SOURCE: Product Development Technologies

April 03, 2007 09:30 ET

PDT Designs Breakthrough Medical Device

Swallow Enhancement Device Designed to Change Lives

CHICAGO, IL -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 3, 2007 -- Product Development Technologies (PDT), a global product design and development services firm and division of TZ Group (ASX: TZL), was engaged by the University of California Davis Health System (UCDHS) to develop a unique medical device which expands the esophagus using magnetic attraction.

For most people, the simple act of swallowing is second nature. But swallowing is neither simple nor natural for millions of people suffering from a medical condition called dysphagia. Dysphagia -- the reduced ability to move food down the esophagus and into the stomach -- is a debilitating condition which, in acute cases, can be life threatening.

Sonia Blue, President of The National Foundation of Swallowing Disorders, describes the lives of those living with swallowing disorders: "There exists a large group of people ranging from infants to geriatrics who will not be able to 'drink to your health' on New Years' Eve, partake in the family's Thanksgiving dinner, grab a quick cup of coffee, share popcorn at the movie theater or linger over a romantic dinner. They cannot be relieved by a cool drink on a sweltering day or a comforting broth during winter's chill. This group will be excluded from participating in the most basic of social events, that of sharing food and drink; the very activity that breaks the boundaries that separate us and invites us to recognize our shared humanity."

Now referred to as the SED™, Swallow Enhancement Device™ (patent pending), this revolutionary design consists of two parts: (1) an external magnet enclosed in a handheld, ergonomically contoured housing and (2) a small titanium enclosure containing ferrous metal strips implanted under the skin and strap muscles at the front of the cricoid cartilage. The patient controls the movement of the external magnet by squeezing and releasing grips on the housing. This is the first time in modern medicine that scientists have documented external mechanical control of an internal body sphincter.

"I am brimming with renewed hope as the UC Davis Health System and PDT join hands in searching for a solution to this debilitating condition with the creation and promise of a new device that could literally change the world for millions of people, including myself, affected by swallowing disorders," says Sonia.

(The University of California, Davis does not endorse any commercial services by PDT.)

About PDT

Product Development Technologies (PDT) is a global, full-service product design and development firm with over 140 employees in nine offices worldwide, with headquarters in the Chicago area. Team members have expertise in a vast range of product development disciplines, including research, industrial design, user interface, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and software development, laser scanning, quality assurance, tooling, short run production and Asian sourcing. PDT's award-winning product designs have been recognized by BusinessWeek, the Industrial Designers Society of America, The Consumer Electronics Association, Inc. Magazine, Chicago Athenaeum of Architecture and Design, Parametric Technologies Corporation and Electronic House Magazine. www.pdt.com.

About TZ Limited

TZ Group is a leading intellectual property and technology development company that specializes in proprietary embedded intelligent systems. The company leads the world in Intelligent Fastening Technology, a new standard for the design, assembly and servicing of products that will completely change the dynamics of manufacturing. TZ Group offers a multi-disciplinary design and engineering capability that can deliver innovation, robust research and development of new enabling technologies to disciplined product design, engineering, tooling and prototyping. www.tzlimited.com.

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