"A document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant's collaboration with the UK's National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced. The document -- a data-sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust -- gives the clearest picture yet of what the company is doing and what sensitive data it now has access to. The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals.

It includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, such as records of the location and status of patients – as well as who visits them and when. The hospitals will also share the results of certain pathology and radiology tests.

As well as receiving this continuous stream of new data, DeepMind has access to the historical data that the Royal Free trust submits to the Secondary User Service (SUS) database – the NHS’s centralised record of all hospital treatments in the UK. This includes data from critical care and accident and emergency departments.

Google says it has no commercial plans for DeepMind’s work with Royal Free and that the current pilots are being done for free. But the data to which Royal Free is giving DeepMind access is hugely valuable. It may have to destroy its copy of the data when the agreement expires next year, but that gives ample time to mine it for health insights."

Source: https://www.newscientist.com/article/20864...
IBM is creating a computing system, called a neural network and powered by the company’s TrueNorth chip, that can study the brain wave patterns that indicate a seizure. The company hopes that such a system could someday be built into mobile devices which can warn, and possibly even prevent, epileptic seizures.

Tech companies like Google and Facebook already are using neural networks to perform computing tasks like image and voice recognition, but they run them via the cloud and on large machine-learning data centers. In contrast, IBM’s postage stamp-sized TrueNorth chip consumes over 1,000 times less power than a conventional processor of similar size, making it ideal to run on existing mobile devices. Moreover, it’s built using a new architecture patterned after neurons of the human brain, making it more efficient.

The advanced machine intelligence software in the chip has myriad uses potentially, but researcher Stefan Harrer and his team at IBM Research Australia are focusing on how the chip can support a neural network that is capable of predicting seizures, based on what it learns from actual EEG readings from epilepsy patients, reports Wired.

”We’re trying to extract all the meaningful information from all the background noise. We want to be able to detect a specific seizure for a specific patient,” Harrer told the online magazine.

He and his team plan to use the chip with an external computer, and eventually a wearable device, that will work in tandem with a brain implant. The implant would send EEG information to the TrueNorth device, which would then use the data to predict the possibility of an epileptic seizure, and warn the patient beforehand, according to Digital Trends.

”We want to do this on a wearable system that you put on a subject — on a patient — and have it do analysis in real-time, 24/7. That’s the only way this technology will have an impact beyond cool research papers,” Harrer told Wired.

Later, such a device could be sophisticated enough to be capable not only of detecting an impending seizure attack, but ultimately preventing it by sending electrical impulses.

Existing device-based therapies to treat epileptic seizures also rely on electric stimulation.

FDA approved in 2013, the RNS Stimulator is implanted under the scalp and delivers electrical impulses to normalize brain activity. The device has been shown to decrease the frequency of seizures in epileptic patients. Companies such as Medtronic, St. Jude, NeuroPace, and others, are developing and marketing neurostimulators that address neurological disorders.

Meanwhile, other researchers are exploring other technologies to treat these disorders. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) study is looking at how biodegradable silk brain implants can prevent seizures, while researchers at the University of California Irvine are testing how optogenetic lasers targeted at specific areas of the brain can inhibit seizure activity.

The BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative is a public/private collaboration with the goal of devising technologies that will advance our understanding of the brain, including the development of intelligent devices to track and treat abnormal brain activity in people with epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, autism, and other neurological disorders.
— http://www.meddeviceonline.com/doc/ibm-aims-to-make-brain-implant-to-predict-stop-seizures-0001

Source: http://www.meddeviceonline.com/doc/ibm-aims-to-make-brain-implant-to-predict-stop-seizures-0001 

