Global Coalition on Aging Applauds Nestlé Skin Health for Groundbreaking New ‘Itch Tracker’

The new application, available for use with Apple Watch, holds important potential for improving care and treatment of those with dementia

NEW YORK (April 13, 2017) – The Global Coalition on Aging congratulates Nestlé Skin Health SHIELD on the release of its groundbreaking “Itch Tracker,” a new application that collects data on scratching during sleep. The Itch Tracker, which works in concert with the Apple Watch, bridges the gap between research and personalized care, and has the potential to significantly improve quality of life and future treatments for itch, particularly for older adults.

“Itch is a major symptom of common dermatological diseases in the senior population, such as atopic dermatitis and dry skin, as well as non-dermatological conditions. It often causes a vicious cycle of itch-scratch, and significantly impairs people’s quality of life,” said Dr. Akihiko Ikoma, Medical Director, SHIELD Asia Pacific at Nestlé Skin Health and Itch Tracker project leader.

“This new app is particularly exciting for its potential to improve care for patients with dementia,” said Michael Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging. “People with dementia or others with cognitive disorders may not know when to stop scratching or be able to describe the severity of their itchiness. The Itch Tracker provides a valuable tool for their families and caregivers to understand what is going on with them.”

“Until now, it has been difficult to evaluate itch objectively,” said Dr. Toshiya Ebata, Director of Chitofuna Dermatology Clinic, Tokyo, and Secretary of International Forum for the Study of Itch (IFSI). “The Itch Tracker is a new and exciting tool for its potential to provide a scratch measurement for everyone, as well as provide important data to researchers.“

In addition to its intended use by individuals to measure their scratching, the Itch Tracker application will be used by scientists to collect and analyze large quantities of data using ResearchKit, an open source framework for medical research introduced by Apple. The Itch Tracker application was developed by the innovation team of Nestlé Skin Health SHIELD (Skin Health Investigation, Education, Longevity Development), which is Nestlé Skin Health’s global innovation initiative to advance the future of skin health.

“At Nestlé Skin Health SHIELD, the convergence of technologies is at the center of our innovation approach focused on enhancing people’s quality of life”, said Didier Leclercq, Nestlé Skin Health SHIELD Managing Director. “The development of the Itch Tracker application is the perfect example of our capacity to advance the future of skin health by combining cutting-edge technology with our medical and scientific expertise in skin health. In doing so, we are able to meet and even anticipate consumer, patient, and healthcare professional needs in dermatology.”

The Itch Tracker application is now available at App Store (application-download service by Apple) for Apple Watch users as a ResearchKit study.

Latest Developments

We keep our members and partners in touch with the most recent updates and opinions in the worldwide dialogue on population longevity and related issues.

A Bipartisan Bill Could Prevent The Next Pandemic

In Washington, Republicans and Democrats are typically at loggerheads when it comes to healthcare policy. Just consider the recent Inflation Reduction Act, which made extensive changes to Medicare and also extended Affordable Care Act subsidies. Every single congressional Democrat voted for the legislation, while every single member of the GOP voted against it. But occasionally, a bill is such an obviously good idea, and so desperately needed, that it commands significant bipartisan support. The PASTEUR Act, co-sponsored by 31 Democrats and 31 Republicans in the House and two members of each party in the Senate, is just such a bill.

Korea Must Act Now to Combat Growing AMR Threat

Public officials are overlooking one of the gravest long-term threats to the Korean people, the health system, and economy: antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Some pathogens ― bacteria, fungi, parasites, and viruses ― have evolved strains that resist the antimicrobial medications we currently have available to fight them. Health care professionals often must watch helplessly as patients succumb to infections that antibiotics could once have easily beaten. They know that new antimicrobials, including and especially antibiotics, could easily gain the victory ― but they have none at their disposal.

Policy Statement on the Impact of Price Negotiations on Innovation, Healthy Aging and Equity

As the CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) and a newly formed cross-sector Alliance for Health Innovation, we write to express our deep concern with the current legislation that allows for price “negotiations” in Medicare – a thinly veiled signal for America’s plunge into price controls that will have a devastating and adverse impact on biopharmaceutical innovation and our nations’ ability to support healthy aging. 

Ignoring the ‘Silver Economy’ May Be Getting Costly for Brands

In an ad for Airbnb that premiered earlier this year, a couple checks into a cozy Spanish villa. To the tune of Jay-Z's cover of "Me and My Girlfriend," the ad shows the pair settling into their rental and setting their collective dial to chill. They play ping-pong, sip some wine, and get ready for a night on the town. They're also in their 80s, celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary. In no way does the ad characterize the couple as elderly or portray them as needing special aid or services — they are just active people who happen to be old. It's a rare example of ads featuring a realistic depiction of aging.

Health Equity Promise and That Innovation Thing

President Biden has pledged his administration to defeat cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases that target America’s aging population. To achieve these lofty goals, bold words must be backed up by bold actions.

Roundtable Report Highlights Importance of Immunizing Canada’s Caregivers Against Influenza, Identifying Challenges and Opportunities to Protect This Critical Group

The Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) today released a report summarizing key insights from an expert roundtable on vaccinating Canada’s caregivers against influenza. The roundtable, held virtually, brought together leading Canadian health policy experts, family caregivers, patient advocacy groups, aging experts, and other thought leaders to discuss challenges and strategies to reach this critically important yet hard-to-reach group.