Tag Archives: health

Alibaba Deploys Blockchain to Secure Health Data in Chinese First

Alibaba is partnering with Chinese authorities to launch the country’s first application of Blockchain technology in the medical sector.

Taking place in the city of Changzhou, Ali Health will work with local government to use Blockchain to secure data in a pioneering approach.

“Ali Health’s Blockchain technology connects information by using our current equipment and systems,” Zhang Zhihong, director at Zhenglu Town Health Center in Changzhou told local news resource Yicai Global.

“It is cost effective and safe. With Blockchain, health centers and district hospitals are interconnected so that the people can enjoy convenient medical services.”

Full details of the scheme are still forthcoming, but will involve creation of “a number of data security nets” and storage of data in ciphertext with “strict access controls and operational privileges.”


The move is just the latest state-sanctioned Blockchain experiment to get the green light in China, this week also seeing tax processes begin working with the technology.

Worldwide, an increasing number of countries have turned to Blockchain for medical record security, including Estonia and most recently India.

The latter this month announced a joint partnership with City University London to create a consortium to study how the technology can protect healthcare and Internet of Things infrastructure in the wake of the WannaCry cyberattacks.

When ransomware attackers struck in May, the UK’s National Health Service was paralyzed due to insufficient security and extensive use of legacy hardware and software.



Google plans to end world’s biggest killer which claims 1 MILLION lives per year

The bizarre move is actually a good thing according to scientists, with the infected sterile pests being used to fight diseases such as Zika, dengue and chikungunya – a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted to humans.

The mass pest release is part of the Debug Project – the biggest US study to set free mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia, a common reproductive parasite.

According to boffins, the idea is that the infected mosquitoes will try to mate with wild females, but the eggs laid will not hatch, leading to an overall decline in the mosquito population over time.

Researchers from Verily will team up with MosquitoMate – a private biotechnology company – and Fresno County’s mosquito control services, Consolidated Mosquito Abatement District (CMAD), to compare the adult population density and number of eggs hatched to measure any changes.

The automated mass mosquito rearing has seen scientists at Verily sorting them by sex, before using algorithms to control on-the-ground devices that will release and distribute the male mosquitoes evenly over two neighborhoods, each measuring around 300 acres in size.


The plan is to release one million mosquitoes each week over a 20-week period.

A similar, but smaller scale, programme was trialled by CMAD and MosquitoMate in 2016.

The new experiment alongside Verily involves 25 times more mosquitoes than the previous study.


One million mosquitoes will be released each week over a 20-week period

Aedes aegypti – or yellow fever mosquitoes – were first spotted in central California in 2013.

An invasive species originating in Africa, it has since spread to other tropical and subtropical regions.

This specific mosquito is an effective vector for carrying diseases like dengue fever, Zika and chikungunya, with these blood-borne viruses reproduced in the mosquito’s stomach, spreading with bites.

These mosquitoes are likely to bite several times before they are full, increasing the chances of the disease spreading.

Females of this species lay a cluster of up to 200 eggs near water, up to five times during its lifetime, making it easy for the population to increase rapidly.



Apple aims to get an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient

Apple has made great strides in health in the last few years and if it gets its way, there will be an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient.

It’s already started with a smattering of hospitals around the U.S. including Jacobs Medical Center at UC San Diego, MetroSouth Medical Center in Chicago and about a year ago at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, I went down to L.A. to take a tour of Cedars-Sinai‘s pilot program allowing patients direct access to their vitals, care team and educational tools through iPads.

Doctors are already adept at using mobile devices and many have been using iPads in their practices for a number of years now, but allowing patient’s access to their own information is still a novel idea in the medical world. Cedars has been somewhat ahead of the curve with the creation of its EHR software My CS-Link, which allows patients to look up their information online, including notes from their doctor.

However, without the iPad, doctors and nurses have to follow a paper trail and then write up duplicate information on a white board often found on the back wall in the patient’s room. Mistakes can happen and, as Cedars-Sinai doctor Shaun Miller told me, the staff often run out of room to write, leading to confusion or a lack of information for the patient.


Cedars uses Epic’s MyChart software to record vitals and other info on roughly 50 iPads in its heart failure unit where patients often have to stay for an extended period of time. One patient, 32-year-old Awad Lsallum, traveled all the way from Saudi Arabia in hopes of receiving a new heart. To be honest Lsallum did not seem that impressed with the device. He’d already been at Cedars for a total of 40 days and said he gave the iPad back after a while. But he did say it was “comforting” to have the iPad so he “knows what’s going on.”


The program also benefits the care team. Michelle Williams, a registered nurse at Cedars told TechCrunch the program made it easier for nurses. The nursing staff often get stuck with duplicate work requiring both educating patients on care and checking to see if they have all the necessary information. However, the program offers educational videos on the iPad and a handy way for patients to see all their information at the same time.

In another section of the hospital, new parents are utilizing unmodified iPads to FaceTime with their newborns who may be sick or premature. These babies need to be kept isolated from the outside world and the germs that come with it so new parents aren’t usually able to see their baby for a few days after they are born. But, with what the nurses refer to as BabyTime (FaceTime for babies), parents can interact virtually with their little one while they wait.


Apple aims to get an iPad in the hands of every hospital patient

The Real Problem With the Health Care Bill

With the American Health Care Act headed to the Senate — and possibly President Trump’s desk — it’s important to step back from the debate over the bill’s details and recognize two essential truths about American health care.

First, health care in the United States costs much more than in other developed countries, and on average the outcomes are worse. Second, any plan that focuses primarily on reducing the cost of insurance will inevitably lead to less access to care. Indeed, whatever Republicans say about high-risk pools and other ways their plan covers vulnerable people, the fact is that millions will lose coverage.

Health care in the United States is more expensive because, unlike the systems in other countries, ours rests on the idea that profits and quality health care go hand in hand. As a result, government programs working with our existing structure of for-profit insurance companies can expand and improve coverage (like the Affordable Care Act) or offer lower insurance premiums (like the new Republican plan). But they can’t do both.

Supporters of the A.C.A., also known as Obamacare, talked a good game about “bending the cost curve,” but that was never a primary concern. The goal, largely achieved, was to expand access and to mandate coverage for essential health benefits and pre-existing conditions.


In contrast, the thrust of the Republican bill is to lower the cost of insurance by removing the guarantees of the A.C.A. States would be able to exempt any of the essential health benefits from insurance mandates, and they would also be allowed to exclude patients with pre-existing conditions. Millions are likely to lose their health insurance, but the young and generally healthy would pay much lower premiums.

In short, the two plans are not different takes on the same problem. They are different takes on different problems.

And the two problems are not equal concerns. Yes, the price of insurance is an issue — though a properly designed plan will at least move most of those costs off individuals and small businesses and onto the government’s shoulders.


Supercharge healthcare with artificial intelligence

Pattern-recognition algorithms can transform horses into zebras; winter scenes can become summer; artificial intelligence algorithms can generate art; robot radiologists can analyze your X-rays with remarkable precision.

