Facebook ads and patient data; Also, Covid and neurological damage


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A study published this week in the journal data science Grounds suggests that some digital health companies could funnel sensitive patient data to Facebook to help target ads. Forbes Senior Writer Alexandra Levine reports that while the scale of the study was small — it tracked the online activity of 10 active participants in online cancer communities — it highlights bigger issues about trends. data sharing in digital health and who is ultimately responsible for patient privacy, with three of the five companies analyzed going against their own privacy policies by sharing this information. Andrea Downing, co-founder of the Light Collective, a research group focused on online privacy issues that conducted the study, said that such data collection and algorithms for advertising are “one of the biggest threats to online patient communities” as they can open them up to misinformation and invasions of privacy.

Dr. Iman Abuzeid leads incredible health to unicorn status with $80 million Series B

Three years into the Covid-19 pandemic, the US healthcare system continues to face a critical shortage of nurses: more than a third of the country’s hospitals have a nursing vacancy rate above 10 %, and another 500,000 RNs are expected to retire by the end of this year. Incredible Health, founded by Iman Abuzeid and Rome Portlock in 2017, helps match nurses with open positions. The funding brings her valuation to $1.65 billion, making CEO Abuzeid one of the few black female founders to lead a company valued at more than $1 billion. Learn more here.

Offers of the week

AI funding: Abridge, a startup using artificial intelligence to securely transcribe medical appointments, has raised a $12.5 million Series A-1 seed round led by Wittington Ventures. The company, which launched in 2020, says its technology has been used by 2,000 clinicians = and 200,000 patients.

Inclusive care: Violet, a medical education startup that provides diversity, equity, and inclusion training for clinicians, raised $5.3 million in seed funding. The funding round was led by SemperVirens Northwell Holdings, the venture capital arm of Northwell Health.

Circular agreement: Merck has signed a collaboration agreement with biotech company Orna Therapeutics to use its circular RNA technology to develop vaccines and therapies. The agreement calls for Merck to pay Orna an upfront payment of $150 million, up to $3.5 billion in milestone payments and possible royalties for any drug approved.

Medicines of natural origin: Senda Biosciences, which develops drugs derived from nanoparticles that occur naturally in plants and animals, announced that it has raised a $123 million Series C roundbringing the company’s total funding to $266 million.


Retailers like Best Buy, CVS and Walgreens are preparing to sell over-the-counter hearing aids later this year, after the FDA issued new guidelines this week opening up what was previously a prescription-only market.

President Joe Biden signed the Cut Inflation Act this week, which includes climate, health care and tax changes — a major victory for the administration’s national agenda. .

Gallup poll finds three in five Americans support tougher regulations on Electronic cigarettes a month after the FDA decided to ban Juul from the market.

A judge ruled this week georgia the six-week abortion ban will remain in place as the legal challenge progresses. Here is an overview of the status of other legal proceedings.

Coronavirus Updates

Since the start of the pandemic, a symptom of Covid has emerged as unusual: a significant percentage of people report a loss of smell. The loss may be a symptom of greater neurological damage, which is still one of the least known things about the impact of Covid. Two new studies published last week, however, shed light on the subject.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that almost 10% of children hospitalized for Covid experience complications affecting their brain. These complications include seizures, brain abscesses, ischemic strokes, and other forms of brain damage. “Complications are almost uniformly associated with worse outcomes and can be life-changing conditions,” said one of the study authors.

Another study published Wednesday in The Lancet found that unlike some other complications of Covid like the risk of heart disease or diabetes, the risk of neurological damage does not dissipate over time. Researchers here analyzed the health records of nearly 1.3 million people who had been diagnosed with Covid over a two-year period and found that these patients had an increased risk of developing conditions such as dementia, seizures or epilepsy, brain fog, and psychotic disorders like schizophrenia compared to people who had other respiratory infections. These risks became high during the delta wave and the omicron wave.

Given the scale of the number of people infected with Covid, even a slightly elevated risk of these complications means that hospitals and healthcare systems will have to deal with potentially hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of additional patients for these conditions. over time. on.

An HIV vaccine could be closer than ever – thanks, in part, to Covid-19

Infectious disease expert Dave Wessner reports on the 24th International AIDS Conference, where researchers shared ways in which the development of a Covid vaccine could aid in the development of an AIDS vaccine. Learn more here.

Other coronavirus news

The efficiency of Pfizer and BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine against infection in adolescents wears off rapidly within weeks of vaccination, according to actual data, but it still provides significant protection against serious illness and death.

The UK has allowed Moderna’s Covid Vaccine which targets two different variants of the virus, a world first as pharmaceutical companies adapt to a changed viral landscape and countries prepare to launch recall campaigns in the fall.

CDC director Rochelle Walenski announced on Wednesday that it would make major changes to the agency’s structure, including staffing changes and efforts to improve public messaging, after saying the agency had failed to respond adequately to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some 56% of a sample of people who tested positive for Covid-19 during the winter omicron wave didn’t know they were infected, a new study has found, adding to concerns that low levels of detection of the virus are helping to fuel the spread of the highly contagious variant.

Through Forbes

Next Billion Dollar Startups 2022

State fairs hope to put disease and deficits behind them in first full-throttle season since Covid

LinkedIn profiles say 300 current TikTok and ByteDance employees worked for China’s state media – and some still do

what else we read

The Forgotten Virus: Zika Families and Researchers Struggle for Support (New York Times)

Police used baby’s DNA to investigate father for crime (wired)

New Hahn-era texts show extent of Trump White House involvement in vaccine EUA process (Endpoints News)


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