Tag: health

IBM deepens Apple partnership

1930s-couple-620x400IBM suits are deepening their partnership with Apple to make use of health information gathered by millions of Apple devices,

Biggish Blue, is creating a unit dedicated to providing data analytics to the healthcare sector and think that the millions of Apple watches which people bought by mistake will provide them with the data.

Of course the only problem is that Apple’s watch’s are not collecting any health data because after two years of delays Jobs’ Mob could not get them to work. Instead it seems that they will run on data collected from iPhones.

This of course means that only people using Apple gear will be providing the sort of data that IBM can use.  This might mean that Android users will just die — only this seems to be a data gathering exercise more than anything.

Nevertheless IBM plans to use its new Watson Health unit plans to aggregate health information from a large number of devices and providers in the cloud and offer insights to health companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic, which can then integrate results into services they sell to healthcare companies.

IBM said it will create headquarters for the unit in Boston with 2,000 employees, including about 75 medical practitioners. IBM also said it bought two health technology firms, Explorys and Phytel, for an undisclosed amount, to add to its skills in health data analytics.

IBM already has an arrangement to work with Apple on numerous enterprise applications, but is extending its co-operation in the area of health.

Watson Health is named for IBM’s artificial intelligence supercomputer which now write’s cookbooks for Amazon. It will bring cloud services and analytics to Apple’s latest forays into the health business, HealthKit and ResearchKit, IBM said.

Broadcom intros combo chip

broadcom_logoSemiconductor firm Broadcom has completed work on integrating global navigation satellite system and a sensor hub combination chip on the same die.

The company said the chip will be used to create apps for health, fitness and so called “life logging”, by providing software with an always on background location. Life logging means a mobile device knows where you are and the chip will manage functions to maximise battery life.

The integrated global navigation chip will provide a direct connection to wi-fi technology and so will improve battery power and context awareness.

The chip, the BCM4773 allows information from wi-fi, Bluetooth Smart, GPS and MEMS (micro electro-mechanical systems) to be calculated on one SoC (system on a chip) instead of having to use the application processor.  The design, claims Broadcom, will reduce the printed circuit board area by 34 percent and can offer up to 80 percent power savings.

Broadcom says the chip will support five different satellite systems including GPS, GLONASS, SBAS, QZSS and BeiDou.  The chip is already in production.

Heavy drinkers get a jolt of brain juice from booze

boozebeltA study could comfort quite a few alcoholics in denial. It found that long term alcohol use boosts brain levels of acetate, an energy rich by-product of alcohol metabolism and it gives drinkers a nice jolt of energy for the few grey cells they did not manage to kill off yet.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and it found that people who drank at least eight drinks per week stood to gain more brain energy from acetate than light drinkers, although eight drinks a week hardly qualifies as heavy drinking, but eight drinks at lunch does.

However, there is a downside, too. Study co-author Graeme Mason of Yale University believes the jolt could be responsible for giving drinkers more incentive to drink and that it might also explain why dropping booze is so hard, reports sciencenews.org.  Duke University biochemical geneticist Ting-Kai Li believes Mason’s hypothesis is good and that it proves previous assumptions that heavy drinkers absorb more acetate.

Acetate is usually associated with vinegar, which is often used as an excuse to justify the existence of salads. However, simply pouring more vinegar on salads won’t help. When people drink alcohol the brain breaks it down and pumps out plenty of acetate as a by-product. Although the brain prefers sugar, it can also burn acetate. Researchers proved their point by injecting sober volunteers with acetate tagged with a traceable atom. Then they measured how much acetate was used up in the brain and learned that heavy drinkers burn acetate at twice the rate of light drinkers. Mason likened the process to a bi-fuel car, which can run on ethanol once it runs out of petrol.

Mason said he was very surprised by the results, which proved his suspicions that people with high acetate levels would be tapping energy from it.

“The effect was way bigger than I thought,” he said.

Mason now wants to see whether administering some acetate could help addicts get over their alcohol withdrawal symptoms. However, he warns that people should not go out and start drinking vinegar to wane themselves off booze. People would have to ingest too much vinegar to get as much acetate as they would from drinking alcohol. Salads aren’t a very good delivery platform and simply chugging vinegar doesn’t work, either.