Motiv's fitness ring comes to Android, teens experience Alzheimer's through VR, and other digital health news briefs

By Laura Lovett
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Putting yourself in someone else's shoes. High school students are learning about living with Alzheimer's disease in a new VR experience that simulates the experience for teens. The program, which was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference yesterday, has multiple different storylines for students to explore. The experience lets students see what it is like to live with macular degeneration and hearing loss as well as dementia. 

"What we're hearing from the students is that experiencing the virtual reality training before they volunteer improves their empathy and increases enthusiasm for working with the seniors — two documented outcomes of our program,” Dr. Daniel C. Potts, of the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and the creator the Bringing Art to Life Program, said in a statement. "It also may decrease the stigma and their negative attitudes about older people.”

Going global. Diabetes care company Companion Medical has just landed a CE mark for its InPen, a smart insulin pen. The connected device has already been FDA-cleared but this latest announcement means that it will be able to go on the EU market. 

"We look forward to introducing more sophisticated smart pen technology with integrated diabetes management tools to people with diabetes in Europe," Sean Saint, CEO of Companion, said in a statement. "Our mission is to empower people living with diabetes and their healthcare providers with easy-to-use solutions that improve outcomes at a lower cost. With diabetes, the greatest challenge is knowing how much insulin to take and when to take it. ... Healthcare providers need actionable, reliable data from their insulin pen users, and now finally have that through Insights by InPen, our integrated diabetes management report." 

Android at last. The fitness tracking ring Motiv is now compatible with Android phones, according to a statement from the wearable maker. The rings were first displayed at CES in 2017. This new announcement means that users can share info to their Google Fit app. 

“Since our pre-order announcement of Motiv Ring, we’ve received requests from Android users who want Motiv Ring. We are thrilled to support Android users and put Motiv Ring on their fingers,” Tejash Unadkat, CEO of Motiv, said in a statement. “Following Android, the most requested ask has been integration with other health-minded and fitness apps. In par with our Android launch, Google Fit has been a key priority for us that we’re happy to deliver today.”

I’ve got a feeling. Researchers at MIT found that when doctors order tests, it isn’t just about the data — oftentimes they also rely on a “gut feeling” that artificial intelligence doesn’t have. The study, which will be presented at IEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Conference, looked through doctors' notes to see if tests ordered were done through purely medical records or through a combination of data and instinct. 

"There's something about a doctor's experience, and their years of training and practice, that allows them to know in a more comprehensive sense, beyond just the list of symptoms, whether you're doing well or you're not," Mohammad Ghassemi, a research affiliate at MIT's Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES), said in a statement. "They're tapping into something that the machine may not be seeing."