With the increasing age of the EU population, solutions that help people maintain mobility and function for healthy ageing take on increasing importance.
CHRONOS is a project to develop an efficient medical device for measuring the Motor Functional Age (MFA), a new concept related to motor functional abilities, by evaluating muscle contraction and kinematic abilities. The device will support intervention strategies for prevention and active ageing, and lessen the burden on healthcare systems caused by losses of muscular function.
The CHRONOS project aims to provide a device to detect motor decline earlier, by developing a precise quantitative device measuring Motor Functional Age (MFA) of young, middle-aged and old people, thus preventing future functional motor loss for healthy ageing. The MFA might be different from the chronological age, depending on lifestyle, physical activity, and medical condition. Thus, the device will provoke the awareness of this functional loss and will permit monitoring, adaptation and new design of a variety of personalised therapies for healthy ageing, including physical exercise, medication and nutritional interventions to reduce the MFA. The device combines data processing software that estimates the MFA by assessing muscle ageing, using a non-invasive and innovative multichannel electromyographical technique coupled with accelerometry sensors for motion evaluation. This data will provide a built-in, clinical database of subjects from different age categories (25-85 years old). Both end-user and way-to-market evaluation of this device will be realised, along with knowledge dissemination.
The target market for evaluating therapy benefits in muscle recovery includes healthcare professionals in hospitals/nursing homes, GPs, rehabilitation centres, and the pharmaceutical, nutritional and healthcare industries in the European Union. The target audience for preventing premature muscle ageing includes sedentary young and middle-aged people, and the audience for preventing frailty, functional motor loss and dependence is older persons. Moreover, the informal caregivers will also be interested, as this will help improve the quality of life of the beloved ones.
In the CHRONOS project, an innovative device, using HD-SEMG technology actually devoted to research actions only, even though certified CE, will be designed by testing and combining data allowing one to assess the muscle activation efficiency and motion capacity (accelerometry sensors), as a function of CA. The MFA will be a helpful indicator for health self-management, to promote and follow up the healthy living by the personalization of the level of physical activity, adequate nutritional supplementation and/or functional rehabilitation with the objective of catching up the age difference (functional versus chronological). It will also be pertinent for measuring any intervention efficacy in clinical trials (e.g anti-sarcopenic medication) so emerging can be implemented in the near future. Market deployment, knowledge dissemination and training will also be promoted in the project.
In this project, the innovation consists of the design of a clinical device estimating the MFA, a firstly introduced concept for muscle assessment. This device will learn from previous experiences, and thus enriches itself from the fusion of different indicators, by correlating with the current gold standard used for muscle aging evaluation, from an adult cohort (25-85 years old). These indicators assess the muscular activation capacity using HD-sEMG, an innovative, high definition, non-invasive and multichannel technology, and motion efficiency (accelerometry sensors) during specific daily live motion. This innovative technology is devoted to research actions only, despite it being certified CE.
Faced with the evidence of aging with the burden this has on health systems and chronic diseases, the CHRONOS project provides a device for assessing MFA. This will help foster the prevention of functional motor loss by causing awareness of it, and monitoring and helping to design personalized therapies for healthy aging and well-being of all sedentary citizens.
In addition, the project can contribute in preventing the possible functional motor decline at earlier stages for young and middle aged citizens. In 2002, two thirds of the adult population (aged ≥15 years) in the European Union did not reach recommended levels of activity. Across the WHO European Region as a whole, one in five people engages in little or no physical activity. Physical inactivity and unhealthy diets are responsible for premature mortality and morbidity (e.g physical inactivity causes 600 000 deaths per year, 5–10% of total mortality, loss of 5.3 million years of healthy life; Eurostat). By using an intuitive and user-friendly device, HCPs should prompt awareness of the possible early motor disabilities in population at all ages, motivating them to respect a healthy lifestyle that will impact positively on later functional loss. Finally, the project anticipates a wide societal impact: aggregated results will provide relevant information that can help to build evidence-based policies.