The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Nov 27, 2017 ⋅ #302

I made this announcement to 59,673 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. I also send out my Digital Health Newsletter, which you can sign up for and receive for free, here.

The Digital Health Update by Paul Sonnier ⋅ Nov 27, 2017 ⋅ #302

Dear Group,

I’ve published a new book!
The Fourth Wave: Digital Health — New Era of Human Progress
Building upon the work of famed futurist Alvin Toffler — author of “The Third Wave” — I explain how the fusion of the digital and genomic revolutions is creating a new era of human progress.

Don’t miss this featured conference taking place next week in London…
DIGITAL HEALTH WORLD CONGRESS 2017 (Winter Edition) Nov 29-30 – London, UK
The Congress is the leading technology digital healthcare conference in the London, UK, and Europe and serves as a forum for medtech, mobile, IoT, and IT industry stakeholders. It covers all aspects of medical and mobile technology including ehealth, mhealth, telehealth, telemedicine, genomics, and healthcare IT. Keynote speakers include leaders from Accenture, Google, GSK, AstraZeneca, and Drayson Technologies. Register today

I’ve published two issues of my newsletter since last week’s group announcement, which you can read below and via the following links:

The Digital Health Update for Nov 21
The Digital Health Update for Nov 26

Also, please note that I’m available to deliver my keynote address at conferences and corporate events. You can also advertise in my group announcements, newsletter, and on my website. My professional bio is viewable here and my full list of services is viewable here. I can be contacted via my LinkedIn profile.

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

If you are a digital health company, event organizer, or provider of other relevant solutions or services you can advertise in my announcements, on my website, and Twitter. Doing so puts you in front of 50,000+ targeted global prospects each week. I also provide strategic consulting and keynote speaking. Contact me for my media kit, standard plans, and pricing.


The Digital Health Update for Nov 21

For the first time ever, scientists have edited the genes inside a patient’s body in an effort to cure their disease. The procedure was performed at the University of California at San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, CA on 44-year-old Brian Madeux. The gene editing tool CRISPR was used to produce an enzyme that can counteract the metabolic disease Hunter syndrome. According to Sandy Macrae, president of Sangamo Therapeutics (funder of the trial): “This is opening up a whole new field of medicine. You can imagine all the diseases that now become possible to treat when you can put in a new copy of the gene, or turn it up or turn it down.”

California teen Faith Florez created Calor, an Apple Watch app designed to help prevent farm workers deaths from heat stroke. Florez’s hope is that the app—currently being crowdfunded on StartSomeGood(in order to scale the platform)—will help reduce the high numbers of heat illness and related deaths among farm workers in California’s Central Valley agricultural region by providing timely alerts and data to workers. According to Florez: “I want to prove that technology to protect farm workers in times of excessive heat can be applied as easily as the Amber Alert notifications we already receive, with life-saving data sent straight to their wrists as they toil to put food on our tables. My mission is to change the statement “work or health” to ‘work AND health.’” The project was initiated at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering in 2016, and was influenced by meetings with farmers, contractors, farm workers, and state regulators. California farmers and contractors are also on board with the plan, and will provide Apple Watches to farm workers beginning in the summer of 2018.


A new and terrifying video called ‘Slaughterbots’ has been released by the Future of Life Institute (FLI) at the recent Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons at the United Nations in Geneva. The video shows the potential danger of autonomous killer drones and provides a graphic warning against machines that are empowered to decide whom to kill. FLI is backed by Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk. There is also a petition website.

New York City’s city council has unanimously passed legislation that makes revenge porn a crime, but only if images were taken without consent. The United States does not have a federal revenge porn law, but 38 states and Washington D.C. do have some form of laws against revenge porn.

More than 100 technology experts and civil liberties groups have written to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warning that an algorithm may decide who is a ‘contributing member of society’, perform ‘extreme vetting’ of immigrants, and be discriminatory in nature.


Stanford researchers have developed an algorithm that can diagnose pneumonia better than radiologists. MIT Technology Review’s Jackie Snow covered the story “Algorithm Can Spot Pneumonia Better Than a Radiologist“, stating: “Add diagnosing dangerous lung diseases to the growing list of things artificial intelligence can do better than humans.” It is estimated that detecting pneumonia early could help prevent approximately 50,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Snow also indicates that “Pneumonia is also the single largest infectious cause of death for children worldwide, killing almost a million children under the age of five in 2015.”

