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New Technology To Combat Drug Overdoses

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Much of the current opioid crisis is based on people not being fully aware of what they are consuming,” Mr. Gebeyehu says. “We have seen a large amount of heroin being sold that doesn’t contain any heroin at all. What has been sold to users as heroin has in fact been solely fentanyl or a mixture of some sort.”

BaySpec, this cutting-edge device has been set up in a supervised injection site at Ottawa’s Sandy Hill Community Health Centre through a research project between Carleton and the University of Ottawa. When clients come in to use the supervised facilities, they can offer up a trace sample of their drug, then sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the technician as it is scanned.

Clients then must decide what to do with this information, will they continue to inject and use, are they are going to leave the sample with researchers to have it destroyed by the Ottawa police service, or are they going to maybe change the supplier they get their drugs from?

U of Ottawa assistant professor Lynne Leonard is the project lead. She says the service has already met with excellent response. Research gathered from this project will allow them to evaluate if the service is changing people’s behavior. “If they know there is fentanyl in what they thought was heroin, or if the heroin turns out to be cocaine, is this information changing their behavior?” Clients say they will spread the word about this research.

 

 

Robots & Medical Doctor Training

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A robot, called HAL, has been made to look like a five-year-old male patient and offers unprecedented training options.

HAL not only looks like a boy, he behaves like one. He can track a finger with his eyes, answer questions, cry for his mother and experience anaphylactic shock. He can even breathe faster and/or urinate when scared. And he has also been built in a way that allows doctors and nurses in-training to perform a myriad of tests such as taking blood pressure, checking his pulse and monitoring breathing. Trainees can also use real medical equipment such as an EKG machine or a heart or blood pressure monitor—or tools such as a scalpel or breathing tubes—to perform realistic medical procedures.

Gaumard has a long history of producing medical training equipment. HAL is just one of several robots the company offers—others include a robot mother who gives birth and a baby who can experience a wide variety of newborn complications. With HAL, medical students are offered a new level of interaction with a robot patient before being exposed to real ones. Representatives with Gaumard told the press that they actually backed off making the robot look too human—leaving off freckles, for example, or real hair. They feared such a robot that could also bleed to death or experience cardiac arrest might be too emotionally traumatic for students just being introduced to emergency pediatric situations.

HAL can also be shocked with a real defibrillator or have his throat cut to allow for insertion of a tracheal tube. Trainees can also draw blood and insert urinary catheters or insert a chest tube to allow drainage of what looks like real blood. The makers of the robot have put in special parts at certain body sites to allow for replacement, such as patches of skin that are damaged by a scalpel or needle. And as students perform treatment, the robot can react, crying, for example, or saying “ouch” when pricked with a needle. He might also move, not only showing emotions, but mimicking the difficulty often found when treating a person in pain.

Trainers can also speak into a microphone and have their voice come out of the robot sounding like a five-year-old boy—and they can cause medical emergency conditions too, such as arrhythmia, or cardiac arrest, forcing students to react quickly.

 

 

 

MIT REsearcher Are Working On A Chip/Pill To Detect Illness

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Researchers at MIT have been working on a chip that could one day be offered to patients with suspected gastrointestinal bleeds instead of an endoscopy. The researchers have created a prototype of the chip that can be swallowed like a pill, sampling a patient’s gastrointestinal environment for signs of bleeding as it travels through their digestive system.

The chip doesn’t just rely on electronic components to do its work, however: it has an army of bacterial sentinels too. The chip has four wells filled with genetically-engineered bacteria that are designed to react to haem, a protein found in red blood cells. If the bacteria in the chip encounter any haem, they express a genetic circuit that causes them to bioluminesce — that is, if they see blood, the bacteria light up.

The researchers predict that it could take between five and 10 years before the pill could be used commercially. One of the key challenges that will need to be addressed is the size of the pill, which is currently around 3cm by 1cm. While it can be swallowed at that size, for people with damaged gastrointestinal tracts, there’s a risk that its dimensions could cause complications, so future work will look to shrink the device to more manageable levels. In future, the pill could also potentially be fuelled by a voltaic cell that generates energy from the acid environment of the stomach — a pH that’s so low it’s not found anywhere else in the body.

Robot That Can Blast Away Germs

Solaris Disinfection has had U.S. sales for its Lytbot robot that blasts away hospital germs using ultraviolet light says its Solaris Lytbot is the ideal weapon in the war against hospital-acquired infections such as C. difficile. The Lytbot cycles through a programmed pattern and fires pulsed UV light until it completes a 360-degree sweep of the room. The robot’s beams have a devastating effect on germ cells and bacteria spores through called “cellular disruption”.

On the other hand, Dr Kevin Katz of the North York General Hospital says most hospitals rely on products like bleach or activated hydrogen peroxide for infected surfaces.”I don’t think the evidence is there to use this technology to replace environmental cleaners in healthcare environments,” says Katz, who adds a recent Ontario health technology review of UV technology did not support the purchase of products like the Lytbot at this time.

What’s more, Katz is concerned cash-strapped hospitals would be tempted to use the robotic technology instead of old-fashioned human cleaners with mops and pails.

