Funding Reference FCT - PRAXIS XXI
Dates 1998|2000

Sleep pathologies, with a very high incidence over the general populations, have an important social and economic impact. In the proposed project, of interdisciplinary nature, specialists in the area of medicine and of engineering gather efforts and techniques for the establishment of methodologies and functional systems that lead to an effective increase in the quality of life of populations, having as target isolated and/or poor regions. Exploring synergy with other running projects, one has as main goal the design and implementation of a mobile unit comprising equipment and computational techniques for acquisition and processing of electrophysiological signals, automatic diagnosis of sleep pathologies and the tranfer of data and signals to remote units. Namely, one has as fundamental elements: the recording of neurophysiological data, both locally and in ambulatory, with remote monitoring; storage, processing and transmission of acquired data; offering of medical services with local consultation and clinical data registration; diagnosis of sleep pathologies, assisted by an expert system to be developed and refined along the project; screening of the incidence of sleep pathologies in poor and/or isolated populations, with the corresponding creation of a database. Obtained results will be compared with data of a control population, acquired in a sleep laboratory. The project therefore involves the adaptation and enhancement of already existent technologies with innovative techniques involving telematic and artificial intelligence. Beyond the immediate impact of the project as a demonstrator of the potentialities of the concept of a “sleep caravan”, as defined above for the asessment and provision of specialized medical help to populations with difficult access to the health services, the techniques and systems developed, namely the ones for automatic diagnosis, can be integrated in the future as valuable tools for the assistance, learning and training of the medical staff in health centers. Furthermore, the success obtained with the mobile unit can lead to replication and generalization to other medical areas,
forecasting a positive impact in the quality and efficiency of the health system. The database of gathered cases during the project may also serve as material for further research studies.

Research Groups Evolutionary Systems and Biomedical Engineering Lab (LaSEEB)
Project Partners ISTEL
ISR/IST Responsible
Agostinho Rosa