity. For about 50 years, step tracking tools have been used primarily in research. However, in the 1990s, the waist-mounted activity tracker escaped from the lab and began to become popular with fitness enthusiasts. After two decades, the step trackers market has finally made its stride, thanks in no small part to FitBit.

FitBit did a great thing. In addition to the automatic recording of daily steps, the device presented goals and achievements. Walking with FitBit wasn’t just a physical activity, It was a game. Many wearable activity trackers soon followed suit. In 2022 researchers in Denmark review Over 120 smart step-tracking studies have concluded that wearing the devices leads to about 1,200 extra steps per day.

It turns out that people are more likely to get involved Physical activity if it is like playing. Despite 50 years of studies, it has remained unclear whether some extra steps can extend a person’s lifespan. The Danish researchers have finally made it clear. For those who are already relatively active, an extra 1,000 steps per day reduces the death rate by 6%. For those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle, an extra 1,000 steps can reduce the death rate by up to 36%.

But not everyone has the luxury of going for a walk every day. For the elderly or disabled, physical activity is often performed in a rehabilitation facility and in isolation. Thus, these groups (of which we are all or will be members) engage in less exercise and do not receive the same level of cognitive and emotional benefits that come from pleasurable physical activity.

over the past decade, The researchers found Virtual reality-based experiences (VREs) have the potential to be an accessible way for everyone to participate in physical activity, regardless of age or ability. VREs are dual tasks, meaning that they stimulate the brain to generate cognitive and motor responses simultaneously. With advances in new games, especially interactive games, it is possible to improve an individual’s physical and cognitive health better than with traditional exercises while playing with others. For example, according to two randomized control experiments, a 1 session Nintendo Wii-Workouts improve semantic memory and executive function in elderly individuals, and 12-16 sessions Increase short-term memory and transmit the same group.