Issue 46: Microchip Implants, the Importance of Sleep, Sharing Medical Data with the Jobs Family

Swedish Citizens Are Getting Microchip Implants 

Image Credit: BBN Times

Straight outta a sci-fi novel. Imagine having an implant embedded in your hand that you could use to scan to get access to your home, gym, workplace, health clinic, and public transportation. Well that's exactly what's going on in Sweden right now. So far thousands of Swedes have signed up for the implants and the trend is going viral. Because Sweden has such a close knit tech scene the early adopters have been mostly tech savvy futurists, however, Sweden's largest train company has lit a fire underneath the implant tech by allowing customers to scan their implants instead of having train passes. It's not hard to imagine that this chip could also be scanned in emergency situations to get key medical information. 

Sleep is Important. Don't waste your zzz's on Jake Paul

a popular and highly overrated youtuber

Ah, bedtime! What a lovely time of day! Right before turning in I usually decide to unwind by watching just one little youtube video! And the next suggested video with its clickbait title lures me in and I end up watching another video, and another one, and all of a sudden it’s been like two hours and I have like five hours left before I need to be awake again. Alas, it turns out that not getting enough sleep isn’t healthy for adults either. In its guidelines, the CDC recently stated that even adults need to be getting 7 hours of sleep nightly. In addition to making you a crabby, anxious wreck, not getting enough sleep also increases the risk for getting chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Specifically, having inconsistent waking and sleeping times has now been strongly linked to developing cardiovascular diseases and even memory loss. So as painful as it is, when it’s time for bed you really do have to put down your devices and ignore the urge to find out what Shane Dawson really thinks of Jake Paul or to see what the latest drama is with Jeffree Star. 

Steve Jobs’s Family Create App for Cancer Patients to Share Health Data


A new app called Count Me In allows patients fighting cancer to send all of their health information to researchers. The researchers then use all of this coveted health data to search for patterns and find new cures. So far more than 5,000 patients have submitted their personal records. Count Me In hopes to get 100,000 participants in the next few years. Count Me In has some big names behind it including Laurene Powell Jobs, Reed Jobs (Steve Job’s son), the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, the Biden Cancer Initiative and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Count Me In is a nonprofit initiative so they won’t be selling any patient information to make $$$. Cancer can be incredibly isolating. This initiative allows patients to be a part of helping others. 

New Law Requires Pharma to Advertise Drug Prices 

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Finally some good news for those of us who are tired of the pharmaceutical industry robbing patients blind. Health officials proposed earlier this week that pharmaceutical companies should post the price of their medications when marketing through television advertisements. HHS Secretary Alex Azar and his team have drafted a new federal rule mandating drug manufactures to disclose the prices of any 1 month supply of drug covered by medicare/medicaid that would cost the consumer more than $35/month. Not surprisingly the pharmaceutical industry and it’s powerful lobbying counterparts are fiercely resisting the proposed legislating citing it is a limit to free speech. I know right? The audacity. Hopefully this new legislation will at least partly reign in the astronomically rising costs of drug prices -- if pharma doesn't kill it off first.  

CDC Investigates Mysterious Pediatric Disease: Acute Flaccid Myelitis 

Earlier this week the CDC released a statement indicating that 62 children had contracted a rare disease called acute flaccid myelitis that results in the weakness of the arms and legs. The average age of the patients is only 4 years old. Since the CDC began studying the disease in 2014, all 386 of the patients they have been able to identify are under the age of 18. CDC officials are frustrated that they have yet to pinpoint an etiological agent. They have noticed that the illness tends to be seasonal with most cases occurring in summer and fall. Some parents are starting to freak out that AFM is actually being caused by polio. The CDC has not found any cases of polio virus and has tried to warn worried parents that although there are more cases this year, it’s still an extremely rare disease. 

Value Based Care on the Rise. Praise the Lord!

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Let's be real. Healthcare spending is out of freaking control and we need to do better in providing low cost healthcare that actually makes people better. Well it turns out by some miracle providers are ACTUALLY switching to more value based care vs. fee for service. Which means doctors are getting compensated based on how the tests they order help the patients vs. the number of tests they order. According to the HHS, 34% of hospital payments last year were tied to value based care, which is up from 23% from the prior two years. Looks like we are making progress in the right direction. Who knew!