Musculoskeletal conditions affect people along their life everywhere. According to a study from the Global Burden of Disease, about 20-30% of worldwide population lives with a painful musculoskeletal condition.
While the prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions increases with age, younger people are also affected, often during their peak incomeearning years. Nowadays, Musculoskeletal Disorder (MSDs) are the most common reason of work disability, sick leave and early retirement of people under 50 all over the world, more than any other disease like cancer or diabetes.
MSDs, as the word already explains itself, is a kind of disorder affecting people’s musculoskeletal system, typically characterized by pain (often persistent pain) and limitations in mobility, dexterity and functional ability, reducing people’s ability to work and participate in social roles with associated impacts on mental wellbeing, and, at a broader level, impacting as well on prosperity of communities. Most common and disabling musculoskeletal conditions are osteoarthritis, back and neck pain, fractures associated with bone fragility, injuries and systemic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Musculoskeletal conditions share some similar risk factors to other non communicable diseases, such as inadequate physical activity, obesity, smoking and poor nutrition.
While management of some musculoskeletal conditions often requires specialist and/or surgical care, many musculoskeletal conditions can be managed in primary care services through a combination of core non-pharmacologic interventions, such as exercise, and psychological and pharmacologic therapies.
Moreover, health and broader social cost of musculoskeletal conditions are very relevant, although spending on musculoskeletal conditions is challenging to measure, due to the vast array of musculoskeletal conditions and limitations of surveillance systems.
According to the World Health Organization, MSDs conditions comprise more than 150 diagnoses which affect to the locomotor system. So hence, potential value of the annual sector is estimated around 300 trillion Dollars worldwide. Two thirds of this amount may derive from the costs saving for the National Health Service, and at a
European level this saving is estimated to be of 100 million Euros.
Bearing this context in mind, MDURANCE SOLUTIONS is a start-up based in Granada (Spain), part of the Technological trampoline network (CESEAND, RTT) and focused on the field of Digital Health.
Specifically, it’s been developed an auxiliary tool for the evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), based on an advanced analysis of signals generated by Electromyography (EMG Surface electromyography is the analysis of the electrical activity of muscles. Its aim is to detect and assess neuromuscular pathologies through the
evaluation of the health and performance of your patient’s musculature), and pursuing that this technique could be effectively used by Health professionals.
Main challenge of this project has consisted on unifying different technologies, such as Big Data, Wearables and Artificial Intelligence, to provide a deeper and more useful knowledge in the field of physical health and wellness. At the end, it’s been developed an intuitive digital tool designed to be used by a wide range of professionals, from the most expert specialist to a general physiotherapist in a high-performance sport center.
Project mDurance is basically a wearable EMG sensor, integrated with an application for mobile devices, which sends signal data to a private cloud service, where all data are stored, processed and analysed through data mining and Big Data.
Over years of research, company has developed new algorithms to improve analysis. By applying these algorithms and AI technology to collected data, integrated system can provide reliable conclusions within only 5 minutes, being able to instantly detect the root cause of a patient’s problem. Thereby, it is possible to target the most effective treatment, providing so the highest impact therapy and shortening therefore the recovery period.
Main features of mDurance system might be summed up as follows:
• Biofeedback therapy: facilitating the process of learning exercises.
• Verify muscular anomalies.
• Objectively assess the muscle fatigue.
• Measure and objectively analyze muscle strength and development
• Detect muscle asymmetries: allowing to correct asymmetries in real time.
• Results processed in less than 30 seconds
• Access to results from any device.
• Build extensive reference material.
• Rapid assessments thanks to intuitive reports.
• Optimize peak performance times: reducing the likelihood of injury.
One of the main factors for the project’s success has been the multidisciplinarity of the team, collecting knowledge and skills from different areas, which has been essential in the management and development of the project.
Another key factor has been the ACTTiVAte acceleration program, which facilitated to a large extent the boost of innovation. In this sense, although some parts of technology were developed and validated before joining to ACTTiVAte, however, acceleration carried out within program leaded to implement new functions, such as the
improvement in algorithms’ sensitivity and prediction capability, making possible to get ready mDurance for larger scale testing.
The main results of the development done within the ACTTiVAte project are:
• A new, very intuitive digital product CE Class II Certification.
• SME Instrument Phase 1.226.000 Euros from NEOTECNeotec Capital Riesgo.
• Cross4Health selected SMEs within its 2st Acceleration Programme. (mDurance will receive a voucher of up to
60.000 Euros to contract an external service to help boost their innovation)
Expectations from project are very high. Opportunity timing is clear, and project may help to palliate MSDs, improving life quality of many people.