Health Tech News This Week – July 8, 2023

What happened in health care technology this week, and why it’s important.

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This wearable AI device reads your sweat to tell you about your heart’s health

The Jerusalem Post’s Zachy Hennesey begins the coverage this week. YOPI Technologies, an Israeli hi-tech company founded by experienced entrepreneurs Hemi Re’em and Dr. Menachem Genut, has successfully completed the development phase of YOPI, a wearable AI-based device designed to monitor sweat and detect early signs of heart function deterioration. YOPI (an acronym for “Your Online Personal Instructor”) represents a significant innovation in sports monitoring and heart health tracking. Worn on the arm, the device incorporates a unique sensor developed by the company to allow for online tracking of training intensity and personalized physiological adjustments.


Why it’s important – The developers contend that this wearable device will allow continuous monitoring of heart health and sports medicine.

Infographics of the week – Dr. Bertalan Meskó and his team at The Medical Futurist Institute have compiled a comprehensive #ChatGPT prompt engineering cheat sheet. With this resource, you’ll find explanations of key terms, along with 10+1 invaluable tips accompanied by illustrative examples. These tips will undoubtedly enhance your proficiency in prompt engineering and maximize your utilization of ChatGPT’s capabilities. Furthermore, the cheat sheet talks a bit about the limitations of ChatGPT and sheds light on the best plugins currently available. So you’ll not only gain insights on how to optimize your interactions but also discover the best tools to augment your experience. Great tool!

Image Credit: Dr. Bertalan Meskó and The Medical Futurist Institute

The second infographic is from Dr. Tazeen Rizvi. In today’s connected world, mobile devices have become ubiquitous, including digital wearables that provide real-time information on physical activity, heart rate, sleep, oxygen saturation, and other clinical parameters. Digital wearables are continuously evolving to monitor specific health concerns to present valuable data for disease monitoring. As the penetration of these devices increases, more health data can be integrated into clinical and research settings. Effectively leveraging the potential of remote monitoring tools can truly democratize healthcare, bring quality care at lower costs, improve access, and allow early intervention to drive preventive models of care to advance public health meaningfully.

Image Credit: Dr. Tazeen Rizvi

New Generative AI App Measures Vital Signs Through A Selfie

HIT’s Syed Hamza Sohail reports that Dr. Renee Dua and Nick Desai — who previously founded and built visionary doctor house call company Heal — introduced Together by Renee, the first app to use generative AI to complete and manage cumbersome healthcare tasks for aging adults, those with chronic diseases and their overwhelmed caregivers. Together is the first U.S. app that measures vitals, including blood pressure, heart rate, heart rate variability, respiratory rate, and blood oxygen, just by having users smile for a selfie, a breakthrough in ease and usability. This device less, hassle-free “always with you” ability to track vitals is invaluable both for those with chronic diseases and worried caregivers, who can make sure their loved ones are doing well from far away.

Image Credit: Together by Renee

Why it’s important – The Annals of Internal Medicine reports that less than 50% of adults take all their medications correctly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that less than 10% of adults get necessary preventive exams, and stunningly, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reveals that less than 15% of adults even have the health literacy to assist in their own care. Together uses AI to know their doctor’s name, determine when the user needs an appointment, and then uses voice AI to automatically call the doctor’s office, schedule the appointment for the user and add it to their calendar.

Podcast of the week – From Sg2’s Perspectives podcast series, they discuss clinically integrated networks (CINs) with Sg2 Associate Principal Joseph Maher. Joe outlines how CINs have evolved; their challenges and advantages; and how they can help improve health outcomes, patient experience, and costs. You can listen to the episode here.

Image Credit: Sg2, a Vizient Company

Harmonizing Recovery: Robotic Glove Helps Stroke Survivors Relearn Music

From Neuroscience News comes this story about a ‘smart hand exoskeleton,’ a custom-made robotic glove that can aid stroke patients in relearning dexterity-based skills like playing music. The glove, equipped with integrated tactile sensors, soft actuators, and artificial intelligence, can mimic natural hand movements and provide tactile sensations. The ‘smart hand exoskeleton,’ weighing just 191g, features soft pneumatic actuators and an array of 16 flexible sensors, mimicking natural hand movements and providing tactile feedback. The glove’s design was taught via machine learning to discern correct from incorrect piano play, showcasing its potential in helping stroke patients relearn music and other complex tasks.

Image Credit: Neuroscience News

Why it’s important – Stroke is the most important cause of disability for adults in the EU, which affects approximately 1.1 million inhabitants each year. After a stroke, patients commonly need rehabilitation to relearn to walk, talk, or perform daily tasks. The authors foresee that patients might ultimately wear a pair of these gloves to help both hands independently to regain dexterity, motor skills, and a sense of coordination. Challenges remain, however. These include improving the accuracy and reliability of tactile sensing, enhancing the adaptability and dexterity of the exoskeleton design, and refining the machine learning algorithms to better interpret and respond to user input.

