Despite the fact that heart disease remains a leading cause of death in women – killing about 432,000 women in the US each year – females remain underrepresented in cardiovascular clinical trials. This has led to a gap in understanding the symptoms associated with heart disease in women, and a lack of preventive measures designed to reduce female risk.
Now, a startup tech company called Bloomer Tech is looking to close that gender gap by making it easier to collected cardiology data from women for research purposes. They have designed a sensor which can be embedded into a women’s bra which collects a wealth of data – including pulse rate, heart rhythm and electrocardiograms – and transmits them to an app via Bluetooth.
The MIT grads who founded Bloomer Tech say the novel data collection method serves two purposes. As well as helping to further cardiovascular research, the data trends can help women gain a better understanding of their own cardiovascular health.
“The women’s bra is a launching point that will drive our commitment to personalizing medicine for all populations affected by chronic diseases,” said Callie Moriarty, Bloomer Tech’s director for Business Development.
The majority of women in the US wear a bra on a daily basis, making it a simple, non-invasive way to incorporate the collection of cardiovascular data into everyday life. Bloomer Tech’s device is washable and can be incorporated into many different styles and designs of bras, making it more likely women will wear the garment.
“We realized we could use technology to accelerate progress for women’s health,” said Alicia Chong, founder and CEO of Bloomer Tech.
According to the team, many heart attacks in women occur without any known prior warning, making it important to identify any risk factors through the collection of personalized datasets. If signs of an impending heart attack could be identified, the bra-embedded device could send a warning to patients and their physicians to help them seek medical care.
While still in the early stages of development, the company plans to use 2018 to test its prototypes and build relationships with healthcare organizations.
“We were struck by the fact that women’s health research lags far behind that of our male counterparts,” says Aceil Halaby, founder and Chief Operations Officer at Bloomer Tech. “This is our opportunity to design products that are meaningful.”