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Elon Musk's Neuralink brain implant firm cleared for human trials

Al Jazeera

United States regulators have given approval for Elon Musk's start-up Neuralink to test its brain implants on people. Neuralink said on Thursday that it received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the first human clinical study of implants which are intended to let the brain interface directly with computers. "We are excited to share that we have received the FDA's approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study," Neuralink said in a post on Twitter – which is owned by Musk. Neuralink prototypes, which are the size of a coin, have so far been implanted in the skulls of monkeys, demonstrations by the startup showed. With the help of a surgical robot, a piece of the skull is replaced with a Neuralink disk, and its wispy wires are strategically inserted into the brain, an early demonstration showed.

New York company gets jump on Elon Musk's Neuralink with brain-computer interface in clinical trials

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Elon Musk might be well positioned in space travel and electric vehicles, but the world's second-richest person is taking a backseat when it comes to a brain-computer interface (BCI). New York-based Synchron announced Wednesday that it has received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin clinical trials of its Stentrode motor neuroprosthesis - a brain implant it is hoped could ultimately be used to cure paralysis. The FDA approved Synchron's Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) application, according to a release, paving the way for an early feasibility study of Stentrode to begin later this year at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. New York-based Synchron announced Wednesday that it has received FDA approval to begin clinical trials of Stentrode, its brain-computer interface, beating Elon Musk's Neuralink to a crucial benchmark. The study will analyze the safety and efficacy of the device, smaller than a matchstick, in six patients with severe paralysis. Meanwhile, Musk has been touting Neuralink, his brain-implant startup, for several years--most recently showing a video of a monkey with the chip playing Pong using only signals from its brain.

Artificial Intelligence: Research Impact on Key Industries; the Upper-Rhine Artificial Intelligence Symposium (UR-AI 2020) Artificial Intelligence

The TriRhenaTech alliance presents a collection of accepted papers of the cancelled tri-national 'Upper-Rhine Artificial Inteeligence Symposium' planned for 13th May 2020 in Karlsruhe. The TriRhenaTech alliance is a network of universities in the Upper-Rhine Trinational Metropolitan Region comprising of the German universities of applied sciences in Furtwangen, Kaiserslautern, Karlsruhe, and Offenburg, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Cooperative State University Loerrach, the French university network Alsace Tech (comprised of 14 'grandes \'ecoles' in the fields of engineering, architecture and management) and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland. The alliance's common goal is to reinforce the transfer of knowledge, research, and technology, as well as the cross-border mobility of students.

Digital Medicine: A Primer on Measurement


Technology is changing how we practice medicine. Sensors and wearables are getting smaller and cheaper, and algorithms are becoming powerful enough to predict medical outcomes. Yet despite rapid advances, healthcare lags behind other industries in truly putting these technologies to use. A major barrier to entry is the cross-disciplinary approach required to create such tools, requiring knowledge from many people across many fields. We aim to drive the field forward by unpacking that barrier, providing a brief introduction to core concepts and terms that define digital medicine. Specifically, we contrast "clinical research" versus routine "clinical care," outlining the security, ethical, regulatory, and legal issues developers must consider as digital medicine products go to market. We classify types of digital measurements and how to use and validate these measures in different settings. To make this resource engaging and accessible, we have included illustrations and figures ...

City-wide Analysis of Electronic Health Records Reveals Gender and Age Biases in the Administration of Known Drug-Drug Interactions Machine Learning

From a public-health perspective, the occurrence of drug-drug-interactions (DDI) from multiple drug prescriptions is a serious problem, especially in the elderly population. This is true both for individuals and the system itself since patients with complications due to DDI will likely re-enter the system at a costlier level. We conducted an 18-month study of DDI occurrence in Blumenau (Brazil; pop. 340,000) using city-wide drug dispensing data from both primary and secondary-care level. Our goal is also to identify possible risk factors in a large population, ultimately characterizing the burden of DDI for patients, doctors and the public system itself. We found 181 distinct DDI being prescribed concomitantly to almost 5% of the city population. We also discovered that women are at a 60% risk increase of DDI when compared to men, while only having a 6% co-administration risk increase. Analysis of the DDI co-occurrence network reveals which DDI pairs are most associated with the observed greater DDI risk for females, demonstrating that contraception and hormone therapy are not the main culprits of the gender disparity, which is maximized after the reproductive years. Furthermore, DDI risk increases dramatically with age, with patients age 70-79 having a 50-fold risk increase in comparison to patients aged 0-19. Interestingly, several null models demonstrate that this risk increase is not due to increased polypharmacy with age. Finally, we demonstrate that while the number of drugs and co-administrations help predict a patient's number of DDI ($R^2=.413$), they are not sufficient to flag these patients accurately, which we achieve by training classifiers with additional data (MCC=.83,F1=.72). These results demonstrate that accurate warning systems for known DDI can be devised for public and private systems alike, resulting in substantial prevention of DDI-related ADR and savings.

Deep Learning in Pharmacogenomics: From Gene Regulation to Patient Stratification Machine Learning

This Perspective provides examples of current and future applications of deep learning in pharmacogenomics, including: (1) identification of novel regulatory variants located in noncoding domains and their function as applied to pharmacoepigenomics; (2) patient stratification from medical records; and (3) prediction of drugs, targets, and their interactions. Deep learning encapsulates a family of machine learning algorithms that over the last decade has transformed many important subfields of artificial intelligence (AI) and has demonstrated breakthrough performance improvements on a wide range of tasks in biomedicine. We anticipate that in the future deep learning will be widely used to predict personalized drug response and optimize medication selection and dosing, using knowledge extracted from large and complex molecular, epidemiological, clinical, and demographic datasets.