Researchers from UCLA and USC have received a $6.1 million grant from the National Institutes for Health to study and develop wireless sensing and analytical devices that can predict – and help mitigate or prevent – the onset of pediatric asthma attacks and other disorders.

Technology developed by the Center for Biomedical Real-Time Health Evaluation for Pediatric Asthma (BREATHE) could reduce the incidence of medical emergencies and allow caregivers and people with chronic conditions to monitor health conditions in real time.

The principal investigator for BREATHE is Alex Bui, a professor of radiological sciences at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the UCLA Bioengineering Department.

Co-directors are Majid Sarrafzadeh, distinguished professor of computer science at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science; and Dr. Frank Gilliland, professor of preventive medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine.

The four-year grant comes from NIH’s Pediatric Research Using Integrated Sensor Monitoring Systems (PRISMS) program.

BREATHE researchers seek to create end-to-end software infrastructure for pediatric sensor-based health monitoring. The BREATHE platform would securely collect an array of physiological and environmental data from sensors, ranging from heart rate to air quality. It would analyze the data in real time, integrating it with the patient’s medical history and other contextual factors, and then convey vital information to patients or caregivers via smartphones or other devices.

“BREATHE aspires to be a leader in the development of mobile health technologies that improve clinical management of pediatric conditions,” said Sarrafzadeh, who is developing the sensors. “We expect the BREATHE platform to help us answer an array of questions about the potential environmental causes or influences on pediatric illnesses.”

Photo: Majid Sarrafzadeh