Chelsea Clinton takes on health investing, study finds VR helps ease chronic pain and other digital health briefs

Also: Soterix Medical gets green light from FDA to trial its take-home transcranial direct-current stimulation therapy, while MammoScreen gets a 510(k).
By Laura Lovett
02:20 pm

VR for pain. A new study published by JMIR found that virtual reality was a feasible and scalable means of treating chronic pain. The study, which used AppliedVR’s technology, split participants into two groups: a VR cohort and an audio one. 

Participants in the VR group were mailed a headset, with accompanying software, speakers and microphone. Participants in this group were asked to complete one session a day for 21 days. The other participants (half of the total) were given an audio-only version of the VR program. 

The study, which was also paid for by AppliedVR, found that participants in the VR group saw a decrease in pain intensity, pain interference with activity and stress. 

“High engagement and satisfaction combined with low levels of adverse effects support the feasibility and acceptability of at-home skills-based VR for chronic pain,” authors of the study wrote. “A significant reduction in pain outcomes over the course of the 21-day treatment both within the VR group and compared with an audio-only version suggests that VR has the potential to provide enhanced treatment and greater improvement across a range of pain outcomes.”

Take-home brain stimulation. Soterix Medical will now be able to launch a trial of its transcranial Direct Current Stimulation-Limited Total Energy, thanks to an FDA Investigational Device Exception (IDE) designation. This will allow the company to test its at-home transcranial Direct Current Stimulation therapy, with corresponding healthcare platform. 

"The tDCS-LTE therapy is approved for treatment of Major Depression across the globe including Europe, Australia, Brazil, etc,” Jose Rodriguez, Soterix Medical's VP for regulatory affairs, said in a statement. It has been shown to be effective in trials, including results published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The IDE approval for tDCS-LTE is a critical step to proving and providing treatment in the US."

First daughter’s first moves in founding firm. Chelsea Clinton may be the next celebrity to start their own venture firm, according to Axios. Reports indicate that a front-runner for the name is Metrodora Ventures. This isn’t Clinton’s first foray into investing. She has invested in telemedicine company Nurx and took a place on the company’s board. Additionally, Axios is reporting that she also invested in a pregnancy-focused app called Poppy Seed Health. 

Didn’t I take my pill? A glitch in a smartwatch tracker left its medication reminder alerts opened to hackers, according to Pen Test Partners, a digital security firm. The tool, which was manufactured by Far East, which said that after the firm alerted it to the issue the problem was fixed. It wasn’t just the adherence feature left opened as a security risk. Hackers could also have tracked the wearer and audio-bugged them. 

Helping radiologists. An artificial intelligence-powered mammogram screener, MammoScreen, landed an FDA 510(K) clearance. The tool was designed to detect potentially harmful soft-tissue lesions and calcifications in mammogram images. 

"We believe MammoScreen will provide quick and reliable confirmation of Radiologists' suspicions as they read,"  Matthieu Leclerc-Chalvet, Therapixel CEO, said in a statement. "This AI solution will ensure a more certain assessment by Radiologists and a speedier reassurance of women having breast cancer screening exams, resulting in a more efficient workflow and reduced costs for the healthcare system. We look forward to installing MammoScreen in radiology departments and institutions across the U.S. so imaging professionals and women can benefit from its use."



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