Digital Health Science Digest – Issue 50

Posted | Posted in Digital Health Science Digest

In today’s issue: register for the 5th Annual mHealth@Duke Conference, facial recognition for rare diseases, and more!  

The Digital Health Science Digest is a bimonthly newsletter compiled by Duke Digital Health. We bring you the most interesting research publications, policy news, and other fun digital health science stuff.  

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Issue 50



Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General have created an at-home male fertility test using a smartphone and costing… under $5?! The smartphone attachment tool detected abnormal sperm samples with 98% accuracy. The wrote that this tool would help make fertility testing more accessible in the face of stigma, high costs, and other obstacles.

Selfie or medical tool? This app from Boston startup FDNA allows clinicians to take pictures of patients and uses facial recognition data to help identify rare diseases. It recently launched a Research application to try to build the world’s largest database for rare disease data, in order to aid clinicians in diagnosing their patients. On average, it takes 7 years to get a diagnosis for some of these rare diseases.

Summer is on its way… and so its the sweat that comes with it. Good thing sweat analysis could be the next big thing in wearables! Sweat has many biomarkers, including sodium, potassium, and glucose level, and offers an alternative to more-invasive blood testing. Several professional sports teams, including the SanFrancisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins, are jumping on board.


HIV infected patients have higher rates of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). They also experience worse disease progression and are at higher risk for cancer than their HIV-negative counterparts. A yearlong pilot tested sending HPV immunization reminders via text message among young HIV-1 positive patients. Findings indicate that texting can increase immunization rates among young, primarily Black, HIV-1 infected patients.

A meta-analysis of technology-mediated interventions to help disseminate the Diabetes Prevention Program found that they can result in clinically significant amounts of weight loss and improvements in glycaemia in patients with pre diabetes.


The World Health Organization released a toolkit for digital health Monitoring & Evaluation , intended for implementers and policymakers to better understand how to monitor and evaluate the impact of digital health interventions. After all, it’s not enough just to have digital health interventions; we need to know that they’re really working like we want them to.

This week, Idaho’s Senate voted to amend a telemedicine law prohibiting physicians from prescribing abortion drugs through online platforms. A judge struck down the law, as a result of a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood. It’s not just Idaho dealing with telemedicine policy issues related to abortion — Utah and Arkansas have recently passed bills dealing with telemedicine access, and Texas may see a similar battle in the coming weeks.

Grab bag

We are hiring!  Duke Digital Health invites applications for a new 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of digital health and obesity. Full job description can be found here and more information about our center can be found here.

Another open position! The Duke ADHD Program invites applications for a new 2-year post-doctoral fellowship in the area of digital health and ADHD. Full job description can be found here and more information about the ADHD program at Duke can be found here.

IntraHealth is hiring a Director of Digital Health. Check out the job description here.

The Health Data Exploration Network is holding its third annual Network Meeting and Data Drive in San Diego on Tuesday 5/2 and Wednesday 5/3. The theme this year is “Representing the Person: Promoting Social Justice in the Use of Personal Health Data.” The goal of the meeting is to explore and discuss questions about the ways that personal data represent individuals and populations.




Don’t forget to register for the mHealth@Duke Conference: The Lifecycle of Digital Health – details below!

3rd Annual mHealth@Duke Shark Tank Competition!
Come see 4 teams pitch their best digital health ideas to address global health disparities!
Friday, April 7th 10am – 11:30am, Trent Hall 124
Refreshments will be served

5th Annual mHealth@Duke Conference – register today!
The Lifecycle of Digital Health Science
Check out the agenda! 
Keynote speaker: Drew Schiller, CEO & Co-Founder, Validic
Wednesday, April 12th 
9am – 4pm Great Hall, Trent Semans Center for Health Education, Duke Medicine
Powered by Duke Digital Health & Smashing Boxes
Registration is free but almost full – register here today! 

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