5. The pros and cons of human-implanted RFID chips
The supporters of human-implanted RFID chips believe that such chips will allow the governments to locate fugitives, witnesses of crimes, and missing persons. The authorities of Indonesia’s province Irian Jaya even discussed the use of implanted RFID chips for the monitoring of persons infected with HIV. Such a monitoring will allow the authorities to act in case that some of the monitored people conducts activities that may lead to infection of other people. Probably because the existing human-implanted RFID chips do not allow GPS tracking, the authorities of Irian Jaya did not adopt legal provisions concerning the use of RFID chips. However, in the future GPS implants can be created. The appearance of such implants may renew the discussions concerning tracking of HIV-infected people.
The opponents of human-implanted RFID chips argue that such chips are associated with security risks, cause health problems, contradict to religious doctrines, and may be forcefully implemented in employees. The security risks of such devices have been already discussed in this article. In relation to health problems, the aforementioned paragraph from a document of FDA clearly indicates the risks for the health caused by RFID chips. Moreover, the opponents state that the use of human-implanted RFID chips may lead to cancer. These allegations are based on scientific studies carried out from 1996 to 2006. The studies found that lab mice and rats injected with microchips sometimes developed cancerous tumors around the microchips.
In relation to the religious doctrines, many Christians believe that the implantation of chips may be fulfillment of the prophecy of the mark of the beast mentioned in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament. The Book of Revelation states that the devil will force “all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name.” It is also worth mentioning that, according to the Islam, body modifications constitute “haram,” an Arabic term meaning “forbidden.” This is because such modifications involve changing the body, a creation of Allah.
Pertaining to the forceful implantation of RFID chips, it should be pointed out that, in June 2004, a former attorney general in Mexico required eighteen employees to implement chips allowing them to access a sensitive records room. In order to prevent employers from requiring their employees to implement RFID chips, several U.S. States adopted laws prohibiting forced microchip implants in humans. These states include Wisconsin, North Dakota, California, Georgia, and Virginia.

More here

"But the future, Gasson says, is going to focus on implantable technology for healthy people. Part of the reason is that we continually look for ways to make our lives easier. The question is whether we’re willing accept both the unintended and unknown consequences that come with giving up partial control of our bodies to technology."

More here

More

 CBS2 has learned that prescription medications as we know them may soon be a thing in the past.

As CBS2’s Kristine Johnson reported, they could be replaced with tiny, implantable microchips that can treat, and potentially cure, dozens of chronic diseases with “high-tech healing.”

“The chip will cure some diseases, and the chip will prevent others,” said Dr. Kevin Tracey of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research on Long Island.

The chip is implanted in the body, where it sends little electrical currents telling the nervous system to tell the body to heal itself.

“The diseases that can be treated by this approach is a lengthy list — cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s,” Tracey said.

The chip is Tracey’s brainchild. He is a neurosurgeon with the institute, and his efforts have launched a new field in healthcare–known as bioelectronics.

“The promise of bioelectronic medicine  is to restore the activity of nerves whose function, for whatever reason — disease or aging — are not functioning properly,” he said.

Tracey said the technology is extremely precise, and there are no side effects. He compares it to how a pacemaker controls the nerves of the heart, except these new devices  will control the nerves of the immune system.

“Potentially nerves to tumors, to cancer cells; nerves to the bowel and bladder,” Tracey said.

Clinical trials for multiple chips are currently underway, and positive results have already been reported in treating conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and even appetite control.

“I figured, what did I have to lose?” said Virginia Valles, who participated in a clinical trial.

Virginia Valles was one of the first to test a bioelectronic device  for weight loss. Since starting the trial four years ago, she has lost nearly 100 pounds.

“You get this feeling of fullness. It’s like you just ate a nice, big meal,” said Dr. Ken Fujikoa, a weight-loss researcher at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.

Instead of disappearing, drug makers such as Glaxo Smith Kline are looking ahead and funding research in this next frontier.

“Every single disease that we have looked at, we have found we could make medicines bioelectronically,” said Dr. Moncef Slaoui of Glaxo Smith Kline.

Bioelectronic devices are controlled by a smartphone or tablet that is programmed and monitored by the patient’s doctor.

