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Nest tried to hide its identity as the buyer of a promising health startup

More and more tech companies are blurring the line between gadgets and health devices. The new Apple Watch Series 4 will eventually do electrocardiograms. Fitbit just announced a fitness coaching program tailored to the health care industry that aims to “help improve wellness, disease management and prevention.” Google recently gave its Google Fit software an overhaul that awards users “heart points.” Based on an acquisition made last year, it seems Nest also has ambitious plans for the health sector.

As reported by GeekWire, communications between employees of Senosis — a health-monitoring startup that Nest quietly snatched up — and the University of Washington (where Senosis was founded) make clear that the company has something in the works. It was initially believed that Google had made the acquisition, but in fact it was Nest.

“It turns out Nest is much more secretive than the rest of Google or Alphabet. They seem to be particularly sensitive in this situation since they don’t want people to know they are getting into a whole new line of business, digital health, until they are ready to publicly announce,” Senosis co-founder Shwetak Patel wrote in an email to an executive at the university’s innovation hub. Employees were told to write “Google” and not Nest on forms pertaining to the buyout.

Senosis developed three health apps that utilize a smartphone’s built-in sensors to monitor different health attributes. HemaApp could measure a user’s hemoglobin level using a phone camera. Another could check for jaundice in newborn babies. And the last allowed a phone’s mic to act as a spirometer for diagnosing asthma when people blew into it. None of this tech had been cleared by the FDA when Nest bought Senosis, but the company told GeekWire that it had begun the process.

When Nest came calling, the university was proud of reaching the deal and wanted to tell the world as much. But Google instructed the Senosis team not to mention Nest or publicize the deal until after a health-focused product eventually shipped to consumers. It wanted to make the agreement as hush-hush as possible, which seems to have worked since it’s been a year and it has gotten little attention. GeekWire obtained the exchanges between Senosis and UW through a public records request.

“We do not want UW to issue a press release or other official communication with respect to the acquisition as this will likely result in the (Senosis) team being subject to a lot of distraction from inbound inquiries and opens the door to internet sleuthing on the WA Secretary of State website to uncover the acquirer’s identity,” one of Google’s lawyers wrote. “If a Nest health product doesn’t use the licensed technology, an unrelated press release regarding Nest’s acquisition of (Senosis) could again negatively affect our product rollout.”

So far, such a product has not yet been released. In July, CNBC reported that Nest has held discussions with senior living centers about incorporating its range of products into their facilities. A smartwatch being able to detect when you’ve fallen is useful, yes, but what if a smart video camera could recognize the same thing when pointed at elderly users who choose to live independently? You know, at least until Alphabet’s Verily unit discovers how to help people live forever. According to CNBC, Nest has also pitched the idea of using its motion sensors to automatically turn on lights when people wake in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

The big question is how Nest’s rejoining with Google might have impacted the former’s health plans. Perhaps we’ll hear more about new Nest hardware sometime this fall. For now at least, the company is sticking to traditional smart home products.

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Health Care Spending Under Employer-Sponsored Insurance: A 10-Year Retrospective

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New group wants annual health check for men

“One of the Alianse Vīriešu Veselībai’s (Alliance for Men’s Health, AVV) first challenges is to ensure that every male in Latvia receives a letter by mail from the national health authorities about getting a regular health check-up, including a check for cancer, similar to that received by females about screening for breast and cervical cancer,” the organization told LSM.

After several months of talks the NGO has been formed from six already existing men’s health organizations six organizations, with hopes that others may join in future.

“One of the core long-term goals of the AVV is to work on providing information on a continuing basis so
that the community becomes more aware about the importance of a prophylactic annual health check for everybody, including males, the target audience of our alliance,” AVV said.

The organization has recruited several public figures to support its effort including TV presenter and musician Valters Frīdenbergs, who has been receiving treatment for cancer despite still being a young man.

“Be a real man and go and get a check-up,” Frīdenbergs urged, in a bid to counter traditional reluctance by men to visit doctors.

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Winona Health & Y release new bldg. plans


Winona Health and the Winona Area Family YMCA have clinched a deal to build a $14.5-million facility on Winona Health’s campus, leaders for the two organizations announced yesterday. The brand-new Y building has been in-the-works for years, but Winona Health CEO Rachelle Schultz and YMCA Interim CEO Bill Soper said they have finalized the details of an agreement to construct the shared facility, a brand new Y building that will also house Winona Health’s Rehabilitative Services Department. Soil remediation work will begin this fall and a 12-month construction project will be launched in the spring, they stated.

