Smart rings are booming, and it looks like they’re here to stay.
Although smart rings are a relatively new gadget to the wearable technology market, they have certainly gained popularity in recent years for their compact, minimalist design.
When it comes to health, these tiny yet mighty rings can serve as continuous health monitors, allowing users to track vital metrics, like heart rate, sleep patterns and activity levels, and helping them identify patterns and potential irregularities.
More importantly, the convenience of having this health data readily accessible on these devices enables women to make informed decisions about their lifestyle, promoting a more proactive, holistic approach.
To help you find the right smart ring for you, we’ve put together a list of the ones worth trying in 2024.
The Oura ring, developed by the Finnish health technology company ŌURA, is a smart device that delivers personalised health data, insights and daily guidance.
Validated against medical gold standards and driven by continuous monitoring of individual biometrics, the Oura ring is one of the most accurate wearables available.
The ring measures blood volume pulse directly from the palmar arteries of the finger with infrared LED sensors. From that data, Oura’s algorithms calculate resting heart rate and heart rate variability, while also offering women information about their body temperature, respiratory rate and sleep stages.
Armed with these data points, users can work toward decreasing stress and increasing heart health with personalised, easy to understand reports.
The ring offers a range of reproductive health features, including Cycle Insights and integrations with the period tracking app Clue and the contraception app Natural Cycles.
Its Cycle Insights feature uses temperature deviations to track, predict and visualise women’s monthly cycle, allowing users to better understand the stages of their menstrual cycle.
For many people, the thought of exercising in silence is unimaginable: the ArcX smart ring is designed for those who need and love, to listen to music while engaged in any one of a host of different sports.
The ring is a new type of wearable providing intuitive, hands-free control of other devices during exercise. Developed by ArcX Technology, a UK/US sports tech start-up, the device allows users to store their smartphone in a pocket or backpack while controlling playlists and other phone functions simply and easily, on the move.
While music control is still the main use case ArcX is hugely versatile. There’s an inbuilt SOS function; in the event of an accident or an emergency a quick press of the joystick and ArcX makes an outgoing call and sends an SMS with the wearer’s Google Map location.
It can also connect to any other Bluetooth enabled device such as sports cameras, wireless speakers, tablets, laptops, e-readers, TVs and AR/VR headsets.
The patented design enables the module to be swapped among different sized medical grade silicone rings or two types of strap mounts that allows the user to attach the device to a handlebar, kayak paddle, ski pole or other piece of sports equipment.
The ring boasts an impressive 20 day stand by with a battery that delivers five days of typical use from a one-hour charge time and is waterproof.
There is also a great health and safety benefit to a remote controller like ArcX, particularly for those activities that involve speed such as skiing, snowboarding, cycling and running.
The Evie ring, developed by the US company Movano Health, is the first women-focused smart ring, promising to redefine the wearable category with a unique band design, female-specific data interpretation and AI-based trend analysis.
The ring utilises highly sensitive medical-grade sensors to optimise vital sign measurement on women’s fingers, which tend to be smaller and have less blood flow than men’s, and leverages newer studies that consider women-specific factors such as hormonal changes combined with an AI engine to search for correlations across menstrual health, mood, energy, sleep and activity.
Whether it’s “We’ve noticed your mood improves when you get 1000 more steps than your average” or “Your sleep may be interrupted during this phase of your menstrual cycle due to a dip in progesterone,” these insights can help women modify their behaviours to optimise their daily routines.
Other key features include a unique Spot Check function enabling users to see their pulse rate and blood oxygen levels at any time day or night, the ability to log mood, menstrual symptoms and other information, and four days of battery life.
New features to be added include enhanced menstrual health insights and additional visualisations of menstrual data.
The world’s first smart ring made for women’s fertility and sleep tracking, Femometer aims to help women increase their chances of natural conception with daily fertility insights and expert guidance.
Much like Oura’s innovative approach to social sleep features for health trackers, Femometer promises to deliver an innovative solution that empowers women to better understand their body and reproductive health.
The device, which caters to women seeking to conceive and those grappling with irregular menstrual cycles and sleep disruption, helps users gain insights into their cycle patterns, hormone fluctuations and sleep variations.
The ring offers continuous monitoring of basal body temperature (BBT) for precision in fertility insights, predicts fertile windows, analyses sleep stages during various menstrual cycle phases and their correlation to fertility and offers tailored suggestions for overall wellbeing.
