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

👇 News 

🧠 An international consortium of researchers, including those from the University of Tokyo, has developed a machine learning tool capable of predicting the onset of psychosis before it occurs. The tool, which uses MRI brain scans, was found to be 85% accurate at differentiating between people who were not at risk and those who later experienced overt psychotic symptoms using training data. Moreover, it demonstrated 73% accuracy using new data. The researchers believe that providing brain MRI scans for people identified as clinically high risk may help predict future psychosis onset.

😴 Researchers from Mount Sinai have been awarded $4.1 million from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop AI models to predict adverse outcomes in obstructive sleep apnea. The condition, which is caused by improper breathing and intermittent airflow blockage during sleep, is estimated to impact nearly 39 million adults in the United States. Sleep apnea can significantly impair sleep and contribute to adverse outcomes like hypertension, diabetes, long COVID, and all-cause mortality. Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed using the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), a tool designed to count the number of apneas – when a patient stops breathing during sleep – and hypopneas – periods of reduced airflow during sleep. The number of apneas and hypopneas are then combined to quantify the severity of an individual’s sleep apnea.

🔐 Rubrik Zero Labs recently released its third global study revealing that data is ballooning. In fact, healthcare providers are prime targets for cyber criminals given their large holdings of patient information, with Rubrik Zero Labs finding that the average organisation in this sector has on average 31% more sensitive data files than the typical organisation. Other findings showed reliable access to information is critical in the healthcare sector, as disruption risks catastrophic effects on patient care. Due to these elevated risks cyber resilience is gaining importance amongst healthcare providers. In the face of increased and more sophisticated ransomware attacks, there is a need to reframe the cybersecurity discussion in healthcare from protection only to cyber resilience, in line with regulations such as European Health Data Space regs, the study also concluded. 

💵 The South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub, based at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, has unveiled investment in health tech research and training by Google, to help tackle inequalities in the region and drive economic growth. Led by the University of Sheffield, in partnership with Sheffield Hallam University and alongside the South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, the £4 million Digital Health Hub will use the investment to fund research, digital skills training scholarships and apprenticeships for local students and businesses. As part of this, the South Yorkshire Digital Health Hub will work with Google on a series of pioneering research opportunities. 

🏆 Female health-tech entrepreneur Kavita Parmar is celebrating a “hat trick” of awards at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Awards 2024, with her language technology company Word360 winning ‘Contribution to the Community’, ‘Excellence in Customer Service’ and ‘Greater Birmingham Business of the Year’. Word360 have also been recognised in the last three successive years through the NHS Excellence in Supply Awards for their contribution to digitally transforming access for non-English speaking patients, with technologies such as ‘Wordskii-On-Wheels’ enabling on-the-go interpreting at the touch of a button. The Business of the Year award is a milestone not just for Word360, but for the Birmingham business community recognising a trailblazing female leader in the tech and business arena. This award symbolises the breaking down of traditional barriers and serves as an example for aspiring female leaders in the industry. 

Did you know that? 

There are 54,000 lung cancer patients in the UK, costing the NHS around £1 billion a yearOne major study showed that 17.5% of lung cancer cases that progressed beyond stage 1 had initially been missed or misdiagnosed. That would mean false negative lung cancer diagnoses create an excess cost to the NHS of £16.7 million per year and result in 858 avoidable deaths. If the technology could reduce the rate of false negatives by just 10% in its first year, that would save 191 patients from progressing to later-stage cancer. 

📖 What we’re reading 

Navigating the AI Regulatory Landscape: A Challenge for Health Tech Startups and Investors 

🚨 This week’s events 

21 February, MEP Lung Health Group Event – #KeepBreathing: A vision for EU action on lung health 2024-2029 

21 February, Westminster Health Forum – The next steps for net zero and sustainability in the NHS  

23 February, Westminster Health Forum – Next steps for cancer treatment, prevention and diagnosis in England