Do mHealth apps protect user privacy?...uh no.

Jun 23, 2021 11:12am

Are you dialling in for Personalized nutrition & Innovation summit next week? It looks like the who's who will be there, and if you are, do join our session on Ecosystems on Monday 28th at 9 am EST or book a networking session to say hello.

In this week's newsletter: Qina becomes content contributor at the ANA, Do mHealth apps protect privacy?, Open-source software is not good enough when it comes to AI, Sensus measures microbial fermentation in real-time, Amazon launches digital accelerator and a new event!

Happy reading!!



Qina becomes a content contributor of the American Nutrition Association (ANA)

We are very excited to announce that Qina has become a content contributor to the non- profit organization ANA. This move means that ANA members will have the option to access the Qina platform to enhance their practice as a member benefit.

We have always envisioned that the Qina platform will be the go-to personalized nutrition resource for businesses and practitioners alike, this is finally becoming true!


In the headlines - Do mHealth apps protect user privacy?...uh no.

This has always been such an important topic that never gets dull. In this recent article, researchers found that 88% of free mHealth apps available on the Google play store shared sensitive data with third parties. This is exactly why privacy is such an important component of the Qina score. To read the full article, click here.


Research Update

Nudging healthcare professionals in clinical settings: a scoping review of the literature

"The objective of this review is to identify interventions using nudge theory to affect the behaviour of HCPs in clinical settings." By searching for articles with the word “nudging” in the title or in the abstract, only 25 articles (of 997) satisfied the inclusion criteria, and another five additional articles were selected. It identified 11 nudging strategies: accountable justification, goal setting, suggested alternatives, feedback, information transparency, peer comparison, active choice, alerts and reminders, environmental cueing/priming, defaults/pre-orders, and education. In conclusion, the researchers said: "There are relatively few studies published referring to nudge theory aimed at changing HCP behaviour in clinical settings. These studies reflect a diverse set of objectives and implement nudging strategies in a variety of ways. We suggest distinguishing active from passive nudging strategies. Passive nudging strategies may achieve the desired outcome but go unnoticed by the clinician thereby not really changing behaviour and raising ethical concerns. Our review indicates that there are successful active strategies that engage with clinicians in a more deliberate way. However, more research is needed on how different nudging strategies impact HCP behaviour in the short and long term to improve clinical decision making".


Focus on emotions is key to improving heart health in people living with obesity

This study analyzed the impact of a community-based, lifestyle modification program on the physical and mental health of 1,122 participants between 2013 and 2019 that were referred from a specialist bariatric service at Galway University Hospital. The 10-week Croí CLANN (Changing Lifestyle with Activity and Nutrition) program included a nurse, dietitian, and physiotherapist and at baseline. It measured the weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, blood glucose, and levels of anxiety and depression. At baseline, the average body mass index (BMI) was 47.0 kg/m2 and 56.4% of participants had a BMI above 45 kg/m2. In addition, 26.7% had type 2 diabetes, and 31.4% had a history of depression. The average reduction in body weight was 2.0 kg overall, with 27.2% of participants losing more than 3% of their initial weight. The proportion achieving recommended physical activity levels rose by 31%. There were significant reductions in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood pressure. The proportion with high blood pressure fell from 37.4% at baseline to 31.1% at 10 weeks. In those with type 2 diabetes, the proportion achieving the recommended blood sugar target rose from 47.6% to 57.4%.


The human gut microbiome and health inequities

"The gut microbiome is strongly shaped by host environments and affects host metabolic, immune, and neuroendocrine functions, making it an important pathway by which differences in experiences caused by social, political, and economic forces could contribute to health inequities". This review aims to establish a relationship between the gut microbiome and health inequities, highlighting that "health policy must begin to consider the microbiome as an important pathway linking environments to population health."


