Andrew Mehnert

New technology for diagnosis of vertigo symptoms project receives funding from Medtech4Health call

Professor Bo Håkansson, Chalmers University of Technology

Professor Bo Håkansson, Chalmers University of Technology

MedTech West is one of the nodes for the national strategic innovation program Medtech4Health, who´s first call, Medicintekniska innovationer inom vård och omsorg, is now completed, and all applicants are informed. Over 100 applications were received, but only 15 projects have been awarded grants. You could recently read about one of the awarded projects with Max Ortiz Catalan, assistant professor at Chalmers University of Technology, as the PI. The other one of the two projects from western Sweden actually belongs to the same research group led by Bo Håkansson, professor at the department of Signals and systems, Chalmers University of Technology.

– Congratulations to you and your research group, Bo Håkansson! Can you tell us about the project?

– Thanks! It was really honoring that my research team here at the department of Signals and systems received funding for two projects- the only projects in western Sweden. Together with the Sahlgrenska University Hospital, we have been conducting hearing implants research for almost 40 years. It has resulted in for example the bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA), which is today being manufactured and sold by two world-leading companies that are based here in Gothenburg; Cochlear BAS and Oticon Medical, says Bo. We have also been able to use the knowledge that we have gained from these projects in other projects, for example improved methods for diagnosing hearing problems with the audiometric bonevibrator B81, that is being manufactured and sold by the Danish company Ortofon.

– In the last years I have started to think that this vibration technology could be modified and used for examinating the organs of balance often referred to as the Vestibular organ. Recent research shows that the organ of balance reacts with a reflex to mechanical stimuli – like the patellar reflex in the knees, Bo continues. When the organ of balance´s reflex is activated by mechanical stimuli you can measure the contraction of the cervical muscle. The strength of that contraction depends on if there is an impairment or dysfunction in the organ of balance itself or in the balance nerve leading to higher centras in the brain. By studying this we will hopefully be able to find out if the patient has any impairments and where they are located, which is important for giving the right treatment to patients with vertigo symptoms. Vertigo is one of the most anxiety-inducing neurological symptoms and it can have many different causes. Therefore having the best diagnostic methods possible is of great importance, and the funding will allow us to improve the diagnostic methods by using a further developed audiometric bonevibrator. In this project we are collaborating with Sahlgrenska University Hospital for the clinical studies and Ortofon A/S (Denmark) for the industrial part of the study.