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FDA approves AI-powered software to detect diabetic retinopathy

-text c-gray-1" >30.3 million Americans have diabetes according to a 2015 CDC study. An additional 84.1 million have prediabetes, which often leads to the full disease within five years. It's important to detect diabetes early to avoid health complications like heart disease, stroke, amputation of extremities and vision loss. Technology increasingly plays an important role in early detection, too. In that vein, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved an AI-powered device that can be used by non-specialists to detect diabetic retinopathy in adults with diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the high levels of blood sugar in the bloodstream cause damage to your retina's blood vessels. It's the most common cause of vision loss, according to the FDA. The approval comes for a device called IDx-DR, a software program that uses an AI algorithm to analyze images of the eye that can be taken in a regular doctor's office with a special camera, the Topcon NW400.

The photos are then uploaded to a server that runs IDx-DR, which can then tell the doctor if there is a more than mild level of diabetic retinopathy present. If not, it will advise a re-screen in 12 months. The device and software can be used by health care providers who don't normally provide eye care services. The FDA warns that you shouldn't be screened with the device if you have had laser treatment, eye surgery or injections, as well as those with other conditions, like persistent vision loss, blurred vision, floaters, previously diagnosed macular edema and more.

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Fitbit's latest acquisition could help you manage health conditions

-text c-gray-1" >Fitbit is very familiar with the health care world, and its latest acquisition drives that point home. The company has bought Twine Health, whose centerpiece is a health coaching platform that helps you manage chronic conditions (such as diabetes and hypertension) and complete " Глюкометры Глюкометры Глюкометры Глюкометры lifestyle interventions" like weight loss or quitting smoking. The move will help Fitbit offer its wares to health plans and self-insured companies — and, to no one's surprise, gives it a chance to make more money from subscriptions.

The deal should wrap before the end of March.

While Fitbit isn't more specific about what it would like to do, it's not hard to see where the company is going. Its Ionic smartwatch can already talk to glucose monitors, and heart rate tracking has been a staple of its activity trackers for years. Health care and insurance providers could offer Fitbit devices to help you meet your goals without as many doctor's appointments or sky-high insurance premiums.

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Stem cell breakthrough could help cure type 1 diabetes

-text c-gray-1" >Scientists have edged one step closer to a major treatment for (and possibly cure for) type 1 diabetes. A UCSF team has claimed it's the first to turn human stem cells into the mature, insulin-producing cells that type 1 patients don't have. The key was to acknowledge a reality in the development of islets, or clusters of healthy beta cells (which generate insulin) in the pancreas. They separated partly differentiated pancreatic stem cells into islets, jumpstarting their development and leading to responses to blood sugar that more closely represented mature cells. Even alpha and delta cells grew more effectively, UCSF said.

The technique has only been tested in mice so far, but the results were positive. It took just a " Глюкометры Глюкометры Глюкометры matter Глюкометры Глюкометры Глюкометры of days" for implanted islets to produce insulin as well as the rodents' native cells.

If the research continues to bear fruit, though, it could offer a much more realistic solution for type 1 diabetes. Pancreas transplants can help, but they frequently fail and still require drugs that suppress your immune system. There are tests for safer and more targeted islet implants, but they still tend to require organs from dead donors. This breakthrough could lead to on-demand implants and make it relatively easy to gain (or regain) healthy insulin levels.