We have reached the point where pattern-recognition algorithms and artificial intelligence (A.I.) are more accurate than humans at the visual diagnosis and observation of X-rays, stained breast cancer slides and other medical signs involving general correlations between normal and abnormal health patterns.

Before we run off and fire all the doctors, let’s better understand the A.I. landscape and the technology’s broad capabilities. A.I. won’t replace doctors — it will help to empower them and extend their reach, improving patient outcomes.

An evolution of machine learning

The challenge with artificial intelligence is that no single and agreed-upon definition exists. Nils Nilsson defined A.I. as “activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.” But that definition isn’t close to describing how A.I. evolved.

Artificial intelligence began with the Turing Test, proposed in 1950 by Alan Turing, the scientist, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. Since then, rapid progress has been made over the last 75 years, advancing A.I. capabilities.

Isaac Asimov proposed the Three Laws of Robotics in 1950. The first A.I. program was coded in 1951. In 1959, MIT began research in the field of artificial intelligence. GM introduced the first robot into its production assembly line in 1961. The 1960s were transformative, with the first machine learning program written and the first demonstration of an A.I. program which understood natural language, and the first chatbot emerged. In the 1970s, the first autonomous vehicle was designed at the Stanford A.I. lab. Healthcare applications for A.I. were first introduced in 1974, along with an expert system for medical diagnostics. The LISP language emerged out of the 1980s, with natural networks integrating with autonomous vehicles. IBM’s famous Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov at chess in 1997. And by 1999, the world was experimenting with A.I.-based “domesticated” robots.

Innovation was further inspired in 2004 when DARPA hosted the first design competition for autonomous vehicles in the commercial sector. By 2005, big tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, were actively investing in commercial applications, and the first recommendation engines surfaced. The highlight of 2009 was Google’s first self-driving car, some three decades after the first autonomous vehicle was tested at Stanford.

The fascination of narrative science, for A.I. to write reports, was demonstrated in 2010, and IBM Watson was crowned a Jeopardy champion in 2011. Narrative science quickly evolved into personal assistants with the likes of Siri, Google, Now and Cortana. Elon Musk and others launched OpenAI, to discover and enact the path to safe artificial general intelligence in 2015 — to find a friendly A.I. In early 2016, Google’s DeepMind defeated legendary Go player Lee Se-dol in a historic victory.



Would you trust your life to an ‘autopilot’ robo-doctor?

I am in an aeroplane crossing the Atlantic Ocean as I write this. We took off from Heathrow Airport more than three hours ago. By now, it’s likely the plane’s captain and crew are not physically in control of the aircraft. Something as complex as flying a metal tube packed with more than 300 living souls at 12,000 meters and 900kph is left to a computer and a set of algorithms. The autopilot.

Such a device is badly needed in our hospital wards. Critical patients needing 24/7 intensive care could certainly benefit from data-based approaches that could leverage on state-of-the-art analytics and AI.

For instance, a wise intensive care unit (ICU) nurse once told me: “Don’t get sick, but if you do get sick, don’t do it at night.” Data suggests evenings and weekends are not a good time to fall ill due to an increase of the patient’s risk of death. If our healthcare professionals had their capabilities augmented like the pilot in charge of my plane (who is able to rest now, so he can be 100 per cent focused during the approach and landing), we could not only get sick anytime without an increased risk of dying, we would also improve patient outcomes and decrease overall costs for the healthcare system. Just consider the upcoming shortage of medical professionals in the NHS and in the US, and the fact that medical errors are already the third-highest cause of death in the US (after heart disease and cancer) with 251,000 deaths in 2013.

Many healthcare organisations are working on potential AI applications. Research groups such as the Stanford Vision Lab are devoting efforts to the general use of AI in healthcare, and startups such as Etiometry in Boston and Better Care in Barcelona are focusing on critical care hospital units. Etiometry’s goal is to develop a predictive analytics platform to improve the quality of care in the ICU. Better Care is focusing on a software platform to capture biomedical data around the ICU patient – incorporating medical knowledge and algorithms. This is also an area of focus for companies such as Google, IBM and Qualcomm.

In the ICU, data from a patient is extensive and complex. But AI deals well with complexity. Based on a patient’s data, an AI platform could ensure the most basic mission of the ICU team (“keep the patient alive”): provide descriptive analytics for “what is going on”, predictive analytics for “what’s going to happen” and prescriptive analytics for “what shall you do”.

The first layer with descriptive analytics would help them understand “what is going on” with a specific patient within the context of thousands of other patients with that same condition. Crunching all that data in real time is an example of a skill set that is not yet available to human beings. The second layer would allow them to allocate resources according to “what’s going to happen” and the progressing complications of patients who are fighting for their lives. Finally, as the presence of AI in the ICU becomes the norm, the availability (and quality) of data would allow for the use of prescriptive analytics as a complement to trial and error that is still predominant when managing critical patients.

Of course, hospitals are not ready for this yet. Just consider that, in 2016, most world-leading hospitals still had no internet access in their operating rooms. Furthermore, doctors have historically been reluctant and conservative when it comes to the introduction of new technologies. To some extent, technology companies have also made the mistake of suggesting that AI will replace doctors – and no trade group likes to feel threatened. We cannot expect healthcare professionals to be free from error. It has been their creative thinking and diligent care that has driven our healthcare systems to greater heights. It has also been their human problem-solving that has allowed us to develop novel medical technologies, contributing to increased life expectancy.

The first step should be in complementing our doctors, not replacing them. Just imagine an ICU room with three screens reporting 20 essential parameters in real time – both invasive and non-invasive monitoring – along with data coming in from the labs, imaging tests and the discrete measurements and clinical observations made by healthcare professionals. The potential in this scenario is not just to mimic the doctors, but to perform tasks that no doctor can manage. If we are able to develop systems that enhance their capabilities and allow them to provide their patients better care, we will be in a win-win situation for healthcare professionals, patients and taxpayers.



Why Former Tech Execs Are Leaving Google And Twitter To Start Health Care Companies

When Stephanie Tilenius, a former senior executive at eBay and Google, decided to start a health-coaching app, many in her network were incredulous. “Everyone thought I was crazy,” she recalls. “Some people loved that I wanted to do something to help others, but a lot socially ostracized me.”


For many entrepreneurs, the health sector offers an enticing opportunity–with strings attached. It’s an estimated $3 trillion market and is still dominated by a cadre of traditional players. But many in the technology sector have shied away from the industry after witnessing many high-profile failures and realizing that change doesn’t happen quickly. “Silicon Valley operators and investors see that health care needs better technology,” explains veteran health IT consultant Ben Rooks. “But they learn quickly that health care isn’t about radical disruption; it’s about slow evolution.”

