Apple’s ResearchKit signed up thousands in one day

myheart counts

Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced.

“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”

With ResearchKit, Apple has created a pool of hundreds of millions of iPhone owners worldwide, letting doctors find trial participants at unprecedented rates. Already five academic centers have developed apps that use the iPhone’s accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS sensors to track the progression of chronic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and asthma…

Bloomberg – of course – has to lurch off topic to ring up someone, anyone, who might try to cast FUD on the process.

For starters, the average iPhone user is more likely to have graduate and doctoral degrees than the average Android user, and has a higher income as well…Those sort of demographic differences could skew the findings from a study.

And Apple is making ResearchKit open source; so, in fact, there will be Android users.

Misleading data can also come from a user accidentally hitting a button or giving her phone to someone else, said C. Michael Gibson, a professor at Harvard Medical School and an interventional cardiologist…

Yet the iPhone also helps address a problem that standard trials often encounter: People enrolled in studies often falsely report their activity to researchers. By using its internal components or secondary devices connected wirelessly via Bluetooth, the iPhone can silently measure users’ behavior, without relying on them to keep track or be honest about what they’re doing…

Stanford researchers are using their ResearchKit app to study ways to encourage people to modify their behavior to improve heart health. Their app aims to automate as much data collection as possible, Yeung said. Participants will be asked to keep their phone on them as much as possible for a week, letting the GPS and accelerometer track their activity…

Other researchers are also looking for ways to use the iPhone to more accurately track behavior. A team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, working with digital health company LifeMap Solutions Inc., is studying whether having an iPhone app that educates asthma patients and reminds them to use their inhaler can improve symptoms and reduce doctor visits…

As of Tuesday morning, more than 2,500 people had enrolled and consented to participate in the asthma study, according to LifeMap…

The Parkinson’s app had 5,589 consenting users by Tuesday morning, according to Sage Bionetworks. Todd Sherer said he didn’t know the cost of developing the app, but the foundation’s biomarker study, a traditional trial with almost 800 participants over five years, has cost about $60 million…

Dunno if editors or reporters at Bloomberg get credit for looking everywhere but up their own arse to ask silly questions…but, many are not only irrelevant, but, ridiculous. We’re supposed to believe that every aspect of scientific methodology will suddenly disappear because a qualitatively larger pool of test subjects are now possible. Feels more like CNN.

My favorite football analogy fits perfectly:

A truly lame sports reporter was quizzing Ruud Gullet about Fulham’s potential problems with circumstances that didn’t exist – but could. But hadn’t.

Gullet finally blew up, saying, “What if, what if, what if? If my auntie had balls she’d be my uncle.”

Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil admits guilt — $25 Million fine for contaminated meds

McNeil-PPC Inc. pled guilty to one count of an information charging the company with delivering for introduction into interstate commerce adulterated infants’ and children’s over-the-counter (OTC) liquid medicines.

As part of the criminal resolution, McNeil, a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, agreed to pay a criminal fine of $20 million and forfeit $5 million…

In addition to McNeil’s guilty plea, McNeil remains subject to a permanent injunction entered by the U.S. District Court in 2011, requiring the company, among other things, to make remedial measures before reopening its manufacturing facility in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania…

According to the information, the OTC liquid drugs manufactured by McNeil at its Fort Washington facility, including Infants’ and Children’s Tylenol and Infants’ and Children’s Motrin, were bottled on four lines of machinery dedicated to liquid formulations. On or about May 1, 2009, McNeil received a complaint from a consumer regarding the presence of “black specks in the liquid on the bottom of the bottle” of Infants’ Tylenol. The foreign material was later identified as including nickel/chromium-rich inclusions, which were not intended ingredients in this OTC liquid drug.

The information alleges numerous other instances in which McNeil found metal particles in bottles of Infants’ Tylenol at its Fort Washington facility but failed to initiate or complete a Corrective Action Preventive Action (CAPA)…

During the 2010 inspection, the FDA asked McNeil for the CAPA plan covering the particles and foreign material found in the Infants’ and Children’s OTC drugs, and a McNeil employee confirmed that McNeil did not have such a CAPA plan.

RTFA if you want all the legalese.

In short, these creeps knew about the contamination problem for a year before they were caught. In my mind, that’s about as corrupt as you can be – short of deliberately trying to harm children.

Let’s don’t forget this case goes back to 2010. McNeil have had their corporate lawyers drag this case out hoping to cut their losses over time – pleading guilty after five years.

Republicans never read a civics book — and, now, they want to run foreign policy!

Asked about the open letter of 47 US Senators to Iranian leaders, the Iranian Foreign Minister, Dr. Javad Zarif, responded that “in our view, this letter has no legal value and is mostly a propaganda ploy. It is very interesting that while negotiations are still in progress and while no agreement has been reached, some political pressure groups are so afraid even of the prospect of an agreement that they resort to unconventional methods, unprecedented in diplomatic history. This indicates that like Netanyahu, who considers peace as an existential threat, some are opposed to any agreement, regardless of its content.

