The drug-free approach for managing menopausal hot flushes

Many aspects of our lives and bodies change as we get older and technology can enable us to adapt and live longer and fuller lives. Cambridge Consultants was interested in exploring this further and focused on menopause as an example of age related change. We have partnered with the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, hosted at Newcastle University and Open Lab at Newcastle University’s School of Computing Science to explore women’s experience of the menopause and to propose technology-based interventions.

A series of workshops revealed that:

  • Hot flushes and night sweats can have a profound effect on women’s physical, psychological and social wellbeing
  • There is a pressing need for a new range of consumer products that can help women to better manage their symptoms
  • A drug-free consumer device with ‘cooling’ consumables loaded into it was universally well received. As a result, Cambridge Consultants created a concept product, ‘Pebal’ that puts women in control

This work forms part of Cambridge Consultants’ wider exploration of life-long health, and the technologies that will enable us to take control of our own health and wellbeing. Although a natural part of the ageing process, the menopause is still seen by many to be merely a “women’s issue”, and is a Cinderella subject, often ignored or marginalised and denied the focus of technology developers. Up to 80% of menopausal women will experience hot flushes, either during the day or at night and recurring on average for a period of seven years.

Cambridge Consultants, National Innovation Centre for Ageing and Open Lab at Newcastle University jointly held three workshops, with women attendees drawn from Cambridge Consultants and Newcastle University employees, as well as members of the public. The purpose of the workshops was to understand the impact of menopausal hot flushes, to explore how women manage their symptoms today and to establish the opportunity for ‘self-help’ technology to improve outcomes. Attendees reported that they arrived at the menopause feeling unprepared for the major impact that it would have on their lives. Hot flushes were unpredictable, arriving suddenly and having a disruptive effect in the workplace or on sleep during the night. While women employed a variety of strategies to manage these hot flushes, from drug-based approaches such as HRT to herbal remedies and cooling pillows, the over-riding sense was that the symptoms of hot flushes were difficult to manage. One woman attendee commented that “I’m irritated by the disruption this is causing to my life… I’m tired and it has had a massive impact on my quality of life.”

Cambridge Consultants presented some initial device concepts that would provide instant cooling, on-demand in order to counter hot flushes. Devices would have cooling consumables loaded into them that provided instant cold relief, as if an ice cube had been applied to the skin.

Feedback from the workshops suggested a strong demand for such devices and that rather than a discreet wrist-worn device, women preferred a single product that could be applied to a number of locations on the body, mainly the chest, face and neck. 

Building on this insight, Cambridge Consultants has created Pebal, a concept device that provides an instant cooling effect, giving discreet, on-demand relief, returning control and peace of mind to menopausal women. The approach is that when a woman feels that a hot flush is beginning, she could simply press the large button on Pebal and a small dose of a coolant is released onto the inside surface of a metal plate, creating a cold external surface that is applied to the body where desired. Pebal is visualized as being a flexible, hand-held product, designed to give women the freedom to choose where to place it. The compact design would allow women to use it in public, at home or at work, without drawing unwelcome attention. Subtle surface detailing would create a tactile and comfortable experience. This technology direction removes the requirement for charging and would mean that the device is always ready to go.

Cambridge Consultants looks forward to working with client partners to further develop products that meet the demands of menopausal women and other areas of age related change.

Michael Catt, Professor of Practice at National Innovation Centre for Ageing, Newcastle University commented, “identifying opportunities to help us all live better as we grow older is central to the National Innovation Centre for Ageing. This exploration of ideas leading to the Pebal concept, in partnership with Open Lab, offers hope to thousands of women living with menopause, and we are delighted to have supported Cambridge Consultants in this exploration. We look forward to future collaborations that contribute to enabling improved health and wellbeing throughout life.”

Nicola Millar, Senior Programme Lead for Lifelong Health at Cambridge Consultants, added that “Pebal is merely the beginning. We’re seeking a deeper understanding of the ageing process, listening to what can really help improve people’s lives and supporting self-directed management of our health. Lifelong health is about supporting people in making the right life choices in order to maximise their chances of staying healthy for longer and we’re committed to further exploration of the products and services that can support us through age-related change.” 

