What You Should Know:
– AliveCor, a digital AI-based personal technology provider, and AstraZeneca, a global leader in the biopharmaceutical space, are working together to create more informed disease management solutions across cardiovascular, renal, and metabolism therapeutic areas.
– The collaboration will focus on the development of AliveCor’s potassium detection technology through their Kardia-K AI platform, to screen for elevated levels of blood potassium via electrocardiograms. AliveCor’s neural network was trained in collaboration with Mayo Clinic using more than 1.5 million ECGs and was validated on approximately 62,000 ECGs. The research was published in JAMA Cardiology in April 2019.
– The ultimate goal is to achieve better overall outcomes for patients, and that starts with the creation of a bloodless way to test for elevated levels of potassium and develop more informed treatments across the above therapeutic areas.
Why It Matters
For the nearly 30 million U.S. adults with chronic kidney disease, the one-day likelihood of a fatality is 3 to 13 times higher if potassium is elevated. The current standard practice for measuring potassium levels is a blood test, which is invasive, inconvenient, and poses safety risks for patients during the pandemic. A remote, easy-to-use potassium test could help track for increased potassium levels in those patients, as well as the 500,000 Americans with end stage kidney disease and on dialysis, where high potassium may contribute to up to 40% of fatalities.
“By collaborating across industries, AliveCor is leading the way in the development of non- invasive, more accessible medical solutions for patients and health organizations worldwide,” said Aman Bhatti, Head of BioPharma Partnerships at AliveCor. “Our collaboration with AstraZeneca exemplifies how pharmaceutical and digital health companies can work together to drive the future of medicine.”
What You Should Know:
– Mayo Clinic researchers are collaborating with TripleBlind on next generation algorithm sharing and training on encrypted data.
– TripleBlind’s solution functions as the innovative data
encryption conduit that keeps the data and intellectual property in the algorithm
today it is collaborating with Mayo Clinic researchers
who will use TripleBlind tools to validate interoperability
of encrypted algorithms
on encrypted data and the training of new algorithms on encrypted data. TripleBlind
has created a rapid, efficient and cost effective data privacy focused solution
based on breakthroughs in advanced mathematics, which will be used and
validated by the Mayo team. No Mayo data will be accessed by TripleBlind.
Why It Matters
Today, healthcare systems have to either transfer data or
algorithms outside their institution for experts to train or conduct research.
The encryption conduit being evaluated will eliminate the need for data
transfer or for sharing the algorithm, thus protecting intellectual property.
TripleBlind’s solution functions as the innovative data encryption conduit that
keeps the data and intellectual property in the algorithm secure.
The aim of this collaboration is also to demonstrate that
TripleBlind’s toolset can be applied to train entirely new algorithms from
independent entities anywhere in the world without the need to share raw data,
thus preserving privacy and security while meeting regulatory standards.
“Training novel algorithms on encrypted data sets and
facilitating trust between independent parties is critical to the future of AI
in medicine. By using advanced mathematical encryption technologies, we will
greatly enhance scientific collaboration between groups and allow for more
rapid development and scalable implementation of AI-driven tools to advance
healthcare,” said Suraj Kapa, M.D., a practicing cardiologist and director of
AI for knowledge management and delivery at Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Clinic and Dr. Kapa have financial interest in the
technology referenced in this release. Mayo Clinic will use any revenue it
receives to support its not-for-profit mission in patient care, education and
Some of the biggest legal stories of the year include patients attempting to mount a class action lawsuit against Mayo Clinic after an employee improperly viewed more than 1,600 health records and the Supreme Court hearing opening arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the ACA’s individual mandate.
What You Should Know:
– Change Healthcare launches national data resource on
social determinants of health (SDoH) for doctors, insurers and life sciences
organizations to better understand the connection between where a person lives
and how they live their life to the care a patient receives and their health
– 80% of U.S. health outcomes are tied to a patient’s
social and economic situation, ranging from food, housing, and transportation
insecurity to ethnicity.
