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Matthew Perry Gets Online Sympathy After Revealing Health Issue

“He is grateful for the concern and asks for continued privacy as he heels,” said his representative’s statement.

Perry’s condition is sometimes known as a ruptured bowel. It is a hole in the gastrointestinal tract and could lead to a serious infection or other complications if not treated.

Perry played Chandler Bing on the Friends sitcom. He has been candid about past struggles with sobriety, entering rehab in 2001. He has been sober for 17 years.

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Low-Dose Aspirin Late in Life? Healthy People May Not Need It

The message for the public is that healthy older people should not begin taking aspirin.

“If you don’t need it, don’t start it,” Dr. McNeil said.

But those who have already been using it regularly should not quit based on these findings, he said, recommending that they talk to their doctors first.

Dr. McNeil also emphasized that the new findings do not apply to people who have already had heart attacks or strokes, which usually involve blood clots. Those patients need aspirin, because it inhibits clotting.

The study, named Aspree, is important because it addresses the unanswered question of whether healthy older people should take aspirin, said Dr. Dr. Evan Hadley, director of the division of geriatrics and gerontology at the National Institute on Aging, which helped pay for the research. The National Cancer Institute, Monash University and the Australian government also paid. Bayer provided aspirin and placebos, but had no other role.

“For healthy older people, there’s still a good reason to talk to their doctors about what these findings mean for them individually,” Dr. Hadley said. “This is the average for a large group. A doctor can help sort out how it applies individually. It’s especially important for people already taking aspirin who are over 70. The study didn’t include many people who had been taking it, and doesn’t address the question of continuing versus stopping.”

The most widely used guidelines for using aspirin to prevent disease came out in 2016 from experts at the United States Preventive Services Task Force. They recommend the drug to prevent cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer in many people aged 50 to 59 who have more than a 10 percent risk of having a heart attack or stroke during the next 10 years. (That risk, based on age, blood pressure, cholesterol and others factors, can be estimated with an online calculator from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.)

For people 60 to 69 with the same risk level, the guidelines say it should be an individual decision whether to take aspirin.

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Murphy sets up listening tour for health benefits panel

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy is taking his administration’s health benefits review on the road.

The freshman Democrat announced this week that the task force he put together this summer to review New Jersey’s multi-billion-dollar public worker health benefits will go on a three-stop listening tour.

The task force’s meetings, one each in the central, northern and southern parts of the state, will take place through November and come soon after a bipartisan legislative commission unveiled its own findings about how to address this perennial issue.

Murphy has not tipped his hand about what changes he would accept, but has allied himself closely with the state’s public-sector unions, which generally oppose benefits cuts and waged a war of words over givebacks under Republican Chris Christie.

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That sets up some potential tension with the Democrat-led Legislature because the legislative blue ribbon panel recommended a cut in benefits for the state’s roughly 800,000 workers and retirees.

A closer look at the issues:


In a word: money. The state has a combined pension and health benefit liability of about $152 billion, according to the legislative panel that released its findings weeks ago. That’s roughly four times the size of the state budget and three times the size of the state’s bonded debt. Health benefits this fiscal year run $3.4 billion, or just less than 10 percent of the overall budget, and are expected to climb by $700 million over the next four years.

The Legislature’s report estimates that the rising costs are about $200 million more than state revenues are projected to grow over the same time period.


Murphy has been mostly reticent about how he would proceed. He announced the task force, which includes members of labor and his administration, in May and said in a later executive order that he wanted it to look for “short-term improvements” and “long-term reforms.”

Lawmakers already put something on the table, though they have not yet advanced any legislation.

The legislative work group recommended reducing public worker benefits from platinum level to gold level. That change alone would save $587 million from state retiree benefits premiums in one fiscal year alone, according to the commission. Another big change would be requiring retirees to shoulder the same percentage of the cost of benefits as current workers, at 21 percent. New retirees in 2016 paid just $50 million out of $2 billion for health care, according to the legislative panel.


Under Christie, public sector unions opposed cuts, and Murphy campaigned and won last year with their assistance. He’s made no public promises on health benefits, but he has taken some actions to show how close he is with labor: He declined to renew a 2 percent cap on the amount that could be awarded in arbitration cases between police and fire workers and towns. That was a win for labor unions. He also agreed to public worker contracts that resulted in across-the-board raises to the acclaim to unions. But Murphy also headed a 2005 health benefits review commission for then Acting Gov. Richard Codey. That report called for workers to shoulder a larger share of benefits costs.


The first task force listening session is Thursday evening in Hamilton. The second is Oct. 25 in Rutherford, and the final meeting is Nov. 14 in Mount Laurel. Residents can submit comments to the task force at StateHealthBenefitsTaskForce@NJ.Gov.

