A trio of researchers from Toronto Rehabilitation Institute has received the UHN Inventor of the Year Award for a device which has a very real impact on the daily health and well-being of patients.
Drs. Hisham Alshaer, T. Douglas Bradley and Geoff Fernie were presented the award by UHN's Technology Development & Commercialization Office at Wednesday's Annual General Meeting.
It recognizes outstanding inventiveness coupled with commercialization success over the past year.
The three co-inventors founded BresoTec Inc. around a device called BresoDx, which uses proprietary acoustic and movement recording technology as an aid in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, which affects about 10 per cent of adults globally but is not widely diagnosed, especially outside North America.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health complications, including increased risk of hypertension, stroke and heart failure, and has been linked to a higher risk of traffic accidents due to sleepiness.
BresoDx can be used at home
The low rate of diagnosis is typically due to the high cost and inconvenience of undergoing overnight sleep testing in a laboratory.
But BresoDx is a portable, self-contained and battery-operated device patients can use at home.
Dr. Alshaer, a scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute as well as a physician and biomedical engineer, has through his career developed devices for the diagnosis and treatment of functional voice disorders, the diagnosis of diabetic peripheral neuropathy, and the diagnosis of sleep apnea. He is Chief Scientist with BresoTec.
Dr. Fernie, a biomedical engineer who is the Research Director of Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where he has led the growth of its research enterprise to become one of the most advanced rehabilitation programs in the world, has focused his work on two primary goals: preventing injury and disease, and helping individuals and their family caregivers continue to live in their own homes as they age. He is CEO of BresoTec.
Dr. Bradley, a Senior Scientist with both Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, is the Chief Medical Officer of BresoTec. A respirologist who directs the Sleep Research Laboratories at UHN, he has done extensive research on sleep apnea, including its influence on cardiovascular disease and hypertension.