“We’re excited,” Winona Health Occupational Therapist Kyann Brown said of the new facility in an interview earlier this year. She and her colleagues — in specialities ranging from speech therapy to cardiopulmonary rehabilitation — will get a 9,700-square-foot wing on the new building’s second floor, complete with a small pool dedicated to therapy and a small gym, a separate waiting room, and therapy rooms all specifically built for pediatric occupational therapy. Currently, Winona Health patients have to travel off-site to the current Y building for aquatic therapy. The new pool will be more convenient, and children-specific therapy rooms will have built-in equipment to serve young patients. The gym will allow parents to observe therapy without distracting from it, and the separate kids’ waiting room will allow youngsters to play without disturbing older clients. “The pediatric space will be sound-proofed, which is a big improvement,” Brown said with a laugh. It will be further away from the quiet massage-therapy sessions, too, Rehabilitative Services Department Manager Lucas Barbknecht added.

Winona Health started offering more pediatric therapy services within the last few years. “There’s a huge need,” Brown said. Brown spends part of her time working with children such as two-and-a-half-year-old Kane Martinka. Kane was born with a chromosome deletion that caused development delays, his mother, Beth Martinka, explained. “He couldn’t even crawl a year ago, which you wouldn’t believe,” Beth said. After regular therapy sessions, Kane is now walking everywhere and energetically grabbing play dough when Brown offers it. Beth said that some of her friends with special-needs children travel out of town multiple times per week for therapy sessions. “I couldn’t imagine,” she said, adding of the expanded pediatric therapy offerings Winona Health’s new space will provide, “It’ll be just so convenient having it here in town.”

YMCA and Winona Health leaders believe that by sharing the new space and working more closely together, they will be better able to reach their mutual goal of improving Winonans’ health and well-being. The YMCA has great programs that can help Winonans prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, Schultz said. Often, after patients finish therapy to recover from an injury or a heart attack, they want to continue exercising to stay healthy, but sometimes, gyms can be intimidating, Winona Health staff explained. The new, shared facility will allow Winona Health and the YMCA to offer a seamless transition from therapy to daily activity, Schultz said. “It eliminates that barrier. They’re in the building already,” she added. Other times, patients may not be motivated to exercise on their own, but they might enjoy the camaraderie of the Y’s group exercise classes, Barbknecht stated.

Leaders for the two organizations want the new facility to be a community gathering place, as well. Right next to the new home of the Y’s free daycare program for members, there will be a big, open lobby where people can meet up or get coffee from an adjacent cafe. “We know the social part of being a member of the Y is as important as the physical part,” Soper said. For her part, Beth was excited about the opportunity for her and her other children to use the Y while Kane goes to therapy. She had already been occasionally driving Kane’s siblings to the Y during Kane’s therapy sessions. “Sitting [in the waiting room] for an hour-and-a-half when you’re four is kind of a nightmare,” she explained. Now, it is all in the same building.

The Y’s new building has been a long time coming. It was first announced in 2016, when Y leaders hoped to break ground in late 2017. This spring, Soper said the Y planned to break ground in August. He later acknowledged in July that the project was taking longer than expected and the construction timeline was still up in the air. When the Y struck a deal to sell its current building to Fastenal in late July, the sale proceeds boosted the fundraising campaign to over $13 million. Now, the Y and Winona Health have ironed out the details of their co-location agreement — an important piece of the project. Winona Health will lease the land to the Y for $1. The Y will lease Winona Health space inside the Y’s new building. For now, Winona Health’s contributions to the fundraising campaign will be counted toward its lease payment, but eventually the health care organization will start paying rent to the Y, according to Schultz.

Soper said the Y’s facility committee voted last week to finalize the design of the building and the Y’s plans to begin construction. “We’re planning for the soil remediation work to all happen this fall, and the actual building will start this spring as soon as we can get in the ground,” he stated.

“It’s been a big journey certainly for the Y and the [Y] board, and the staff, and Winona Health, and I think there was, from the Y’s facility committee, a sense of relief last week,” Soper stated. It’s happening.

“While it’s taken a long time, we think this is really important,” Schultz stated. “There were lots of different hurdles to go through … It certainly takes time to work through those things. Nobody walked away because it’s that important.”

The Y is still over $1 million away from raising enough funds to pay for the project, but Soper said that the Y’s fundraising committee will be working hard to raise the final portion. “They’re confident that they can close that gap,” he stated, adding, “We know there are some donors who will be excited to see the project get underway.”