Good sleep is critical to improving brain performance, mood, and health. With research showing women are twice as likely to experience sleep problems as men, it is important to understand whether you’re getting enough quality rest every night.
Sleepon, a smart ring designed specifically to give people an in-depth understanding of their sleep trends and patterns, generates detailed sleep reports and shares useful metrics like heart rate, heart rate variability, blood oxygen and sleep stages.
The device, which replaces paper sleep diaries, revises memory bias and automatically processes and analyses data, helping women improve their sleep quality and restore their circadian rhythm.
Lawyers warn of discrimination risks around lack of menstrual health support in the workplace
Employers should consider proactively supporting women in managing menstruation at work, lawyers have argued
Employers should consider the potential discrimination risks around menstrual health in the workplace, lawyers have warned, as research shows that most women in the UK feel unsupported.
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the majority of women in the UK do not feel a strong sense of support in their organisation in relation to their menstrual cycle.
Figures show women are more likely to feel supported by colleagues than by their employer or manager, with only one in 10 reporting that their organisation provides support for menstruation and menstrual health.
Annisa Khan, employment lawyer at Farrer & Co who has previously raised the alarm over the lack of practical measures to support women with their periods, told Femtech World that employers should be mindful of the legal risks related to managing menstruation.
“Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful to discriminate against employees based on sex, age, or disability,” she said.
“Employers should therefore consider the potential discrimination risks in relation to managing mensuration in the workplace and implement measures to reduce these risks.”
A lack of workplace period policies has been estimated to cost businesses over £6bn per year, as menstrual symptoms cause women to miss an average of 8.4 days per year due to lower productivity.
Khan said organisations should consider proactively supporting employees in managing menstruation at work by reviewing existing policies, including sickness absence and health and wellbeing policies, to ensure they effectively address menstrual-related concerns.
“Creating an open and supportive environment is crucial for employees to feel comfortable discussing periods at work,” she explained.
“This involves raising awareness among all staff, including senior-level managers and male colleagues, to foster an understanding of how colleagues may be affected by menstruation, the relevant policies and how to have open and empathetic conversations.
“Implementing practical measures is also essential to create a supportive environment. Practical steps can include having accessible bathroom facilities with sanitary bins, providing free period products to employees, offering additional breaks and providing a quiet space for rest.”
In line with CIPD’s findings, Khan said workplaces should also consider implementing more flexible working practices and giving women more breaks when needed.
“Employers should be open to employees adjusting their work pattern on the days they are experiencing menstruation symptoms by, for example, offering employees the opportunity to work from home.
“Additionally, they should consider the needs of employees with disabilities or those with medical conditions, and how they may be affected by managing mensuration at work.”
Heidi Watson, employment partner at Clyde & Co, said employers should ensure they avoid breaching discrimination laws when approaching issues like menstrual health.
“As awareness of menstrual issues such as endometriosis grows and as employees are more willing to discuss their symptoms at work, employers will need to consider whether employees are disabled under the legal definition and therefore entitled to protection from less favourable treatment and subject to the duty of the employer to make reasonable adjustments for them,” she told Femtech World.
“Employees may also be able to establish sex or age discrimination claims. We can expect more claims to come before the Employment Tribunal in the not too distant future, in a similar way as we have seen with cases involving menopause in recent years.
“Adopting a flexible approach to managing those with menstrual symptoms which are impacting their work, and creating an open and supportive culture around the issue, will help to reduce the risk of such claims being brought,” she added.
OB/GYN-founded vitamin company pledges US$10m to improve women’s health research
Perelel aims to close the divide on women’s reproductive health research and improve access to nutritional support
The US OB/GYN-founded vitamin company Perelel has pledged US$10m to Magee-Womens Research Institute and Good+ Foundation to fund women’s health research and address gaps in maternal healthcare.
The vitamin company said the US$10m would be distributed as both in-kind product donations and funding grants through 2027 focused on advancing women’s reproductive health.
Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest US research foundation focused exclusively on women’s health, reproductive biology and infant research and care.
Good+Foundation is a national nonprofit working to dismantle multi-generational poverty by pairing tangible goods with innovative services for under-resourced individuals.
“As the only female OB/GYN-founded women’s vitamin company, Perelel is committed to ensuring that all women have access to medically backed care,” said Victoria Thain Gioia, co-founder and co-CEO of Perelel.
“This is why we are devoted to furthering women’s research in partnership with Magee-Womens Research Institute and creating more equity in the way underserved communities receive critical prenatal micronutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible thanks to Good+Foundation.”