Zarif expressed astonishment that some members of US Congress find it appropriate to write to leaders of another country against their own President and administration. He pointed out that from reading the open letter, it seems that the authors not only do not understand international law, but are not fully cognizant of the nuances of their own Constitution when it comes to presidential powers in the conduct of foreign policy.

Foreign Minister Zarif added that “I should bring one important point to the attention of the authors and that is, the world is not the United States, and the conduct of inter-state relations is governed by international law, and not by US domestic law. The authors may not fully understand that in international law, governments represent the entirety of their respective states, are responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs, are required to fulfil the obligations they undertake with other states and may not invoke their internal law as justification for failure to perform their international obligations.

The Iranian Foreign Minister added that “Change of administration does not in any way relieve the next administration from international obligations undertaken by its predecessor in a possible agreement about Iran`s peaceful nuclear program.” He continued “I wish to enlighten the authors that if the next administration revokes any agreement with the stroke of a pen, as they boast, it will have simply committed a blatant violation of international law…

The Foreign Minister also informed the authors that majority of US international agreements in recent decades are in fact what the signatories describe as “mere executive agreements” and not treaties ratified by the Senate.

The death spiral of Congressional Republicans continues apace. The silliness of midterm elections aside – I still think they reflect as much stupidity as ignorance – domestic policies that confront interference from idjits and ignoranuses proceed as well as can be expected. American foreign policy remains trapped within the confines of a declining imperial power.

The response of Democrats in general is to maintain the obedience characteristic of our two-party hypocrisy. As long as they accept that we are the cops of the world – and that benefits corporate wealth first and foremost – policies based on military might prevail.

This latest comic opera by Congressional Republicans is worthy of a Charlie Chaplin movie. Ted Cruz is obviously set for the role of the Italian Fascist, Benito Mussolini. Either of the Koch Brothers is a shoo-in for Adolf Hitler. There are damned few Democrats capable of getting the support and laughter deserved by this clown show. Elizabeth Warren and the very independent Bernie Sanders come to mind.

Nope. We’re stuck with blivets in the Congressional Right who need the foreign minister of a Middle Eastern theocracy to explain not only international convention; but, U.S. law to them.

Farming can be more productive without a plow


Click to enlargeNo-tillage cotton field in California

Gabe Brown is in such demand as a speaker that for every invitation he accepts, he turns down 10 more. At conferences, like the one held here at a Best Western hotel recently, people line up to seek his advice…

Mr. Brown, a balding North Dakota farmer who favors baseball caps and red-striped polo shirts, is not talking about disruptive technology start-ups, political causes, or the latest self-help fad.

He is talking about farming, specifically soil-conservation farming, a movement that promotes leaving fields untilled, “green manures” and other soil-enhancing methods with an almost evangelistic fervor.

Such farming methods, which mimic the biology of virgin land, can revive degenerated earth, minimize erosion, encourage plant growth and increase farmers’ profits, their proponents say. And by using them, Mr. Brown told more than 250 farmers and ranchers who gathered at the hotel for the first Southern Soil Health Conference, he has produced crops that thrive on his 5,000-acre farm outside of Bismarck, N.D., even during droughts or flooding.

He no longer needs to use nitrogen fertilizer or fungicide, he said, and he produces yields that are above the county average with less labor and lower costs. “Nature can heal if we give her the chance,” Mr. Brown said.

Neatly tilled fields have long been a hallmark of American agriculture and its farmers, by and large traditionalists who often distrust practices that diverge from time-honored methods.

But soil-conservation farming is gaining converts as growers increasingly face extreme weather, high production costs, a shortage of labor and the threat of government regulation of agricultural pollution…

Soil health proponents say that by leaving fields unplowed and using cover crops, which act as sinks for nitrogen and other nutrients, growers can increase the amount of organic matter in their soil, making it better able to absorb and retain water.

RTFA for lots of detail, information that might benefit more farmers – but, not corporations producing chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides.

Understand that vested interests opposing no-till farming are so strong, own so many state and local politicians that when Terry McAlister makes mention of growing cotton like a West Texas farmer I know exactly what he means. Because if you drive through West Texas in March and April you will run into localized dust storms as dense as any Arizona haboob. Only these are the product of disc harrows on cotton fields – required by Texas law.

That law had a place decades ago as the only way to stop boll weevils; but, that hasn’t been necessary in decades. The law isn’t about to change because farmland ruined by this kind of abuse can be kept to some level of productivity by the addition of everything healthy farms don’t need.

And, by the way, if you visit some of the reservoirs, say, around Lubbock – make certain you practice catch-and-release if you go fishing. The fish are so poisoned by chemical runoff from the cotton fields they’re considered unfit for human consumption.