#10 The blue checkmark blues 🐦
Also: Mayo clinic tests AI models for bias, tech-based solutions to bullying, Crispr cancer therapy & more.
Rise and shine, healthcare enthusiasts. Today’s newsletter is 940 words long, or a 4 minute read.
Think about it 💡
🩺 What Elon Musk taking over Twitter means for Healthcare. Since the pandemic broke out, many health professionals have taken to Twitter to share public health news and advice. Eric Topol, a prominent physician, even tweeted about it. But Elon Musk's takeover is sparking concerns about the spread of misinformation and disinformation on the platform.
And indeed, it does smell like a rat. It took only a few days for Musk to fire senior executives, including Chief Legal Vijaya Gadde, who had been behind many of Twitter's trust and safety initiatives, such as placing tweets in violation behind "interstitials'' or even banning former President Donald Trump from the platform. Musk also introduced a pay-to-play feature for the blue checkmark verifying user profiles. Healthcare professionals were, as expected, not too chirpy (🐤) about it. The subscription model was suspended due to the infinite mayhem it caused. Guess they blue it.
Health professionals are not the only victims of Musk’s Twitter rodeo. Big pharma Eli Lilly also took a nice hit (a 4.5% stock drop kinda hit) when a user posing as the company tweeted a message saying, "We are excited to announce insulin is free now". The fake message under the username @EliLillyandCo spread like wildfire and looked mighty real, mostly thanks to the now infamous blue checkmark next to the username.
🧠 Mayo Clinic designed a product to test AI models for bias and inaccuracy. The rapid rise of AI models in recent years has equipped practitioners with novel and possibly enhanced ways to fine-tune dosing, interpret imaging, and conduct other patient-related tasks. Yet the robustness of the evidence supporting the algorithms raises concerns. With this in mind, Mayo Clinic Platform_Validate tests AI models against anonymized data sets from more than 10 million patients treated at Mayo Clinic and its partners to measure sensitivity, specificity, and bias. It gauges said algorithm bias in categories such as age and ethnicity and provides third-party validation of models. Pretty cool.
Can tech find solutions to the bullying problem? 🚸
📱 Bullying has been a global epidemic for many years. And, as it does in other areas of health, technology has been striving to solve the problem. Because cyberbullying shapes so much of a child's experience of bullying, the solutions may need to be found offline. Though tech remedies won't solve the issue, they may play a role in the equation.
🤔 Experts suggest that some app-based interventions could lead to some kids reconsidering sending messages. For example, Instagram's anti-bullying tool has been using artificial intelligence since 2019 to nudge users into rethinking harmful words.
🔎 Prevention apps can also act as a support system. KnowBullying provides parents with ways to tell if their child is impacted and how to respond. STOPit Solutions, a web-based resource, connects users with trained crisis counselors.
🌉 Anti-bullying apps may not be solutions in and of themselves, but they do offer options for (shakily) bridging the gap in the lack of institutional and psychological support.
Neat News 🗞️
🏥 Maven Clinic raised $90 million in a Series E round for women's and family health amid a financial dry spell. Neat.
👵 GrandNanny secured £400K in pre-seed funding for its intergenerational child care platform. Super neat.
😶🌫️ Dementia prevention app Five Lives raised €3.7m to manage the disease through its direct-to-consumer content and brain game platform. Ultra neat.
What the hellth? 🔬
📰 In a new study published in the journal Nature, a U.S. team used the gene-editing tool Crispr to make tailored changes to cancer patients' immune cells to supercharge them against their tumors. The technique proves to be achievable and safe, but it succeeded only for a few patients.
💡 This is a new milestone in the personalization of cancer treatment. "Traditional" treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, prove effective for many patients, but they kill both healthy and cancerous cells. Tailored therapies on the other hand can specifically target a patient's singular set of cancer mutations and kill only those cells. Of course, it’s only the beginning.
Clean Content 🧼
🔮 Forbes’ annual top 10 healthcare industry predictions for 2023 is out. Time to pivot??
🧅 CB insights unbundled diabetes for ya.
Though I have one minor modification to make.
Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
💡 Delphine Groll, COO of Nabla, talks about all the operational hoops and hurdles involved in starting a health technology company so you can gracefully overcome them.
That’s the sound of da Poll-ice 📊
✉️ In our previous edition, we asked you if you felt your doctor followed up with you after your appointments. We would have liked to end the newsletter on a positive note, but a staggering 100% of you responded with a very sad and bummed out "no".
🏅 To offset this overarching depressing trend, we're delivering some exciting news to the women of the world: thanks to the Paris 2024 Olympic mascot, people will now have a clear anatomical understanding of the clitoris. At last.
Catch you on the flippity side.
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This is a great read!