The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Jun 30, 2017 ⋅ #281

I made this announcement to 56,830 members of the Digital Health group on LinkedIn. If you’re on LinkedIn, please do join the group, which allows you to opt in to receiving these announcements in addition to connecting with thousands of other global stakeholders in digital health. Note that I will continue to update this announcement up until sending out the final version via LinkedIn. I’m also now using Constant Contact to send an html and image-rich version of my announcements. You can subscribe to that version here.

The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Jun 30, 2017 ⋅ #281

I’ve published one issue of The Digital Health Newsletter since last week’s group announcement. I’ve copied and pasted the text from the newsletter below for better web-search (SEO) and archival purposes:

The Digital Health Newsletter for June 30

Also, please note that I’m seeking a direct role with a company or organization that would, ideally, complement and leverage all that I’ve built and am doing, including my keynote speaking, weekly newsletter, Digital Health LinkedIn group management/curation, and contributing editor role at Innovation and Tech Today. My professional bio is viewable here. Please contact me if you see a potential fit or would like to advertise in my announcements, newsletter, and website. Please do not contact me with partnering, equity-only, or commission-type offers.

The Digital Health Newsletter for June 30

The summer issue of Innovation & Tech Today hits newsstands on July 5. In this issue you can read my latest article “What the Genomic Revolution Means for Your Health”, co-written with Meg Lam. Other digital health articles include: “A Slightly Offbeat History of Health Technology”, “The Army and the NFL Team Up to Combat Brain Injury”, and “Building the Bedroom of the Future”. You can pick up a hardcopy of the magazine at all Barnes & Noble stores and home delivery is available, with a 1-year subscription (4 Issues) costing just $14.95. A 1-year digital-only subscription is free.

The article I wrote for the spring issue is now available on the Innovation & Tech Today website:  Let’s Get Physical: How the Digital Age is Improving Health and Removing Costs. In this piece I expand upon my thesis that empowered consumers can massively disrupt healthcare’s status quo.

In a recent interview, Bill Nye mocked Ray Kurzweil’s predictions for how fast AI will advance. Bill points out that it’s unlikely that AI will suddenly take over and end the human species: “I’m not concerned, because humans make the machines. Sooner or later, to put it in old terms, somebody’s got to shovel the coal to make the electricity to run the machine.” This is consistent with what Neil deGrasse Tyson said in a 2015  conversation with Nye: “Just to be clear, there’s an astrophysicist at the table, if you use the word ‘singularity’ you have to clarify. We’re not talking about the beginning of the universe, or the center of a black hole, or any other previous use of the word singularity.” Tyson added that: ” There’s nothing about it that sounds impending to me, though it be impending to others, which is the perfect setup for a cult.”

In the future, you may go to your local grocery store and pick your produce directly from mini farms of live, growing plants versus grabbing already-picked and dying produce. The plants would be monitored with Internet-connected sensors that control irrigation and nutrition. A Berlin-based startup called Infarm is already providing this type of an indoor vertical farming system, which can grow lettuce, herbs, fruit, and vegetables. Europe’s Metro Group is the first wholesaler using the system

According to a new study, looking at cute animal pics can improve your relationship. Participating couples who looked at “positive” pics of cute animals interspersed with images of their spouse reported improved feelings about their spouse versus the feelings reported by a control group.

After a 7-year probe, the European Union has fined Google $2.7B for favoring its own shopping site in search results. T he European Commission has also ordered Google to “stop its illegal conduct” and “give equal treatment to rival price-comparison services.”

An essay in the journal Science, ” Help, hope, and hype: Ethical dimensions of neuroprosthetics” explores the ethical and social topics related to brain-controlled prosthetic robots, aka brain-machine interfaces (more commonly referred to as brain-computer interface (BCI) devices) that are used to “restore independent activities of daily living to paralyzed people”. The authors expand their focus to include both BCI devices that “enhance the independence and self-determination of severely paralyzed individuals (e.g. via regained ability to grasp a cup of coffee, hand over a credit card, or sign a document with a pen)”, as well as BCI devices that “enhance the capabilities of able-bodied people to interact with digital devices”. Their scope includes relevant topics related to “ethical and social challenges in the areas of autonomy, responsibility, and accountability; data security and privacy; and end-user expectations.”

Also in Science is a report on rejuvenating brain plasticity with drugs. According to the summary: “What if we could unlock the potential of the brain to change at will? Could we then rejuvenate old brains? In this issue, Blundon et al. demonstrate that with a pharmacological intervention, the brain’s cortical plasticity in adult mice could be restored to an extent that is normally seen only in juveniles. The findings should spur research into noninvasive therapies to treat conditions relating to perceptual deficits.” It’s worth noting that there are other methods for noninvasively stimulating brain plasticity, including Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

The new  LumaGlo Crossbelt (currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter) is designed to help keep runners and cyclists safe at night. Instead of the typical reflective clothing, helmets, and headlamps that provide greater visibility to motorists, the Crossbelt is multi-colored, has dynamic, moving patterns, and an automatic brake light. The device can be worn as a belt or a sash.

In “Football’s Next Frontier: The Battle Over Big Data“, Tom Taylor examines the 5-year deal between the NFL Players Association and WHOOP, the provider of an athletic performance optimization solution. WHOOP, as I’ve previously shared, bases its system on a wearable device that collects biometric data related to exercise strain, physical recovery, and sleep. The salient quote for me was by Sean Sansiveri, a VP at NFLPA: “What we’re doing in terms of the wearable space and empowering these players as patients, as people, as employees, will translate into other industries”. As Taylor astutely observes: “What is playing out right now in pro sports may well foreshadow the future for the rest of us.”

Researchers at the University of Calgary have developed a  prototype wearable microsystem for minimally invasive, pseudo-continuous blood glucose monitoring. The device reportedly uses a small needle to “bite” you every few hours,  draw blood, and then measure your glucose level.

A prototype industrial work boot by Pittsburgh-based SolePower self-charges while you walk, measures temperature, has GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity. By tracking the location and motion of workers, it’s expected that efficiency and productivity can be improved concurrent with fostering safety.

Now that Texas has enacted a new law permitting the expansion of telemedicine and telehealth services in the state, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has announced that it has closed its investigation into the Texas Medical Board. The FTC was looking into whether the Board had violated federal antitrust law due to its anticompetitive restrictions on telemedicine and telehealth. This also ends the legal battle between the Board and a group led by Teladoc.

A new study on using whole genome sequencing of otherwise healthy patients in a medical setting was conducted by the National Human Genome Institute. One group just answered questionnaires while another group had their DNA examined for any of 5,000 rare genetic diseases plus other relevant genetic markers, including disease risk. It turned out that 1 in 5 of the genomic-testing group had gene variants associated with rare and potentially serious genetic diseases. Most were deemed to be ‘fine’ and it was reported that “Neither the volunteers nor their doctors overreacted.” Benefits reported include one participant who was at elevated risk of diabetes deciding to “watch her weight and eat better.” And other participants who were identified to be carriers of genetic variations associated with certain diseases, planned to use this information for family planning purposes. And one patient, who inexplicably got odd rashes and bad sunburns, turned out to have a rare, genetic skin disease. Her doctor was able to provide her with a list of drugs to avoid that might aggravate her condition.

While the results of the pilot study were generally very positive, I was surprised and disappointed (as I  tweeted) by the stark contrast in perspectives seen in the reporting on it. Namely, unlike NPR, STAT News didn’t see the results of the study as offering much in the way of positives and unjustifiably spun the study in a negative light with an alarmist article entitled: ” In healthy patients, genome sequencing raises alarms while offering few benefits“.

Copyright © 2017 Paul Sonnier

Follow me on Twitter @Paul_Sonnier for all the news I share each day.

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Paul Sonnier
Keynote Speaker ⋅ Management Consultant ⋅ Social Entrepreneur
Contributing Editor, Innovation & Tech Today
Founder, Digital Health group on LinkedIn ⋅ 50,000+ members
Creator, Story of Digital Health
Facebook: StoryOfDigitalHealth
Instagram: @StoryofDigitalHealth
Twitter: @Paul_Sonnier
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