As we approach the end of September, we bring you news of the FDA’s recently launched Digital Health Center of Excellence, a resource which will help the agency and other stakeholders in promoting a range of digital health technologies. In other updates from the digital front, there are reports of the use of AI to detect loneliness via natural speech patterns, and an impressive undertaking on the part of the global Human Cell Atlas initiative to create a detailed cellular and molecular map of the healthy human heart. There’s also research around the potential link between diabetes and fatty liver disease; rheumatoid arthritis; malaria; and biomarkers for neurodegeneration.
FDA Establishes Digital Health Center of Excellence
This week the US FDA announced the launch of the Digital Health Center of Excellence, a central resource intended to help the agency as well as external stakeholders promote digital health technologies. Housed within the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the Digital Health Center of Excellence (DHCE) will focus on a range of technologies "mobile health devices, Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), wearables when used as a medical device, and technologies used to study medical products," the agency said.
The Key That Unlocks the Connection between Fatty Liver and Type 2 Diabetes
Having an accumulation of fat in your liver cells may raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes regardless of the fat in other places of your body. What links fatty liver and diabetes remains unknown. However, a new study from the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen shows that glucagon resistance may be the link between the two diseases.
A Rare Blood Type Variant Helps Prevent Malaria. Now We Finally Know How
Malaria is caused by five species of mosquito-borne plasmodium parasites which infiltrate our red blood cells, using a 'lock-and-key' system. While much vaccine research has focused on changing the lock on our blood cells or hijacking the key, a gene variant, known as ‘Dantu’ does away with the door itself. The Dantu variant causes a slightly increased tension of the red blood cell surface, and researchers have now discovered that membrane tautness can prevent infection entering the cell.
Scientists have created a detailed cellular and molecular map of the healthy human heart to understand how this vital organ functions and to shed light on what goes awry in cardiovascular disease. Almost a half million individual cells were analyzed to build the most extensive draft cell atlas to date of the human heart. The atlas shows the huge diversity of cells and reveals heart muscle cell types, cardiac protective immune cells, and an intricate network of blood vessels. It also predicts how the cells communicate to keep the heart working.
Biomarker in the Eye Could Diagnose Neurodegeneration
Neurofilament light chain (NfL), a promising protein biomarker of neurodegeneration, has been identified in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood as a potential screening tool and prognostic indicator for neurodegenerative disease. In a new study led by Boston Medical Center researchers found that NfL is also detectable in the vitreous humor, or fluid within the eye. Researchers are now considering whether this could be used as a less invasive diagnostic tool.
Is Rheumatoid Arthritis Two Different Diseases?
While disease activity improves over time for most rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients, long-term outcomes only improve in RA patients with autoantibodies, according to a new study. The findings add to a growing body of evidence that RA with and without autoantibodies are two distinct conditions.