Despite the challenges, a small but growing group of former technologists from companies like Google and Twitter are in it for the long haul. In many cases, their motivations are deeply personal: A family member lost to chronic disease, or a brush with the broken health care system. I spoke to four former tech executives about their reasons for moving into health care, the cultural differences between the two sectors, and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

“Because patients deserve better than a seven-minute visit.”–Stephanie Tilenius, former VP of commerce and payments at Google and former GM and VP at eBay and PayPal

Stephanie Tilenius started her career at e-commerce companies like eBay and PayPal, and eventually ascended the ranks to become a senior vice president at Google. But prior to joining eBay in 2001, she spent a few years at an online drugstore called PlanetRx. That early experience in health care had a lasting impact on Tilenius. When her father got sick, she felt an even stronger pull to quit her steady tech job to make an impact in the sector. “My father had multiple chronic conditions and went from doctor to doctor,” she recalls.

These days, she is the CEO of a startup called Vida, which provides virtual care for patients with chronic ailments. Before starting the company, Tilenius reflected on her father’s need for “continuous care,” which would involve all of his care providers communicating with him and each other between office visits. Tilenius believes his heart attack could have been avoided, or at least delayed, if he had received better care than a “seven-minute visit, in which all his doctors would all just tell him to change his diet.”

Unlike many of her peers in health tech, she made a point of working closely with medical centers that were already developing clinically validated programs for treating patients with chronic disease like diabetes, depression, and hypertension. She started Vida to make these programs more accessible by shifting some of the components online, and connecting patients with virtual health coaches to inspire long-term behavioral changes.

At first, many friends and acquaintances in her network couldn’t understand why she’d leave a successful career in tech to start a health company that would likely grow and monetize at a slow pace. “People didn’t understand why I would leave a senior role and money on the table,” she says. “In Silicon Valley, it’s about hypergrowth, and if you’re not doing that, then there’s something wrong.” Likewise, many in health care were skeptical about technologists moving into their own complex sector. Tilenius believes that she’ll ultimately show her detractors on both sides that new platforms will emerge in health care, starting with mobile and cloud, and that companies like Vida will be at the forefront. Ultimately, she asks, “Don’t you want us crazy Googlers to help people by building companies and taking risks?”


“It’s a quest for purpose.”–Katie Jacobs Stanton, former VP of global media for Twitter, and Othman Laraki, former VP of product management at Twitter and former product manager at Google

For Othman Laraki, the CEO of Color Genomics, the migration of technologists to health care is inevitable as the so-called “internet generation” ages and their priorities change. Laraki’s company offers a $249 test to screen people for gene mutations associated with various cancers. Laraki says he left a job in product management, in part because he learned that he is a carrier of one of these mutations. He also found through his research that those with an early awareness of their disease risks can take proactive and preventative steps. “Color started with a simple question,” he recalls. “Is this test something that could benefit my family as well as other families out there?”



iPads In Every Hospital: Apple’s Plan To Crack The $3 Trillion Health Care Sector

Garry James, 60, is perched on the edge of his hospital bed, temporarily unhooked from monitors that track his vital signs. It’s his third week waiting for a heart transplant, a nerve-wracking process that can stretch out months or even years, but he greets me with a wide smile.


“I’m an Android guy,” says James, while clutching the iPad that Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles gave him when he was admitted into the hospital. Unlike some of the more senior patients on the ward, he got up to speed with the technology in no time. “My son, who is 10, knew exactly what to do,” James says. These days, James uses the iPad to message his nurses, order magazines, make notes, browse medication side effects, reserve lodging for his family when they visit from Las Vegas, and review his medical record.

The device has helped him feel more in control of his own care. “I want to have an intelligent conversation with my doctor,” James says. “Just enough to be guided on the right path.”

An iPad might not seem revolutionary in the internet age, but it’s actually a big step forward for patients to have digital health information at their fingertips. Many doctors, like Cedars Sinai’s Shaun Miller, remember a time even five years ago, when many processes were still paper-based and medical information sat in silos. It took a $35 billion investment from the federal government back in 2009 with the HITECH Act to kick-start the process to digitize health data. Even today, many patients still receive their health data on a USB stick or CD-ROM, making the shift to mobile at some hospitals truly cutting-edge.

A major reason that hospitals across the United States have been notoriously slow to adopt mobile and consumer technologies relative to other sectors, like finance and retail, is that many are still tied to on-premises enterprise software. “Health care has been the last bastion for (apps with) design principles, mobility, and a clean, compelling consumer experience to infiltrate,” says Sterling Lanier, CEO of Tonic Health, an app that collects medical data. It has also been a challenge to get doctors and other health professionals on the same page. As the associate chief medical officer, it’s Miller’s job to help convince doctors to change their processes. It’s only recently that the majority of fellow physicians have fully adapted to the shift away from clipboards, fax machines, and pagers. “A lot of it has been resistance to change,” Miller tells me. Changing the way their work is done “can feel scary” to some medical professionals, Miller says.

Meanwhile, patients seem to have adapted quickly to the changes, as many already use mobile devices in their daily lives. James pulls up a page with all of his prescriptions, and clicks on each to review possible side effects. If he has any concerns, he can send a direct message to a specific person on his specific care team and get a response in minutes, rather than pressing a button for any on-call nurse to show up. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” he says.


For Apple, the $3 trillion health care sector offers a lot of potential for growth for its iPad. The company is likely to restate its commitment to the tablet device as early as next week, with the rumored announcement of the 9.7-Inch “iPad Pro 2.” From an enterprise sales perspective–a priority for the iPhone maker in the wake of recent partnerships with Cisco and IBM–large hospitals and health systems that shift to iOS tend to buy devices in bulk. “We now have hundreds of iPads for patients to use,” says Miller, who uses a compliant iPhone app called Voalte to text with other providers. “As we expand to more wards, it’ll be thousands.”

iPhones and iPads have been used by some hospitals for more than five years, but it’s only recently that the company went public about its interest in health care. “Leading hospitals and health systems are using Apple products to transform all aspects of health care inside the hospital and beyond,” says an Apple spokesperson, emphasizing the “privacy and security of iOS” as a key factor for its growing popularity among hospitals for remote patient monitoring and in-patient care.


For Apple, health care is one of the largest sectors it is tackling as part of its enterprise efforts. It isn’t alone. Rival phone makers Samsung and Alphabet also see huge potential to bring mobile technologies to patients and clinicians. “There’s still some transitions that have to take place in the industry,” explains Ben Bajarin, a technology analyst with Creative Strategies, who has been tracking Apple’s move into health care. Some of these challenges include the lack of reimbursement from insurance companies for new technologies that are shown to improve patient outcomes and cultural resistance among some doctors.


Apple’s interest in health care was also initially surprising to many outside observers, given the complexities and regulatory constraints that many tech companies shy away from. “Health is a sensitive area, and it’s not consumer-oriented,” says Bajarin, who suggests that it wasn’t an obvious target for Apple. “You don’t just have to pass the Federal Communications Commission,” he says. “You have to go through a lot of regulatory protocols,” including the FDA. But Bajarin says the move was a long time coming: The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs realized how “broken and bad” many health care processes were, such as the poor user experience, after he got sick with cancer.

