Death By Dehydration Is Unacceptable
The Marathon encourages athletes to test their limits, to strain their bodies to complete a 26.2 mile run that is one of the most grueling events in all of sports. The first long distance runner was an ancient Greek soldier who ran from the town of Marathon to Athens to tell of a battlefield victory over the Persians. After delivering his message, he reportedly died from exhaustion…or was it dehydration?
Modern science and medicine has come a long way since then, yet, at the recent Chicago Marathon, dozens were hospitalized for dehydration and countless others were treated for cramps, fainting and exhaustion. Since then, discussion has centered on ways to safeguard the athletes' physical condition. A major safeguard is available now and was tested last Saturday (Oct. 13) at the American Heart Association's Heart Walk in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Noninvasive Medical Technologies (NMT), a Las Vegas-based company, provided ZOE™ (pronounced Zo-eee) monitors to measure participants' fluid levels at aid stations throughout the race. ZOE is Greek for vitality or good life.
According to Ann K. McCaughan, NMT's Chief Operating Officer, ZOE is an FDA- approved monitoring device used throughout the world to measure fluid levels in patients with heart and kidney disease. "It is quick to respond to changes in fluid status caused by exertion, heat, increased hydration or diuretics," she said.
"If ZOE had been available at the Chicago Marathon," she pointed out, "race officials would have been able to monitor the runners, and warn those who showed dehydration not to continue, particularly since water was in low supply."
McCaughan explained how the device works: Zo is a measure of a person's fluid level. Two electrodes are placed at the top and bottom of the subject's breastbone. ZOE, no bigger than a portable radio, measures the time it takes a painless low frequency current to travel between the two sensors, measuring Zo in Ohms. The normal fluid level range is from 19 to 30 Ohms for both men and women. Less than 19 Ohms indicates over hydration and more than 30 indicates dehydration, the NMT official noted.
"The more fluid in the body, the less resistance or lower the measurement," McCaughan explained, "and the drier the body, the higher the number that is displayed on the ZOE."
McCaughan said NMT is currently developing the next generation of Zo monitoring, ZOE wireless, supported congressionally by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., and the Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, "ZOE wireless will monitor hydration in extreme situations endured by our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by forest firefighters and first responders wearing protective suits designed to protect them from chemical and biological agents," McCaughan reports.
ZOE wireless not only provides wireless communication of objective hydration measures, but has the benefit of being of practical use in the field. This is a result of close collaboration between nanotechnology engineers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Tennessee and engineers at NMT. Further, Minneapolis-based General Pattern has created an innovative new enclosure for ZOE wireless, specifically designed to endure rugged, outdoor conditions.
David Lundgren, an NMT engineer, was among the 63,000 runners who participated in the Chicago Marathon. He ran 17 miles before the race was called off due to the heat and humidity, and the lack of available water. Lundgren is planning to run in the Las Vegas Marathon in December, wearing ZOE wireless around his waist to constantly monitor his hydration level. "I realized I had unusual cramping and was feeling dizzy. All runners are taught to 'run through the pain', but this was different. If there was a ZOE at the aid station in Chicago, I definitely would have stopped to get an objective reading to find out if I was putting my health in danger."
Headquartered in Las Vegas Nevada, Noninvasive Medical Technologies, Inc. (NMT) has pioneered a suite of highly advanced noninvasive medical assessment and communication tools and solutions that provide military and civilian medical care specialists with real-time situational awareness and critical life saving intelligence. NMT's mission is to save lives by continually advancing the standard for noninvasive patient monitoring across the care continuum, while maximizing clinical, medical, and financial outcomes, and promoting scientific innovation.