On the publication of this news, Eric Topol, MD tweeted: “There’s been a lot of talk about radiologists being replaced by machines. So I looked up the peer-reviewed publications of #AI companies @enlitic @ZebraMedVision @baylabsinc @ArterysInc @radlogics @IBMWatsonHealth” Topol also coauthored a report on this topic in Dec 2016: “Adapting to Artificial Intelligence Radiologists and Pathologists as Information Specialists

The Woebot chatbot—which runs on Facebook Messenger—asks users to record their moods and then offers advice on behavioral techniques that can help alleviate depression and anxiety. According to the Woebot website for the chatbot: “I’m ready to listen, 24/7. No couches, no meds, no childhood stuff. Just strategies to improve your mood. And the occasional dorky joke.” The company describes Woebot as being “an automated conversational agent (chatbot) who helps you monitor mood and learn about yourself. Drawing from a therapeutic framework known as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Woebot asks people how they’re feeling and what is going on in their lives in the format of brief daily conversations. Woebot also talks to you about mental health and wellness and sends you videos and other useful tools depending on your mood and needs at that moment. You can think of Woebot as a choose-your-own-adventure self-help book that is capable of storing all of your entries, and gets more specific to your needs over time.”

The Sydney Morning Herald has a story on the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation for treating pain and depression.

A new paper in Foreign Affairs (paywall) looks at how blockchain technology could cut waste and reduce fraud in global health efforts.

A new digital pill by etectRx has been used by doctors to track opioid prescription painkiller use. The pills are equipped with sensors powered by stomach acid and a wearable patch communicates with a smartphone app that is also linked to the cloud.

A wearable patch by PMD Solutions monitors patient’s breathing and spots sepsis 6 hours early. The device will be fast-tracked into UK NHS hospitals after trials showed it could boost survival rates.


Reuters has a video featuring a medical watch that uses AI to monitor health and serve as an early warning system for medical emergencies, even calling an ambulance if needed.

The German telecommunications regulation agency Bundesnetzagentur has banned smartwatches for kids, and is even going so far as asking parents to destroy the devices. The smartwatches for kids are described as “prohibitive listening devices”.

After being stranded a mile off the California coast in great white shark-infested waters, a kitesurfer used his Apple Watch to call for help. He was able to make phone calls and even guide Ventura Harbor patrol rescuers to his location.

collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and Qualcomm Life will result in Samsung providing Gear Fit2 Pro fitness trackers, Gear Sport smartwatches, and Level Active Wireless headphones to members of UnitedHealthcare’s health insurance plans. An app will record workout intensity, frequency, and activity levels.


A new spit test may be able to diagnose and predict the duration of concussion in kids. The test analyzes microRNAs in saliva to predict with about 85% accuracy which concussed children would have symptoms one month later.

The Digital Health Update for Nov 26

I’ve published a new book!
The Fourth Wave: Digital Health — New Era of Human Progress
Building upon the work of famed futurist Alvin Toffler — author of “The Third Wave” — I explain how the fusion of the digital and genomic revolutions is creating a new era of human progress.

Don’t miss this featured conference taking place next week in London…
DIGITAL HEALTH WORLD CONGRESS 2017 (Winter Edition) Nov 29-30 – London, UK
The Congress is the leading technology digital healthcare conference in the London, UK, and Europe and serves as a forum for medtech, mobile, IoT, and IT industry stakeholders. It covers all aspects of medical and mobile technology including ehealth, mhealth, telehealth, telemedicine, genomics, and healthcare IT. Keynote speakers include leaders from Accenture, Google, GSK, AstraZeneca, and Drayson Technologies. Register today

While the impending demise of Internet neutrality – aka ‘Net Neutrality’ – in the United State will likely mean higher prices for consumers plus a hindrance to innovation pursued by startups and others that rely on the Internet to cost-effectively reach consumers and quickly scale, it also turns out that 70% of poor people who receive a broadband financial subsidy will lose their connections. Known as the Lifeline service, poor families will be forced to buy connections from major carriers, who may not offer the service. Native American indigenous people who live on tribal lands will be particularly hard hit. In total, about 1.25 million poor Americans depend on the Lifeline program to access the Internet. The loss of Net Neutrality is particularly egregious in light of the fact that Internet access is considered a human right by the United Nations Human Rights Council and more than 70 nation states. The change in U.S. policy enacted by President Trump’s FCC chairman Ajit Pai will likely impact the health, education, civil and political participation, jobs, and public affairs literacy of millions of Americans due to price increases, potential throttling of data and blocking of websites and Internet apps, and a commensurate reduction in access to information and other Internet services.


Social media is being used by the Chicago police department in an effort to fight violent crime. The department sees these platforms as both an accelerant for violence—in that they can be used to rapidly escalate disputes leading to violence—and a means of interceding to prevent violence from happening. Chicago has also built technology ‘nerve centers’ that integrate data from neighborhood cameras and layer in a crime suspect’s police record.

Writing in The Intercept, Murtaza Hussain states that social media is helping to level the playing field between governments, militants, and ordinary people: “The revolutionary impact of this new information environment—where any individual or network of individuals can create their own mini-CNN—is transforming our societies. The loss of gatekeeping authority held by legacy media institutions has opened up opportunities for long-suppressed groups to have their narratives heard.”