Research shows that medical studies have historically excluded female participants and data have been collected from males and generalised to females.
The exclusion of women of “childbearing potential” from clinical research studies has meant that women’s diseases are often missed, misdiagnosed or remain a total mystery.
Alex Taylor, co-founder and co-CEO and of Perelel, said: “We recognise how wildly complex women’s bodies are — bodies that have historically been oversimplified, objectified and shamefully under-researched in medicine.
“Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as ’12 essential nutrients.’ In founding Perelel, we hope to shine a light on how dynamic our bodies are by supporting them with targeted solutions made by the doctors and experts who know best.
“Core to what we stand for is the need to keep fighting for our fundamental rights and help close the women’s health research gap and improve body literacy.”
Perelel’s pledge comes at a time of intensified focus on women’s health as efforts start to reach new levels, including the White House, after President Joe Biden announced the first-ever initiative on Women’s Health Research in 2023.
“It is critical that there is more in-depth medical research done to support women at every hormonal life stage,” said Michael Annichine, CEO at Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation.
“Perelel has committed to a cash donation to further advance research into women’s reproductive health and to ensure that this research is made more accessible to doctors everywhere.”
New treatment could ‘disrupt’ growth of breast cancer tumours
A new type of immunotherapy could lead to pioneering treatment for breast cancer
A breakthrough injection could “disrupt” the growth of breast cancer tumours, paving the way for a pioneering new treatment.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK with one woman diagnosed every 10 minutes. Around 55,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer every year and 11,500 die from the disease each year.
Researchers from the Institute of Cancer Research have found that a new type of immunotherapy that targets non-cancer cells could help prevent the growth and spread of breast cancer tumours.
The discovery, published in The Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer, has found that an immunotherapy approach targeting a protein, called endosialin, disrupts the tumour’s blood supply and, as a result, can hinder its growth and spread.
Unlike most cancer treatments, this innovative treatment does not target cancer cells directly but attacks the cells that support the disease instead.
Researchers used a type of immunotherapy called CAR-T therapy, which involves removing a patient’s healthy immune cells and genetically modifying them to attack specific targets.
CAR-T therapies are already being used to treat some blood cancers, and scientists are trying to find ways to make them effective for other types of cancer, including breast cancer.
However, CAR-T cell therapy does not always work on tumours because their environment suppresses the immune response, and it can also be challenging to find specific features on the breast cancer cells to target.
To work around these challenges, the team directed the CAR-T cells to cells surrounding the tumour’s blood supply that make the endosialin protein, rather than actual cancer cells. In experiments in mice, scientists found that targeting endosialin successfully reduced the breast cancer’s growth and spread.
The team, based at the Breast Cancer Now Toby Robins Research Centre at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), also tested the treatment on lung cancer tumours in mice and saw similarly successful results, suggesting patients with other types of cancer could benefit from this new treatment too.
In addition, researchers found that the CAR-T therapy did not affect cells without endosialin, indicating this could work as a cancer-specific treatment with potentially fewer side effects for patients.
“This is the very first study that demonstrates the effectiveness of using endosialin-directed CAR-T cells to reduce breast cancer tumour growth and spread,” said Dr Frances Turrell, study co-leader and postdoctoral training fellow in the division of breast cancer research at the Institute of Cancer Research.
“Immunotherapy has had limited success in treating breast cancer but by targeting the cells that support the tumour and help it to survive, rather than the cancer cells directly, we’ve found a promising way to overcome the challenges posed by the tumour environment and develop a more effective and targeted treatment for breast cancer.
“We could not have done this project without funding to the Molecular Cell Biology group from Breast Cancer Now and we hope that further research will help translate these findings into targeted therapies for breast cancer patients.”
Dr Simon Vincent, director of research, support and influencing at Breast Cancer Now, said: “This exciting research could lead to much-needed targeted treatments for people with breast cancer, and with one person dying from breast cancer every 45 minutes in the UK, new treatments like these are urgently needed.
“Now we know that the treatment works in principle in mice, Breast Cancer Now researchers can continue to develop this immunotherapy to make it suitable for people, as well as to understand the full effect it could have and who it may benefit the most.”
- Lawyers warn of discrimination risks around lack of menstrual health support in the workplace
- OB/GYN-founded vitamin company pledges US$10m to improve women’s health research
- New treatment could ‘disrupt’ growth of breast cancer tumours
- The slippery slope of presumed consent in post-humous reproductive health cases
- Women’s health content censored and blocked on social media
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