High-tech asthma inhaler tracks data via GPS

Asthma sufferers may want to upgrade their ordinary inhaler with the high-tech Spiroscout, a GPS and Wifi-enabled inhaler attachment that tracks your data, such as when and where you use your inhaler and which areas trigger attacks, and reminds you to use it if you forget.

The new inhaler, set to release later this fall and reported in The Economist on April 7, also includes an asthma iPhone app diary, which you can sign up for on the company's website.

Developed by epidemiologist and medical anthropologist David Van Sickle - formerly of the US-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - along with Wisconsin-based company Asthmapolis, the product aims to benefit asthma sufferers by offering real-time data so both patient and physician can check for patterns in inhaler use, see which environments trigger attacks, and indicate what adjustments might need to be made in the treatment plan.

Another key benefit according to science and technology website Physorg.com is that since the inhaler accumulates data, this information could provide insights for epidemiologists on not just one individual's data but on an entire group of asthma sufferers, "without relying on self-recorded logs." Also, the data could provide some insight on air quality.

As Physorg.com notes, this isn't the first inhaler of its kind. In 2009, SiliconSky GPS developed the first GPS-enabled asthma inhaler on the market, but the attachment came in the form of a bulky box.

Asthma is one of the world's most common chronic diseases, affecting some 300 million people and almost 5 percent of the world's population.

Exact release date and prices are not yet available; stay tuned to the company's website for more info. http://asthmapolis.com

Read more about the new device: http://www.economist.com/node/18526861?story_id=18526861

Watch a video on the Spiroscout: http://vimeo.com/12175855

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