Described as “a world-first advisory body to enable and ensure safe, ethical innovation in artificial intelligence and data-driven technologies”, the UK’s Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation has a £75M budget. But, writing in The Register, Rebecca Hill asks, is it just “another toothless wonder?” Hill states that, “Given the impression that we already have plenty of bodies thinking about data, you’d be forgiven for wondering why government felt the need to add this to the list—but it is the result of a fairly concerted effort from MPs, lobby groups and academics.” And, she adds, it’s unclear where the body “will sit in the landscape, who will run it, and whether it will have any real powers.”

According to researchers at the Yale Privacy Lab and nonprofit organization Exodus Privacy, a staggering variety of hidden trackers are embedded in many popular Android apps that have been downloaded billions of times, including ones focused on weather, flashlights, ridesharing, and dating apps. The trackers obtain an ID code from your mobile device or web browser and then share information with third parties seeking to profile you. Apps that had six or seven trackers each include online dating apps Tinder and OkCupid, the Weather Channel, Superbright LED Flashlight, Spotify, Lyft, Uber, Skype, Accuweather, and Microsoft Outlook.

Researchers at Sussex University’s Sackler Center for Conscious Science are altering people’s consciousness without drugs by using a ‘Hallucination Machine‘, aka “the VR of psychedelic drugs”. The machine makes people feel like they are hallucinating and is being used to study “the mechanisms underlying altered states of consciousness without needing to use psychedelic drugs.”

David Sax—author of the book “Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter“—has a great op-ed in the NYT (paywall) entitled “Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over“. From his book description: “A funny thing happened on the way to the digital utopia. We’ve begun to fall back in love with the very analog goods and ideas the tech gurus insisted that we no longer needed. Businesses that once looked outdated, from film photography to brick-and-mortar retail, are now springing with new life. Notebooks, records, and stationery have become cool again. Behold the Revenge of Analog.”


A point-of-care (POC) mobile phone-based diagnostic device called a ‘LoaScope‘ has been used in Cameroon to identify when patients should be administered the drug Ivermectin for Onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis. The goal is to avoid unnecessarily administering Ivermectin, which can sometimes have adverse outcomes, including death.

tiny brain stent implant is being developed by University of Melbourne researchers for potential use in helping paralyzed patients move again. The electrode-laden ‘stentrode’, as it is called, could be used to circumvent damaged spinal cords by wirelessly relaying thoughts to an external robotic exoskeleton or prosthetic limb.

Researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) have developed a fiber optic sensor the width of a human hair that could enable microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) for brain cancer tumors. MRT is more accurate, enables higher doses, and is less likely to harm healthy surrounding tissue. Conventional radiation therapy bathes tumor areas in radiation as opposed to MRT, which applies a precise pattern of radiation. The UOW photonic detection sensor will provide the necessary quality assurance measurements for MRT.

In a randomized controlled trial, scientists have found that computer avatars can help schizophrenia patients control threatening voices. The therapy brings patients face to face with avatars that represent the tormenting voices in their heads. In comparison with a form of supportive counseling, the avatars were shown to be more effective at reducing auditory hallucinations, aka voices inside the head. Experts indicate that this type of therapy could radically change treatment options for millions of patients around the world.


Personal trainer and fitness expert Harry Thomas has written an article on how to use a heart rate monitor to burn more fat during your workouts.

Doug Siverly used the popular fitness app Lose it! and changed his behaviors in his effort to lose 153 pounds.


80 pharmacies in Canada are using the MyDNA genetic testing program to determine which medications will work best for patients. According to pharmacist Cam Bonnell, “Personalized medicine has now advanced to the stage where one simple test can reveal how your body will uniquely respond to the medicines you take, based on genetics. We would be able to find out at the time of prescribing which medications would work best for you.”

Scientists have used CRISPR to genetically engineer a form of gluten-free wheat. Removing these proteins from the grain will make it safe for consumption by people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the small intestine when gluten is consumed. The remaining proteins in the wheat will still provide the desired characteristic taste and springiness in bread products.



Digital Health World Congress 2017 (Winter Edition)
Nov 29-30 in London, UK
The leading technology digital healthcare conference in London, UK and Europe.

Digital Medicine and Medtech Showcase 2018
Jan 8-10 in San Francisco, CA (alongside JP Morgan)
At the intersection of technology and medicine: Digital Medicine & Medtech Showcase

XPOMET Convention 2018
The Convention for Innovation and High-Tech in Medicine
March 21-23 in Leipzig, Germany


Please contact me for options on event promotion, including having your event featured at the top of this list, featured in my weekly Digital Health group announcements, newsletter, and on Twitter.

Please provide the event name, date(s), event website link (direct and not a shortened url), one-paragraph event description, the venue name, and location (city and country). Not all events are relevant to digital health and webinars are typically not allowed, but you can ask me about promotion options.

Copyright © 2017 Paul Sonnier

Paul Sonnier
Author ⋅ Speaker ⋅ Technologist ⋅ 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
San Diego, CA, USA


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