Digital health news briefs for 5/31/2017

By Heather Mack
04:47 pm

Cure Forward shuts down. Cure Forward, a clinical trial matching platform aimed at cancer patients, has shut down its operations. The Cambridge, Massachusetts startup launched in 2015 with $15 million in venture backing, but was unable to generate new revenue going forward. In a message on its website, Cure Forward referred visitors to its site to the Cancer Support Community in their quest to find information about clinical trials.

Zepp augments smart sports equipment with app. Zepp, which makes a series of sensor-embedded wearables to track sports performance across a variety of activities including golf, baseball, soccer and tennis, launched a new app that uses visual computing to analyze activities using the smartphone camera.

New app aims to prevent sunburn. German dermatologist Dr. Titus Brinker developed an app to help prevent sunburns and encourage proper sun protection to reduce cases of skin cancer. Sunface, available for iOS and Android, works by having the user take a selfie and then selecting one of three categories: daily sun protection, no sun protection, and weekly sunbed (also known stateside as tanning beds). The app then calculates what damage will occur 5-25 years down the line and offers advice on sun protection and cancer detection.

A connected device for sweaty palms. Peruvian startup Drop is developing a connected device to assess and hopefully treat hyperhidrosis, a condition that causes excessive sweating. The smartphone –connected Handrop, which looks like a computer mouse, is embedded with electrodes under a metal plate to assess the level of sweatiness, then deliver electrical pulses intended to counteract nerve activity that triggers sweating.

Theranos back in the news. Blood testing company Theranos raised a few eyebrows this week with a $580 million SEC filing, as well as new court documents that reveal the company’s former directors did not follow up on public allegations that Theranos was using standard technology rather than its purported proprietary blood-testing devices.

Another FDA clearance for Masimo. Medical device company Masimo received FDA 510(k) clearance to use its O3 regional oximetry device in pediatric care. The device uses near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to monitor tissue oxygen saturation in the cerebral region, and is intended for use when peripheral pulse oximetry alone may not be sufficient to fully monitor levels in the brain. The device was previously cleared for use in adults.

Data is in for Fitbit's sleep tracking. Fitbit’s fleet of wrist-worn trackers that incorporate activity and heart rate can reliably track sleep stages, according to a new study based on 4 billion nights of Fitbit sleep data. The analysis, scored by independent polysomnography technicians, looked at the accuracy of Fitbit’s Sleep Stages features, which were introduced in April for Fitbit Alta HR, Blaze and Charge 2 devices. Sleep Stages uses heart rate variability to estimate the time spent in different stages of sleep – light, deep and REM. Dr. Conor Heneghan, Fitbit’s lead sleep research scientist, will present the findings during SLEEP 2017 in Boston this weekend. 


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