After consulting with dozens of experts and building a team, Apple opted to “look at themselves as a platform,” Bajarin adds. Rather than making its own apps for hospitals, the company is working with top developers who are already building apps for health–as it does in other industries–by taking feedback from experts, like developers and hospital executives, and connecting them to its developer relations team to answer ongoing questions from top app makers.

In response to conversations with industry experts, Apple introduced a slew of software services–CareKit, ResearchKit, and HealthKit–that are all designed to make it easier for mobile developers and consumers to pull together disparate health information such as steps, sleep, and heart rate in one place. HealthKit, which was introduced first, is designed to make it easier for developers to gather health data–with the user’s consent. ResearchKit, already in use by developers at major academic hospitals and universities like Mount Sinai, Stanford Children’s Hospital, and Harvard University, helps researchers recruit participants for their studies on mobile. CareKit is geared at helping patients with chronic conditions share data with their care team.



Google’s DeepMind plans bitcoin-style health record tracking for hospitals

Google’s AI-powered health tech subsidiary, DeepMind Health, is planning to use a new technology loosely based on bitcoin to let hospitals, the NHS and eventually even patients track what happens to personal data in real-time.

Dubbed “Verifiable Data Audit”, the plan is to create a special digital ledger that automatically records every interaction with patient data in a cryptographically verifiable manner. This means any changes to, or access of, the data would be visible.

DeepMind has been working in partnership with London’s Royal Free Hospital to develop kidney monitoring software called Streams and has faced criticism from patient groups for what they claim are overly broad data sharing agreements. Critics fear that the data sharing has the potential to give DeepMind, and thus Google, too much power over the NHS.

In a blogpost, DeepMind co-founder, Mustafa Suleyman, and head of security and transparency, Ben Laurie, use an example relating to the Royal Free Hospital partnership to explain how the system will work. “[An] entry will record the fact that a particular piece of data has been used, and also the reason why, for example, that blood test data was checked against the NHS national algorithm to detect possible acute kidney injury,” they write.

Suleyman says that development on the data audit proposal began long before the launch of Streams, when Laurie, the co-creator of the widely-used Apache server software, was hired by DeepMind. “This project has been brewing since before we started DeepMind Health,” he told the Guardian, “but it does add another layer of transparency.

“Our mission is absolutely central, and a core part of that is figuring out how we can do a better job of building trust. Transparency and better control of data is what will build trust in the long term.” Suleyman pointed to a number of efforts DeepMind has already undertaken in an attempt to build that trust, from its founding membership of the industry group Partnership on AI to its creation of a board of independent reviewers for DeepMind Health, but argued the technical methods being proposed by the firm provide the “other half” of the equation.


Nicola Perrin, the head of the Wellcome Trust’s “Understanding Patient Data” taskforce, welcomed the verifiable data audit concept. “There are a lot of calls for a robust audit trail to be able to track exactly what happens to personal data, and particularly to be able to check how data is used once it leaves a hospital or NHS Digital. DeepMind are suggesting using technology to help deliver that audit trail, in a way that should be much more secure than anything we have seen before.”

Perrin said the approach could help address DeepMind’s challenge of winning over the public. “One of the main criticisms about DeepMind’s collaboration with the Royal Free was the difficulty of distinguishing between uses of data for care and for research. This type of approach could help address that challenge, and suggests they are trying to respond to the concerns.

“Technological solutions won’t be the only answer, but I think will form an important part of developing trustworthy systems that give people more confidence about how data is used.”

The systems at work are loosely related to the cryptocurrency bitcoin, and the blockchain technology that underpins it. DeepMind says: “Like blockchain, the ledger will be append-only, so once a record of data use is added, it can’t later be erased. And like blockchain, the ledger will make it possible for third parties to verify that nobody has tampered with any of the entries.”

Laurie downplays the similarities. “I can’t stop people from calling it blockchain related,” he said, but he described blockchains in general as “incredibly wasteful” in the way they go about ensuring data integrity: the technology involves blockchain participants burning astronomical amounts of energy – by some estimates as much as the nation of Cyprus – in an effort to ensure that a decentralised ledger can’t be monopolised by any one group.

DeepMind argues that health data, unlike a cryptocurrency, doesn’t need to be decentralised – Laurie says at most it needs to be “federated” between a small group of healthcare providers and data processors – so the wasteful elements of blockchain technology need not be imported over. Instead, the data audit system uses a mathematical function called a Merkle tree, which allows the entire history of the data to be represented by a relatively small record, yet one which instantly shows any attempt to rewrite history.



Virtual Reality Is Revolutionizing Health Care

It has already changed. Moreover, healthcare is one of the “hottest” industries, where virtual reality is rapidly hitting its stride.


Let’s see a few examples:


Relief of the sensation of pain


Here, our “doctor” prescribes picking up the app, where you can hide in the huts made of snow or other materials. The environment places the patients in a condition where one simply gets pleasure from sightseeing. This method effectively helps to calm down and distract the patients from quite unpleasant burning sensations throughout the body. Currently, specialized healthcare applications are in development and widely used to distract from painful procedures effectively, owing to which it is possible to do them without anesthesia.


One such healthcare application is a video game, SnowWorld, from the University of Washington. Despite the fact that all this is still in the process of development, the many clinical trials have shown very encouraging results.


Virtual reality and exposure therapy


Professor Albert Rizzo, who is the director of VR in the medical field and who works at the Institute for Creative Technologies, uses virtual reality exposure therapy, particularly with soldiers who are experiencing post-traumatic stress syndrome. The essence of the therapy lies in patient’s immersion in simulation, where he controls a hammer, and suddenly a homemade device explodes in a particular place.


The method is an exceptional opportunity for the soldiers, especially those who survived war, to talk about it. This therapy is a peculiar stimulation of the imagination, where the patient is trying to work on the trauma or any other problems by a particular provocative method.


Virtual reality as a tool to conquer phobias


The above-mentioned exposure therapy is very useful for the standard treatment for phobias. The patient, under the supervision of a psychologist, meets something that causes fear. For example, a man has a fear of public speaking. Virtual reality technologies help cope with them by “acting” in the front of a virtual audience.


Frequently observed spider phobia is also worth paying attention to. One of the first prominent healthcare applications to treat spider phobia is Spider World.


Virtual robotic surgery


Robotic surgery has become a popular virtual technology. The semantics of the term seems to be a bit intricate, yet the process of fulfilling the operation is the following: A robotic device performs the operation but is controlled by a human surgeon. It is a simple, sublime interaction, which decreases time, and reduces the risk of complications.


Virtual reality has also found its application in educational purposes and in the area of Remote Telesurgery, where the operation is carried out in a separate place for the patient. The main idea of this particular system becomes revealed in a force feedback, where a surgeon can evaluate the amount of pressure to use when performing delicate action procedures.



Virtual reality aids medical trauma training

Dr. Arishi Abdulaziz put on a headset, moved his hands slightly and immersed himself into a virtual world.


But this was no video game. Abdulaziz was “standing” in a trauma bay at OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, amid a medical team treating a car crash victim.

He watched the team cut off the patient’s black T-shirt and shorts. He heard a doctor ask the patient questions. Meanwhile, a medical technician scanned the man’s abdomen and chest with an ultrasound probe.

