Health & Medicine


The future of data storage isn't on the cloud – it's on the 'edge'

The Independent

Time travel to the UK in 2025: Harry is a teenager with a smartphone and Pauline is a senior citizen with Alzheimer's who relies on smart glasses for independent living. Harry is frustrated his favourite online game is slow, and Pauline is anxious because her healthcare app is unresponsive. Forbes predicts that by 2025 more than 80 billion devices, from wearables and smartphones, to factory and smart-city sensors, will be connected to the internet. Something like 180 trillion gigabytes of data will be generated that year. Currently almost all data we generate is sent to and processed in distant clouds.


Being bionic: how technology transformed my life

The Guardian

I was born with the usual set of limbs. When I was nine months old, I contracted meningococcal septicaemia, a dangerous infection of the blood, which very nearly killed me. I survived, but because I had sustained major tissue damage, it became necessary to amputate my right leg below the knee, all of the fingers on my left hand and the second and third digits on my right hand. I learned to walk on a prosthetic leg at the age of 14 months, and have gone through my life wearing a succession of artificial limbs. As time has passed and technology has advanced, so too have my limbs. Like our mobile phones, prostheses have become lighter, faster and more efficient. When I was nine, I was fitted with a lifeless silicone hand, a useless thing that was purely cosmetic, and so clumsy that I refused to wear it after the first day. Now, at 21, and a student in my third year at Edinburgh University, I wear a bionic arm with nimble fingers that move independently, which I operate using controlled muscle movements in my forearm, as well as an app on my phone. As a child I wore a stiff artificial leg attached with straps that frequently fell off; earlier this summer, I took delivery of a new dynamic right leg with shock absorption and carbon fibre blades. Prosthetics have been around for more than 3,000 years: wooden toes, which strapped on and were specifically designed to work with sandals, were found on the feet of Ancient Egyptian mummies.


Over 80% of Japanese positive about robotic nursing care

Japan Times >> News

Over 80 percent of people in Japan hold positive views about receiving nursing care from robots, according to a survey by nursing care service provider Orix Living Corp. The result suggests that people feel a psychological burden from being taken care of by humans, Orix Living said. The online survey, conducted in September, covered 1,238 people aged 40 or above across the nation. The proportion of respondents who said they are ready to or want to receive nursing care from robots stood at 84.3 percent, hitting the highest level since a related question was introduced in 2011. Of the respondents who prefer not to use robotic nursing care, 46.9 percent -- the largest group -- said the reason for their choice was that they would prefer to be taken care of by humans.


Google's takeover of health app appears to renege on DeepMind promises

New Scientist

Another tech company doing something it said it wouldn't. Another eye roll, another shrug? On Tuesday, the London-based artificial intelligence company DeepMind announced that the team behind Streams – an app designed to monitor people in hospital with kidney disease – will be joining DeepMind's sister company Google. The tech giant wants to turn Streams into an AI-powered assistant for doctors and nurses. To create Streams, DeepMind used identifiable medical records of 1.6 million people obtained in a deal with the Royal …


Google gets a firmer hold on NHS patient data by absorbing its DeepMind AI lab

Daily Mail

Google looks to be getting a firmer hold on NHS patient data by absorbing its DeepMind Health AI lab - a leading UK health technology developer. The news has raised concerns about the privacy of NHS patient's data which is used by DeepMind and could now be commercialised by Google. DeepMind was bought by Google's parent company Alphabet for £400 million ($520m) in 2014 and up until now has maintained independence. Now the London-based lab will be sharing operations with the US-based Google Health unit. It was created after Google bought University College London spinout, DeepMind, for £400 million in 2014.


Google 'betrays patient trust' with DeepMind Health move

The Guardian

Google has been accused of breaking promises to patients, after the company announced it would be moving a healthcare-focused subsidiary, DeepMind Health, into the main arm of the organisation. The restructure, critics argue, breaks a pledge DeepMind made when it started working with the NHS that "data will never be connected to Google accounts or services". The change has also resulted in the dismantling of an independent review board, created to oversee the company's work with the healthcare sector, with Google arguing that the board was too focused on Britain to provide effective oversight for a newly global body. Google says the restructure is necessary to allow DeepMind's flagship health app, Streams, to scale up globally. The app, which was created to help doctors and nurses monitor patients for AKI, a severe form of kidney injury, has since grown to offer a full digital dashboard for patient records.


Google will take over part of DeepMind's health business

Engadget

Alphabet is shuffling some of its companies around as it works to better organize the health projects that are currently spread across its subsidiaries. So going forward, DeepMind's health unit will instead exist under the Google umbrella and it will be part of the company's recently formed Google Health initiative. Specifically, DeepMind's Streams app, which physicians in the UK have used to help treat their patients, will be moving over to Google, and the Google Health team will be working on expanding the app to more regions. We're excited to announce that the team behind Streams - our app supporting doctors and nurses to deliver faster, better care to patients - will be joining Google. Google recently brought in David Feinberg to lead the new Google Health group, with the goal of organizing Alphabet's health efforts and enhancing collaborations across its subsidiaries.


Chemical arms team to assign blame for Syrian attacks despite Russia, Iran opposition

The Japan Times

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS – The global chemical weapons watchdog will in February begin to assign blame for attacks with banned munitions in Syria's war, using new powers approved by member states but opposed by Damascus and its key allies Russia and Iran. The agency was handed the new task in response to an upsurge in the use of chemical weapons in recent years, notably in the Syrian conflict, where scores of attacks with sarin and chlorine have been carried out by Syrian forces and rebel groups, according to a joint United Nations-OPCW investigation. A core team of 10 experts charged with apportioning blame for poison gas attacks in Syria will be hired soon, Fernando Arias, the new head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told the Foreign Press Association of the Netherlands on Tuesday. The Syria team will be able to look into all attacks previously investigated by the OPCW, dating back to 2014. The OPCW was granted additional powers to identify individuals and institutions responsible for attacks by its 193 member states at a special session in June.


Furhat the eerie lifelike robotic head is stumped by people with BOTOX

Daily Mail

A robot that communicates with humans via facial expressions and understands people by scanning their face has been stumped when it met a person with botox. Furhat Robotics unveiled its'world's most advanced social robotics and conversational artificial intelligence platform' last week. The android can communicate with humans in the way we do with each other - by speaking, listening, showing emotions and reading changes to facial features. The Stockholm-based start-up were left scratching their heads when one test subject completely threw the eerily-lifelike robot. A Furhat insider said: 'We were at a loss as to why one of our robots wasn't interacting properly with a human test subject.


AI toilets which scan your urine and faeces could one day 'pick up on diseases earlier'

Daily Mail

You may think the bathroom is one of few places you can expect to be left alone. But toilets may one day be giving health advice by analysing your urine and faeces, a technology boss has claimed. The chief of a company making computer chips says artificial intelligence will one day analyse people's waste in real time. This could save the need for trips to the doctor and pick up on illnesses earlier than people do, said Sanjay Mehrotra, chief executive of Micron Technology. AI could one day be used in toilets to scan people's urine and faeces to try and pick up on any diseases or health problems earlier than someone might notice them and go to the doctor And his claims aren't so far-fetched – artificial intelligence (AI) is already capable of detecting diabetes or Alzheimer's disease from scans.