Transient

"Today, when doctors suspect that a patient has a cardiac arrhythmia that could lead to a heart attack, they can implant a tiny cardiac monitor smaller than a AAA battery in the patient's chest, directly over the heart. The company that makes that monitor, Medtronic, thinks the day will come when perfectly healthy people will be clamoring to have that gear inside them as well. 

At a Medical Design & Manufacturing conference today, Medtronic program director Mark Phelps described his company's successful efforts to miniaturize its cardiac technologies. In February, the company began a clinical trial of its pill-sized pacemaker, which is implanted inside the heart. While Phelps presented that tiny pacemaker as a remarkable feat of engineering, he saved his real excitement for the tiny Linq cardiac monitor, which went on sale this year. Phelps declared that the device heralded "the beginning of a new industry" in diagnostic and monitoring implants.  

Phelps argued that such an implant could be enhanced with more sensors to give people reams of biometric information, which would improve their healthcare throughout their lives. Young healthy people could use the sensors to track heart rate and calories burned, the kind of information that quantified selfers get today from wearable gadgets like the Fitbit. Later, the sensors would help with disease management, as they could be programmed to monitor particular organs or systems. Finally, they could enable independent living for the elderly by allowing doctors to keep watch over their patients remotely. "I would argue that it will eventually be seen as negligent not to have these sensors," Phelps said. "It's like driving without any gauges of your feedback systems." 

The data generated by these implants would be provided to both the patient and the physician, Phelps said, and would allow both to see how lifestyle changes affect the patient's health over time, or how his or her body reacts to certain pharmaceuticals. This Big Data approach could enable a shift from reactive, symptom-based medicine to a preventative care model. 

Such a medical system would be intrusive in two senses, Phelps admitted: Not only would doctors be physically cutting into a patient's body, they would also be exposing a great deal of the patient's biometric data. Yet Phelps believes that people will embrace the sensor-enabled lifestyle. "You'll get so used to having that feedback and information, you won't be able to imagine life without it," he said. "

 

 

 

Read more here

 Image: OBJ

Image: OBJ

"...What do you get when you mix Google Glass and EEG? That’s the question that the people at Ottawa-based Personal Neuro are on their way to answering. Given the buzz around how Google Glass can be used in healthcare, and our longstanding interest in brain-computer interface, we took the opportunity to speak with Personal Neuro’s CEO, Steve Denison, about his company and what they’re building."

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Image: Scanadu

"...The app guides the user through interacting with the Scanadu Scout by placing it over the forehead to take a composite, multi-parameter biometric signature that pulls in several vital signs in seconds: diastolic and systolic blood pressure, body temperature (core temperature is coming in a couple of weeks), SPO2 (blood oxygenation), and heart rate.  There will be weekly improvements for adding new experiences to your device such as respiratory rate and HRV (Heart Rate Variability); until you have every single electrical signal in your body... prepare for the Body Electric!"

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"...Short Interview with Cathie Reid - #glassexplorer - More about Cathie - https://plus.google.com/u/0/117806724842643433035/about "

I've invited Cathie to come to Canberra, Australia and connect with the public at the INSPIRE Centre, University of Canberra as part of the 2014 #glassmeetups . These blended face-to-face and online events provide an opportunity for discussions as to what other areas of the medical, healthcare, aged care industries might have in development or even in conceptual proof of concept such as the depiction below.

"A Florida adult-care facility is going ahead with plans to implant identity chips into patients with Alzheimer's disease who are in its care, despite protests that it is a form of branding.
Alzheimer's Community Care in West Palm Beach will implant a radio frequency identification chip into Alzheimer's patients with the consent of their families or the patients themselves if they are deemed competent.
The chip, which is slightly larger than a grain of rice, is implanted under the skin of the right forearm. Each chip will contain a unique 16-digit number that, when scanned in an emergency room, will link to the patient's medical records.
Mary Barnes, the president and CEO of Alzheimer's Community Care, said the RFID chips, manufactured by VeriChip Corp., provided the best means of giving medical personnel access to a patient's medical history, since people with Alzheimer's often cannot relay that information themselves.
"Our patients are the most fragile and vulnerable of any population," Barnes said.
While the RFID implants have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, VeriChip is testing the effectiveness of the chips in a real-world situation to see if Alzheimer's patients with the chip receive "quicker and better treatment" than those without, said VeriChip CEO Scott Silverman.
Safety and Consent Questions
Opponents of the chip program say it raises serious ethical considerations.
"This whole medical trial … really raises some pretty important issues about informed consent," said Katherine Albrecht, the founder of the advocacy group Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering.
Albrecht is concerned that Alzheimer's patients are being enrolled in what she considers a potentially risky study without their consent."

