#12 Unicorns never die? 🍸
Also: antimicrobial resistance sucks, the Lensa app is hell waiting to happen, Christmas dinner body science & more.
Have you been naughty or nice? Either way, today’s newsletter is 850 words long, or a 3 minute read.
Think about it 💡
🦄 Sheryl Crow said it first. In a previous edition, we posited the question of whether digital health unicorns were on their last legs. In our case, the blame is not on Voldemort for feeling peckish but on the big black cloud that has been looming over healthtech this year, eating away at our 2021 sunshine. Well, according to data from CB Insights, digital health unicorns aren't extinct yet, as about two dozen health-focused startups have crossed the $1 billion valuation threshold this year (compared to 85 in 2021, but still, not terrible). Among them are platforms tackling pressing issues like healthcare staffing (Incredible Health, IntelyCare and Clipboard Health). See, 2022 was not all layoffs and bankruptcies. Long live the magical horn horses of digital health.
🦠 WHO partners with Firstline app to fight the global antimicrobial resistance pandemic. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) caused an estimated 5 million deaths in 2019 and is deadlier than malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. Beyond death and impairment, prolonged illness due to AMR results in extended hospital stays, the need for more expensive drugs, and financial hardship for those affected. It impacts society and the economy in substantial ways.
Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials are the primary drivers of drug-resistant pathogens, which puts prescribing and clinicians at the center of the equation. Through Firstline, a clinical decision support platform, WHO will be able to provide guidance to primary care clinics and hospitals via an app. Will certainly be more appealing to the reader than a two thousand page pdf.
The Lensa App is a red flag wrapped in an even bigger red flag 🚩
🥇 In recent days, the Lensa AI app has been climbing the ranks of the App store, reaching at one point the numero uno spot in the photo and video category. Initially, the app seemed to be nothing more than an innocent and artistic way to turn our very sad human faces into cool digital avatars of ourselves. For a few nickels and a dozen selfies, Lensa AI will make you into a fairy princess or a badass anime.
🖼️ While it may still be artistic, the app's use has proven to be not quite so innocent. Users have pointed out its tendency to generate hypersexualized images from initially very generic photos. Which, for people with a history of body image disorders, can be very triggering. Turns out that it's remarkably easy for Lensa to generate
soft-porn NSFW content.
🛑 Even worse, despite the app's "no kids, adults only" policy, some users reported that Lensa managed to turn their childhood photos into nudes, suggesting that girls and women were even more likely to be sexualized.
Neat News 🗞️
🧪 An emerging class of genetically targeted drugs induces remissions in leukemia patients. Neat.
🚕 Uber offers NHS staff free rides and food over Christmas. Very neat.
💊 Stork Club launches gender-inclusive reproductive hormone therapy coverage. Ultra neat.
What the hellth? 🔬
🍷 Festive feasting is around the corner so we thought it would be fun to go over what will happen to your body over the weekend. The first 5 minutes will be the most glorious, so enjoy them. Your cozy glass of mulled wine will dilate your blood vessels and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
💤 As you eat, foods will raise your blood sugar and your pancreas will start producing insulin, which will convert glucose into a storable form called glycogen. The resulting drop in blood sugar will make you feel bushed. Time for a quick nap on Grandma's couch.
🥬 A large meal can sit in your stomach for two to three hours and cause bloating. Flatulence (you know, farts) is triggered when the body's enzymes can't process certain substances like raffinose, a complex sugar found in Brussels sprouts. All the more incentive to leave the green devils to the rest of the party.
💩 It will take six to eight hours for these Christmas delights to pass through the stomach and small intestine before reaching the large intestine and finally being discharged. Time to tackle the leftovers.
Clean Content 🧼
📘 Humana’s yearly report on value-based care is out. Yay.
☂️ Xmas family catch-ups are coming up and, if you have the misfortune to work in healthtech, along with them Uncle Larry’s pesky questions about the sector's recession-proofness. You know John, times are tough out there.
🎙️ Interested in digital health? I assume so, otherwise you might have gotten lost along the way. Alex Lebrun talks about Nabla's AI-based digital assistant for healthcare. Very cool stuff, from our unbiased perspective.
This is what you came for 🍑
🧦 It's getting cold out there and taking off your socks before doing the thing is a good deed you are simply no longer willing to perform. I feel ya, those fluffy tubes are the only thing standing between your toes and a Raynaud's attack. We come bearing good news, according to BetterSleep.com (with a domain name like this, how could we not give them our unconditional trust), wearing socks in bed will increase your ability to orgasm by 30%. So screw it, you're keeping them on.
Have a joyous solstice 🎁
New here? Subscribe to The Healthcare Hoagie 🥪, Nabla’s bimonthly newsletter.