Change Healthcare, today announced the launch of Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) Analytics solution that will serve as an innovative national data resource that connects the circumstances of people’s lives to the care they receive. The SDoH Analytics solution is designed for health systems, insurers, and life sciences organizations to explore how geodemographic factors affect patient outcomes.
Understanding Social Determinants of Health
SDoH includes factors such as socioeconomic status, education, demographics, employment, health behaviors, social support networks, and access to healthcare. Individuals who experience challenges in any of these areas can face significant risks to their overall health.
“All the work I do—for Mayo Clinic, the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition, and The Fight Is In Us— is predicated on equity,” said John Halamka, president, Mayo Clinic Platform. “The only way we can eliminate racism and disparities in care is to better understand the challenges. Creating a national data resource on the social determinants of health is an impactful first step.”
The SDoH Portrait Analysis includes financial attributes, education
attributes, housing attributes, ethnicity, and health behavior attributes.
3 Ways Healthcare Organizations Can Leverage SDoH
Healthcare organizations can now use SDoH Analytics to
assess, select, and implement effective programs to help reduce costs and
improve patient outcomes. Organizations can choose one of three ways to use
1. Receive customized reports identifying SDoH factors that
impact emergency room, inpatient, and outpatient visits across diverse
population health segments.
2. Append existing systems with SDoH data to close
information gaps and help optimize both patient engagement and outcomes.
3. Leverage a secure, hosted environment with ongoing
compliance monitoring for the development of unique data analytics, models, or
Why It Matters
Scientific research has shown that 80% of health outcomes
are SDoH-related. Barriers such as food and housing availability,
transportation insecurity, and education inequity must be addressed to reduce
health disparities and improve outcomes. Change Healthcare’s SDoH Analytics
links deidentified claims with factors such as financial stability, education
level, ethnicity, housing status, and household characteristics to reveal the
correlations between SDoH, clinical care, and patient outcomes. The resulting
dataset is de-identified in accordance with HIPAA privacy regulations.
“Health systems, insurers, and scientists can now use SDoH Analytics to make a direct connection between life’s circumstances and health outcomes,” said Tim Suther, senior vice president of Data Solutions at Change Healthcare. “This helps optimize healthcare utilization, member engagement, and employer wellness programs. Medical affairs and research are transformed. And most importantly, patient outcomes improve. SDoH Analytics makes these data-driven insights affordable and actionable.”
Fibromyalgia, one of the most common joint and muscle diseases, afflicting millions of Americans, is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, often accompanied by other symptoms, such as fatigue. The medical profession used to think it was all in people’s heads, “but today there is irrefutable evidence” that it is indeed a disorder of the body and not just the mind.
Back in 2003, an influential paper was published out of the Mayo Clinic in which a shocking 93 percent of fibromyalgia-type patients were found to be vitamin D deficient, so the researchers concluded that all such patients are at high risk of severe vitamin D deficiency. Wait a second, said the skeptics. There was no control group, and where’s the Mayo Clinic located? Minnesota. Maybe 90 percent of everyone in Minnesota is deficient in vitamin D.
When controlled studies were done, some did indeed find that those suffering from these kinds of pain syndromes were significantly more likely to be D deficient, but other studies did not find this. Even if all the studies did have the same findings, though, that doesn’t mean that low vitamin D levels cause fibromyalgia. Maybe chronic, widespread pain disorders like fibromyalgia cause low vitamin D. After all, it’s the sunshine vitamin, and perhaps fibromyalgia patients aren’t running around outside as much as healthy controls. To know if vitamin D is contributing to the disease, you have to put it to the test.
Various studies found that the majority of those with pain syndromes and low D levels appeared to benefit from vitamin D supplementation, and clinical improvement was evident in up to 90 percent of patients. But these studies weren’t controlled either. Maybe the subjects would have gotten better on their own without the supplements, or maybe it was the placebo effect. There are many examples in the medical literature of treatments that looked great in uncontrolled trials, like hyperbaric oxygen therapy for multiple sclerosis, but when put to the test in randomized controlled trials, they failed miserably.
