medical March 10

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A patent application describes how the Apple Watch and iPhone could work together to detect medical emergencies like a heart attack, and automatically call 911.

While the patent wording doesn’t specifically name either the Apple Watch or iPhone, the meaning of one electronic device cooperating with another one seems pretty clear.

An occurrence of one or more “care events” is detected by an electronic device monitoring environmental data and/or user data from one or more sensors. The electronic device transmits one or more alerts regarding the detected occurrence to at least one other electronic device. In some cases, the electronic device may cooperate with at least one other electronic device in monitoring, detecting, and/or transmitting.

Apple says that the setup could detect a range of emergencies, and take appropriate action depending on the severity – ranging from sending an email to a family member at the low end to calling 911 in the most urgent of cases …

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medical December 14, 2015

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iPhones have already been used for an impressive number of medical applications. We’ve seen them used to screen for skin cancer, manage diabetes, prevent blindness, provide eye examinations and diagnose everything from sleep apnea to bipolar episodes. But the next step could be a $250 organic chemistry lab we can carry in our pocket.

The WSJ has been talking to a couple of startups working in this field, including 6SensorLabs which has a device that can – with the help of a smartphone – detect whether a food really is gluten-free.

The Nima from 6SensorLabs is an organic-chemistry lab small enough to carry in your pocket. Right now it is only good for one thing: detecting gluten in foods at minuscule concentrations, as little as 20 parts per million, the FDA’s threshold for declaring a food “gluten-free.”

The company says that this could be just the start, with future versions able to detect the bacteria that cause food poisoning …

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medical July 16, 2015

First pitched by Steve Jobs in 2007 as “an iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator,” the iPhone has since evolved into a medical device of sorts as software has gotten smarter and sensors have become more advanced in recent years.

Apple embraced this with iOS 8 and the rollout of HealthKit, a framework which allows medical and health apps to share data with each other and your doctors with your permission. Apple’s open source ResearchKit took it a step further by allowing developers to turn apps into scientific health and medical research tests.

Scientific American recently profiled three smartphone apps in development that point to how the iPhone could become even better at monitoring our health. The apps in development aim to determine what a patient’s cough means, diagnose sleep apnea, and even predict a bipolar episode before it starts… expand full story

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medical July 13, 2015

A few days after Buzzfeed revealed that Purdue Pharma was investigating the use of Apple’s ResearchKit platform to assist in developing new drugs, the piece has been updated to reveal that GlaxoSmithKline has similar plans.

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest drug developers, told BuzzFeed News it is “currently working on integrating (ResearchKit) into clinical trials and planning to start in coming months.”

While some had assumed that ResearchKit would be used to assist only with not-for-profit research, Apple said that the company is willing to make the platform available to “anybody that is going to make an impact on people’s health” …  expand full story

medical June 22, 2015

The equipment needed to carry out a proper eye examination typically costs $20-40k; the Smart Vision Labs SVOne aims to reduce that cost to just $4k by using an iPhone as part of the kit. The iPhone takes a series of photos of the eye, while an app performs the analysis and generates a prescription.

We were given a demo of the kit last year (video below), but the company needed funding to make it possible. Smart Vision announced today that it’s raised $6.1M in institutional funding led by Techstars Ventures. The funding allows it to scale its production and expand the team, helping it reach an estimated billion people around the world who don’t currently have access to eye examinations …  expand full story

medical May 7, 2015

One of the things I find most inspiring about the iPhone is the way it can be adapted to create very low-cost versions of what would otherwise be very expensive medical equipment, unaffordable in many parts of the world. We’ve previously seen this approach taken for things as diverse as HIV tests, skin cancer detection and eye injury diagnosis.

The UC Berkeley has just added blood parasite detection to the list, using a 3D-printed case, Arduini board with Bluetooth module and LED lighting …  expand full story

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