Recent Articles

Withings Unveils the Aura Smart Sleep System

| January 15, 2014

Withings, a France-based maker of smart products ranging from baby monitors to activity trackers, has unveiled the Aura smart sleep system that aims to improve the user’s quality of sleep. The Aura tracks the noise, room temperature, and amount of ambient light during sleep and creates a program of alternating lights and sounds that supposedly aid the user’s sleep experience. The smart sleep system also includes a sensor that is placed under the mattress to track the user’s movements, heart rate, and breathing pattern.

The device syncs with the iOS based HealthMate app that enables the user to not only view his or her sleep behavior, heart rate, and breathing patterns at night, but to also manage the personalized sleep programs created by the Aura system. Users can also use the app to see what wakes them up at night. The sound and light programs created by the system adapt to each person’s circadian rhythm, helping to bring on relaxation when he or she is going to bed and conversely help to stimulate the person while waking up. Withings is reported to have made use of the correlation between lighting wavelengths and secretion of melatonin, the sleep hormone, in designing the multi-color LED dimming light technology in the Aura system.

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Droxidopa Gets Thumbs Up From FDA Panel

| January 15, 2014

(MedPage Today) — SILVER SPRING, Md. — Droxidopa (Northera) received wide support at a second FDA advisory committee meeting to consider the drug for patients with orthostatic hypotension caused by neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

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Positive Results Seen with Hyperkalemia Drug

| January 15, 2014

(MedPage Today) — Top-line results from a phase III trial of an investigational agent for hyperkalemia confirm that the drug can mop up excess potassium over nearly 2 weeks, the drugmaker reported.

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Rivaroxaban Gets Another Shot Before FDA

| January 15, 2014

(MedPage Today) — Rivaroxaban (Xarelto) still faces substantial obstacles as it tries — for the third time — to gain approval for use in patients with acute coronary syndromes, an FDA memo released ahead of Thursday’s advisory committee meeting indi…

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Inspire Obstructive Sleep Apnea Therapy Shows Promising Results

| January 14, 2014

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) affects approximately 12 million people in the U.S. alone. Repeated episodes of apnea due to airway collapse can lead to daytime fatigue and increase a person’s risk for more severe complications, usually cardiac. Existing therapies for OSA include upper airway surgeries, oral devices, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). While CPAP can be particularly effective in patients when used, it can be cumbersome with many patients failing to comply with treatment.

Inspire Medical Systems (Maple Grove, MN), has developed an implantable OSA therapy called Inspire. The system is an implanted upper airway stimulator unit, that looks like a pacemaker, designed to stimulate the hypoglossal nerve on each breathing cycle to prevent airway obstruction during sleep. During implantation a stimulation electrode is placed on the hypoglossal nerve, a sensing lead is placed between intercostal muscles to sense breathing patterns, and a neurostimulator is implanted just below the clavicle bone. Patients activate the device at night using an external controller.

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FDA Reviewers Favor Approval of Vorapaxar

| January 14, 2014

(MedPage Today) — Approval prospects for the novel anti-platelet vorapaxar — which has a proposed trade name of Zontivity — looked good after the drug received a positive review ahead of Wednesday’s FDA advisory committee meeting.

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Selfish Memes: Facebook as a Model for Evolution

| January 14, 2014

Huge networks like Google and Facebook inspire many scientists to model interactions between people. Posts can go ‘viral’ and grow to pandemic proportions in a few hours; today’s infectious diseases spread faster through social media than in real life. These networks can also help with real diseases and to that end Google monitors the internet for flu-like symptoms and publishes its data in Google Flu Trends, the results of which several scientists confirmed the correlation with reality in scientific journals. Lada Adamic from Facebook Data Science, took it a bit further and studied the evolution of memes and how they adapt to different communities. Memes can be ideas, political statements, and thoughts, and people post them on their timeline to inspire their connections. Friends copy the meme but sometimes change it slightly so it better fits their own audience. In that way Facebook posts develop and change over time, the best memes survive and get copied, some mutations are less fruitful and slowly fade away. It seems almost an analog to Darwin’s survival of the fittest and Dawkins’ selfish gene theory. For the research, Adamic used the following statement that was posted by 470,000 Facebook users in exactly the same way:

“No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, post this as your status for the rest of the day”.

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JNC 8 Dissenters Don’t Want to Ease BP Thresholds

| January 13, 2014

(MedPage Today) — Not all of the panel members appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8) that crafted the most recent hypertension guidelines agreed with loosening blood pressure treatment thresholds for most older patients.

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Pregnancy: USPSTF Backs Universal Diabetes Screening

| January 13, 2014

(MedPage Today) — All women should be screened for gestational diabetes at 24 weeks of pregnancy, even if they have no symptoms, according to new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

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Zensorium Tinké, an iPhone Connected Pulse Oximeter (VIDEO)

| January 13, 2014

Zensorium, a Singapore-based startup was showing off at CES in Las Vegas its iPhone pulse oximeter called Tinké, that provides continuous blood oxygen level monitoring. Along with measuring oxygen levels, Tinké also tracks the heart rate, respiratory rate, and heart rate variability. The device, which weighs .4 oz (10.7g), works with a companion iOS app that displays the different cardiac metrics measured. The app displays a Vita index that is a fitness score computed from the user’s heart rate, blood oxygen level and respiratory rate. The app also displays a Zen score based on the heart rate variability data, and is a supposed measure of the user’s state of relaxation.

In order to use the Tinké , it is first connected to the dock connector of the iPhone. The user needs to wait untill a red light appears on the device, after which the user is required to place his or her thumb over the two holes on top of the unit and the reading is taken. The iOS app automatically registers and tracks daily readings and helps users track their cardiac metrics over an extended time.

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