By Clifton Leaf and Sy Mukherjee
April 19, 2017

Good morning, readers. This is Sy with some digital health updates.

Verily, the Google/Alphabet arm that focuses on the life sciences, announced a big new health study in collaboration with Duke University and Stanford Medicine this morning. The study, part of Verily’s “Project Baseline” drive, will recruit around 10,000 participants and be conducted over the course of the next four years at research sites across the country.

What makes the study so interesting is the depth of its ambition. Verily wants to keep tabs on everything from participants’ biometrics through the use of wearable sensors to their general well-being through interactive smartphone surveys. It will also regularly collect data such as “clinical, imaging, self-reported, physical, environmental, and molecular and genetic measurements,” as well as biospecimens like “blood, tears, and saliva, among others,” says the company. This will create an extensive “map of human health.”

The goal here is to figure out what combination of these metrics represent someone who’s in good health—and to observe how healthy people eventually become sick. With this approach, Verily thinks it can suss out the risk factors for various illnesses and eventually help people stop diseases in their tracks with a healthy assist from digital technologies.

“Through the Project Baseline study, we are aiming to engineer a true twenty-first century approach to health—in a preventive and personalized way,” said Dr. Adrian Hernandez, professor of medicine at Duke and member of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, in a statement. “Instead of having the annual physical exam that has not changed in decades, we’re hoping to develop new platforms that will discover changes in health as it happens in meaningful and actionable ways.”

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


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