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Parents, take note: Kids, teen, college student mental health problems on the rise

Adding to a wave of recent studies highlighting the unique mental health challenges that teens and young adults face — oftentimes alone — a new report from the World Health Organization finds that one in three college students worldwide have a mental health condition.

For many parents, the new statistics are unsettling, as they’ve heightened awareness of common struggles, like depression, anxiety and suicidality in teens and college students. But while the study points out problems, parents are left searching for better ways to support their children.

“The findings are real and concerning,” Dr. Tyree Winters, a New Jersey pediatrician and mental wellness advocate, told ABC News. “Stigma against mental health is changing, and these studies of adolescents spark a sensitive mental wellness conversation that is long overdue.”

PHOTO: A college student is pictured leaning his head against a blackboard in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A college student is pictured leaning his head against a blackboard in this undated stock photo.

Experts agree that mental health conditions in teens and young adults are on the rise. One study released last week suggested that 20 percent of all college students have considered suicide, and that one in every 10 college students has attempted self-harm.

But these recent studies are primarily based on self-reports, and may only be scratching the surface, according to Dr. Barbara Robles-Ramamurthy, an adult, child and forensics psychiatrist.

“Some young adults might not know they meet criteria or have never received a medical diagnosis,” she told ABC News. “It’s possible that the surveys only capture those who know what they have — others may be unaware or untreated for years.”

The surveys also delved into the adolescents’ self-identity — asking about sexuality and gender — in order to gain insight into the effect it might have on their mental health. Radical changes in their environments and pressures to relate to their peers may contribute to the high rates of reported mental and emotional issues. Transgender students are disproportionately affected, according to multiple studies, with as much as half of transgender students at risk for mental health conditions and suicidality.

“Transgender teens may be especially vulnerable to mental health challenges during this period of social and sexual discovery,” Dr. Ulysses Burley, founder of UBtheCure, a health and human rights advocacy organization, told ABC News. “Social rejection, bullying, discrimination and intimate partner violence are forms of trauma that may affect transgender students in ways parents might not consider.”

Many concerned parents want to help, but don’t know what to do, in part because there’s an incomplete understanding of mental health conditions and the risk factors.

PHOTO: A college student is pictured covering his face in this undated stock photo.STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
A college student is pictured covering his face in this undated stock photo.

The warning signs can be obvious, such as significant changes in behavior, sleeplessness, a smaller appetite and a diminished motivation to do routine activities. But other signs may be more subtle, such as irritability or gradual withdrawal.

Although these studies might spark debate, each one emphasizes the need for more help — resources dedicated to reducing adolescent and young adult mental health risk.

While schools and colleges expand mental health resources, parents should actively identify available options within their child’s environment. Robles-Ramamurthy encourages parents and loved ones to take the first step by learning how to ask for help.

“Recognize your own limitations in dealing with mental health in your child, because it may affect your ability to help them effectively,” she said. “Be sure to ask for help from people who are trained to give the appropriate care.”

Dr. Italo M. Brown is an Emergency Medicine Physician and writer with the ABC News Medical Unit.

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Dr. Marc Siegel: The lurking health risks of Florence

What challenges may North Carolina residents face as they await rescue from floodwaters? Dr. Marc Siegel weighs in.Video

Dr. Marc Siegel talks Hurricane Florence medical risks

What challenges may North Carolina residents face as they await rescue from floodwaters? Dr. Marc Siegel weighs in.

As Tropical Storm Florence abates, millions of people remain at medical risk. For one thing, more than a million people are without power, which at the very least means that patients who are dependent on life-sustaining devices like ventilators or need to receive dialysis or intravenous treatments in order to survive are in great danger.

The condition of medical facilities in the area along with patient needs are tracked by the Health and Human Services Command Center in Washington D.C.  HHS Secretary Alex Azar declared a public health emergency in the Carolinas ahead of Florence, and then suspended patient privacy sanctions which allows a free exchange of health information to save lives.

Information is shared among federal state and local health authorities, so that if you are a sick patient on a ventilator, for example, and the power goes off, there is a knock at your door and a health official who already knows your needs is there bringing you an emergency battery pack.

Fear, anxiety, and stress are very common among displaced people without electric power, especially those with chronic health problems.

Significant medical risks lurk in the floodwaters, especially with power lines down, which is one reason that the prodigious emergency response from HHS, FEMA, the National Guard, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and the American Red Cross among other many other groups has been so important. Beyond electrocutions, falling trees, and the risk of drowning, overflowing sewers, toilets, and displaced animals contaminate the floodwaters, which quickly become sources of multiple bacterial infections/diarrheal diseases and hepatitis.

