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EverlyWell jumps the ‘Shark’

BY Seth Mendelson

“Shark Tank,” the hit ABC television series, is paying off for EverlyWell, an at-home health testing company. EverlyWell founder and CEO Julia Cheek accepted a $1 million line of credit in exchange for 5% equity on the show that aired Sunday, Nov. 26. It is the largest valuation deal for a solo female entrepreneur in “Shark Tank” history.

“You get one shot to tell your story to the sharks and to America.” Cheek said after the show. “We know that our brand and consumer education is incredibly important to our growth, so it was really a once in a lifetime opportunity to get to pitch the sharks for an investment. This has been an incredible journey, and I’m grateful that we got our retail ‘start’ at GMDC’s Demo Day. We are eager for the next chapter in EverlyWell’s growth."

EverlyWell was first pitched in front of a retail executives audience during Global Market Development Center’s Retail Tomorrow “Demo Day” in 2016, then went on to win the Chair’s Choice Award during the 2017 GMDC Health Beauty Wellness Marketing Conference. The company offers a variety of at-home lab tests — including tests for food sensitivity, metabolism, sexually transmitted infections, ovarian reserves and others, some of which also offer a DNA analysis component. The results of the tests are delivered via the company’s secure platform.  

“We knew Julia and her innovative company was poised for incredible success when the startup presented at our inaugural Demo Day,” said Patrick Spear, president and CEO of GMDC. “And that success has been rewarded by this historic – and groundbreaking — ‘Shark Tank’ deal. The sky’s the limit for Julia and EverlyWell, and we are proud of the entrepreneurial accomplishments they are enjoying.”

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In a first for Apple, FDA clears EKG device for Apple Watch

BY Michael Johnsen

Mountain View, Calif.-based AliveCor on Thursday announced FDA clearance of KardiaBand in the U.S., allowing Apple Watch users to discreetly capture their EKG anytime, anywhere in order to quickly detect normal sinus heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation, the most common heart arrhythmia.

The first FDA-cleared medical device accessory for Apple Watch, KardiaBand can record an EKG in 30 seconds with just a touch of its integrated sensor. Results from the Kardia App are displayed on the face of Apple Watch.

"KardiaBand paired with SmartRhythm technology will be life-changing for people who are serious about heart health," stated Vic Gundotra, CEO, AliveCor. "These capabilities will allow people to easily and discreetly check their heart rhythms when they may be abnormal, capturing essential information to help doctors identify the issue and inform a clear path of care to help manage AFib, a leading cause of stroke, and other serious conditions."

AliveCor is also introducing SmartRhythm, a new feature within the Kardia app for Apple Watch. SmartRhythm uses artificial intelligence in concert with inputs from Apple Watch's heart rate and activity sensors to continuously evaluate the correlation between heart activity and physical activity. When SmartRhythm detects that heart rate and activity are out of sync, the device notifies users to capture an EKG with KardiaBand, or with KardiaMobile, AliveCor's popular, portable EKG reader.

Atrial Fibrillation, is the most common heart arrhythmia, and a leading cause of stroke. AFib affects more than 30 million people worldwide, and one in four people over the age of 40 are at risk for developing it. Millions of people around the world are unknowingly living with AFib. Yet, two out of three strokes are preventable when AFib is detected and treated appropriately.

"This is a paradigm shift for cardiac care as well as an important advance in healthcare," said Ronald Karlsberg, cardiologist and clinical professor of medicine, Cedars Sinai Heart Institute and David Geffen School of Medicine UCLA. "Today, EKGs are available only in offices and hospitals, using complex equipment, and usually only after a life threatening event, for example a stroke. With an EKG device on the wrist, AFib can be detected wherever the patient is, 24 hours a day. In randomized research trials, KardiaMobile, the first AliveCor EKG device, proved to be superior to routine care provided by physicians. Today, KardiaBand is a giant leap in personalized health care."

As a medtech leader, AliveCor uses advanced artificial intelligence, mobile, cloud and micro-electrode technology to change the dynamic in cardiac care. AliveCor empowers people worldwide to proactively manage heart health and to vastly improve the quality of care in the fight against heart disease. AliveCor's KardiaMobile and KardiaBand enable people and their care teams to easily, quickly and inexpensively detect and manage possible abnormal heart rhythms.

KardiaBand is available starting today for $199 and requires subscription to AliveCor's Premium service for $99 a year. The combined system includes SmartRhythm notifications on Apple Watch; unlimited EKG recordings; automatic detection of Atrial Fibrillation or normal sinus rhythm; the unlimited ability to send EKG readings to anyone via email; unlimited cloud history and reporting of all EKGs ever taken; weight and medication tracking; and a mailed monthly paper report on readings taken each calendar month.

 

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NIH maps indoor allergens prevelance nationwide

BY Michael Johnsen

Allergens are widespread, but highly variable in U.S. homes, according to the nation’s largest indoor allergen study to date. Researchers from the National Institutes of Health on Thursday reported that more than 90% of homes had three or more detectable allergens, and 73% of homes had at least one allergen at elevated levels.

“Elevated allergen levels can exacerbate symptoms in people who suffer from asthma and allergies, so it is crucial to understand the factors that contribute,” stated Darryl Zeldin, senior author and scientific director at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, which is part of NIH.

Using data from the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the researchers studied levels of eight common allergens – cat, dog, cockroach, mouse, rat, mold, and two types of dust mite allergens – in the bedrooms of nearly 7,000 U.S. homes.

They found that the presence of pets and pests had a major influence on high levels of indoor allergens. Housing characteristics also mattered – elevated exposure to multiple allergens was more likely in mobile homes, older homes, rental homes, and homes in rural areas.

The findings were published November 30 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

For individual allergens, exposure levels varied greatly with age, sex, race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Differences were also found between geographic locations and climatic conditions. For example, elevated dust mite allergen levels were more common in the South and Northeast, and in regions with a humid climate. Levels of cat and dust mite allergens were also found to be higher in rural areas than in urban settings.

 

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