AngelMD Saturday Roundup – January 6th, 2018

The Friday Saturday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

OK, Google: How Do We Stop Physician Burnout?

Physician burnout is a well-recognized problem which has been compounded by the adoption of electronic health records. EHRs have added an average of 1.5 hours to a physician’s workday according to research done by the AMA and the University of Wisconsin.

Some physicians have taken to hiring medical scribes, but there aren’t people with the required skill set to meet the demand. Google has been working on speech to text software for awhile now, the same kind that is used in Google Assistant and Google Translate.

A research team at google found it is possible to build a model using multiple speakers and reached a 20 percent word error rate with their initial study

Will CRISPR Even Work in Humans?

The gene editing tool of the future has only really been tested in animal subjects, leaving the human response to the technology a bit unknown.

New research sheds some light on how CRISPR would behave, but it isn’t exactly good news. Most CRISPR uses the Cas9 protein to operate. Two of most common bacteria Cas9 is derived from are Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes, which most humans have developed adaptive community to. This means Cas9 could be ineffective in a human.

The Cancer Care Disparity

Fewer Americans are dying from cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. From 1990 to 2015, the mortality rate has slowly decreased for a total 26 percent drop. However, racial and economic inequalities have persisted across the decades.

Among black Americans, the cancer rate is 15 percent higher. The report reaches the conclusion that the disparity is “largely because of inequalities in wealth that lead to differences in risk factor exposures and barriers to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment.”

The Subtlety of the Microbiome Unlocks New Treatment

The link between the presence of microbes and poor health is more complicated than one might think. We naturally have bacteria residing in us at all times, most are neutral and some even beneficial to our health. However, the bacteria can shift into a negative state and once it happens it’s difficult to treat.

There’s good news: a research has found a way to stop the transition to negative bacteria by replacing the metal they depend on with tungsten. So far, the method has been successful in mice.

How U.S. Drug Policy is Changing

2017 saw some bipartisan cooperation in the passage of policy like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act of 2017 (FDARA) and the latest reauthorization of the FDA user fee program.

The FDA has also changed its tune by speeding up the approval process for things like digital health applications though still emphasizing the “gold standard” of FDA review. Health Affairs thinks this new FDA style will continue in 2018.

New at AngelMD

  • Don’t miss the chance to invest in Noninvasix or Windpact.
  • Prapela and Soplix are just two of the many startups to join the AngelMD community. Check out their profiles to see how they’re changing the face of healthcare.

Stay on top of the latest developments at AngelMD: Sign up and you’ll be the first to hear about new startups, syndicates, and events in your area.

Continue reading

AngelMD Friday Roundup – December 29, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Hacking Natural Development

Researchers from UCSF have found a new method of producing human tissues without compromising the complexity of the structure. The technique is called DNA-programmed assembly of cells (DPAC) and it involves patterning ells with fibers that causes them to coil and fold into their intended shape.

This is similar to how cells would naturally form into tissues during development. Previous methods to creating tissues involved 3D printing, which though promising, often lacks the complexity of real human tissue.

Opioid Deaths Will Fall in New England, But Why?

Two weeks ago, I wrote about America’s Health Rankings which revealed the mortality rate in the U.S. had risen once again. Many are pointing to the surge in deaths due to opioids as the reason for the jump, which has become the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.

However, New England is projected to have 10 percent less deaths in 2017. Several factors likely contributed but the availability of naloxone (an overdose reversal drug) and tight prescription laws are being cited as possible reasons for the drop.

The Private Sector and Interoperability

Typically, the discussion about interoperability is centered around policy but for the first time, the sector’s biggest stories this year mostly came from the private sector. Unsurprisingly, Cerner was a big player and made headlines due to its deal with the VA. The company’s Zane Burke shared his perspective on the topic at HIMSS17.

“It’s one thing to say it, it’s another thing to do it. It takes significant focus to be both open and interoperable,” Burke shared.

Catch up on the rest of the interoperability developments from 2017 here.

A Better Flu Vaccine

Currently, the influenza vaccine changes year to year, but a researcher at the University of Washington is working to develop a more long term vaccine.

The vaccine is built from influenza DNA and instead of acting as a repellent, this version seeks out infected cells and kills them. This part of the virus does not change from year to year meaning the vaccine would not need to change either.

Precision Should Extend to Quality

The field of precision medicine has expanded significantly over the past year. Unfortunately as it grows, problems are arising. I spoke previously about the supply chain issue with deactivated viruses, and now NPR has reported that there are quality control issues with the treatment as well.

The quality of patient samples can get impacted in its travel to and from the lab, and there are also discrepancies between the machines used to analyze the samples and patients’ EHRs.

New at AngelMD

  • Don’t miss the chance to invest in Noninvasix or Windpact.
  • Affine Health and ARxCHITECT are just two of the many startups to join the AngelMD community. Check out their profiles to see how they’re changing the face of healthcare.
Continue reading

AngelMD Friday Roundup – December 22, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

A new study, featuring everyone’s favorite gene editing technology CRISPR, shows it can be effectively used to treat hearing loss. Researchers used the Cas-9 variation to remove a mutated gene in mice that caused hearing loss.

About 40 million Americans experience hearing loss, and currently, there are no drug treatments, only cochlear implants and hearing aids. Though it’s only a mouse study, it is the first to illustrate hearing loss reversal in animals and researchers in China will soon attempt the same process with pigs to see if it is viable across species.

New Treatment Give Glioblastoma Patients Hope

Another study revealed a nontraditional treatment for patients with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The treatment uses a bathing cap-like device to stimulate electric fields in the brain. In the study, 695 patients were treated, some with just chemotherapy and some with the additional electric field simulations.

The sole chemotherapy group lived 16 months from the start of the study compared to 20.9 months for those who received the electric field treatment. Though this may seem like a short amount of time, glioblastoma patients are eager for any hope. The cancer is known for its devastating effect, about seventy-five percent of patients die within two years of being diagnosed.

My True Love Gave to Me …Three 2018 Healthcare Trend Predictions

2017 was a breakout year for digital health thanks to an astounding $4.7 billion flowing into the industry and it seemed people were finally getting serious about IT adoption in the healthcare industry.

As is the norm this time of year, publications are publishing their trend predictions for the coming new year. Here’s what Fortune shared:

  • Telehealth – No, but for real this time. Shorter timeframes, EHR integration – the whole shebang.
  • Data – Original, I know. Fortune specifically pointed out data from wearables which give enhanced insight into a patient’s everyday life.
  • Artificial Intelligence – Be sure to be nice to your robot overlords, they might be the one reading your brain scan! Radiology is the field identified by Fortune as most likely to be overtaken by software.

Life Expectancy Drops in U.S. for Second Year in A Row

The reports released Thursday indicate that deaths due to opioid overdoses contributed to the decline in life expectancy. Before the last two years, life expectancy had been steadily increasing in the U.S.

Heart disease and cancer remained the two leading causes of death while unintentional injuries rose to number three (note: many overdoses are classified as unintentional injuries). Drug deaths are, unfortunately, still on the rise: From 2014 to 2016, death rates tied to drug overdoses jumped 18 percent each year.

No Creature Was Stirring Not Even … Bacteria?

Researchers in England have discovered a possible explanation for the development of some forms of antibiotic resistance: the bacteria was asleep. So-called “sleeper cells” are bacteria in a dormant state.

Though they sound harmless, the cells could come active again and potentially be dangerous like their “persister cell” counterparts, which are bacteria that fit the more traditional description of antibiotic resistance: they’re mutated. The scientists also developed a way to identify such cells before administering antibiotics by administering fluorescent dye, this could be useful in determining if a certain antibiotic will actually be effective in a patient,

New at AngelMD

  • Happy Holidays! The AngelMD hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season.
  • Don’t miss the chance to invest in Noninvasix or Windpact.
  • Bitome, are just three of the many startups to join the AngelMD community. Check out their profiles to see how they’re changing the face of healthcare.

Stay on top of the latest developments at AngelMD: Sign up and you’ll be the first to hear about new startups, syndicates, and events in your area.

Continue reading

AngelMD Friday Roundup – December 8, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Promising Zika Vaccine Produced by NIH

The vaccine was developed by scientists at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and was shown to produce an immune response in adults. Because of Zika’s link to birth defects, the vaccine was developed extremely quickly.

The vaccine itself is a plasmid encoded with two proteins found n the Zika virus, this stimulates an immune response, including generating antibodies to protect the body from any real Zika infection.

Contraceptives Linked to Breast Cancer

Women who use hormonal birth control have an increased risk of breast cancer according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study followed 1.8 Danish women and found the rate of breast cancer per 100,000 women higher in the group that used hormonal contraception (68 versus 55 in nonusers).

The research also indicates that progestrin, a common hormone used in birth control, raises breast cancer risk. Current birth control methods were thought to be significantly safer due to the decreased dose of hormones, but though risk has gone down, this study shows it is not absent.

CRISPR Can Now Activate Genes Without Editing Them

“What can’t CRSIPR do?” is the question we should probably all be asking ourselves at this point. At the Salk Institute in San Diego, researchers “turned on” beneficial genes in live mice, which improved the animals’ health in 50 percent of cases.

CRISPR had successfully been used to edit gene expression previously, but never in vivo because the material needed was too large to fit in the viral transport. Instead, researchers split the materials into two separate viruses and perfected the technique through trial and error.

Retail Drug Spending Decelerates

Though still growing, retail prescription drug spending has slowed to 1.3 percent growth in comparison to 12.4 percent growth just three years ago, a CMS report states. The agency credits this to a decrease in hepatitis C costs.

Overall, healthcare spending increased to $3.3 trillion, but pharmaceuticals consistently makes up about 10 percent of that, a stat pharma execs can point to to show pricing isn’t out of control.

Brain Atlas (No, Not the Sequel to Cloud Atlas)

A team of neuroscientists at UC San Francisco have been compiling information on gene expression in the brain for the last five years. They hope to create a comprehensive atlas of the human brain.

The researchers analyzed individual brain cells, which will enable new classifications for cells based on gene regulation instead of relying on shape and location. Though this new atlas covers less regions than the Allen Institute’s 2014 version, it does so with higher specificity than ever before.

New at AngelMD

  • Don’t miss the chance to invest in Noninvasix or Windpact.
  • Careteam, ClearMask, and Neurallys are just three of the many startups to join the AngelMD community. Check out their profiles to see how they’re changing the face of healthcare.

Stay on top of the latest developments at AngelMD: Sign up and you’ll be the first to hear about new startups, syndicates, and events in your area.

 

Continue reading

AngelMD Friday Roundup – 11/24/17

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Net Neutrality’s Threat to Telemedicine

As the FCC marches forward with its plans to end net neutrality — the practice of providing equal service and footing to all content on the Internet — healthcare may see impacts as well. As Modern Healthcare explains, telemedicine could be directly impacted by net neutrality changes.

While the FCC argues that paid prioritization for telemedicine could ensure better patient outcomes, the opposite side of the coin can also be argued. Many small companies can not afford the bills associated with paid prioritization, and their innovations could be stifled by being given lower-priority traffic.

An Apple EHR?

It’s no surprise to anyone when we see Apple, Google, and the rest of the tech juggernauts toying around in the healthcare market. But some recent patents from Apple give us a bit more of a peek into the company’s potential plans.

Healthcare IT News reports that Patent US 9723997 B, obtained by Apple back in August, is an electronic device that computes health data of the user based upon sensor data regarding the received light. While it’s purely conjectured at this point, patents such as this could certainly open the door for Apple to deepen its trek into the healthcare market.

Lower-Ranked Education Linked to High Opioid Prescriptions

As the United States continues its war on the opioid epidemic, a new study from Princeton University shows a somewhat-surprising link to the problem. Physicians trained at the United States’ lowest-ranked medical schools write more opioid prescriptions than physicians trained at the highest-ranked schools.

The study found other interesting links as well:

  • Doctors who received more pain management education were less likely to prescribe opioids.
  • Doctors trained in the Caribbean and in Canada were more likely to prescribe opioids than doctors trained in other parts of the world.
  • Doctors who graduated more recently were less likely to prescribe opioids than those who had been in practice for longer.

mHealth Makes Strides in Diabetes Management

A study from New York University shows that mHealth practices can have a direct, positive impact on the management of Type 2 diabetes. Specifically, patients who are sent non-personalized reminders about caring for their condition exhibited lower blood glucose levels, while personalized messages correlated to lower incidences of hospital admissions.

Diabetes and pre-diabetes conditions cost the United States approximately $322 billion each year. Recent advances in the field have shown promise, but are also cost-prohibitive for many patients. mHealth practices like the ones showcased in this study could help to improve patient lives with minimal or no additional costs.

Amazon + Cerner

CNBC reported on a big story from Amazon. The company, which has met resistance when it comes to getting healthcare companies to adopt the cloud, has recently inked a deal with Cerner.

The deal is centered around Cerner’s population health management application. HealtheIntent enables hospitals to gather and analyze huge volumes of clinical data to improve patients’ health outcomes and lower treatment costs.

New at AngelMD

  • Don’t miss the chance to invest in Aqueduct or Articulus Bio.
  • AngelMD is looking for six startups who are seeking investment. We’ll be investing $250,000 into each of the six companies at our upcoming Alpha Conference. The deadline is December 4th, so sign up now.

Stay on top of the latest developments at AngelMD: Sign up and you’ll be the first to hear about new startups, syndicates, and events in your area.

 

Continue reading