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The latest health tech news
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April 1, 2016  
Hello!

It's an incredibly exciting moment in the health-tech space right now--the rate of innovation is tremendous. As the industry evolves, it's tough to keep up and make sense of all the latest developments (and drama)! That's why I'm launching my new newsletter--where I will keep you up to date on the fast-moving world of health-tech: E
verything from software that tracks your footsteps to futuristic biotech emerging from Silicon Valley and beyond. Expect a periodic email from me with the most important news and analysis as companies attempt to disrupt medicine--and I separate the hype from reality.

It was a mixed March for health-tech. On the startup front, controversy-beleaguered Theranos received a rare bit of good news--and, true to form, managed to turn it into a public relations nightmare. The researchers behind the first peer-reviewed study of Theranos's tests told me that "Theranos performed fairly well" compared to established rivals Quest and LapCorp. But that didn't stop Theranos from proactively sending a harshly worded letter to the journal that published the study in an attempt to stop them from publishing the research. Ooh, scandal!

In other news, AliveCor, a medical device startup with some cool applications for the iPhone, introduced a new watchband for Apple's timepiece that is capable of performing a medical-grade electrocardiogram, or EKG, to check for problems with the electrical activity of the heart. It's FDA-approved, and a potential lifesaver for those with serious heart problems.

And as for public companies, gene-testing giant Invitae launched a slew of affordable genetic tests for neurological disorders, rare diseases, and pediatric conditions. The company's CEO told me it is currently losing money on each genetic test, but he hopes to flip that around in the coming year by driving up volume. I'm a bit skeptical, but will keep you posted.

At its one-year anniversary, I spoke with researchers and scientists to find out whether or not Apple's ResearchKit has truly revolutionized medical research yet. Researchers are impressed with the program's quick progress (100,000 people participated in the first 6 months), but say it's been a challenge to recruit a population of participants who aren't all gadget-loving white guys.

And finally, Verily, Google's Life Sciences division, is facing an employee exodus on account of its divisive CEO Andy Conrad, according to a report from Stat News. At a conference I attended back in early March, Conrad detailed plans to build a "Google for medical information." A bit vague, but sounds promising if they can pull it off (and if they don't lose all their best employees before they get there).

Thanks for reading! Tweet to me (@chrissyfarr) with any feedback on how we can improve this newsletter and make it more relevant to you!

 
--Christina Farr, Fast Company senior writer
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Google’s bold bid to transform medicine hits turbulence under a divisive CEO
Some former employees of Google's Verily blame its CEO Andrew Conrad for an exodus of the firm's top talent.
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