Tuesday, April 5, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Smart Tampons?

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Breaking my habit of forwarding articles to others with this one. Especially as this is my arena.

Over the past 20 yrs, there's been great advances in technology related to biology. From sequencing to drug development to the rise in bioinformatics, there's been a big shift to genome-wide analysis and a push towards translational medicine. Hot topics right now include CRISPR-Cas system, RNA seq, immunotherapies linked with the microbiome and biomarkers.

So what does any of this have to do with infertility? Until recently, nothing. Simply because this wasn't an area researchers were actively investigating. One major downside of a taboo disease is that there's no funding for these investigations. And no funding means that the 1 in 8 impacted by this disease (1 in 4 globally) are relying on IVF and fertility drugs as a form of treatment/cure. That investigations into the underlying causes for diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, premature ovarian failure and immunoissues such as clotting disorders remain poorly understood.

This morning, I opened my email and found this article. Billed as building a smart tampon, NextGen Jane is a diagnostic start-up that is geared towards women's health. All focusing on biomarkers that can be extracted from the blood we release during menstruation. 

Granted, there's a lot of work to be done. And there will be a lot of wrinkles and knots to smooth out. But, this is the first shift. A long overdue shift towards actually being proactive to identify this disorders early, allowing for early intervention and maybe, just maybe, actual treatment. 


  1. Wow ... amazing! I hope that's this continues to garner support ... my students don't understand how sexist medicine still is, in many ways. Imagine empowering women to take care of themselves better, to open up conversations that don't create shame. It gives me chills.

  2. It's so smart. And it raises the question, what else could be placed into the body for the sole reason of collecting information on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Would it cause harm or only good?

  3. That is so neat. I am so glad that something like this is gaining traction and support... I feel like women's health gets kicked to the background so much more than men's. What a brilliant idea, collecting information from blood that's collected anyway, and how amazing it would be to get that information sooner! Thanks for sharing!

  4. This is so interesting. Thank you for passing it along. One of the things that gets me about so many of the issues such as PCOS, endometriosis, etc, that can cause infertility is that each of them is a diagnosis with potentially life-changing effects other than the infertility. While the infertility has been the main grief of PCOS for me, I also know that my risk of diabetes goes up - a potentially serious issue - and the acne bothers me (while certainly not as serious as diabetes risk or as upsetting as infertility, it's still a definite part of the PCOS). IVF allowed me to have a daughter and treat that aspect of the disease, but I'm amazed at how much other aspects of PCOS affect my daily life. Yes, research that will allow doctors to treat the whole disorder is very much overdue.


Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved