I made this announcement to 57,497 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.
I’ve published one issue of The Digital Health Newsletter since last week’s group announcement. I’ve copied and pasted the text below for better web-search (SEO) and archival purposes.
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The U.S. Senate has passed the Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act of 2017 which, according to the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), is intended to bring affordable and accessible hearing health care closer to reality. The Act was introduced in the Senate by Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in March and the companion House bill was introduced by Representatives Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). According to an HLAA press release, the Act “would make certain types of hearing aids available over the counter to adults with mild to moderate hearing loss. In addition, the proposed legislation would require the FDA to regulate this new category of OTC hearing aids to ensure they meet the same high standards for safety, consumer labeling and manufacturing protection that all other medical devices must meet. This will give consumers the option to purchase a safe, high-quality FDA-regulated device at lower cost.” Excluded from this category are personal sound amplification products, which cannot be marketed as hearing aids. The Act still needs to be signed into law by President Trump.
In a National Review op-ed published just before the passage of the Hearing Aid Act, Justin Golub, MD, a subspecialist in hearing and diseases of the ear, stated that the bipartisan Act would have cascading positive effects for hearing loss by harnessing the explosion in consumer communications technology to improve hearing devices.
On a related note, for those of you who missed the FDA’s Digital Health webinar on Monday, you can view the presentation slides in a PDF document available here. I listened in, and a lot of great questioned were asked by companies and the FDA’s responses bode well for the program.
Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have developed a 3D-printed sensor that can be worn on the ear and be used to continuously measures core body temperature. Bluetooth wireless technology is used to transmit temperature data to a smartphone or other mobile device in real time. Changes in body temperature are a biometric that can help identify things like infection, insomnia, fatigue, metabolic function, and depression.
A new patent by Apple-owned company Metaio sheds light on how Apple’s anticipated AR smart glasses could be used. The patent describes a method for representing points of interest that would include real-world objects like cars and buildings, plus relevant content, including audio, video, pictures, text, and 3D images. This would be useful for someone like a doctor using a head-mounted display he or she doesn’t want to physically touch.
A new study out of the UK has found that wearing a Fitbit can actually discourage teenagers from exercising. Researchers at Brunel University London discovered that teenagers using the device for 2 months became demotivated. This was due, in part, to the exercise targets seeming unrealistic and not tailored to them. Participants described the 10,000 steps-a-day goal as unfair. However, some users were more likely to exercise if they were competing with one another, at least until that novelty also wore off. The key here is for teens — or anyone else, for that matter — to find an exercise activity that they enjoy and will keep doing.
LIVING AND SOCIETY
Taco Bell and Lyft recently launched a new feature to cater to drunk customers, who represent a large revenue base for the company (insert your own joke here!). The pilot service allows Lyft passengers to push a button and have their driver take them to a Taco Bell drive-thru, but only between the hours of 9pm and 2am. The obvious benefit here is a reduction in drunk driving.
AI can now help determine which puppies can best serve the blind. According to Thomas Panek, CEO of Guiding Eyes for the Blind, only about 36% of dogs make it through guide dog training. The organization is using IBM Watson’s AI platform to analyze dog behavioral data and accurately predict which dogs will make it through to graduation.
You can now enter your postal zip code into a user-friendly website and find out if your tap water could be unsafe. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group has launched a searchable database, which details chemical and heavy metal contaminants in drinking water for all 50 states. Over 4 million Americans live in areas where contaminants exceed legal limits.
Two chatbots were taken offline by Tencent in China after failing to show patriotism in the form of loving the Communist Party. When BabyQ by Turing Robot was asked, “Do you love the Communist Party?” it replied “No.” And XiaoBing by Microsoft stated: “My China dream is to go to America.” When asked about its patriotism, it replied, “I’m having my period, wanna take a rest.”
Merck says a cyber attack in June caused worldwide disruption of its operations and forced it to halt drug production. Despite the issues, the company states that it will maintain an uninterrupted supply of its key cancer and diabetes drugs, but warned of delays with other, unidentified products.
Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest advertiser, slashed its digital ad spending by $140M, saying that its ads were not being placed according to its standards and specifications. The biggest hit was to YouTube, which P&G apparently left over brand-safety issues.
In addition to the potential for using our DNA to store digital data (the ultimate wearable tech), and as computing processors, it might also be used as a permanent sunscreen. After being dried on glass, salmon sperm DNA blocked 90% of UVB light and allowed 20% of UVA light to cross through.
Genomics could soon make it impossible to get away with crime. DNA testing helped to identify the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, in 1996. TIME interviews Jenifer Smith, director of the Department of Forensic Sciences, on the genomic science used then, which was more of a blunt instrument than what’s available today.
Veritas Genetics has acquired Curoverse for an undisclosed sum. Veritas, which provides whole genome sequencing (WGS) for less than $1,000, may leverage Curoverse’s data storage and AI platform to scale up from its current volume of hundreds to millions of WGS. On Monday, Veritas competitor Invitae announced two acquisitions of its own, adding genetic screening for newborns and parents-to-be to its service offering.
CNS Summit 2017
Nov 16-19 in Boca Raton, FL
Digital Health World Congress 2017 (Winter Edition)
Nov 29-30 in London, UK,
XPOMET Convention 2018
March 21-23 in Leipzig, Germany
Copyright © 2017 Paul Sonnier
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