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Millimetre-wave technology could estimate primates' heart rates
Millimetre-wave radar technology could be less invasive and more accurate.
The technology could better monitor primate heart rates.

Researchers in Japan have conducted a study, which suggests that millimetre-wave radar technology could measure the heart rates of primates.

The discovery could result in a less invasive method of heart rate monitoring, providing an easier method for checking wild and captive primates for heart conditions.

As with many animals, a primate’s heart rate can provide an important vital sign to their general health. With heart disease a major cause of death among captive primates, effective heart rate monitoring can help veterinary surgeons identify symptoms early.

Heart rate monitoring also plays a significant role in animal cognitive studies, allowing scientists to observe how chimpanzees’ heart rates change under different psychological stimuli.

Existing methods for monitoring primate heart rates include attaching a wireless device to the subject, which monitors and transmits its heart rate remotely. This technique is limited by the risks involved in installing the device, which requires anaesthesia, and the potential for stress for the primate and its group.

Another technique requires researchers to observe the chimpanzees through a video feed, and estimate the heart rate based on this. This has proven to be inaccurate, due to lighting conditions and the animal's movements.

The use of millimetre-wave radar technology could provide a less invasive and more accurate way to measure chimpanzees’ heart rates.

The proposed approach saw scientists aiming high-frequency electromagnetic pulses at the chest of the animal, and capturing the echoes it causes. These echoes can then be used to estimate the primate’s heart rate, using a specialised algorithm.

The method was tested on two adult chimpanzees at Kumamoto Sanctuary, with the results compared to measurements obtained using traditional electrocardiography.

Results from the new millimetre-wave method were found to closely match those from the ECG.

Dr Takuya Matsumoto, the study lead, said: “Despite chimpanzees having muscular bodies, which raised uncertainties about measuring their heart rate in a similar manner to measurements in humans, the results of this study demonstrated the feasibility of non-contact heart rate measurements through the analysis of subtle body surface movements.

“These findings could expand the potential applications of such techniques in studies of animal psychology and wild primatology.”

The full study can be found in the American Journal of Primatology.

Image © Shutterstock

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.