To download the full report from our series of workshops, visit: cambridgeconsultants.com/menopause

Notes to editors

캠브리지 컨설턴트(Cambridge Consultants)는 혁신적인 제품을 개발하고, 지적 재산권을 창출 및 라이선스하며, 전 세계 고객을 대상으로 기술 중심 문제를 해결하는 비즈니스 컨설팅 서비스를 제공합니다. 캠브리지 컨설턴트는 60년 이상 기업고객이 신기술을 도입하여 업계 최초로 제품을 출시하거나, 새로운 시장에 진출하거나, 기존 시장을 확장하거나, 사업기회를 상업적 성공으로 전환하도록 지원해 왔다. 엔지니어, 과학자, 수학자 및 디자이너를 포함한 900명 이상의 인원이 캠브리지(영국), 보스턴(미국), 도쿄(동경), 싱가포르(싱가포르)의 연구소에서 의료 기술, 산업 및 소비자 제품, 디지털 보건, 에너지 및 무선 통신 등 다양한 업종에 걸친 솔루션을 제공합니다.더 많은 정보를 원하시면, www.cambridgeconsultants.com를 방문하세요.

케임브리지 컨설턴트(Cambridge Consultants)는 캡제미니 그룹의 혁신 컨설팅 브랜드인 캡제미니 인벤트 (Capgemini Invent)의 소속입니다. 캡제미니 인벤트는 CxO가 조직의 미래를 계획하고 구축할 수 있도록 지원합니다. 30개 이상의 오피스와 25개 이상의 창의적인 연구소를 보유하고 있습니다.  캡제미니 인벤트의 7,000 여개의 팀들은 창의적인 설계, 깊은 산업 전문 지식과 통찰력을 바탕으로 미래의 새로운 디지털 솔루션 및 비즈니스 모델을 개발합니다. 

캡제미니 인벤트는 그룹의 핵심적인 부문으로, 기술력을 바탕으로 고객사의 비즈니스를 혁신하고 관리하는 데 있어 기업과 협력하는 글로벌 리더입니다.  캡제미니 그룹은한 포용적이고 지속 가능한 미래를 위하기술을 통해 인간의 에너지를 촉발하려는 목적에 따라 매일 발전됩니다. 거의 50 개국에서 270,000 명의 팀원으로 구성된 책임감 있고 다양한 조직입니다. 우수한 50 년 전통과 깊은 산업 전문성을 갖춘 캡제미니는 빠르게 진화하고 혁신적인 클라우드, 데이터, AI, 커넥티비티 소프트웨어, 디지털 엔지니어링 및 플랫폼에 힘입어 전략 및 설계에서 운영에 이르기까지 비즈니스의 전체 폭을 해결할 수 있도록 고객사로부터 신뢰를 받고 있습니다. 캡제미니 그룹은 2020 년 글로벌 매출이 160 억 유로라고 보고했습니다.
원하는 미래 얻기 | www.capgemini.com

National Innovation Centre for Ageing. Set up in 2014, the National Innovation Centre for Ageing is a world-leading organisation, created with a £40 million investment from UK Government and Newcastle University. Our vision is to create a world in which we all live better, for longer by leading on innovations that improve all aspects of life for our ageing societies. The National Innovation Centre for Ageing will work collaboratively and provide a dynamic environment within which multiple stakeholders can come together to share knowledge, ideas, experience and innovation. By bringing together world-leading scientists with industry, health and care providers and the public, the National Innovation Centre for Ageing will help co-design, develop, test and bring to market products and services, which enhance and improve quality of life as we age.

Open Lab. Open Lab is a human-computer interaction, social and ubiquitous computing research group in the School of Computing at Newcastle University. The academics, post-doctoral researchers and PhD students who make up the group come from a wide range of academic disciplines, including computer science, electrical engineering, fine arts, psychology, sociology, education, clinical sciences and design. We have a particular expertise in the configuration and conduct of cross-disciplinary research and application of digital technologies to real-world problems ranging from health and social care, to the creative industries, education and local democracy. At the heart of all our research, though, is a commitment to the experience-centred and participatory design of digital technologies that enhance rather than diminish our experience of the world.

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