People in the area may feel they are protected from floodwaters by rain gear, boots, and hip waders, but then they track the contaminated water on this apparel back into their homes. Debris and furniture and other protruding objects lurk below the surface of the water, causing falls, wounds, and fractures which are not easily treated because of the power loss and floods. Emergency responders have difficulty reaching patients.

Health officials have learned a great deal from previous hurricanes, and the response to Florence has been effective so far. According to the White House, contributions from both the public and private sectors have led to “more than 11 million meals, 18 million liters of water, 60,000 cots, and 1 million blankets,” already in place.  In addition to over two dozen  HHS and FEMA medical assistance and rescue teams, FEMA is preparing shelters to handle over 100,000 people.

Perhaps the most inspiring story involves the Cajun Navy, a flotilla of volunteer boats formed after Hurricane Katrina that rescues stranded victims. In Tropical Storm Florence so far, they have assisted dozens of people.

The best of America is this spirit of altruism and heroism and eagerness to help those in greatest need. This co-operative spirit is being demonstrated once again with Tropical Storm Florence.

Finally, as the floodwaters abate, people will be eager to return to their homes, and may do so prematurely, risking further injury and infection and asthma from the mold forming on the walls. Fear, anxiety, and stress are very common among displaced people without electric power, especially those with chronic health problems.  This situational anxiety, while it is understandable, is counterproductive. As I wrote in my book “False Alarm: The Truth About the Epidemic of Fear,” the more worried you are, the fewer precautions you take. Calm information is the best way to survive in any disaster, including this one.

Marc Siegel, M.D. is a professor of medicine and medical director of Doctor Radio at NYU Langone Medical Center. He has been a medical analyst and reporter for Fox News since 2008.  

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Lawsuit Seeks to Block Trump Health-Insurance Effort

Patient and advocacy groups filed a lawsuit Friday seeking to block the Trump administration’s plan to let people buy less-expensive health insurance that doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, takes aim at one of the central planks of the administration’s plan to roll back the Obama-era health law, after Congress failed to repeal it last year. It sets the stage for a legal standoff that could affect coverage and premiums for millions of Americans in…

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Brainstorm Health: Obesity Rates, Insulin Bio-Hacking, Allergan’s Aesthetic Ambitions

Happy Friday, readers! This is Sy.

America’s obesity problem isn’t exactly a secret. It’s a well-established reality that has widespread public health consequences, including the prevalence of chronic health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers.

But a new report from Trust for America’s Health and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation breaks down the most recently available obesity statistics, based on Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, on a state-wide, and sobering, basis, finding that seven U.S. states have adult obesity rates that exceed 35%.

“[N]ew state level data from the CDC’s 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) show that adult obesity rates rose by statistically significant amounts in six states and no states experienced a reduction in rates of obesity,” write the study authors. “According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 18.5 percent of children and 39.6 percent of adults had obesity in 2015-2016. These are the highest rates ever documented by NHANES.” Those numbers suggest more than 93 million Americans are obese.

Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia were the seven states found to have adult obesity rates higher than 35%, according to the study. Only Hawaii, Colorado, and the District of Columbia had rates lower than 25%.

The CDC says that this public health crisis isn’t just widespread—it’s expensive. “The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States was $147 billion in 2008 US dollars; the medical cost for people who have obesity was $1,429 higher than those of normal weight,” according to the agency.

But obesity is also a particularly difficult problem to solve given its disproportionate effect on racial minorities and poorer Americans. That’s tied to the wide-ranging, critical role that socioeconomics plays in public health, whether it be convenient access to affordable, nutritious food or a generally healthy environment. What’s clear is the problem is rampant, pricey (for individuals and the health system alike), and a tough issue to fix.

Read on for the day’s news, and have a wonderful weekend.

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Health alert: Hepatitis A found at Michigan Renaissance Festival

A visitor to the Michigan Renaissance Festival in northern Oakland County on Sept. 1 had hepatitis A, the Oakland County Health Division reported, prompting a call for vaccinations for those who attended.

Because of this exposure, health officials are asking that all who attended and worked at the festival on Sept. 1, 2 and 3 get a hepatitis A vaccine by Saturday – if they have not been vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated

“Vaccination can prevent the disease if given within 14 days after potential exposure,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, a health officer for the Health Division. “If you have attended the Michigan Renaissance Festival during these dates and have not been vaccinated for hepatitis A or have a sudden onset of any symptoms, contact your doctor.”

