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Chris Nugent

Chris Nugent is a Visiting Professor of Information Science at the School of Information Technology.

As demographics are rapidly changing globally there is an urgent need for new healthcare systems. This will very much rely upon stronger links between health, technology, behavioural science and smart environments. Chris Nugent, international guest professor at CAISR, has a key role within this area of research.

– I believe new technology can give people greater possibilities to take control of their own health and lifestyle management. This in turn can address the challenges we are facing today with a growing elderly population.

Chris Nugent is professor of biomedical engineering and works as director of the Computer Science Research Institute, Ulster University in Northern Ireland. He specialises in connected health and has been involved in several successful research projects focussing on the links between health and modern technology.

– Being a guest professor in Halmstad has opened the opportunity for new partnerships and collaborations in several ways. We’ve hade some exchanges with of both staff and PhD students. For myself, being here has been a refreshing experience! CAISR is a creative and energetic team to work with. A very positive element of their structure is the close link that they have between research and industry.

Chris Nugent’s research especially addresses the development of mobile and pervasive computing solutions to support ambient assisted living. Amongst other things he has been involved in the development of a video based reminder app to support people with dementia to remind them throughout the day to engage with various activities.

He thinks that this kind of support and self-management of health and lifestyle through technology will be absolutely necessary in the future.

– There is a real crisis ahead due to the changing demographics on a global level. Having this change to our population will cause challenges to the current manner in which healthcare provision is provided. Additionally, many want to stay at home as long as possible. With modern technology I think we can address these challenges.

Chris Nugent’s aim is to accommodate people with health problems, prevent the problems from happening and offer programs of rehabilitation all through connected health solutions.

Together with colleagues at Ulster and Utah they he has designed an app that delivered health education material to promote a healthy lifestyle change and provide a way for the user to monitor and receive feedback on their changes.

–We wanted to show that everyone can reduce the risk of gaining dementia later in life by changing their lifestyle. Two thirds of all people with dementia, are affected due to lifestyle factors like bad sleep, little or no exercise, lack of social interaction, bad eating habits and smoking.

In the future he would like to see a global store where everybody could share their data about lifestyle and behaviour when it comes to such things as sleep and health.

– If we want to develop and avoid disease we need medical data on a global level. I don’t know if I will ever achieve it, but my aspiration in life is to facilitate and find a tool for this.

Text: HANNA JOHANSSON
Photo: ROLAND THÖRNER

Updated 2018-02-23