And, that’s what seemed to happen in the first randomized controlled trial of vitamin D for a fibromyalgia-type syndrome in 2008. As you can see at 2:55 in my video The Best Supplement for Fibromyalgia, researchers saw no significant difference in pain scores, though the study only lasted three months, and, in that time, the treatment was only able to get the vitamin D blood levels up to about 30. Unfortunately, no controlled study had ever been done pushing levels any higher, until 2014. As you can see at 3:23 in my video, fibromyalgia patients were given up to 2400 units of vitamin D a day for 20 weeks and their D levels rose up to about 50. Then, once they stopped the vitamin D, their levels came back down to match the placebo. That was reflected in their pain scores: a significant drop in pain severity while they were on the D and then back to baseline when they came off of it. The researchers concluded “that this economical [in fact, over-the-counter] therapy with a low side effect profile may well be considered in patients with FMS [fibromyalgia syndrome].”
What changes in our diet may help combat fibromyalgia? See my videos Fibromyalgia vs. Vegetarian and Raw Vegan Diets and Fibromyalgia vs. Mostly Raw & Mostly Vegetarian Diets.
What else can vitamin D supplements do? Check out:
- Flashback Friday: Will You Live Longer if You Take Vitamin D Supplements & How Much Should You Take?
- Do Vitamin D Supplements Help with Diabetes, Weight Loss, and Blood Pressure
- Do Vitamin D Supplements Reduce the Risk of Dying from Cancer?
- Should Vitamin D Supplements Be Taken to Prevent Falls in the Elderly?
- Vegetarians and Stroke Risk Factors—Vitamin D?
- Vitamin D for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Vitamin D for Asthma
What’s the best way to get vitamin D? See:
- How Much Vitamin D Should You Take?
- The Optimal Dose of Vitamin D Based on Natural Levels
- The Best Way to Get Vitamin D: Sun, Supplements, or Salons?
- The Risks and Benefits of Sensible Sun Exposure
Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live presentations:
- 2019: Evidence-Based Weight Loss
- 2016: How Not To Die: The Role of Diet in Preventing, Arresting, and Reversing Our Top 15 Killers
- 2015: Food as Medicine: Preventing and Treating the Most Dreaded Diseases with Diet
- 2014: From Table to Able: Combating Disabling Diseases with Food
- 2013: More Than an Apple a Day
- 2012: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death
What You Should Know:
– Mayo Clinic announced a collaboration with Vocalis
Health to to research and develop new voice-based tools for screening, detecting
and monitoring patient health, beginning with a study to identify vocal
biomarkers to detect pulmonary hypertension (PH).
– The clinical validation study will utilize Vocalis
Health’s proprietary software, which can operate on any connected voice
platform (mobile, computer, tablet, etc.) to analyze patients’ health based on
– Following this initial phase, researchers will work to
identify vocal biomarkers targeting additional diseases, symptoms and
Mayo Clinic and Vocalis Health, Inc., a company
vocal biomarkers for use in healthcare, today announced a collaboration to
research and develop new voice-based tools for screening, detecting and
monitoring patient health. The collaboration will begin with a study to
identify vocal biomarkers for pulmonary hypertension (PH) which could help
physicians detect and treat PH in their patients.
Impact of Pulmonary Hypertension
Pulmonary hypertension is a severe condition causing high blood pressure in the lungs, but
as the symptoms are similar to other heart and lung conditions, it is often not
detected in routine physical exams. While traditional blood tests can sometimes
detect pulmonary hypertension, it frequently goes undiagnosed. This
strategic collaboration aims to provide an
alternative and highly scalable method to check patients for PH, using only a recording of the patient’s voice, to understand their health and the progression of the disease.
Study Establishes Relationship Between Certain Vocal Biomarkers
& Pulmonary Hypertension
In a previous trial with Vocalis Health, the Mayo research
team established a relationship between certain vocal characteristics and PH.