Apple’s Vision Pro: The dawn of screenless computing is upon us – opinion

Brian Blum’s opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post contends that what most pundits have gotten wrong about the Vision Pro is that it’s not about virtual reality at all. It’s the dawn of screenless computing. Apple will undoubtedly pursue its standard new product playbook. “Start with a 1.0 version that’s equally praised and damned for its differentness. Then keep fixing, fixing, fixing over the years, chipping away at the specs, features, and cost,” until the product is a hit.

Image Credit: Apple, Inc.

Why it’s important – I think Blum’s on to something here. Apple is positioning the Vision Pro as a productivity device more than as a new piece of hardware on which to play games. The Vision Pro is not there yet. At $3,500, it’s a long way from a mass-market consumer product. And it won’t even be released until 2024. Give it a few years. Remember Apple’s track record. Let’s not forget that the first version of the iPhone had no GPS, no front-facing selfie camera, and not even an app store. Let’s not forget how the naysayers went after the iPad – “who needs something that’s bigger than an iPhone but less functionality than a laptop? There’s no market,” the pundits cried – before directing their ill-fated ire on the Apple Watch. Apple now makes the world’s most popular smartwatch.

This Stanford professor developed a new form of chemistry. Now she’s deploying it against cancer

Fast Company’s Adam Bluestein interviews Carolyn Bertozzi, who says, “I had no idea people would have to pronounce this when I coined it—it’s a mouthful!” of the term she invented to describe the scientific breakthrough that won her the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (shared with Morten P. Meldal and Karl Barry Sharpless). “Bioorthogonal” chemistry refers to methods of performing chemical reactions inside living cells, animals, or people—rather than in beakers, flasks, and test tubes. “In the 1990s,” she explains, “we had all these ideas for ways you could study biology and make new medicines if you could design reactions where the chemicals totally ignore the biological system, but when they see each other, boom, they react. ‘Orthogonal’ means ‘no interaction,’ so ‘bioorthogonal’ means ‘no interaction with biology.’”

The technology can be used in medical imaging—attaching chemical markers to a tumor, for example, so that it’s visible in a scan. Or it can be used to append a chemical target to particular cells to help deliver a drug or radiation that becomes active only where it is needed. Bertozzi’s lab at Stanford currently uses bioorthogonal chemistry to study sugars that are produced on the surface of cells (a discipline called glycobiology) and show how they can shield cancer from the immune system.

Why it’s important – It’s an area of biology that’s been overlooked. But it is central to cancer and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, too. An experimental drug based on this research, which works “like a lawn mower” to cut the sugar “camouflage” off cancer cells, is in Phase 1 clinical trials and was developed by Palleon Pharmaceuticals, where Bertozzi is a co-founder. She hopes that “glyco-immunology” will improve outcomes for the majority of patients who don’t respond to current immunotherapies.

AI Could Find Best Meds for High Blood Pressure

A new artificial intelligence program may help doctors better match people with high blood pressure to the medication most likely to work for them. Boston University posted this research on Futurity online. The new data-driven model aims to give clinicians real-time hypertension treatment recommendations based on patient-specific characteristics, including demographics, vital signs, past medical history, and clinical test records. The model, described in a study published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, has the potential to help reduce systolic blood pressure—measured when the heart is beating rather than resting—more effectively than the current standard of care.

Why it’s important – For the nearly half of Americans with hypertension, it’s a potential death sentence—close to 700,000 deaths in 2021 were caused by high blood pressure, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also increases the risk of stroke and chronic heart failure. The new model generates a custom hypertension prescription using an individual patient’s profile, giving physicians a list of suggested medications with an associated probability of success. The researchers aimed to highlight the treatment that best controls systolic blood pressure for each patient based on its effectiveness in a group of similar patients. In the past, machine learning in health care has also been hampered by incomplete or inaccurate data, as well as sparse patient histories, which can skew prediction results. An essential aspect of this study was to ensure data was transparent and that clinicians—particularly those without technical expertise—clearly understood how the algorithm worked and how and why the model proposed specific therapeutic recommendations.

$400M Apple Face ID inventors create tiny robot to treat brain disease

Matthew Kalman in The Times of Israel reports that Bionaut Labs is testing its technology at a Mayo Clinic facility and is poised to begin clinical trials with five top-tier US medical centers as it applies for FDA approval. Bionaut is currently raising a Series B-1 funding round, as featured on the OurCrowd investment platform. The company’s Bionaut, a tiny micro-robot smaller than a grain of rice, is guided through a patient’s central nervous system into a targeted spot in the brain where it can perform minor surgery, deliver therapeutic drugs, or return with tissue for a biopsy.

YouTube Video Credit: France24 Broadcast Service

Why it’s important – Pharma giants are targeting a wide range of neuro-degenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, glioblastoma, and many more. Still, they all face the challenge of getting the drugs to the point where they are needed inside the brain. The Bionaut, guided by a physician using a powerful magnet, can release a payload of targeted therapy directly into a tumor or any other localized target– even deep inside the brain – and head for home. A Bionaut can carry a therapeutic payload and deliver it directly to the targeted area, which avoids flooding the entire central nervous system. Instead of drilling through several centimeters of brain tissue, the Bionaut can be guided through internal fluids to within millimeters of its target.

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