“Characterization of a human powered nebulizer compressor for resource poor settings”

The results of our bench top studies, characterizing the technical specifications of the HPN versus an electric nebulizer, are now available in BioMedical Engineering OnLine 2014 (13:77  doi:10.1186/1475-925X-13-77).  As anticipated, the HPN was shown in these studies to perform in an equivalent manner to an electric nebulizer.

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“Treatment of asthma exacerbations with the human-powered nebuliser: a randomised parallel-group clinical trial”

The results of our 2012 clinical trial in El Salvador, comparing the effectiveness of the HPN versus an electric nebulizer for the treatment of asthma were published in npj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine (24 Article number: 14016, online 26 June 2014).  This non-blinded, parallel-group, equivalence study, with 110 subjects between 6 and 65 years of age, was conducted in the emergency department of a district hospital in Ilopango, El Salvador. Participants were assigned by random allocation to receive a 2.5 mg dose of salbutamol from the experimental human powered nebulizer or the electric nebulizer control. The study demonstrated that the human powered nebulizer compressor is equivalent to a standard nebulizer compressor for the treatment of mild to moderate asthma.

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“Reverse Innovation from the Least of Our Neighbors

This 2013 article in Health Progress brings findings from work with community health workers to bear on questions of health care delivery in the U.S.

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TB Study Demonstrates HPN’s Equivalence to Electric Nebulizer

An August 2011 article published in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease reports the results of our first clinical trial, demonstrating the HPN’s equivalence to an electric nebulizer in the generation of sputum samples for early tuberculosis diagnosis.  For each of 109 participants in the study, two sputum samples were induced using the HPN and an electric-powered nebulizer (EPN). The sequence of the two nebulizers was allocated at random.  The proportion of good quality sputum was higher among sputum samples induced by the HPN compared to those obtained using the EPN. The study concludes: “The HPN induced good quality sputum within 3 min. The device operates without electricity and is suitable not only for remote clinics with unreliable electricity, but also for mobile services and community-based intensified tuberculosis (TB) case finding. Further research needs to investigate the yield of TB in sputum samples induced by the HPN.”

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“International Service Learning Senior Design Projects: Human Power and Medical Devices”

Co-authored with colleague Jay Goldberg, Dr. Olson discusses the need for an ‘unconventional’ approach to senior design projects for meeting the problems of global health.  Per the abstract: ” Acute lower respiratory infections are common and deadly in Central America. Nebulizers are relatively expensive medical devices that aerosolize medicine for inhalation into the lower respiratory tract. Senior design students at Marquette University have worked on low cost nebulizer designs that can be used in remote poor areas in Central America. These students’ senior design experience has been unconventional. Problem identification and customer interviews have occurred during immersion trips to Central America. The project has been continued over several years with multiple groups. Service learning has been incorporated into the senior design course. Sustainability and other design related issues pertaining to the developing world were given a higher priority than other design parameters. The designs focused on the use of human power that can be implemented within the economic, technical, and medical constraints of the Central American market. Regulatory and ethical issues were also addressed. Students in these groups were exposed to many engineering design issues as well as issues of global health and social justice in Central America.”

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CBS News Visits Guatemala Build Day!

The local CBS affiliate in Milwaukee–CBS58–visited the HPN lab on March 5th, covering the launch of the build for the HPNs for our first visit to Guatemala.  MU student Martin Rodriguez Romero speaks eloquently of the mission and vision of the HPN project.  It’s good to see so many students contributing their expertise!

“Big Ideas 2013”

This story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlights what they call “the most interesting breakthroughs of the year in Wisconsin.”  For 2013, the HPN made the list!


“With Medical Devices, Context is Key.

The January-February 2013 issue of Health Progress–the journal of the Catholic Health Association–featured the HPN as an example of an appropriate medical technology.

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HPN Included in World Health Organization Listing of Innovative Medical Devices

The World Health Organization included the HPN in its new listing of innovative health technologies for resource-poor settings in 2012.


HPN Included in U of Michigan Global Health Medical Device Compendium

The University of Michigan Center for Global Health features the HPN in its new global health wiki on Appropedia.

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PTL Provides Testing to Support HPN

We are grateful for the generosity of our colleagues at Particle Testing Laboratories who are assisting us with particle size testing for the HPN prototypes.

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Seven Ways Pedal Power Will Change the World

Popular Mechanics recently featured the HPN as one of Seven Ways Pedal Power Will Change the World.

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A Bicycle Built for Two

The Human Powered Nebulizer Project brings together theology and engineering expertise to advance rural health care globally

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HPN investigators featured on WUWM’s Lake Effect

The human-powered nebulizer could help bring much needed medical care to places where there’s no electricity. Lars Olson is an associate professor of biomedical engineering and Therese Lysaught associate professor of theology at Marquette University. They’ll return to El Salvador to continue their study on the human powered nebulizer this summer. Olson’s team is competing in the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance’s annual March Madness for the Mind competition this Saturday in San Francisco. The team was just named one of three finalists in an online video portion of the contest by Inventors Digest.

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MU’s Pedal Power Heading to San Francisco

Marquette biomedical engineering senior design team heads to San Francisco for the 2010 March Madness of the Mind, winning second place in the Social Entrepreneurship competition.

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