Adam Steinhoff, chief operating officer and co-founder of Solaris Disinfection, says he has had some success selling the Lytbot to U.S. hospitals, but Canadian health-care institutions have so far been hesitant and Lytbot isn’t meant to be a replacement for daily cleaning, but a supplemental method of disinfecting a room after traditional hand cleaning is done.

Number Of People Employed In The Cannabis Industry Triples 20 630,000

 

 

Image result for employment of people in cannabis industryThe number of people employed by the cannabis industry is set to triple from 200,000 to 630,000 people by the year 2025, according to New Frontier Data.

These workers are entry-level hires are experienced growers overseeing hundreds of plants. They’re chefs concocting pot-infused candies and pastries.

Marijuana proponents believe pot businesses can employ workers that are being laid off as the nation’s manufacturing and retail employment shrinks. Unions like the Teamsters see the marijuana industry as a promising source of new recruits.

President Donald J. Trump signaled his approval of the industry in April, marijuana employment seems poised for even more growth. While Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era policies protecting state-legal marijuana companies in January, earlier this month Trump assured a Colorado lawmaker that the federal government will respect state law on pot – easing fears of a federal crackdown. Jobs in the marijuana business comprises about half of all the U.S. California leads the nation in marijuana employment, with fellow western states that have also legalized adult-use of the drug – Colorado, Washington and Oregon –

Between 2017 and 2021, the reefer industry is expected to create almost 1 job for every 1,000 people in the U.S. That figure includes occupations like budtenders that work directly with marijuana, ancillary occupations like lawyers that are hired by cannabis companies and induced jobs like coffee shop baristas in a city experiencing weed-fueled economic growth. The potential for job creation is highest in Massachusetts, where more than 3 jobs per 1,000 people will be added during that period as a result of the reefer industry.

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Facebook Halts Top Secret Big Data Medical Project

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According to an article on the disabled veterans website, Facebook reportedly halted one of its “top secret” projects led by Dr. Freddy Abnousi, to correlate anonymized medical records with that of its user base using hashing to correlate the data with known identities of users.

Facebook, through a covert program run by a medical doctor, asked hospitals to share anonymized patient data in what could be classified as a Big Data workaround to evade HIPAA and HI-TECH legal issues that would arise when hospitals share raw data of its patients without a medically accepted purpose.

The “top secret” project headed by interventional cardiologist Freddy Abnousi. Dr. Abnousi was tasked with investigating whether Facebook information could “improve patient care, initially with a focus on cardiovascular health.” Over the past few months, Dr. Abnousi secretly asked Stanford Medical School, American College of Cardiology, and likely VA (yet to be confirmed if Palo Alto VA was solicited) to enter into a data sharing project.

The company specifically sought data about medical conditions and prescriptions. It then planned to correlate that data with patient data Facebook already has from users.

Even though the data from the medical centers would obscure personally identifiable information, ie patient’s name, Facebook planned to de-anonymize the data using “hashing,” a common computer science technique to match individuals with existing data sets. Facebook promised to only use the data for research conducted by the medical community (wink, wink).

After reports surfaced into Facebook’s mishandling of user data where 87 million users had their personalized data scraped by Cambridge Analytica, the project was shelved, at least that is what Facebook says.

In 2014, Facebook admitted it experimented with the newsfeed of 689,000 users to manipulate their emotions. The details of the experiment were published in an article entitled “Experimental Evidence Of Massive-Scale Emotional Contagion Through Social Networks” published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

 

Facebook Asked Top Hospitals For Patient Data

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  • Facebook had asked top hospitals to share anonymized patient data, including information on illnesses and prescriptions, CNBC reported.
  • The social media giant planned to use the data to help “several major U.S. hospitals,” which were not named, identify patients who may need care.
  • The effort never passed the planning phase, a Facebook spokesperson told the network, adding the company didn’t receive or analyze such data. Patient consent was not discussed in the early talks, according to the report.
  •  While Facebook’s patient data program may be put on ice for now, the company has a lot of data on individuals and could reboot the effort.

Meanwhile, healthcare companies, and particularly insurers, are pushing to move patients to lower levels of acuity settings, including urgent care and primary care clinics. More emphasis is being given to so-called social determinants of health, primarily access to food, care services and housing, as these factors are known to impact a person’s health.

As preventative care moves upstream and away from hospitals, technology companies see an opening into the $3 trillion healthcare market. Companies from Lyft to Uber and Apple have all announced healthcare platforms this year. Amazon, J.P. Morgan and Berkshire Hathaway also announced they formed a healthcare company in an effort to take greater control over costs and their employees’ health.

“For the first time, (digital) diagnosis of disease was the most-funded value proposition among digital health companies,” Rock Health found in its Q1 digital health funding report.  Digital health startups continue to both tackle the clinical aspects of care (diagnosis of disease, monitoring of disease) and reducing friction between patients and the healthcare system (health benefits administration, on-demand healthcare services).

Other companies such as Omada Health, Virta Health and Vida Health all specialize in accumulating patient data for specific chronic conditions, highlighting a rising of digital therapeutics brands and products.

Whether its a startup or a mature technology company, new entrants have their sights set on healthcare and many are betting on data..

 

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