For the YMCA, the new building will be slightly smaller than the current Y, but it will be a nice, new facility that Y leaders believe will attract more members. “We’re projecting that we’re going to pretty quickly jump to 7,000 members, compared to the 4,000 members we’re serving today,” Soper stated. Other Y leaders have said that the maintenance needs of the current Y building and the staffing and operational expenses its maze-like layout require meant that staying in the current Y building was not financially feasible for the Y. “This new facility is going to be so much more efficient from an operating perspective,” Soper said.

According to new floor plans released yesterday, the Y building will include a six-lane pool, a whirlpool, sauna, and steam room on the pool deck, a strength training and cardio workout facility, two basketball courts, two racquetball courts, one fitness studio, and a cycling studio. There will be numerous family changing rooms along with the men’s and women’s locker rooms, a family fun center, and space for childcare and a nursery. The new building will be handicap accessible, and Y leaders have some land set aside for a possible future expansion.

The Winona Area YMCA offers reduced-price memberships on an income-based sliding scale. For more information visit

Keep reading the Winona Post for more on this story.

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The appeal of the Functional Fitness MOT to older adults and health professionals in an outpatient setting: a mixed …

Lex D de Jong,1,2 Andy D Peters,3 Sheena Gawler,4,5 Nina Chalmers,6 Claire Henderson,6 Julie Hooper,6 Robert Laventure,5,7 Laura McLean,6 Dawn A Skelton1,5

1Centre for Living, School of Health and Life Sciences, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK; 2School of Physiotherapy and Exercise Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia; 3Delivering Better Care Hub, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, UK; 4Research Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, London, UK; 5Later Life Training Ltd, Killin, UK; 6Edinburgh Community Physiotherapy Service, Edinburgh, UK; 7British Heart Foundation National Centre for Physical Activity and Health, Loughborough, UK

Purpose: To understand the views and perceptions regarding the Functional Fitness MOT (FFMOT), a battery of functional tests followed by a brief motivational interview, of both the older people undergoing it and the health professionals delivering it.
Patients and methods: Physically inactive older adults (n=29) underwent the FFMOT and subsequently attended focus groups to share their perceptions of it and to discuss the barriers, motivators, health behavior change, and scope to improve physical activity (PA) levels. PA levels were recorded at baseline and again at 12 weeks together with a post-intervention questionnaire concerning behavior change. Participating physiotherapists and technical instructors were interviewed.
Results: Most participants felt they had learned about their abilities and comparisons with their peers, had a change in perception about the importance of good balance and strength, and felt the FFMOT helped raise their awareness of local and self-directed physical activity opportunities. Most felt their awareness of the need for PA had not changed, but 25% of participants started a new organized PA opportunity. The health professionals perceived the FFMOT as being easy to administer, educating, and motivating for participants to increase their PA. Space, time, finances, and insecurity about having the necessary skills to conduct the FFMOTs were seen as barriers in implementing the FFMOT in daily practice.
Conclusion: Over half of those offered the FFMOT accepted it, suggesting it is appealing. However, most participants felt they were already active enough and that their awareness of the need for PA had not changed. There were positive perceptions of the FFMOT from both professionals and older people, but both felt the FFMOT could be held in a community venue. The overall findings suggest that the FFMOT is feasible in the clinical setting, but its effectiveness has yet to be determined.

Keywords: aged, health behavior, health services for the aged, physical activity, physical fitness, physical therapists

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Consume varied oils for good health: Experts

Hyderabad: Consumption of single type of vegetable oil does not ensure optimal intake of fatty acids and their balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in the body due to which reason National Institute of Nutrition has recommended that there must be use of a combination of two or more vegetable oils on rotational basis by the people.  This recommendation is because the intake of fats in the Indian population is income dependent and also highly skewed. There are regional preferences for the type of edible oil and it has been found that most Indians consume only one type of oil from one source throughout their life. 

The recommendation is to use oils in rotation so that the health benefits from all sources can be drawn. Oils rich in omega 6 fatty acids are sunflower, safflower, corn oil while those in omega 3 are oils from flax seeds, soy, mustard and canola oil. Dr R Hemalatha, director of NIN explained, “Use of wide sources of vegetable oils provides a wider variety of minor bioactive compounds which are health promoting and also help in the preconception stage. A healthy combination of fats is also required for a healthy baby and this begins much before pregnancy. In the preconception stage, it is important that there is a right balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids in the body.”