Abdulaziz turned to the right and left to assess staff members and watch monitors. He turned around to review an ultrasound screen.

Eventually, he removed the gear and got his bearings. He was back in a small office at Grant.

“It’s a great experience,” Abdulaziz said. “It is as if you are in trauma, really. Like 100 percent, you are in trauma.”

The virtual-reality experience is new for residents training in trauma care at the Downtown hospital. On Monday, Abdulaziz, a resident from the University of Toledo Medical Center, joined Dr. Jesse Nichols, a resident from the Adena Regional Medical Center in Chillicothe, in testing out the experience.

Nichols donned headgear and suddenly was among members of a trauma team helping out a woman injured in a fall.

“I felt like I needed to reach out and help the patient,” he said, upon removing the headgear. “You’re right there.”

The virtual-reality scenarios — there are three — were filmed in July by a team from Ohio University that hung or mounted three softball-size camera and microphone units in the emergency department to capture 360-degree experiences, said Eric Williams, co-creator of the new Immersive Media Initiative at the Athens school. Patients consented to be in the videos.

After filming, the OU team pieced together video, then added a sphere of sound before adapting it all to work with HTC virtual-reality headgear and software.

The footage will be used to help residents on their first day of trauma-surgery and critical-care training at Grant, said Dr. Thanh Nguyen, a trauma-services physician.

The goal is to familiarize residents with the sights and sounds of trauma bays and the different roles played by doctors, medics, nurses and technicians who attend to patients.

Nguyen foresees a vast library of scenarios.

“The goal eventually is to have hundreds of patients to teach different scenarios, like, ‘This is what a gunshot victim looks like.’ ‘This is what a stabbing looks like.’ ‘This is what a car accident looks like,'” Nguyen said.

Nguyen said he also hopes that future scenarios include patients who move from trauma bay to operating room to the intensive-care unit. Other goals include creating a smartphone app and to expand training programs to cater to nurses and more experienced doctors.

Williams said that the project is part of Ohio University’s Immersive Media Initiative, which started last year with a $1 million university innovation challenge grant. The school wants to expand virtual and augmented reality across various university disciplines and in the community.

“The main thrust of the Immersive Media Initiative is to use virtual reality as an educational platform for graduate and undergraduate students,” said Williams, also an associate professor in the School of Media Arts & Studies. “Students not only learn technology in the classroom, but they’re able to then go out and work on real-world projects.”


As Nichols and Abdulaziz experienced the virtual trauma bay, they saw things from the view of the physician doing an assessment at the patient’s bedside. The program’s software also allows for views from the foot of the gurney and from the side of the room.

“This is really the first step,” Williams said. “This technology is so new that the next steps are only limited by our imagination.”



Alkaline Diet: Benefits, Foods to Eat and Avoid

One of the more popular diets running around the public consciousness as of late is the alkaline diet or alkaline ash diet. You see a lot of websites and programs dedicated to the alkaline diet.

At its basic level, the alkaline diet is supposed to balance out the pH levels in the body’s blood and urine. But what are the alkaline diet benefits? What are alkaline foods? If you are curious about the alkaline diet plan, we’ve got the basics for you.

We cover the health benefits, alkaline ash diet foods, and everything you need to know if you’re considering this popular diet.

How Does the Alkaline Diet Benefit Your Health?

The first thing to know when researching an alkaline diet is that it may work, just not for the reasons that many sites and books tell you it will. The entire focus of the diet is to eat foods that balance the pH levels in your blood and urine.

The fact is that our body has a number of built-in systems to regulate the pH in blood because if it were to change due to outside forces such as food, you would probably die. One such system of our body that helps regulate pH is releasing or exhaling carbon dioxide.

That being said, the diet may be able to entirely change the pH levels in your urine, but testing urine is not a very good way to test your body’s overall pH levels.

All things considered, the benefits of an alkaline diet are not in balancing pH but in the diet itself. The alkaline diet promotes healthy eating. The diet promotes eating a lot of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.

It’s also a diet that’s low in meat, gluten, and dairy. All of this has many positive health benefits.

The alkaline diet is a decent diet for weight loss. Consuming large amounts of fruits and vegetables will add a great deal of fiber to your diet, which is helpful for weight loss because it helps the body feel full for a longer time period.

Fruits and veggies are also beneficial because they are naturally low in calories and saturated fat. Combine this with regular exercise, and you’ve got a pretty winning combination.

Diets filled with fruits and vegetables also tend to be good for overall health as the fiber that can be found within has been shown to benefit heart health. The antioxidants in fruits and vegetables also are believed to fight free radicals, which could make them effective as prevention methods for various cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

While the alkaline diet may not work the way it is advertised, it definitely does have a number of health benefits that you may want to consider. At the very least, it is a fairly well-balanced diet for weight loss if you combine it with exercise.

If the alkaline diet sounds like it may be for you and your health goals, the next step is to figure out the different types of food you can and cannot eat while on an alkaline diet and which foods you can eat in moderation. We’ve already done a little work to help you out.




In an age where millions of people are flocking to the internet and seminars to discover the latest about health because they feel doctors may not be up to date, The Medical Medium stands out as a popular go to for many.


With a radio show on Hay House, Anthony William draws from his astounding connection to a ‘high-level’ spirit, as he calls it, and shares incredible health information to many. In his book Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally HealAnthony talks about the unknown reasons behind some of the many popular illnesses that plague people today. He also provides great insight into how one can treat and heal their bodies back to a healthy state – something that is rather refreshing in this day and age.

Written by Anthony William, Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal 

Do you suffer from chronic health problems and have yet to find the answers you seek? If you feel that you have been searching for answers for far too long, you are not alone.

You may already be doing everything you can think of to keep yourself healthy. You stick to your organic diet. You get as much exercise as you can tolerate. You meditate. You take your daily supplements. You take time for yourself. As far as you can tell, you’re doing everything right, and yet, your symptoms persist. Fatigue. Migraine headaches. Joint pain. Brain fog. Sluggishness. Inflammation. Constipation and other digestive disturbances. Susceptibility to infections. Nervousness and anxiety. Insomnia. Poor memory. Yeast and bacterial overgrowth. Skin eruptions. Attentional deficits. Mood dysregulation.

Sadly, these types of symptoms are becoming more and more commonplace. If you suffer from any one of these on a regular basis, odds are you have been to countless health professionals, scoured the internet, and read everything you can get your hands on, awaiting relief that never comes, or lasts only a short while. You may even have been told that it’s “all in your head,” that it’s “hormonal,” or “it’s just stress.” Yet as your symptoms continue, you keep asking yourself “What have I missed? Why does my body still feel this way?”

In this modern era, we are bombarded by toxins of every kind imaginable. Our bodies are subjected to an onslaught of dangerous chemicals on a daily basis from things like air pollution, plastics, and industrial cleaning agents, not to mention the thousands of new chemicals introduced into our environment every year.

