First all-digital clinical trial studies app-driven physical activity interventions

Stanford’s Euan Ashley has conducted an entirely digital clinical trial using the MyHeart Counts app, which is being used for patient recruitment, consent and interventions, and returns data to participants.

 1075 participants completed at least one intervention, and 493 completed the entire trial.  The higher than normal completion rate was attributed to the ease of enrollment and use.

The digital trial “prescribed” one of four simple interventions weekly, including  reminders to walk more or stand up. The team saw a 10% increase in activity compared to baseline.

The study serves as a template for future all-digital randomized clinical trials, which can include more nuanced questions, and an increase in interventions, which are ideally personalized.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

DBS study shows long-term antidepressant effect in treatment-resistant depression

Helen Mayberg at Mount Sinai has published a study showing that deep brain stimulation of the subcallosal cingulate provides a lasting antidepressant effect in treatment-resistant depression.

According to Mayberg: “Over eight years of observation, most of our study participants experienced an antidepressant response to the deep brain stimulation of Area 25 that was robust and sustained. Given that patients with treatment-resistant depression are highly susceptible to recurrent depressive episodes, the ability of DBS to support long-term maintenance of an antidepressant response and prevention of relapse is a treatment advance that can mean the difference between getting on with your life or always looking over your shoulder for your next debilitating depressive episode.”

The study documents 4-8 years of outcomes data for 28 patients. Response and remission rates were maintained at or above 50 percent and 30 percent, respectively, through years 2-8 of the follow-up period. Three-quarters of all participants met the treatment response criterion for more than half of their participation in the study, with 21 percent of all participants demonstrating continuous response to treatment from the first year forward. Of 28 participants, 14 completed at least eight years of follow-up, 11 others completed at least four years, and three dropped out prior to eight years of participation.

The researchers conclude that data presented through this study support the long-term safety and sustained efficacy of SCC DBS for treatment-resistant depression.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

Implanted electrodes + algorithm allow thought-driven 4 limb exoskeleton control

Alim Louis Benabid and Clinatec/University of Grenoble colleagues have developed a brain computer interface controlled exoskeleton that enabled a tetraplegic man to walk and move his arms.  Two 64 electrode brain implants drove the system.

Benabid explained the benefits, stating that “previous brain-computer studies have used more invasive recording devices implanted beneath the outermost membrane of the brain, where they eventually stop working. They have also been connected to wires, limited to creating movement in just one limb, or have focused on restoring movement to patients’ own muscles.”

The exoskeleton can only be used in the lab at this point, as it still must be connected to a ceiling-harness, since it is unable to make small adjustments necessary to prevent falls.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

AI/EMG system improves prosthetic hand control

UT Dallas researchers Mohsen Jafarzadeh, Yonas Tadesse, and colleagues are using AI to control prosthetic hands with raw EMG signals. The real-time convolutional neural network, which does not require preprocessing, results in faster and more accurate data classification and faster hand movements. User data re-trains the system to personalize actions.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

Wearable sensor monitors antibiotic levels in real time

Imperial College’s Timothy Rawson has developed a non-invasive microneedle bionsor patch capable of detecting antibiotic levels in the body. The goal is to reduce the need for blood sampling and analysis, optimize dosage, reduce drug-resistant infections and offer personalized drug delivery, both inside and outside of the hospital. A recent study showed that the accuracy of the real-time monitoring technology was similar to slower, periodic blood tests.

The technology has been used for continuous monitoring of blood sugar, but this is the first time it’s been used to monitor changes to drug concentrations. The researchers believe that  the sensors could form the basis of a ‘closed loop system’, like an insulin pump – where antibiotics are administered to patients, and levels are continuously monitored to optimize dosage.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti, Brown

Join ApplySci at the 13th Wearable Tech + Neurotech + Digital Health Silicon Valley conference on February 11-12, 2020 on Sand Hill Road featuring talks by Zhenan Bao, Stanford – Rudy Tanzi, Harvard – Shahin Farshchi – Lux Capital – Sheng Xu, UCSD – Carla Pugh, Stanford – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Wei Gao, Caltech

CTRL-Labs acquired by Facebook for 500M – 1B

Congratulations to CTRL-Labs and Lux Capital on Facebook’s acquisition of the four year old Neurotech startup. The company, whose technology assists in decoding brain activity and intention, will join Facebook’s AR/VR team.

CTRL-Labs participated in a recent ApplySci panel of startups at Stanford led by Lux Capital’s Shahin Farshchi. Facebook presented its Brain Computer Interface work at the ApplySci conference at the MIT Media Lab in 2017.

ApplySci’s next conference, at Harvard Medical School, will take place on November 14, 2019. It will again include a panel of startups — perhaps the next unicorns — and a series of talks by leading brain and body health scientists.

I hope that you’ll join us.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti – Brown

Biodegradable optical sensor monitors physiological function, can provide electrical stimulation, in brain and heart surgery

Northwestern’s John Rogers has developed a biodegradable optical sensor that can be implanted after brain injury and not require a second surgery for removal.  According to Rogers: “Optical characterization of tissue can yield quantitative information on blood oxygenation levels. Fluorescence signals can reveal the presence of bacteria as a diagnostic for the formation of an infection at an internal wound site. Fluorescence-based calcium imaging can reveal metrics of brain activity. There are also ways that light can be used to activate certain biological processes and that’s a next step for us.”

In addition to monitoring physiological function, the sensors  can be used as electrical stimulators for accelerating neural regeneration in damaged peripheral nerves, or as drug delivery agents programmed to release drugs at specific times.

The dissolvable sensors are also being used to monitor the oxygen level around the heart during surgery, and as a temporary pacemaker to deliver electrical stimulation following heart surgery.


Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti – Brown

Phone-based support for psychosis

University of Washington’s Dror Ben Zeev has published a paper detailing a wide array of phone-based technology meant to support the recovery of psychosis throughout life — from early detection to symptom management to vocational rehabilitation,

The study includes self reported mental health assessments, self-management interventions, medication reminders, messages from case managers, tele-therapy, and skill development and job training software.

The private nature and constant availability of these resources, with out the need for travel, can increase the level of support.

Ben Zeev leads the U of W mHealth for Mental Health Program, focused on providing smart technology based services to those suffering from mental illness.  His work includes projects in Ghana and the West Bank, where access to care is limited, and the stigma surrounding mental illness is high, making the phone an ideal solution.


REGISTRATION RATES INCREASE SEPTEMBER 20 | Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche – Nicola Neretti – Brown

AI detects CHF through analysis of one heartbeat

Sebastiano Massaro at the University of Surrey,  Mihaela Porumb and Leandro Pecchia at the University of Warwick, and Ernesto Iadanza at the University of Florence have developed an advanced signal processing and machine learning method to identify congestive heart failure with 100% accuracy through analysis of one raw ECG heartbeat.

REGISTRATION RATES INCREASE SEPTEMBER 20 | Join ApplySci at the 12th Wearable Tech + Digital Health + Neurotech Boston conference on November 14, 2019 at Harvard Medical School featuring talks by Brad Ringeisen, DARPA – Joe Wang, UCSD – Carlos Pena, FDA  – George Church, Harvard – Diane Chan, MIT – Giovanni Traverso, Harvard | Brigham & Womens – Anupam Goel, UnitedHealthcare  – Nathan Intrator, Tel Aviv University | Neurosteer – Arto Nurmikko, Brown – Constance Lehman, Harvard | MGH – Mikael Eliasson, Roche