In this new collaboration, Mayo will conduct a prospective clinical validation
study to further develop PH vocal biomarkers. The clinical validation study
will utilize Vocalis Health’s proprietary software, which can operate on any
connected voice platform (mobile, computer, tablet, etc.) to analyze patients’
health based on voice recordings. Following this initial phase, researchers
will work to identify vocal biomarkers targeting additional diseases, symptoms
Vocalis Health Background
Vocalis Health is an AI healthtech company pioneering the
development of vocal biomarkers – where health-related information is derived
from analysis of people’s voice recordings – to screen, detect, monitor and
predict health symptoms, conditions and diseases. Vocalis Health is currently focused on
screening users for COVID-19 and on monitoring patients with chronic diseases
such as COPD.
“We have seen the clinical benefits of voice analysis for patient screening throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and this collaboration presents an opportunity for us to continue broadening our research, beginning with pulmonary hypertension,” said Tal Wenderow, CEO of Vocalis Health. “Voice analysis has the potential to help physicians make more informed decisions about their patients in a non-invasive, cost-effective manner. We believe this technology could have important clinical implications for telemedicine and remote patient monitoring in the very near future. We are excited to work with Mayo Clinic and have already started planning clinical trials for additional indications.”
What You Should Know:
– New Mayo Clinic study reveals strong correlations were found between keyword searches on the internet search engine Google Trends and COVID-19 outbreaks in parts of the U.S.
– The Mayo Clinic study searched for 10 keywords that
were chosen based on how commonly they were used and emerging patterns on the
internet and in Google News at that time.
Strong correlations were found between keyword searches on
the internet search engine Google Trends and COVID-19
outbreaks in parts of the U.S., according to a study published in Mayo Clinic
Proceedings. These correlations were observed up to 16 days prior to the
first reported cases in some states.
The Mayo Clinic study searched for 10 keywords that were
chosen based on how commonly they were used and emerging patterns on the
internet and in Google News at that time.
The keywords were:
– COVID symptoms
– Coronavirus symptoms
– Sore throat+shortness of breath+fatigue+cough
– Coronavirus testing center
– Loss of smell
– Face mask
– Coronavirus vaccine
– COVID stimulus check
study demonstrates that there is information present in Google Trends that
precedes outbreaks, and with predictive analysis, this data can be used for
better allocating resources with regards to testing, personal protective
equipment, medications and more,” says Mohamad Bydon, M.D., a
Mayo Clinic neurosurgeon and principal investigator at Mayo’s Neuro-Informatics Laboratory.
“The Neuro-Informatics team is focused on analytics for neural diseases and neuroscience. However, when the novel coronavirus emerged, my team and I directed resources toward better understanding and tracking the spread of the pandemic,” says Dr. Bydon, the study’s senior author. “Looking at Google Trends data, we found that we were able to identify predictors of hot spots, using keywords, that would emerge over a six-week timeline.”
What You Should Know:
– The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has granted next-generation
cardiac AI company Eko an award totaling $2.7 million to support continued
collaborative work with Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute
– The grant will focus on validating algorithms and help
more accurately screen for heart murmurs and valvular heart disease during
routine office visits with Northwestern Medicine.
– By incorporating data from tens of thousands of heart
patterns into Eko sensors and algorithms, clinicians will have
cardiologist-level precision in detecting subtle abnormalities from normal
Eko, a digital health company
building AI-powered screening
and telehealth solutions to
fight cardiovascular disease, today announced it has been awarded a $2.7
million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the National
Institutes of Health (NIH). The grant will fund the continued collaborative
work with Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute to validate
algorithms that help providers screen for pathologic heart murmurs and valvular
heart disease during routine office visits.
Eko and Northwestern first announced their collaboration in
March 2019 to provide a simpler, lower-cost way for clinicians to identify
patients with heart disease without the use of screening tools such as
echocardiograms which are typically only available at specialty clinics. By
incorporating data from tens of thousands of heart patterns into the
stethoscope and its algorithms, clinicians will have cardiologist-level
precision in detecting subtle abnormalities from normal sounds.
“Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., and valvular heart disease often goes undetected because of the challenge of hearing murmurs with traditional stethoscopes, particularly in noisy or busy environments. A highly accurate clinical decision support algorithm that is able to detect and classify valvular heart disease will help improve accuracy of diagnosis and the detection of potential cardiac abnormalities at the earliest possible time, allowing for timely intervention,” said James D. Thomas, MD, director of the Center for Heart Valve Disease at Northwestern Medicine and the clinical study’s principal investigator. “Our work with Eko aspires to extend the auscultatory expertise of cardiologists to more general practitioners to better serve our patient community, playing a pivotal role in growing the future of cardiovascular medicine.”