Toxins also saturate our water reservoirs, fall down from the sky, and hide out in our homes and workplaces. This has become an unfortunate reality of modern life. However, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, there’s a good chance that a particular class of toxins are to blame. They are known as toxic heavy metals. Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being. While heavy metal toxicity is quite common, it is not commonly diagnosed. This is because heavy metal toxicity is an elusive adversary. It stays well-hidden within our bodies, never revealing itself unless you are actively looking for it.

“Heavy metal toxicity—from metals such as mercury, aluminum, copper, cadmium, nickel, arsenic, and lead—represents one of the greatest threats to our health and well-being.”

Toxic heavy metals are virtually everywhere, and are present in things we come in contact with every day, such as aluminum cans and aluminum foil, batteries, metal cookware, old paint, and even the foods we eat. For instance, pesticides and herbicides (which are hard to completely avoid even on a strict organic diet), are a common source of heavy metals. As a result, most of us are carrying around heavy metals that have been with us for almost our whole lives and which have burrowed deep inside our tissues. Unfortunately, it is these “old” metals, the ones that have been lurking in our system for prolonged periods of time, that pose the greatest threat.

For example, over time toxic heavy metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promoting inflammation. They literally poison our bodies, and can inflict damage on virtually every system and organ, including our brain, liver, digestive system, and other parts of our nervous system. Toxic heavy metals put an immense burden on our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to a variety of illnesses.


While toxins of every kind are harmful, heavy metals pose a unique threat. Not only are they damaging in their own right, they are also a form of neurotoxin (a poison that disrupts nerve function and confuses your immune system). Heavy metal neurotoxins can inflame and irritate our central nervous system (especially our brain), causing multiple symptoms such as memory loss, brain fog, fatigue, and depression. Toxic heavy metals can also promote inflammation in the digestive tract, releasing poisons into our gut as well. As if this isn’t bad enough, heavy metals also serve as a source of food for viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other pathogens in our body.

For example, heavy metals can serve as a feeding ground for Streptococcus A or B, E. coli, C. difficile, H. pylori, and yeast cells. This can create an overgrowth of multiple bacteria in our gut, resulting in a condition known as SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), which is characterized by bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation (or both), and can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Additionally, when viruses such as Epstein-Barr and shingles feed off toxic heavy metals, this can produce symptoms such as tingling, numbness, fatigue, anxiety, heart palpitations, ringing in the ears, dizziness and vertigo, as well as neck pain, knee pain, foot pain, pain in the back of the head, and a variety of other aches and pains that are often attributed to other causes.

“Over time toxic heavy metals can oxidize, causing damage to surrounding tissue and promoting inflammation.”

When pathogens such as Epstein-Barr, shingles, and many others feed on heavy metals, they transform the metals into an especially aggressive form of neurotoxin. This secondary neurotoxin is the by-product and waste of these pathogens, and has the ability to travel throughout the body and wreak even greater havoc on the central nervous system. This phenomenon can throw medical communities off track, leading to incorrect diagnoses such as Lyme disease, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other autoimmune disorders, because blood tests start to lose their accuracy when the bloodstream becomes full of neurotoxic by-product and pathogen waste. These neurotoxins can even cross the blood-brain barrier, where they short circuit our neurotransmitters (the chemicals our brain cells use to communicate with each other). In turn, this can trigger depression and other mood disorders, memory loss, and a variety of other cognitive impairments.

It is therefore no surprise that heavy metals play a prominent role in our current epidemics of “mystery illnesses” and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Despite all of this, heavy metal toxicity remains a relatively unexplored (and untreated) phenomenon—for everything we know about the dangers of heavy metals, there is a great deal more that has yet to be discovered. Heavy metals just may be the premier “hidden antagonizer” and mystery illness trigger in so many of us, contributing to all of the aforementioned symptoms—and more.


While all toxic heavy metals wreak havoc on the body, mercury is an especially insidious beast, responsible for untold suffering throughout human history. Once touted as a cure-all for every disease imaginable, we now know the exact opposite is true. Mercury toxicity can be responsible for countless disorders and symptoms, including anxiety, ADHD, OCD, autism, bipolar disorder, neurological disorders, epilepsy, tingling, numbness, tics, twitches, spasms, hot flashes, heart palpitations, hair loss, brittle nails, weakness, memory loss, confusion, insomnia, loss of libido, fatigue, migraines, endocrine disorders, and depression. In fact, mercury poisoning is at the core of depression for a large percentage of people who suffer from it.

Historically, before its toxic effects were known (and acknowledged), mercury was believed to be a fountain of youth and a source of eternal wisdom. In ancient Chinese medicine, mercury was so revered that countless emperors died from mercury elixirs that healers vowed would end all their problems. Mercury elixirs (known as “quicksilver”) were also popular in the Western world. In the 1800s, medical students in the U.S. and England were taught to give a glass of mercury water to any patient who was ill, regardless of age, gender, or symptoms. Even after the medical community abandoned the practice of dispensing this misguided remedy, opportunities for mercury exposure were (and are) still plentiful: Industries were dumping mercury into rivers, lakes, and other waterways, and dentists were using mercury amalgam fillings (and some still are).

In the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, hat production relied on a mercury-based solution designed to expedite the felting process, putting hat-makers at extreme risk. In fact, the average hat-maker had about three to five years to live after starting work at a factory before madness and death set in. This is where the term “mad as a hatter” comes from: almost all mental illness of the time was from mercury poisoning (and the terrible irony is that for a long time the “treatment” for mental illness was—you guessed it—mercury!). And it wasn’t just hat-makers who suffered; anyone of that era who wore a felt hat got an infusion of mercury every time their brow sweated!

“Mercury poisoning is at the core of depression for a large percentage of people who suffer from it.”




Hemp truly is a miracle plant. Aside from being an amazing, sustainable fibre for clothing and building material, the seeds can also provide the body with some amazing health benefits.


1. Hemp Contains Cannabidiol

While hemp barely contains THC — the chemical that gets people high — it does share many of the other plant compounds, most notably cannabidiol.  Also known as CBD, this cannabinoid has been shown to have many health giving properties. CBD is found in the flowers, stalks, and leaves, but not the seeds of the hemp plant.

There have been some high profile cases of children with rare forms of epilepsy who, after taking cannabidiol made from hemp, have reduced their seizures from hundreds a week to almost zero. In the UK it has recently been reclassified as medicine and is under review by the Medical Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA), while in the United States its legality varies state by state.

2. Hemp Contains Powerful Antioxidants

January is the month of the detox diet. We’ve overindulged on sugar, are oozing alcohol from our very pores, and feel like a walking chemical disaster zone. So while it’s the perfect time to hit the raw juices and cut out chocolate for a few days, there’s actually a toxic battle being waged 365 days of the year that hemp can help us keep in order.

Our cells, just by breathing and consuming energy, create toxic waste called free radicals, as does exposure to chemicals, pollutants, and emotional stress. Free radicals are molecules that are missing an electron and, not content by their incomplete status, steal electrons from other proteins in the body, causing what’s known as oxidative stress. Left unchecked, this can damage our DNA, cause the body to perform poorly, and lead to the onset of age related diseases.

