Health and Wellbeing
According to a famous proverb, ‘Health is Wealth’. The truth is that health is a precondition for economic prosperity and is more important than any other wealth we own. People’s health affects productivity, the availability and quality of human capital and public spending.
ITACA aims to provide solutions to some of the health and wellbeing challenges that our society will have to face in the coming years:
- Populations becoming more and more aged due to the increase in life expectancy and a low birth rate (in 2025, more than 20% of Europeans will be over 65 years of age).
- Growing burden of disease: increased rates of chronic and infectious diseases, pandemic threats and antimicrobial resistance.
- Unequal and unsustainable health care systems. There is a growing demand for medical care and a greater need to contain public spending.
Our current research in this field is grouped into the following topics.
The mechanical activity of the heart is governed by its electrical activity. Consequently, knowledge of cardiac electrical activity is fundamental to address disease management and to develop new treatments. Our studies in cardiac electrophysiology ranges from digital processing of cardiac signals and laboratory experimentation to cardiac mathematical modeling and disease diagnosis in patients.
The Internet offers a wide range of possibilities for health-care issues, from individual consumers and health-care professionals, to national health systems and global public health. Research in this topic at ITACA includes issues such as quality of health information on the Internet, the impact of the use of social networks in health, patient empowerment and health education.
ICTs for Clinical Decision-making
It is important that people receive the care they need, when they need it, in a simple and cost-effective manner. ITACA has extensive experience in the use of information technology to assist health professionals in clinical decision-making tasks. We also develop tools and technologies for management of chronic diseases and patient telemonitoring, including the use of emotional virtual agents.
Medical Image Processing
ITACA focuses on the analysis and modeling of different human pathologies through the development and application of advanced methods of filtering, correction of inhomogeneity, super-resolution, registries, and segmentation and analysis of medical images.
ITACA focuses on the medical application of engineering principles or engineering equipment to biological systems, including the generation of proprietary medical instrumentation. Along this line, we have developed electronic instrumentation for the electrical and mechanical stimulation of bioartificial heart tissues, and for the evaluation of their electrical activity.