Recent FDA Clearance and Telehealth Platform Launch
This recognition comes on the heels of several key company
milestones, including the clearance
of Eko’s cardiac AI algorithms by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the
of Eko’s AI-powered telehealth
platform. Eko’s ECG-based deep learning algorithm, developed on a large
clinical dataset in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic, can help efficiently
identify signs of possible heart failure in patients.
Eko’s AI-Powered telehealth platform for virtual pulmonary and cardiac exams, providing clinicians within-person level exam capabilities during video visits. The platform is already deployed by more than 200 health systems for telehealth, the platform goes beyond standard video conferencing to facilitate stethoscope audio, ECG live-streaming, and FDA-cleared identification of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and heart murmurs.
What You Should Know:
– Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN performed the first-ever shoulder arthroplasty procedure using Wright Medical’s groundbreaking BLUPRINT Mixed Reality Technology, which provides surgeons a 3-D holographic view of the patient’s pre-operative plan.
– The Mixed Reality Application is the
latest addition to Wright’s BLUEPRINT ecosystem and enables a surgeon to
maintain a direct view of the surgical site and simultaneously visualize and
manipulate a holographic representation of the patient’s native anatomy and
Wright Medical Group N.V. (NASDAQ: WMGI) announced
that the first shoulder arthroplasty procedure was performed using
groundbreaking BLUEPRINT Mixed Reality Technology at
Mayo Clinic’s campus in Rochester, Minnesota. Joaquin Sanchez-Sotelo,
M.D., Ph.D, performed the procedure utilizing BLUEPRINT OR Visualization Mixed Reality software,
which provides a 3-D holographic view of the patient’s pre-operative
Mixed Reality Application Overview
The Mixed Reality Application is the latest
addition to Wright’s BLUEPRINT ecosystem and enables a surgeon to maintain a
direct view of the surgical site and simultaneously visualize and manipulate a
holographic representation of the patient’s native anatomy and pre-operative
plan. By using hand gestures and voice commands, the surgeon can interact with
a more robust data set to optimize the position of the 3-D holographic models
displayed by the Mixed Reality application. This can allow the
surgeon to replicate the pre-operative plan as closely as possible given the
availability of information while operating.
Why It Matters
“This procedure is an important milestone for shoulder arthroplasty and marks a major step in the evolution of BLUEPRINT mixed reality technology in shoulder surgery. For the first time in shoulder arthroplasty, surgeons will be able to interact with their 3-D pre-op plan in real-time to more precisely tailor shoulder joint replacement procedures to the unique needs and anatomy of their patients. By integrating other solutions in the future, such as artificial intelligence, case planning optimization and mixed reality modules for medical education, the BLUEPRINT ecosystem offers an opportunity to significantly reduce variability in the way shoulder arthroplasties are performed, potentially reducing complications and improving overall patient outcomes,” said Robert Palmisano, president, and chief executive officer of Wright .
Palmisano continued, “In addition to Dr. Sanchez-Sotelo, we
would like to recognize and thank the entire surgeon team who have been
integral to the development of this groundbreaking platform: George Athwal –
London, ON, CA; Julien Berhouet – Tours, FR; Philippe Collin – Rennes, FR;
Ashish Gupta – Brisbane, AU; Gilles Walch – Lyon, FR; and Jon J.P. Warner –
Dr. Sanchez-Sotelo, stated, “I was able to visualize,
rotate, and tilt three-dimensional holographic objects right in front of the
surgical field. As mixed reality continues to develop, it will
provide a very unique, cost-effective tool for execution of our surgical plan.”
Dr. Sanchez-Sotelo and Mayo Clinic have financial interest
in Wright Medical Group N.V. Mayo Clinic will use any revenue it receives
to support its not-for-profit mission in patient care, education and research.