This Inventor Hopes to Reduce Asthma Attacks in Children

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /

Asthma affects about 340 million people worldwide. It can definitely be fatal, unfortunately. The very first time I had an asthma attack, I think I was about four years old. I just remember being in my parents bedroom and kind of walking around the bed, and being confused. I was crying because I didn’t know what was going on, and I couldn’t breathe properly. It is a very helpless feeling. Extremely helpless and hopeless that you cannot actually help your child. My dad took me to the GP, and the GP explained, “Your child’s airway should be about this, but right now it’s like this. So if you try to breathe through clenched fists, it’ll be quite hard and that’s what your child is experiencing right now.” I think she chose to do Respia because of her own experience with asthma. I understand the challenges that I faced when growing up, and the challenges that my parents faced how to treat and give me the right medication. I took her cough just a light cold. I didn’t realize this was asthma. Obviously it was an emergency situation, and we would’ve benefitted greatly from the monitoring. It would’ve saved me a lot of anguish… having gone through that for my child. That definitely would’ve reduced how many asthma attacks I had, and perhaps even stopped me going to the hospital a couple of different times. It could’ve been really tragic… Yes. So… I wanted to design a product that helps manage and prevent asthma attacks or hospitalizations. I saw this amazing opportunity to help out people in a way that’s really significant. Respia is a three-part system. We have the wearable patch that monitors the acoustic signs of exacerbation in the lungs. We have the smartphone app that prompts parents if there are exacerbations. And there’s also a smart-inhaler that tracks which medication you took at what time and how many doses… and it’s all automatic. Wearable technology like Respia has the potential to save lives by identifying changes in asthma control in patients who are too young to tell us about these symptoms. There is a huge gap in the market for preventative therapies. All there is right now is predominantly reactive methods to asthma. So if you can pick up an asthma attack early enough, you can completely negate having that asthma attack. We are still in the research and development stage. We are currently in the process of raising capital. The biggest hurdles are going to be clinical studies. Not only is it expensive, but all the applications and all the forms you have to do are extremely rigorous. The Dyson Award definitely gave a platform and a voice in an industry where you as a graduate often can’t be heard. When we’re pitching to investors or to anyone who’s interested… medical professionals… and they see the little James Dyson logo, it always opens up another conversation. Respia has a whole lot of promise. It’s worth the hard work that the entire team behind it is putting in. Personal experience and technical ability puts her in a perfect position, I think, to actually carry this through. We’re definitely rocking the boat. It’s our goal to create the best user experience and solution for this particular problem that has been severely under-addressed.

7 thoughts on “This Inventor Hopes to Reduce Asthma Attacks in Children

  1. That would be so nice to have this technology available for children and teens like me. My attacks tend to be really severe and long-lasting so preventing those would just be wonderful.

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