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Social Media Guidelines Proposed by the FDA: Finally!

After years, finally the United States Food & Drug Administration came up with a proposal in the form of a guide about how pharma companies should deal with social media.

One of the so-called draft guidances offers instructions on how companies should attempt to correct product information on websites that are run by others, such as chat rooms. The other addresses how products – including risk and benefit information – can be discussed in venues such as Twitter, as well as paid search links on Google and Yahoo, all of which have limited space. This will involve using links to product web sites, for instances, that can be clicked.

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My Wearable Health Trackers: Pebble Smartwatch

In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have already described TinkéAliveCor and Withings. Now let me share my experience with the Pebble smartwatch. This smartwatch got famous by being successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter. Mine was shipped this April and since then, I still haven’t been able to discover all its functionalities and the possibilities it provides. The reason behind that is the app store of Pebble full of great applications. Due to its own system, developers can create applications specifically designed for the Pebble.

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This way, I have these apps right now:

  • I can control music on my smartphone from the Pebble.
  • I get notifications about e-mails, phone calls or text messages (I don’t have to keep my phone in front of me during meetings any more).
  • Alarms.
  • Timers.
  • Pedometer measuring the number of steps I take.
  • Morpheuz is waking me up at the best time.
  • 7-min workout guides me to a healthy morning exercise.
  • Compass (never know when it comes handy).

Its success truly depends on how rich the community of apps can become soon.

Among negative examples, I could mention that its screen is black and white; only a few apps can be added to the watch, although the battery life is amazingly long.

Google set to launch Google Fit!

After weeks of rumors about Apple launching a health initiative then getting much less than expected, now Google is said to launch a new health tracking platform called Google Fit.

Not to be left behind by Apple, Google could soon launch its own health-tracking platform for mobile devices. Forbes reports that the search giant is working on a new service, tentatively called Google Fit, which will pull in data from third-party fitness wearables and health apps and combine them into one central app. It’s not known if Fit will be delivered as a standalone app or come embedded inside future versions of Android, but it would likely operate as Google-made version of Apple’s HealthKit, a service that lets companies like Nike feed in fitness data, and Samsung’s own fitness framework, SAMI.

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My Wearable Health Trackers: Withings

In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have described Tinké and AliveCor. Now let me share my experience of using Withings products. Withings has developed plenty of trackers from smart body analyzers and activity trackers to blood pressure monitor or baby scale. I’ve been using their Pulse activity tracker and the smart Blood Pressure Monitor.

The Pulse is really small, easy to wear, measures the number of steps I take, number of calories I burn, the distance I cover; and can measure oxygen saturation as well as monitor my sleep. The device can be controlled by a small button on the top, but also, and it is remarkably well-designed, by swiping my finger on the screen to change the parameters.

What I like the most is the sleep monitor functionality that helps me assess the quality of sleeping time. It shows me how much time it took to go to sleep, how much light and deep sleep I actually had.

 

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The Blood Pressure monitor is wireless, user-friendly (only has one start button), and makes proper measurements (I compared it to traditional devices). My only concern with that is the Bluetooth connection as every time when I want to initiate a measurement, I have to remove the device from my phone’s “Bluetooth connected devices” list and add it again. It is a bit frustrating, but it still causes less hassle than using old gadgets.

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Regarding the common Withings app (there is one app for all their devices), the visualizations of measurements could allow a smoother zooming, otherwise it provides what it has to provide.

As a company producing more types of health trackers, so far, Withings seems to be the best one taking design, functionalities and user experience into consideration.

Measuring Blood Glucose Levels From Saliva?

Quite an important step forward was reported on the Spectrum blog of IEEE. Researchers have developed a biochip sensor that can measure blood glucose levels from saliva. Maybe soon, diabetes patients can forget about blood droplets really facilitating their everyday lives.

Further research will involve, as Spectrum noted in 2012, discovering how glucose levels in saliva mirror glucose levels in the blood—and whether any substantial time lags between the two could hinder this technology. (After all, sugar levels in the blood, not the saliva, are what diabetics need to know. And sometimes a matter of just a few minutes can be very important. So it remains to be seen whether the biochip technology can get over any lag times between blood and saliva glucose levels—and ultimately become the non-invasive monitoring breakthrough diabetics have been waiting for.)

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My Wearable Health Trackers: AliveCor

The next item in this series of wearable health trackers is AliveCor which I have been using for over a year now and I consider it the most useful tracker these days. AliveCor has a brave mission of developing a device that measures ECG of the heart at home in clinically approved quality. It provides a one channel ECG and has been shrinking in size over the last couple of versions (see the images below).

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The old device working only with iPhones.

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The new, universal device.

A few key features:

  • Universal device working with any smartphones.
  • Stores the ECG measurements in the cloud in a safe format.
  • Results can be sent by e-mail in PDF format.
  • It highlights educational materials about different diagnoses and measurements.
  • Users can request professional analysis for a fee.
  • It is FDA approved.

AliveCor is the health tracker every medical professional is impressed about when I show it to them during my talks.

Here is a video about how it works in action:

The Medical Futurist: Weekly Introduction

As a medical futurist, I work on bringing disruptive technologies to medicine & healthcare; assisting medical professionals and students in using these in an efficient and secure way; and educating e-patients about how to become equal partners with their caregivers.

I publish a daily newsletter about the future of medicine, and share related news almost every hour on Twitter. Scienceroll.com is updated on a regular basis about the future of healthcare with an emphasis on social media. Here is my white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

I’m the author of Social Media in Clinical Practice handbookand the founder of Webicina.com, a service that curates medical content in social media for medical professionals and e-patients.

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I launched The Social MEDia Course, the e.learning format of my university course focusing on medicine and social media for medical students, physicians and also patients with Prezis, tests and gamification.

My recent keynote at TEDxNijmegen:

I hope you will enjoy reading Scienceroll.com!

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