Soon, technology that could help improve eating habits of anorexics and obese people
Obese people have a difficulty feeling full and so they tend to eat at a high rate, whereas those who are anorexic eat at a slower rate.
Scientists and engineers in Europe are going to find out if they can change the way young people who are obese or at risk for becoming obese eat.
Key to this will be developing a technology that monitors how quickly or slowly a person is eating and guides them toward a healthier pace.
Anastasios Delopoulos, project leader said that it is a behavioral issue, when a person begins to eat, they typically begin at a high rate and slow down until they feel full, Discovery News reported.
Delopoulos said that obese people or people at risk for the condition have difficulty feeling full, and so they tend to eat a constant, high rate, whereas for those suffering from anorexia, the rate is unusually low.
Scientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden have already measured these rates in patients using a device called a mandometer, which was developed by AB Mando Group.
The mandometer is essentially a scale that sits beneath a patient's plate and records how quickly it lightens as the patient eats.
Scientists have found that by making patients mimic a normal eating curve, they can train them to have a more normal sense of satiety.
The challenge for the new, three-year European Union-funded project, called Splendid, is to bring that monitoring and treatment out of the clinic and into the real world.
For that they'll need to develop less-obtrusive monitoring and behavioral modification technology, and the software to run it.
On the hardware side of things, the researchers are working on developing wearable tech that would be able to understand and monitor chewing, which could be done by using a well-placed microphone capturing chewing noises and interpreting the rate of chewing.
The other option is to adapt a photoplethysmogram — a device that detects a change in the volume of tissue by monitoring the way light is absorbed or reflected.
(Posted on 16-01-2014)