A randomized controlled trial to isolate the effects of fasting and energy restriction on weight loss and metabolic health in lean adults

“Researchers recruited 36 lean participants and put them into three groups of 12. One group simply ate 25% fewer calories each day. The second fasted one day and then ate 150% of their normal calories the next, and the third ate 200% of their daily energy intake every other day, fasting on alternate days. By the end of three weeks, the group following a simple diet had lost the most weight, with an average fat loss of about 3.5 pounds. The group doing an intermittent fast who ate 150% of their regular diet every other day lost some weight, with an average fat loss of about 1.5 pounds. The group that fasted and then ate double their usual amount showed no significant drops in weight. The fasters also didn't have any benefits when it came to their levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, or insulin. (...) [Tthe results showed that], people on a fasting schedule tended to be less active than before they started dieting, which might be one factor that kept them from losing weight. [And], In fact, some of the weight loss in the fasting groups came from losing muscle mass as opposed to burning fat".


Therapeutic Potential of Ketone Bodies for Patients With Cardiovascular Disease: JACC State-of-the-Art Review

“This paper reviews the bioenergetic and pleiotropic effects of ketone bodies that could potentially contribute to its cardiovascular benefits based on evidence from animal and human studies”. The findings suggest that: "Data from experimental and human studies suggest that ketone bodies exert protective effects in patients with CVD; Administration of exogenous ketones may become an alternative to a ketogenic diet as a means of elevating ketone bodies; Future studies should assess the clinical impact of increasing ketone utilization in patients with or at risk of developing CVD."


The Development of a Digital Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement for Adults With Chronic Disease (The Parsley Symptom Index): Prospective Cohort Study

This prospective cohort study took place from January 5, 2018, to June 05, 2020, among a sample of 4621 adult patients at Parsley Health. It aimed to describe the development and preliminary validation of the Parsley Symptom Index (PSI), via an online portal. This PSI was developed by a 45-item review of systems (ROS)-style Patient-reported outcome measures (PROM) designed to capture chronic disease symptoms. The results demonstrate "the response rate for 12,175 collected PSIs was 93.72% (4331/4621) with a 100% item completion rate", which shows that "[the] preliminary validation suggests that the PSI can be deployed, completed, and be helpful to both patients and clinicians".


Effects of Vitamin D Supplementation on Cardiovascular and Glycemic Biomarkers

This randomized controlled trial, DAYLIGHT (Vitamin D Therapy in Individuals at High Risk of Hypertension) aimed to "determine whether vitamin D supplementation reduces biomarkers of insulin resistance, inflammation, neurohormonal activation, and lipids". The meta‐analysis showed potential modest decreases in the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance and hs‐CRP, but no changes in low‐density lipoprotein, after vitamin D supplementation compared with control groups"


Genetics of Sleep and Insights into Its Relationship with Obesity

This review aims to establish a link between genetics, sleep, and predisposition to obesity. Body mass index (BMI) was analyzed for both short and long sleep durations. The results show: "(...) robust causal effects of insomnia on higher BMI and, conversely, of higher BMI on snoring and daytime sleepiness. Bidirectional effects between sleep duration and daytime napping with obesity may also exist. Limited gene-sleep interaction studies suggest that achieving favorable sleep, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may attenuate genetic predisposition to obesity, but whether these improvements produce clinically meaningful reductions in obesity risk remains unclear".


Nutrition knowledge, food choices and diet quality of genotyped and non-genotyped individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Genotype-based personalised nutrition advice may improve nutrition knowledge and enhance behaviour change towards better diet quality compared with conventional recommendations.

This study aimed to investigate the nutrition knowledge, food choices and diet quality in genotyped and non-genotyped individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings include that nutrition knowledge and diet quality indices of balance and variety were higher among genotyped compared with non-genotyped individuals; overall diet quality was similar between groups. This may be due to pandemic-specific factors, such as altered motives of food choice and availability.