It has been found that the intake of omega 3 fatty acids is not sufficient in the Indian population due to which reason there are pre-term births, low weight child birth and also maternal death. According to the World Health Organisation 45,000 women died from preventable pregnancy complications in India in 2015. Nutritional experts state that while the consumption of omega 6 fatty acids is high, the balance has titled as omega 3 fatty acids is not very high. 

Professor Tom Brenna, past president of International Society of Fatty Acids and Lipids explained, “The fatty acids are an important nutritional intake for pregnant and lactating women and play an important role in developing the child’s brain. It is very important to maintain the balance for the proper development of the child.” Brain is the fattiest organ in the body and it continues to grow till a child is adolescent.  

Professor Michael Crawford, an expert on fats, fatty acids and its impact on the brain and senior member of ISSFAL explained, “The role of lipids in a pregnant woman has found that 70 per cent of the cells arrive in the first week of conception. Hence maximum formation of the brain is in the pre natal stage of life and for that reason the fat storages in the mother must be adequate and balanced to allow for the appropriate growth of the foetus. Due to this inappropriate growth of the brain there are diseases like autism, cerebral palsy and other mental illness which are seen in children. Adequate and balanced combination of fatty acids is very important for the growth of healthy children.”

In the Indian population the major challenges noted are that people have only one type of oil for years together and are not willing to shift their oils. Due to the vegetarian diet, the intake of fish is not possible for them and state that vegetarians can opt for omega 3 in green leafy vegetables, walnuts and oils of flax seed, canola and soya bean. The non-vegetarians must make fish a part of their diet so that they get sufficient intake of these fatty acids. 

To ensure that the intake is optimal, the cooking methods mean that foods rich in omega 3 must be cooked in omega 3 oils and not mixed with oils of omega 6 as otherwise the ratio gets tilted again. This is because omega 6 is pro-inflammatory while omega 3 is anti-inflammatory.   The absorption of fats in the body is adequate as the body requires it for the energy and is stored by cells for a longer period of time. Experts state that young mothers must improve their nutrition before conception as the growth of the baby depends on their lipid combinations apart from the genetic variants. 


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Billionaire Birla Says India Economy in ‘Very Good Health’

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Good health includes STD screenings, treatments | News …

People often feel embarrassed or even ashamed when they are diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases, though infections are widespread – rising in Oklahoma and many parts of the U.S. – and any stigma is unjustified.

STDs are easily detected and most are addressed without difficulty, but many people are reluctant to undergo testing. STDs are a particular category of maladies passed only through sexual contact. Health experts say they are not transmitted via public toilets, doorknobs, hugs, shaking hands, or sharing food, drinking glasses or utensils.

“Anything we do in the clinic is confidential,” said Elissa DeLong, women’s health nurse practitioner for NeoHealth OB/GYN Associates. “It is easy to get screened. All you need is urine, and we can rule out common types of infection that can be quite prominent in the community, especially with the college-age kids.”

Some common STDs are gonorrhea, hepatitis C, and syphilis. The most frequent is chlamydia. Men usually detect it due to urethral discharges, but it can by asymptomatic in women. Without detection and treatment, chlamydia can cause scarring and impact fertility.

“People need to understand that syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are ‘silent’ infections that people don’t always know they have,” said Ginny Geddes, advanced practice registered nurse and midwife for NeoHealth OB-GYN Associates. “Condom use with every sexual encounter is very important. If you have a sexual partner and any symptoms or concerns, you need to come in to be screened. Infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease which can lead to a pretty significant risk of infertility later in life.”

Women ages 15-25 are at the highest risk for chlamydia, which is easily treated with antibiotics if caught in time. Gonorrhea and syphilis also respond well to treatment with early detection. HIV, the virus causing AIDS, has no cure but can be managed with medication.

Though there has been a rise in the incidence of STDs in Oklahoma and nationwide, DeLong and Geddes said they have not noticed a local spike.

“We haven’t noticed an increasing trend, though we are aware that there is an increase in syphilis, per the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” DeLong said. “But we have not seen an uptick around here.”

According to 2016 health department data, there were 21,449 reported cases of chlamydia in Oklahoma, 7,574 cases of gonorrhea and 85 acute cases of hep C. There were 264 new cases of primary and secondary syphilis. Chlamydia cases saw an increase of 424 cases compared to 2015, while gonorrhea cases jumped from the previous year by 1,032. The increase of syphilis was 55. The reports of hep C fell by nine.