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Here is a paper connecting technotherapeutics to uberveillance. It is titled: "Treatment adherence redefined: a critical analysis of technotherapeutics" and appears in Nurs Inq. 2013 Mar;20(1):60-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1800.2012.00595.x. Epub 2012 Mar 2. It is written by Gagnon M, Jacob JD, Guta A.

Full article here.

Excerpt below:

"In an era where health-care is more technologically dominated than ever before, we argue that there is a need to critically examine the production of what we call technotherapeutics and their potential use within clinical settings. Furthermore, we posit that the development of technologically enhanced pharmaceuticals should be examined concurrently with the rise of  überveillance (Michael and Michael 2010) – a new form of surveillance that will drastically change healthcare practices in the upcoming years.
According to Michael and Michael (2010), überveillance has to do with real time tracking and continuous monitoring whether it is of identity, time, location, physiological responses, or conducts. It is a type of surveillance that is always on and ever-present because it is embedded inside the human body via microchip technology (Michael and Michael 2010). It is the ultimate form of surveillance which allows information not previously available to be captured and transmitted to healthcare providers, probation officers, government authorities, and so on (Michael and Michael 2010). While this form of surveillance may seem promising for some, we consider that its application to the field of health-care raises numerous questions and concerns of a political and ethical nature. The aim of this paper is to interrogate the use of technotherapeutics for the continuous tracking and monitoring of treatment adherence in the context of chronic illnesses. Drawing on the seminal work of late French philosopher Michel Foucault, we argue that technotherapeutics serve to discipline chronically ill individuals and govern the health of entire populations who suffer from chronic conditions. Our critical (thus political) analysis draws on the Foucauldian concepts of governmentality and bio-power, which have been widely used to disrupt normalizing discourses in the field of health-care. To this end, we explore the ways in which technotherapeutics function as instruments of bio-power and problematize a mode of surveillance that is intrinsically linked to the logics of governmentality."

"...EPFL scientists have developed a tiny, portable personal blood testing laboratory: a minuscule device implanted just under the skin provides an immediate analysis of substances in the body, and a radio module transmits the results to a doctor over the cellular phone network."

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Mark Kendall's work on Nanopatches from the University of Queensland. Go to ABC's Catalyst program to see a multimedia clip on this story.

Transient

See also needle free nanopatch vaccine delivery system here. Prof Kendall stated in this interview:

"In Africa about half of vaccines aren't working properly because of a breakdown in the cold chain…The nanopatch also offers a way to stop needle-stick injuries during vaccination.”

 Photo: OneVentures

Photo: OneVentures

Images: GizMag

Dr. McCoy’s tricoder isn't looking too futuristic these days. Not only are real life versions of the Star Trek device under development, but some new medical devices are making it look a bit old fashioned. Take, for example, the ViSi Mobile vital signs monitor built by Sotera Wireless of San Diego, California. This wearable sensor pack uses Wi-Fi technology and is claimed to allow doctors using a tablet or smartphone to remotely monitor patient vital signs with the accuracy of an intensive care unit.

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 Image:  Reuters

Image: Reuters

A paralyzed woman has been able to feed herself chocolate and move everyday items using a robotic arm directly controlled by thought, showing a level of agility and control approaching that of a human limb.
Jan Scheuermann, 53, from Pittsburgh, was diagnosed with a degenerative brain disorder 13 years ago and is paralyzed from the neck down.

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