Those who attended on:

  • Sept. 1 can be protected if they receive vaccination by Saturday, Sept. 15.
  • Sept. 2 can be protected if they receive vaccination by Sunday, Sept. 16.
  • Sept. 3 can be protected if they receive vaccination by Monday, Sept. 17.

Vaccines are available through some healthcare providers and many pharmacies, and they also are available at both Health Division offices. Their address are:

● North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac,

● South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield.

On Friday, Sept. 14, their hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Monday, their hours are noon to 8 p.m.

“The hepatitis A vaccine consists of two doses, given six months apart and costs $52 per adult dose and $38 per child dose,” the health division reported. “No one will be denied access to services due to inability to pay. A discounted / sliding fee schedule is available. Everyone will be assessed for eligibility for free vaccine through the adult vaccine program.”

About Hepatitis A

Last month, the Oakland County Health Division advised residents to be aware of Hepatitis A due to an outbreak in the state that had impacted the county. As of Aug. 1, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported 869 cases of hepatitis A in Michigan, with 119 in Oakland County.

If one is not able to get the vaccine by Saturday, Sept. 15, they should be aware of the symptoms, such as:

• sudden abdominal pain

• diarrhea

• nausea

• headache

• dark urine

• vomiting often followed by yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).

“Symptoms may appear from 14-50 days after exposure, but average about one month,” the health division advised.

Visitors to the Renaissance Festival with question can call the Oakland County’s Nurse On-Call hotline at 1-800-848-5533, which will be open on Friday, September 14th from 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m. to answer calls.


Oakland County Health Division North Office, 1200 North Telegraph Road, in Pontiac. (Mark Cavitt/The Oakland Press)

The Health Division will also host a special Hepatitis A vaccine clinic​ on:

● Friday, September 14, 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.​ at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East in Pontiac.

● Saturday, September 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.​ at the North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac.

“We are still experiencing a serious, ongoing hepatitis A outbreak both locally and statewide. Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that can range from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a serious illness lasting several months,” said Stafford. “Vaccination, good hygiene, and proper sanitation of surfaces can prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

While the vaccine is the top suggestion to prevent Hepatitis A, an infection of the liver caused by a virus that is spread through contamination with feces, other tips to reduce the risk include:

• Washing hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before preparing and eating food. Rub hands vigorously with soap and warm running water for at least 20 seconds.

• Cleaning and disinfecting all surface areas, especially while someone in the household or workplace has symptoms. Particular care needs to be taken with areas such as toilets, sinks, trash, door knobs, and faucet handles.

• Not preparing food if you have symptoms and refrain from food preparation for at least three days after symptoms have ended.

• Excluding ill food service workers from the establishment immediately until clearance from OCHD is received.

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What’s a healthy breakfast?

Intermittent fasting

If you asked someone to list some typical regular weekday morning breakfast foods, they’d probably rattle off things like cereal, toast, bagels, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and maybe eggs and bacon.

But here’s the deal. Breakfast is how we break our overnight fast, and for many people, breaking fast doesn’t have to happen first thing in the morning. That’s right, folks: breakfast does NOT have to happen first thing in the morning. If you are not hungry when you wake up, that is normal, and you do not need to eat. That old myth about “revving up your metabolism” with food first thing was largely created by breakfast cereal manufacturers.

Overnight fasting: Good for weight control and easy to do

Evidence is growing in support of fasting for weight control, weight loss, and better metabolic health.

An overnight fast could look like this: You stop eating before nightfall, somewhere between 5 and 8 pm. (It’s a good idea to avoid eating anything in the two to three hours before sleep anyway.) Then, you do not eat until 16 hours later, somewhere between 9 am and 12 pm. Only liquids, like water, coffee and tea without sweeteners, seltzer, and even broth are allowed during the fast.

You’ve now completed a 16-hour fast, and you slept through most of it! Your meals occur only during an eight-hour period of the day, and you make these healthy meals, with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, legumes, and whole grains. This type of overnight fasting is called circadian rhythm intermittent fasting, and is linked to lower blood sugar and insulin levels, as well as healthy weight loss. Most people who try overnight fasting find this a pretty easy routine to maintain.

Some people (like growing children or people on certain medications) do not need to fast this long, and should have a healthy meal before their school or workday.

Break fast with low glycemic foods

Regardless of what time of day you break our overnight fast, scientific evidence shows that all humans have improved cognitive performance and more sustained energy from meals that don’t spike our blood sugars, so meals with a lower glycemic load. What does this mean?

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Nutrition Source breaks down the glycemic index and load of many foods.

