Susana Machado • September 15, 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.

Apple Continues to Target Health with Flair

If you somehow avoided the flurry of tweets, photos, and articles coming out of the Steve Jobs Theater, Apple hosted their product announcement this week on their shiny new campus. The Apple team introduced the Series 3 Apple Watch, and emphasized the health impact the watch has already had by using consumer feedback.

 

To build on this, Apple has launched a study with Stanford to determine if the Apple watch could accurately identify heart abnormalities like arrhythmias. Though arrhythmias aren’t always threatening, this could be used as a detection and prevention measure for patients at high-risk for heart conditions.

FitBit Teams with Dexcom for Glucose Monitoring

Not to be outdone by the Apple Watch, FitBit announced a collaboration with Dexcom to bring a glucose level display to their Ionic smartwatch. Essentially, the data from Dexcom’s continuous glucose monitoring device will populate onto the Ionic’s screen. The data is already available to be viewed on a smartphone or the Apple Watch.

 

This partnership already showed its value for FitBit as it cause their previously faltering stock to take a jump. Consumers will have to wait a bit though, the new function won’t be available until early 2018.

Tackling Addiction One App at a Time

In a landmark decision, the FDA has approved the marketing of the reSET app to treat substance use disorders (SUDs).

 

“More therapy tools means a greater potential to help improve outcomes, including abstinence, for patients with substance use disorder,” said Carlos Peña, director of the Division of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices.

 

Created by Pear Therapeutics, the app has a patient-facing and physician-facing interface. In a study across 10 U.S. treatment centers, reSET was found to be effective. About 58 percent of patients who were dependent on stimulants, marijuana, cocaine, or alcohol were abstinent in weeks 9-12 compared to only 29.8 percent of those receiving face-to-face therapy.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Blood-Carrying Drone!

One of the most promising applications of healthcare tech has been better care access for rural areas, but there’s only so much a doctor can do via telehealth. Enter drones.

 

A Johns Hopkins University professor set a record by flying blood samples 160 miles across the Arizona desert and kept them viable. Timothy Amukele, the professor behind the drone, wants to do more trial flights, some with less healthy blood to see glucose levels would impact the blood’s ability to remain viable.

Patent Politics

In an unusual (and possibly never-done-before) move, drugmaker Allergan transferred one of its patents to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York. This legal maneuver would protect the drug in question from any patent disputes because the tribe can claim sovereign immunity.

 

The tribe will lease the patent back to Allergan and in return, the tribe will receive a $13.75 million payment and $15 million in annual royalties while it remains valid. It’s certainly an unorthodox approach and one that has the pharmaceutical community buzzing.

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