Can an app save your life?

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Abi Jackson looks at the best hi-tech innovations which might just revolutionise medicine.

There is an app these days for just about everything. Want to convert your phone into a set of kitchen scales? Done. In a powercut and in need of a virtual candle? Check. Want to count animated sheep in order to go to sleep? It’s just a click of a button away.

However, amid the deluge of pointless downloads a few bright sparks have harnessed the technology for the greater good. The best innovations will be celebrated at next month’s AXA PPP Health Tech & You Awards which aim to showcase the technology which might just save lives.

SLEEP

For people with bipolar disorder - which affects around one in every 100 people - sleep can help manage the condition and eratic patterns can be an early indicator for possible relapse. Developed by product designer Megan Harley, Aware is a wristband worn at night to monitor sleep, sending information to an app on users’ phones. Alerts can also be sent to other family members, and even the users’ care team, so warning signs can be spotted early, monitored and addressed - hopefully helping to prevent relapses occurring.

How can I get it? Not available just yet. Aware is still in early development, but watch this space. For more info, visit www.meganharley.com

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major factor in stroke and heart disease, but as it’s largely symptomless, keeping a check on it can be tricky. QuardioArm is sleek, compact monitor, which connects with an app on your phone, enabling blood pressure monitoring to fit seamlessly into daily life. The product comes clinically tested and works with iOS and Android devices.

Where can I get it? Currently reduced from £99 to £84.15, buy online from www.getqardio.com

NEW MUMS

Developed by the charity Best Beginnings it promises to be parents’ ‘digital best friend’, bringing together personalised content approved by doctors and midwives. As well as providing reliable health information, it’s designed to make new mums feel confident too, and already has a big thumbs-up in the form of endorsement by the Department of Health.

How can I get it? The app is free to download. For more info, visit www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/babybuddy

PAIN

Pain is one of the body’s ways of alerting us to the fact we’re injured. But what if that pain response system fails?

Bruise, a sophisticated injury detection suit which reacts to pressure levels, changing colour to indicate if areas have been injured. The idea was inspired by an interview with Paralympic sit-skier Talan Skeels-Piggins, who talked about the complications of detecting and assessing the severity of injuries he sustained in training and competition. However, there’s also potential for the technology to help people with conditions like dementia and diabetes, which can lead to sensation loss.

How can I get it? Bruise is still undergoing final testing phases, but for more info, visit www.teambruise.com

TOOTH DECAY

NHS-approved app Brush DJ plays music, either taken at random or from playlists on your device, for two minutes - the length of time dentists recommend we brush our teeth for, twice a day. You can also set reminders for when you’re due a check-up. It has been developed by dentist Ben Underwood, who was inspired after watching an episode of The Apprentice, where contestants were tasked with designing an app.

How can I get it? The app is free to download for Apple and Android devices. For more info, visit www.brushdj.com

The winners are due to be announced on March 18.