To counteract the damage by free radicals, the body produces antioxidants, which can also be found in most fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

Turns out the hemp plant is packed full of antioxidants, with studies showing our old friend cannabidiol to be a powerful source, even more so than vitamin C and E. The plant also contains other free radical fighters such as flavonoids.   

3. Hemp Is Anti-Inflammatory

Inflammation is a healthy biological process that forms part of our immune response to injury or infection. But it’s when that targeted inflammation turns into something more chronic that the problems can start. Indeed, long term, systemic inflammation is viewed as a precursor to a host of illnesses such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

But the hemp plant can be a natural, drug-free way to reduce inflammation in the body. The main player in the piece once more is cannabidiol (CBD), with studies showing it to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the signalling proteins made by immune cells that are overproduced in patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.  

Scientists have also noted that CBD activates the Vanilloid receptor (TRPV-1), known to mediate pain perception, inflammation, and body temperature.

4. Hemp Helps Calm Your Mind and Protects the Brain

One of the reasons many people take CBD extracted from hemp is because they find it helps them with feelings of anxiety. This isn’t because they’re stoned — CBD doesn’t activate the same receptors in the brain as its psychoactive cousin, THC — but it is a partial agonist of the serotonin receptor 5HT1-A, interacting just enough to bring about an anti-anxiety effect.

Studies also suggest CBD’s ability to promote hippocampal neurogenesis (the part of the brain responsible for memory, emotion, and the autonomic nervous system) could explain why anxiety is reduced.

But it’s not just hemp’s anti-anxiety benefits that are a boost to our brains. CBD has even been declared a neuroprotectant by the U.S. government, and studies show the cannabinoid may slow the onset of Alzheimer’s by reducing neuroinflammation.

5. Hemp May Improve Heart Health

Studies show a diet rich in the essential fatty acid Omega 3 can lower the risk of heart attacks, reduces cholesterol, and is both anti-thrombotic (prevents blood clots) and anti-atherosclerotic (prevents the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries).

Most studies on heart health talk of Omega 3 source from fish oil, but if you are vegetarian or concerned about polluted fish stocks, hemp seeds could provide a plant based alternative.

6. Hemp Can Help Balance Your Endocannabinoid System

Okay, so you may be saying to yourself at this point, “I didn’t even know I had an endocannabinoid system, let alone that it might need balancing.”

You’re not alone. The endocannabinoid system was discovered in the 1990s and is basically a vast network of receptors and cannabis-like chemicals (endocannabinoids) in the body. Its purpose is to modulate functions such as sleep, appetite, mood, pain, and reproduction. Sometimes this system can get out of balance, with scientists believing this to be a contributing factor behind many illnesses.

CBD, while not interacting directly with the endocannabinoid receptors, does increase the levels of the feel good endocannabinoid Anandamide in the body, which scientists believe is just one strategy to strengthen a depleted endocannabinoid system.

7. Hemp Helps Get Your Hormones in Balance

If you’re a woman, you’ve probably experienced hormonal imbalances such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) at some point in your life. One contributing factor is thought to be elevated levels of the hormone prolactin.

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in hemp seeds, produces prostaglandin E1, which studies show reduces the hormone disrupting effects of prolactin. In a study of women with PMS, taking one gram of essential fatty acids (including 210 mg of GLA) per day resulted in a significant reduction in symptoms.

8. Hemp Oil Is Good for Your Skin

Whether you’ve got problem skin conditions such as acne or eczema or you just want to prevent premature aging, the hemp plant can give your skin a boost from the inside and out.

Remember what we said previously about antioxidants? Our skin is bombarded on a daily basis by free radicals and toxins, so if our beauty basic is something that is both moisturizing and provides an antioxidant shield, it might just be the ultimate anti-ageing double whammy.

CBD is currently being touted as the ultimate, supercharged ingredient for problem skin due to its anti-inflammatory nature and anti-seborrheic effects — which basically means it prevents the overproduction of sebum in the skin commonly associated with conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, and acne.  

So, there we have it. All hail the mighty hemp!

Who knew that it was such a health hero of a plant? It can literally work its magic from our heads to our toes, and from inside our cells through to the biggest organ of our body, the skin.

Whether using it as superfood supplement in the form of cold pressed hemp seed oil or taking hemp extract CBD oil to keep our health issues at bay, it is most certainly an ancient answer to many of our modern day woes.   

Hemp — be humble no more. Join us with pride in a healthy 2017.



5 Gym Mistakes That Will Prevent You From Losing Weight

YOU’RE WORKING HARD at the gym, gutting out another routine, but you’re not seeing any progress. Wonder why? You might be making some mistakes.


But mistakes can be corrected, and that’s why we’ve put together this list of reasons why you may not be losing weight, even though you’re working up a big sweat:

1) Always Doing the Same Workout

“People often fall into the trap of hitting the treadmill for 30 minutes every time they work out,” says Rachel Cosgrove, owner of Results Fitness in Santa Clarita, Calif. “It works at first, but then your body starts to adjust to the routine, and you burn fewer calories.” To keep seeing results, change one workout factor like intensity or duration every trip to the gym, then completely switch your activity every three to four weeks.

2) Distractions

If you can watch some TV during your workout, you’re already not working hard enough. Instead of relaxing while you run, try some interval training. After a five- to six-minute warm-up on a cardio machine, work as hard as you can for one minute, then reduce the intensity for two minutes. Alternate back and forth for five rounds, making sure to increase the number of intervals you do each workout.


3) Holding the Treadmill Handlebars

When your arms take your body weightoff your legs, you burn fewer calories. “If you have to hold on or lean, go slower,” says Cosgrove. Supporting yourself without assistance gives you a better core workout as well. And don’t ratchet up the incline too high—you’re just wasting time if you’re holding on for dear life.

4) Not Using the Incline on the Treadmill

Look, you’re probably better off going for a run around the block or your local park, but if that’s not an option, then make sure you’re at least using some incline on the treadmill, which will better simulate the effects of going for a run outside and increase the demand on your glutes and hamstrings. About 1%–2% is a good benchmark for running outside, depending on your treadmill.

5) Overfueling

You don’t need to sip sports drinks all afternoon, then eat an energy bar at the gym, and then follow that up with a post-workout shake. Instead, limit yourself to about 300 calories right before your sweat session—the same number you burn in an average 30-minute workout. Any more and you’re not going to get thinner.

Practioners Enjoy Serenity Of Paddleboard Yoga

Artificial intelligence set to transform the patient experience

ORLANDO – From Watson to Siri, Alexa to Cortana, consumers and patients have become much more familiar with artificial intelligence and natural language processing in recent years. Pick your terminology: machine learning, cognitive computing, neural networks/deep learning. All are becoming more commonplace – in our smartphones, in our kitchens – and as they continue to evolve at a rapid pace, expectations are high for how they’ll impact healthcare.

Skepticism is, too. And even fear.