Basically, the glycemic load gives us an idea of how much a certain food will cause our blood sugar to rise, and for breakfast, the lower, the better. A low glycemic load is under 10; medium, 11 to 19; and high is over 20. The best breakfast meal has a low glycemic load.

While it’s important to be aware of the glycemic load of the foods you eat, you don’t have to memorize the numbers. You can count on most plants (fruits and vegetables), legumes (like peas, beans, lentils), nuts and seeds, and whole grains to have a low glycemic load!

Foods that contain little or no carbohydrate, like eggs, nuts, and meats, have a glycemic index and load of close to zero. Does this mean that’s what we should eat? Not necessarily. See, they also have no fiber, nor any other important plant nutrients.

So what are some healthy breakfast choices? In a previous Harvard Health blog I told you what my family and I eat for breakfast. Here are some easy options to fuel you for your busy day:

  • plain yogurt, fruit, and nuts
  • oatmeal, fruit, nuts
  • whole wheat or rye toast with nut butter
  • black beans and tortilla (corn or whole wheat).

And if you enjoy eggs in the morning, you can try this Frying Pan Frittata. This recipe works very well with frozen veggies, and variations are commonly served as dinner at our house. For a breakfast, this can serve two to four people.

Frying Pan Frittata

If you enjoy eggs in the morning, you can try this frittata on the stovetop. This recipe works very well with frozen veggies, and variations are commonly served as dinner at our house. For a breakfast, this can serve two to four people. 


  1. Use a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat and heat oil until shiny.

  2. Add the onion, stirring until just soft

  3. Add the peppers.

  4. Stir until the onions and peppers are very soft and just browning.

  5. Add the spinach/greens to the pan and stir until wilted and hot.

  6. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk them up with a fork until they’re uniformly yellow and a little foamy.

  7. Pour your eggs over all the veggies, turn the heat on low, and cover the pan.

  8. Shake the pan a few times during cooking, which more evenly distributes the eggs and prevents sticking.

  9. Check frittata after three to four minutes.

  10. If the eggs look done, loosen it with a spatula to make sure there is no runniness. If there is, cook thirty seconds to a minute longer, covered.

  11. Using a spatula, slide frittata gently onto a large plate and serve. We slice this up like a pizza.


Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting. Annual Review of Nutrition, August 2017.

Time-restricted feeding for the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic disorders. The Journal of Physiology, April 25, 2017.

Daily Eating Patterns and Their Impact on Health and Disease. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, February 2016.

Breakfast and behavior in morning tasks: Facts or fads? Journal of Affective Disorders, December 15, 2017.

The effect of breakfast composition and energy contribution on cognitive and academic performance: A systematic review. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, August 2014.

Higher breakfast glycaemic load is associated with increased metabolic syndrome risk, including lower HDL-cholesterol concentrations and increased TAG concentrations, in adolescent girls. British Journal of Nutrition, December 28, 2014.

A low glycemic load breakfast can attenuate cognitive impairments observed in middle aged obese females with impaired glucose tolerance. Nutrition, Metabolism, and Cardiovascular Diseases, October 2014.

The Benefits of Breakfast Cereal Consumption: A Systematic Review of the Evidence Base. Advances in Nutrition, September 1, 2014.

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MIT built a health-tracking sensor that can ‘see’ through walls

Here’s how it works: The device emits radio signals that bounce off nearby people’s bodies and back to the box. The neural network under the hood then analyses these reflections to estimate a person’s posture and movements without cameras and behind walls. It can also extract all that valuable health data from those same signals.

The box “takes advantage of the fact that every time we move—even if it’s just a teeny, tiny bit, such as when we breathe—we change the electromagnetic field surrounding us,” writes Rachel Metz in MIT Technology Review.

Research has shown that the device can accurately monitor sleep, including individual sleep stages — meaning it could replace laborious studies that require participants to wear electrodes and snooze in a lab. Another benefit touted by its creator is its ability to silently track people over time to give better insights into a patient’s life and the medication they’re taking. This, says Katabi, could help doctors figure out how some meds help certain patients but not others.

In terms of privacy, the device is encrypted and only works with your consent. In addition, it requires the user to complete a set of specific movements before it can track you, making it virtually impossible to snoop on an unwilling participant.

Of course, wearables with heart rate monitors are now the norm (the Apple Watch 4, meanwhile, even packs an electrocardiogram, or EKG, and can detect atrial fibrillation) and there’s sleep tracking devices to monitor the amount of quality shut-eye we’re getting. But this piece of kit, its maker claims, can discretely beam even more granular physiological data to your physician — plus you don’t have to wear it.

Next up, Katabi’s startup Emerald Innovations plans to commercialise the tech having recently made it available to biotech and pharmaceutical companies for research.

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