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NATO (COMEDS) visits Health House

2 December 2018

On the occasion of their 50th plenary session, the COMEDS (Committee of Chiefs of Military Medical Services) of NATO, the medical pillar of the Alliance, visited Health House, an experience center about the future of health and care, in Leuven on Tuesday 20 November 2018.


For this edition a special program was developed, in which the 29 Surgeons General of the NATO member states and partner countries first completed their second meeting day in the new NATO headquarters in Evere and in the afternoon went on a bootcamp to Health House. The bootcamp consisted of three parts: an interactive workshop, a keynote about "Healthcare in warfare" given by Prof. Koen Kas, and a tour through the experience center of Health House. This underlined the medical authority within the Alliance's permanent focus on medical preparedness in the future and the role that innovative technology plays in prioritizing its collective military medical scientific research.

Interactive workshops

By means of interactive workshops, with a view to measure cognitive and mental health, an attempt was made to map one's own body. BioRICS, a spin-off of the KU Leuven, created a portable monitor to detect your most important stressors and to stay in balance, day after day. BioRICS developed a method to measure mental energy consumption (known as "stress") in real time during daily activity. They have already worked with some major football teams and race car drivers. If such monitoring is an option for athletes, why not among the tactical athletes among the infantry and special operations soldiers? ... Epihunter, a Belgian start-up known for its technology to detect a certain form of epilepsy, namely "absence epilepsy", could also see its technology used to objectify someone's focus. This can be useful when training new pilots, for example. Additionally, MyMindScan allowed the participants to do cognitive exercises to train the brain.

Health House: Experience the future of Health and Care

During the tour of Health House, participants discovered the future of healthcare and saw how technology will have an impact on the future health and care. Just think of the use of 3D printed prostheses--for example for war victims--using Nanotechnology to establish an operational field hospital in war zones, or Virtual Reality applications used during surgeries to put patients under hypnosis (Oncomfort). During the tour some Belgian start-ups also got the chance to show their technology to the Surgeons General. Fibricheck showed how cardiac dysrhythmia can be detected by means of an app. Byteflies showed that their sensordots can not only measure heart rhythm but also stress, movement, and brain activity in the military, very valuable information to adjust during missions where necessary. Finally, Icometrix used their medical imaging software (Icobrain) to show how to quickly detect brain disorders.

Source: Health House
Image: © Erwin Ceuppens – Defensie

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