New app to help manage post stroke fatigue

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   22nd Jun 2018

BrainyApp among 10 digital health start-ups chosen for European incubator programme.

Irish entrepreneur and stroke survivor Niamh Malone is currently developing a new app called ‘Fatigue Friend’ that aims to prevent full-blown episodes of chronic fatigue- a common side effect of stroke.

Niamh’s start-up company ‘BrainyApp’ is one of ten digital health start-ups from across Ireland and Europe chosen to embark on a new European incubator programme at Trinity College Dublin (TCD). The European Institute for Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health Validator programme aims to identify new technologies that promote healthy living, support active ageing and improve health systems.

The EIT Health Validator is hosted by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub at Trinity in collaboration with EIT Health. The first of its kind in Ireland, the incubator is open to health tech start-ups founded by professionals and researchers working in the medical and technology sectors across Europe. The incubator will enable early stage digital health start-ups to validate their business ideas and identify suitable markets for their products.

A clinical nurse specialist in stroke rehabilitation by training, Niamh currently lives with chronic fatigue as a result of suffering a stroke in 2013 aged just 46.

Her new app ‘Fatigue Friend’ will provide an individualised solution to help people with chronic fatigue manage their energy levels more effectively.

'Fatigue Friend' aims to prevent full-blown episodes of chronic fatigue- a common side effect of stroke.

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Known as a hidden disability, post stroke fatigue is extremely common and estimated to affect up to 80 per cent of all stroke survivors. Chronic fatigue can affect the person’s physical and mental health as well as causing cognitive difficulties.

The symptoms of stroke fatigue include loss of appetite, slower movement and speech, irritability, poor concentration levels and a general feeling of being isolated and overwhelmed.

To help prevent the onset of a full-blown episode of chronic fatigue, the Fatigue Friend app will send the user a series of alerts based on recognising the early warning stages of fatigue onset. It will be suitable for anyone living with ongoing chronic fatigue as a result of an acquired brain injury – strokes and traumatic brain injuries, neurological conditions or sleep difficulties, burn out etc.

Speaking to the Irish Heart Foundation, Niamh explained that a symptom of level 1 fatigue was irritability, and if a user was feeling this way, they could assess their symptoms, enter it into the app and a pop-up advice would appear with a set of recommendations on how to conserve energy such as taking a break etc.

Niamh chaired the Irish Heart Foundation’s Stroke Survivors’ Day conference which took place in Croke Park in April.

Fatigue Friend will send the user a series of alerts based on recognising the early warning stages of fatigue onset.

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The 10 start-ups from Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Finland and Poland and Latvia will participate in six weeks of intensive validation and mentoring activities at Trinity before embarking on a two-week tour of four health tech hubs across Europe — TU Delft, Netherlands; Grenoble EM, France; Imperial College London and Newcastle University. This tour is designed for rapid multi-market validation.

The 2018 teams are made up of health and science researchers, medical professionals, software engineers, digital innovators, pharma specialists, medical device experts and business developers.

To gain entry to the programme all 10 teams had to prove that their venture had a defensible technology with a measurable health benefit to society that can be delivered within a realistic time frame.

Dublin has the ideal ecosystem for health tech start-ups with nine out of the top 10 Medtech companies based in Ireland and almost 200 funded health tech companies, according to CEO of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub at Trinity, Fionnuala Healy, speaking ahead of the launch this week.

The teams participating in the 2018 programme also include Praxagoras a digital health start-up from the Netherlands which is developing an easy to use, monitoring system to help GPs prevent stroke by the early detection of Atrial Fibrillation – an irregular heartbeat that can lead to heart disease and stroke.

 

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