Allergies? New device measures what you’re breathing

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Now comes the missing piece of the puzzle for our friends with asthma and allergies: what allergens they’re actually breathing at home.

Scientists at Chicago startup Inspirotec developed an air sampler they call Exhale.  https://exhalenow.com/  You place this small device in your bedroom, leave it for five days, and then mail it back to Inspirotec labs. They test the collected air and tell you which and how much of 13 common allergens are floating around your bedroom. (Pollen, dog, cat, dust mite and mold, for examples.)

The Inspirotec team presented new research today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Their study proved the technology works and is easy to use, and also provided the first-ever extensive statistical measure of airborne allergens in homes.

I’m writing about this because I’m doing a bit of consulting with Inspirotec, and I find this team and their…

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Allergies? New device measures what you’re breathing

75562_344752992588839_6858804308511893310_n

Now comes the missing piece of the puzzle for our friends with asthma and allergies: what allergens they’re actually breathing at home.

Scientists at Chicago startup Inspirotec developed an air sampler they call Exhale.  https://exhalenow.com/  You place this small device in your bedroom, leave it for five days, and then mail it back to Inspirotec labs. They test the collected air and tell you which and how much of 13 common allergens are floating around your bedroom. (Pollen, dog, cat, dust mite and mold, for examples.)

The Inspirotec team presented new research today at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Their study proved the technology works and is easy to use, and also provided the first-ever extensive statistical measure of airborne allergens in homes.

I’m writing about this because I’m doing a bit of consulting with Inspirotec, and I find this team and their work fascinating.

Implications for asthma and allergy sufferers and their doctors are significant.

“This is an important educational tool, allowing patients and their doctors to know for the first time precisely what airborne allergens they have in their homes,” said Julian Gordon, the biophysicist who developed the technology.

This allows “more focused remediation measures,” which means, simply, patients and their doctors know what to tackle.

For years, collected dust has served as a surrogate for assessing exposure to allergens.

“But every physician will tell you that it’s what you breathe in, what’s in the air, that really matters,” said Prasanthi Gandhi, co-founder and CEO of Inspirotec.

Asthma and allergy sufferers visit their doctors and are tested to determine what they’re allergic to.  “The missing piece of the puzzle is what they’re exposed to. Exposure triggers the symptoms,” said Gandhi, a life-long asthma and allergy sufferer.

The study used Inspirotec’s device in 75 homes. This established an initial framework of median values for these allergens, statistically significant as a guide — and as the basis for future large-scale trials.

The research delivered some intuitive findings — such as the number of dogs and cats were linked to the level of pet allergens, and humidity was linked to dust mite allergens.

There was a surprise or two as well. For example, keeping the cat out of the bedroom did not significantly reduce cat allergens in the air, contrary to advice typically given to cat-loving allergy patients.

Election Watch party benefits women

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161024006612/en/Election-Watch-Party-Brings-City-Support-Key

No matter the winner of this presidential election, it will be a historic night for women. Years from now, we will remember where we were on Nov. 8, 2016.  That’s the premise for Election Watch 2016: Together for History. Proceeds will support the work of four important organizations: YWCA Metro Chicago, Women Employed, Women’s Business Development Center and Chicago Foundation for Women.  Tickets: bit.ly/TogetherForHistory

 

Vintage innovation

The New York Times today launched a print-only series of fiction excerpts, aimed at maintaining the must-buy status of its highly profitable Sunday newspaper. The inaugural piece is from Colson Whitehead’s newly published and celebrated novel “The Underground Railroad.” It is published on 12 broadsheet pages of premium newsprint and not available online.

An editor’s note says that while they at the NYT are “excited by innovations like virtual reality and digital storytelling, we also recognize the lasting power of the broadsheet.” This is a special design, editor’s note says, “to artfully explore the uses to which that format can be put.”  (Tangled phrasing is in keeping with the vintage spirit of this innovation, don’t you think?)

Since there is no link to provide,  I will further quote editor’s note. “It is a special ink-on-paper product, one not available in digital form. It is finite and tactile; to read it you must have gotten your hands on the Sunday paper.”

A full-page ad on the back of the section touts the upcoming Broadway revival of “The Front Page.” No doubt this defrays the cost of pricey newsprint and what I’m guessing was a significant fee to Mr. Whitehead for the content.  The ad, fortuitously or not, also celebrates the printed newspaper. It’s a great read in itself, designed as a 1928 edition of the Chicago Daily Tribune and featuring pithy blurbs from rave reviews by Robert Benchley in Life magazine, E.B. White in the New Yorker and J. Brooks Atkinson of the NYT.

This celebration of literature reminds me a bit of the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal. We launched PRJ in 2012 to super-serve a niche audience. The weekly literary journal was delivered through separate subscription along with an original short story or excerpt printed in booklet form, and access to a live authors series.  It began as print only, morphed into print- and digital formats and now is digital only.  I believe the Chicago Tribune considers it a moderate success.

The NYT Magazine’s long fiction excerpts will be “an occasional series,” editor’s note says.  Fingers crossed that a sustainable model emerges.