“Any woman under the age of 25 who is sexually active should come in once a year for screening for gonorrhea and chlamydia,” DeLong said. “Any woman 21-over should have a pap smear to screen for dysplasia of the cervix. Most people have been exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. We know HPV causes cervical cancer, which is an extremely preventable disease that we can easily screen for with a pap smear that is done usually every three to five years depending on age and risk factors.”

Infections of human papillomavirus, or HPV, a common disease that can cause cervical cancer in women, can be prevented through immunization. The vaccine has drawn controversy, because critics believe it encourages girls to become sexually active.

The Gardasil vaccine prevents infection by HPV strains 6, 11, 16 and 18. In females ages 9-26, Gardasil protects against two HPV strains that cause 75 percent of cervical cancers, and two strains causing 90 percent of genital warts. The strains also account for 70 percent of vaginal cancers and half of vulvar cancers.

In males ages 9-26, Gardasil can also protect against HPVs that cause 90 percent of genital warts.

HIV/AIDS remains among the most dangerous STDs. The virus attacks the human immune system. For more than a decade after it manifested in the U.S. population, the typical prognosis was death within a few years. It remains incurable, but drug regimens give people with HIV/AIDS life expectancies very close to normal.

The most recent online Oklahoma State Department of Health statistics are from 2016, when 75 new cases of AIDS were reported in Oklahoma, but none in Cherokee County. There were 295 new cases of HIV statewide, including two in Cherokee County.

The 2016 figures showed 5,954 Oklahomans living with HIV/AIDS, including 27 in Cherokee County.

The best defense against STDs is abstinence – an impractical measure for many. The best countermeasures for the sexually active are barriers, including male or female condoms. Health experts suggest being tested twice a year or if symptoms arise.

The Cherokee County Health Department offers free confidential testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. An HPV vaccine, given as three injections over a six-month span, is available for qualified recipients. The CCHD continues to offer its “brown bag special,” which includes free condoms and information on STDs, HIV and contraception.

For information on STD testing, call the CCHD at 918-456-8826 between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

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La Crosse one of four Wisconsin counties to earn top healthy living designation

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LIBRARY SHELF: Library, hospital team up for series on healthy living

The Stillwater Public Library is teaming up with the Stillwater Medical Center and the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative for another great health series. “Healthier Choices, Healthier You” is a six-week program designed to equip participants with tools to manage symptoms that stem from ongoing health conditions. It takes place at the library every Monday from 5:30-8 p.m. Sept. 24-Oct. 29, and SMC will be providing a light dinner for each class.

When an individual has an ongoing health condition like arthritis, diabetes, anxiety, hypertension or COPD, they may not have just the symptoms that go along with the illness. Unfortunately, they often also experience fatigue, sleeplessness, stress and other challenging symptoms that make dealing with the initial condition even harder. To compound problems, those symptoms can also make people vulnerable to even more illness.

This class helps individuals and/or their caregivers manage those symptoms. Brandi Bishop from SMC and one of class instructions says that attendees will learn tools for managing symptoms, getting better sleep, getting appropriate exercise and dealing with stress and the blues

Class is limited to 18 participants, so be sure to register soon. To sign-up, you may call Brandi at 405-742-5791 or Maricela at 405-271-6424.

The library has a wealth of material on these subjects. See some of the titles below:

• You Don’t LOOK Sick!: Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness by Joy H. Selak. This book addresses practical issues like hiring a doctor, managing chronic pain, loss of function, winning battles with health and disability insurers, countering the social bias against the chronically ill and charting a path for change and more.

• Living a healthy life with chronic conditions: self-management of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, depression, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other physical and mental health conditions by Kaye Lorig. This book is designed to help readers learn information and skills to manage chronic conditions on a daily basis while doing thing things they need and want to do.

• The exhaustion breakthrough: unmask the hidden reasons you’re tired and beat fatigue for good by Holly Phillips. This guide will help readers understand their exhaustion, rule out any underlying illnesses and correct any allergies or hormonal issues that may be contributing to extreme tiredness.

• Full catastrophe living: using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness by Jon Kabat-Zinn. This groundbreaking book shows you how to use medically proven mind-body approaches derived from meditation and yoga to counteract stress, establish greater balance of body and mind and stimulate well-being and healing. Check out the eBook for the updated version.


For more information, visit the library’s website at or call a librarian at (405) 372-3633 x8106.

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