Your morning summary of digital health news, information and events to know about if you want to be “in the know”. 

👇 News 

🧪 The rise of health tech has seen employment in life sciences increase 61% in the North West of the UK in the last five years, according to an analysis of new government statistics by Ryana leading global tax services and software provider. Bioscience and health technology sector statistics released by three government departments show the number of people in the region employed at R&D sites associated with life science businesses has reached more than 7,675. The region has also seen 28% growth in the number of life sciences sites conducting R&D. 

👴 In the heart of Yorkshire, a transformative approach to managing Parkinson’s disease symptoms is being trialled, harnessing the immersive capabilities of virtual reality (VR) technology. Parkinson’s, an incurable neurological disorder that hampers mobility and induces involuntary shaking, often triggers a phenomenon known as ‘freezing.’ This condition, where patients feel abruptly unable to move, particularly in scenarios such as crossing doorways or rising from a seat, poses a significant challenge in the lives of those affected. 

👣 Given that AI-driven decision support systems (AI-DSS) are intended to assist in medical decision making, it is essential that clinicians are willing to incorporate AI-DSS into their practice. One case study is the use of AI-driven cardiotography (CTG), a type of AI-DSS, in the context of intrapartum care. Focusing on the perspectives of obstetricians and midwives regarding the ethical and trust-related issues of incorporating AI-driven tools in their practice, a new article explores the conditions that AI-driven CTG must fulfill for clinicians to feel justified in incorporating this assistive technology into their decision-making processes regarding interventions in labour. 

🧬 Deepcell, which uses AI-powered single cell analysis to fuel deep biological discoveries, announced a research collaboration with NVIDIA to accelerate the development and adoption of advanced computer vision solutions in life sciences. Deepcell, which already uses the NVIDIA A4000 and NVIDIA AI technology, will incorporate NVIDIA AI into its single cell analysis technology, working collaboratively with NVIDIA to codevelop new uses for generative AI and multimodal applications in cell biology. The joint collaboration aims to advance understanding of cell morphology, and ultimately accelerate the use of AI-powered cellular analysis in cell biology and translational research across a broad swath of applications including cancer, stem cell, and cell therapy. 

🏥 A group of academic hospitals and technology companies will form a new nonprofit venture to oversee a nationwide network of laboratories to test artificial intelligence tools designed for use in health care, Stat reports. The nonprofit will establish the laboratories at Mayo Clinic, Duke, Stanford, and other major universities and institutions around the country. Its goal is to create a system to certify and register AI models and publish details about their performance before they are widely adopted. The labs are expected to begin operating within the next few months.

Did you know that?  

Robots really could be man’s best friend, a study has found. People who lived with a pet-like robot for two months had lower levels of stress, similar to the benefits of having a dog. ‘A robot may have an effect similar to that of animal therapy,’ say the researchers in the journal iScience. 

📖 What we’re reading 

In 2021, the UK government’s life sciences set out an ambitious strategy and vision for investment, innovation, and collaborative practice to respond to the growing “silent pandemics” facing the UK, such as diabetes, obesity, and dementia. Underpinning that vision and aligned to recently launched workforce plans in England is the recognition that health systems must embrace new “ways of working,” which include the scaled adoption of digital technologies, AI, and a preventative approach to healthcare, Nature reports. 

🚨 This week’s events 

Tuesday 9 January — Future cancer inquiry, House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee