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New Zealand: Enhancing Healthcare with Tech

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The integration of digital technology into New Zealand’s healthcare sector is experiencing a notable upswing. The nation is swiftly advancing toward a digital health landscape, propelled by the government’s unwavering commitment to infuse digital tools seamlessly into the healthcare service delivery system. Notably, there is a strategic emphasis on leveraging healthcare tech and infrastructure, underscoring New Zealand’s dedication to enhancing health services for its residents.

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This commitment extends beyond governmental and policy realms, permeating the academic landscape, where institutions are showcasing their innovative contributions to elevating healthcare in New Zealand. An example of such innovation is emerging from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT).

The researchers from this public university have developed a digital technology, Goodair Nosebuds, to alleviate the recurring nightmare of hay fever for 20% of New Zealanders. The condition can be debilitating for some people, causing pain in their sinuses, at the front of their forehead, and high in their nasal cavity. Antihistamines and other allergy medications are used daily in New Zealand, and wearing a mask outdoors to block pollen is recommended for hay fever sufferers.

Further, it makes things worse because of the uncertain climate, which is happening right now. Experts have warned that climate change intensification could worsen the condition for hay fever sufferers, as it is caused by pollen and other allergens that may be affected by climate variations. This has led to predictions that hay fever season could be more severe than usual, with El Niño expected to kick pollen production into overdrive. Therefore, the researcher created this innovation to address the immediate symptoms of hay fever.

Goodair Nosebuds represent a significant leap in hay fever treatment by leveraging the latest advancements in drug-free devices. This device harnesses the power of digital sound technology to combat the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, providing a promising alternative to traditional treatments.

It is worn discreetly inside the nose, and the device emits a precisely modulated low hum, mimicking the natural vibrations of nasal cells. These vibrations effectively clear mucus and pathogens from the airways, relieving congestion and other hay fever symptoms.

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Associate Professor David White, the project lead and co-director of the AUT BioDesign Lab, highlighted the advantages of Goodair Nosebuds over conventional treatments. Users can experience benefits in as little as 10 minutes, twice a day, potentially reducing reliance on medications like steroids and antihistamines. The digital nature of the device allows for precise control and customisation of vibrations, ensuring optimal effectiveness for each individual.

He further explained that the technology behind Goodair Nosebuds draws inspiration from ancient yogic practices, explicitly incorporating a sound frequency identical to the hum of a flying bumblebee. It replicates the technique known as “Bhramari Pranayama” or “bumblebee breath,” which has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and alleviate respiratory discomfort.

Beyond immediate relief for hay fever sufferers, ongoing research explores whether the vibrations can stimulate cellular nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is crucial in various bodily functions, including oxygen uptake, circulation, and neurological function. Goodair Nosebuds hold the potential to contribute to improved sleep quality, enhanced memory, and even reduced symptoms of depression.

The project exemplifies the power of innovation at AUT, combining digital technology, scientific research, and entrepreneurial spirit to create a solution that could significantly improve the lives of millions suffering from hay fever.

As hay fever season arrives and concerns about worsening allergies due to climate change grow, Goodair Nosebuds offer a timely and innovative solution. The upcoming clinical trials and the planned market launch in the second quarter of 2024 represent a significant milestone in the fight against hay fever. With this technology becoming accessible to all, millions of New Zealanders can look forward to a future free from the debilitating effects of hay fever.


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