IBEC B·Debate looks at “Adding life to years”

Yesterday, the IBEC-organised B·Debate at CosmoCaixa museum was an intensive review of biomedical engineering as the foundation of many of the actions needed to improve the quality of life of our ageing population.

The event welcomed more than 75 international scientists, clinicians and other actors with affiliations ranging from ETH Zürich and the World Health Organization to IBM Research and Hospital Clinic. Under the theme of “Bioengineering for Healthy Ageing: adding life to years”, they presented and examined possible solutions bioengineering can provide to address the challenges an ageing population faces.

The event opened with a session outlining the challenges and opportunities of the rapid growth of the oldest age groups, a major societal challenge that will have a huge impact on health care.

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Next, in a session chaired by IBEC’s Raimon Jane, Josep Roca (Hospital Clínic) and Cristina Bescos (Philips Healthcare) looked at mHealth devices for connected care. The Robotics for assisted living session was chaired by Belén Rubio from IBEC and featured Tony Prescott (University of Sheffield), who presented his lab’s companion robot MiRo (above), and Cecilia Laschi (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in Pisa, by Skype) who described her work developing a robot to assist people with showering.

After lunch, the University of Glasgow’s Manuel Salmerón introduced the Regenerative therapies applied to ageing session, which featured IBEC group leaders Elena Martínez and Núria Montserrat. The final scientific session on point of care diagnostics and prognostics, presented by IBEC director Josep Samitier, welcomed Emmanuel Delamarche (IBM Research) and Anthony Turner (University of Linköping), and was followed by a free session “Making it happen”, in which Ignasi López (La Caixa Foundation), Tony Prescott and Totti Könnölä (Insight Foresight Institute) looked at ethical issues, social barriers and transformative governance, with Marco Pugliese (EIT Health) as chairperson.

The B·Debate continues today with a special press conference and demo session at CosmoCaixa featuring Àngel Font, Corporate Director of Research and Strategy at the “la Caixa” Foundation, Marta Soler, head of Research and Scientific Debate at Biocat, and Josep Samitier. Some healthy ageing solutions and technologies will be presented by IBEC’s Raimon Jané  (mHealth4Sleep mobile application to monitor sleep apnea), Belen Rubio and Pedro Omedas (Rehabilitation Gaming System), and Elena Garreta (decellularized kidney and 3D-printed kidney prototype).

The B·Debate events, an initiative of Biocat and the La Caixa Foundation, are top-notch scientific meetings that invite experts from all over the world to get together with scientists working in Barcelona and Catalonia. The idea behind them is to create a think-tank atmosphere to promote vivid discussions, generate innovative ideas and draw powerful conclusions.

IBEC’s last B·Debate took place in 2013 and looked at what nanotechnology can offer health.

IBEC in the Media: Click here for an overview of the extensive media coverage of IBEC’s B·Debate.

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