As it sparks equal part doubt and hope (and not a little hype) from patients, physicians and technologists, a panel of IT experts at HIMSS17 discussed the future of AI in healthcare on Sunday afternoon.

Kenneth Kleinberg, managing director at The Advisory Board Company, spoke with execs from two medical AI startups: Cory Kidd, CEO of Catalia Health, and Jay Parkinson, MD, founder and CMO of Sherpaa.

Catalia developed a small robot, the Mabu Personal Healthcare Companion, aimed at assisting with “long-term patient engagement.” It’s able to have tailored conversations with patients that can evolve over time as the platform – developed using principles of behavioral psychology – gains daily data about treatment plans, health challenges and outcomes.

Sherpaa is billed as an “on-demand doctor practice” that connects subscribers with physicians, via its app, who can make diagnoses, order lab tests and imaging and prescribe medications at locations near the patient. “Seventy percent of time, the doctors have a diagnosis,” said Parkinson. “Most cases can be solved virtually.” Rather than just a virtual care, platform, it enables “care coordination with local clinicians in the community,” he said.

In this fast-changing environment, there are many questions to ask: “We’re starting to see these AI systems appear in other parts of our lives,” said Kleinberg. “How valuable are they? How capable are they? What kind of authority will these systems attain?”

And also: “What does it mean to be a physician and patient in this new age?”

Kidd said he’s a “big believer – when it’s used right.”

Parkinson agreed: “It has to be targeted to be successful.”

Another important question: For all the hype and enthusiasm about AI, “where on the inflection curve are we?” asked Kleinberg. “Is it going to take off and get a lot better? And does it offer more benefits at the patient engagement level? Or as an assistant to clinicians?”

For Kidd, it’s clearly the former, as Catalia’s technology deploys AI to help patients manage their own chronic conditions.

“The kinds of algorithms we’re developing, we’re building up psychological models of patients with every encounter,” he explained. “We start with two types of psychologies: The psychology of relationships – how people develop relationships over time – as well as the psychology of  behavior change: How do we chose the right technique to use with this person right now?”

The platform also gets “smarter” as it become more attuned to “what we call our biographical model, which is kind of a catch-all for everything else we learn in conversation,” he said. “This man has a couple cats, this woman’s son calls her every Sunday afternoon, whatever it might be that we’ll use later in conversations.”

Consumer applications driving clinical innovations
AI is fast advancing in healthcare in large part because it’s evolving so quickly in the consumer space. Take Apple’s Siri, for instance: “The more you talk to it, the better it makes our product,” said Kidd. “Literally. We’re licensing the same voice recognition and voice outlet technology thats running on your iPhone right now.”

For his part, Parkinson sees problems with simply adding AI technology onto the doctor-patient relationship as it currently exists. Most healthcare encounters involve “an oral conversation between doctor and patient,” he said, where “retention is 15 percent or less.”

For AI to truly be an effective augmentation of clinical practices, that conversation “needs to be less oral and more text-driven,” he said. “I’m worried about layering AI on a broken delivery process.”

But machine learning is starting to change the came in areas large and small throughout healthcare. Kleinberg pointed to the area of imaging recognition. IBM, for instance, made headlines when it acquired Merge Healthcare for $1 billion in 2015, allowing Watson to “see” medical images – the largest data source in healthcare.

Then there are the various iPhone apps that say they can help diagnose skin cancer with photos users take of their own moles. Kleinberg said he mentioned the apps to a dermatologist friend of his.

“I want to quote him very carefully: He said, ‘Naaaaahhhhhh.'”

But Parkinson took a different view: “About 25 percent of our cases have photos attached,” he said. “Right now, if it’s a weird mole we’re sending people out to see a dermatologist. But I would totally love to replace that (doctor) with a robot. And I don’t think that’s too far off.”

In the near term, however, “you would be amazed at the image quality that people taking photographs think are good photographs,” he said. “So there’s a lot of education for the patient about how to take a picture.”

The patient’s view
If artificial intelligence is having promising if controversial impact so far on the clinical side, one of the most important aspects of this evolution also still has some questions to answer. Most notably: What do the patient think?

One one hand, Kleinberg pointed to AI pilots where patients paired with humanoid robots “felt a sense of loss” after the test ended. “One woman followed the robot out and waved goodbye to it.”

On the other, “some people are horrified that we would be letting machines play a part in a role that should be played by humans,” he said.

The big question, then: “Do we have place now for society and a system such as this?” he asked.

“The first time I put something like this in a patient’s home was 10 years ago now,” said Kidd.  “We’ve seen, with the various versions of AI and robots, that people can develop an attachment to them. At the same time, typical conversation is two or three minutes. It’s not like people spend all day talking with these.”

It’s essential, he argued, to be up front with patients about just what the technology can and should do.

“How you introduce this, and how you couch the terminology around this technology and what it can and can’t do is actually very important in making it effective for patients,” said Kidd. “We don’t try to convince anyone that this is a doctor or a nurse. As long as we set up the relationship in the right way so people understand how it works and what it can do, it can be very effective.

“There is this cultural conception that AI and robotics can be scary,” he conceded. “But what I’ve seen, putting this in front of patients is that this is a tool that can do something and be very effective, and people like it a lot.”



Kasani’s Cafe’: Simple Recipes for Healthy Living

Cookbooks have been around for well a long time now, dating back to time immemorial. The earliest cookbooks started from lists of recipes, currently known as haute cuisine, and were for recording author’s favorite dishes. Others were for the training of professional cooks for noble families, which made them short of content as peasant food, bread and vegetable dishes that were considered too simple for a recipe.

When it comes to Mediterranean foods, just know you are getting yourself into one of the healthiest diets in the world. A 2015 release of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines proposed this diet, besides its recommendation by several researchers too, with Ancel Keys, Ph. D being the first one to promote this diet after Second World War. According to a study by Keys and his colleagues, people in areas such as the Mediterranean where this eating style was popular had higher cardiovascular health than those in the US. Twenty awesome recipes are included in this book. Surrounding the Caribbean and Mediterranean Diet.

Table of Contents

Things You Probably Didn’t Know about Cookbooks
The Mediterranean Example; Grains, Veggies and Fish Diet
Mediterranean Chicken Stew with Cinnamon Couscous
Grilled Shrimp served with Garlic-Cilantro Sauce
Easy Seafood Paella Recipe
Jamaican Fried Snapper Recipe
Jamaican Steamed Fish Recipe
Baguette Recipe
Classic Potato Salad Recipe
Mexican Rice Recipe
Spaghetti Pasta Carbonara Recipe
Greek Potatoes Recipe
Simple Baked Chicken Drumstick Recipe
Chicken Cacciatore Recipe
Table Of Contents Continued:

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Recipe
Cajun Jambalaya Recipe
Lemon Cream Pasta with Chicken Recipe
Sea Bass Cuban Style Recipe
Skinny Turkey-Vegetable Soup Recipe
Vegetable Lasagna Recipe
Cilantro Lime Shrimp Recipe
Greek Sorghum Bowl with Artichokes and Olives

Adidas Wilson on Amazon