Biomedical Signal Analysis

Nowadays nobody doubts the relevance of technology in health care: from large systems of medical imaging to microcameras, from surgical lasers to smart prostheses, from neuromuscular stimulation systems to new biocompatible materials… the list would be endless.

In particular, the miniaturization of electronics achieved in recent decades, along with the development of sensors, has allowed the irruption in recent years of automatic measuring devices and, in many cases, also ambulatory of a multitude of physiological variables (activity, temperature, glucose levels or blood oxygen, blood pressure…).

With these devices information in real life conditions of the person in an uninterrupted way can be obtained. The analysis of these signs is questioning some of the established medical truths and even altering the definition of health and illness.

At atlanTTic we work in the line of research of biomedical signal analysis, focusing our R&D activity on the development and application of statistical and signal processing methodologies to improve people’s health. Researchers at the Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory focus on advanced research on:

Lines of Research

Líñas de Investigación

Chronobiology and chronotherapy in the cardiovascular system

The operation of the cardiovascular system depends on several physiological factors. Many of them have a marked and well-known circadian variability (daily period), so it is not surprising that this is also present in the cardiovascular system itself and that pharmacological treatments can have a different effect depending on the time of day they are administered (Chronotherapy).

In the Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory we have been developing new methods to define and analyze different physiological variables for years. The application of this methodology to variables related to the cardiovascular system proved the relevance of chronotherapy in the management of hypertension.

Diagnosis of hypertension

The availability of outpatient blood pressure measurement devices, with which values can be obtained in an uninterrupted way and in normal living conditions, allows a more accurate definition of the blood pressure signal and extracting parameters that reflect cardiovascular risk much more precisely than conventional isolated measurements. Additionally, through the analysis of the blood pressure waveform the timing of the antihypertensive treatment can be optimized and tailored, defining objective parameters of effectiveness.

The Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory coordinates the Hygia network, which focuses on the diagnosis and control of hypertension and the prevention of cardiovascular problems. The network includes researchers from more than 30 Galician health centers and hospitals.

Evaluation of antihypertensive drugs

The existing pharmacopoeia in the antihypertensive domain is extremely prolific. Different families, with different operating principles, dosages and coverages, with different interactions and side effects, and in many situations in preparations that combine two or more different active ingredients.

Further to the studies carried out by the pharmaceutical companies, the Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory proved the different effect of antihypertensive medications, on equal doses, by simply modifying the time of the intake and adapting it to the circadian profile of the patient’s blood pressure. These differences were found in different active principles of different families, even in medications that are not considered antihypertensive as such, like as aspirin.

Early detection of hypertensive problems during pregnancy

The physiology of women undergoes major changes during gestation. These changes are also reflected in the predictable variations that occur during a pregnancy without complications. The analysis of the information of the blood pressure signals collected in an outpatient register, even during the first trimester of pregnancy, allows the detection of deviations from normalcy early, allowing therapeutic action many weeks before the effects are evident and put at risk the health of the mother and the fetus.

Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease

It is a well-known fact that renal impairment and some metabolic dysfunctions, diabetes, for example, have an impact on the cardiovascular system, in general, and on blood pressure, in particular. But the opposite is also true: hypertension can end up causing structural damage that gives way or aggravates other conditions.

Recent work by the Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory confirms that adequate and early control of hypertension reduces the risk of developing kidney disease or diabetes.

Research Groups

Bioengineering and Chronobiology Laboratory (LBC)

In addition to computers to handle and process information, there are monitors for ambulatory blood pressure measurement, activators for registering motor activity and outpatient devices for automatic non-invasive recording of multiple signals (electrocardiogram, oxygen saturation in blood, breathing…).

atlanTTic has more than 80m2 dedicated to applied research in the Biomedical Signal Analysis area, with a number of labs that provide support for the research efforts carried out by the team dedicated to this line of research. The team is made up of researchers, doctors and engineers. Our research facilities are located at E.E. de Telecomunicación (Vigo) as a pioneering location and a national leader in its field of specialization.

  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Kidney Disease
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Pregnancy
  • Ambulatory monitoring
  • Circadian rhythms
  • Chronobiology
  • Chronotherapy
  • Signal processing
Title
Method and system for activity / rest identification
Summary The periods of activity and rest of a person have direct influence on a multitude of physiological parameters of clinical interest. That is why it is important to be able to determine them accurately and objectively.

This patent describes an automatic system, based on the processing of the signal obtained by means of pulse activation, with which the objective sought is achieved.

Application and pros Any biomedical application that requires the identification of the cycles of activity and rest of the patient, without inaccuracies or bias.
Application sectors Health, sport
Intellectual property Patent granted
Title
System for clinical research and clinical management of cardiovascular risk using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring and actigraphy
Summary Blood pressure in humans shows predictable variability, especially over the course of 24 hours. This information, together with other more traditional parameters, allows the diagnosis and prognosis of a patient’s cardiovascular risk.

This patent describes a system that allows the patient’s information to be remotely collected in a consistent manner and presents a detailed analysis of the blood pressure profile, allowing a more accurate assessment of their cardiovascular risk.

This information, privately for each user, will be accessible at any time, through standardized reports, thus facilitating the study of the evolution of patients.

Application and pros For any body or institution that wishes to have better control of the cardiovascular risk of its patients, as well as an objective assessment of the treatments applied.
Application sectors Health
Intellectual property Patent granted
Title
Spin-off creation Circadian Ambulatory Technology & Diagnostics
Summary Creation of a company, owned by the University of Vigo, with the objective of exploiting the outcomes with the greatest impact.
Application and pros The results obtained allow early detection of cardiovascular problems. The impact of its implementation in a health system could have an impact on better detection of diseases and a significant reduction of associated costs.
Application sectors Cardiovascular risk.
Intellectual property N/A