Meal-induced inflammation: postprandial insights from the Personalised REsponses to DIetary Composition Trial (PREDICT) study in 1000 participants

This study "aimed to characterize variability in postprandial inflammatory responses using traditional (IL-6) and novel [glycoprotein acetylation (GlycA)] biomarkers of inflammation and dissect their biological determinants with a focus on postprandial glycemia and lipemia".In conclusion: "The variable postprandial increases in GlycA and their associations with TG metabolism highlight the importance of modulating TG in concert with obesity to reduce GlycA and associated low-grade inflammation-related diseases".


We're going private!

We will be going into private mode after the summer. This means that only logged in users can see our free content. So if you have received this newsletter as a forwarded message, please make sure to subscribe to Qina to receive your weekly eblast right to your inbox.


Technology News


3X4 Genetics Names Michael Hubbard as CEO to Support Rapid US Growth

"Founded by leading nutrigenetics pioneer Dr. Yael Joffe in 2018, 3X4 Genetics has developed a proprietary genetic test that's sold through a network of accredited health practitioners. In addition to the tests, 3X4 Genetics provides health practitioners with training, resources, and a community of over 1,000 like-minded practitioners who share an interest in growing their practice and transforming more lives". They have announced the appointment of Michael Hubbard as Chief Executive Officer.


AI For Public Good: Open-Source Is Not Enough

"Open-source software (OSS) is a category of software in which source code is open to the public and is licensed in a way that allows everyone to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose". The concept of free sharing of technological innovation, presents numerous benefits, such as cost, reliability, security, freedom, flexibility, and open innovation. But, can it be beneficial to AI-driven products? "No. It needs a new definition. For the economy to prosper and to bring benefits to the underprivileged, we need to make sure that the Open-source concept is redefined for the AI-driven world. In this world, we may benefit largely from openly documenting our practices both for the developers as well as for the consumers. The developer community can use and reuse the common knowledge and therefore “stand on the shoulders of giants.” The consumer community, following the best practices from other industries, should be able to access information about how these systems are built and how automated decisions are made. Open Access. Open Data. Open Source. Open Ethics".


Sensus examines breath to measure inulin’s gut fermentation in €1M collab

In a collaborative project between scientists from Maastricht UMC+ and Maastricht University, Wageningen University and Research. Research Engineering (IDEE), Maastricht Instruments, the company Sensus, is measuring real-time microbial fermentation via the breath. "For the study, the researchers are expanding advanced respiration chambers into fermentation chambers, which are typically used to study metabolism and energy management in humans. Breathing gases are measured and analyzed in this exhaled air with highly sensitive sensors. Gases that are subsequently released during the fermentation process, such as methane, hydrogen sulfide, and hydrogen, are also measured. Each chamber forms a closed circuit: The test subject enters it and does not come out again for several days. Controlled fresh air from outside is introduced and air used by the test subject is extracted". The principal idea is to give Sensus more information about the fermentation of its Frutafit chicory inulin and also aims to investigate what impact diet, medication, and exercise have on gut bacteria, metabolism, and health.


Amazon launches digital health accelerator with a focus on virtual care, analytics startups

Amazon just launched an accelerator to help incubate early-stage digital health companies that can collaborate with the tech giant's healthcare customers and partners. This give startups the platform to tap into AWS' technical and commercial expertise. Further proof that Amazon is serious about moving into healthcare.


Join us next week for the Personalized nutrition Innovation Summit  for our session on Monday 28th June at 9am EST! OR book a 15 min networking session to say Hello



Food & Consumer Trends


What are the challenges of environmental labelling for food?

"As part of its pledge to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, the European Commission is preparing to table a sustainable food labeling framework. The aim is to empower consumers and help them make sustainable food choices". For the success of this operation, several topics must be resolved first. First of all, currently, hundreds of eco-labels for food and beverage exist across the market and must be decided which eco-label EU should implement. Other questions developers face are: How will product groups be defined? And, how can the success of an eco-label be measured in terms of environmental impact?


Gut health evolution ‘could extend to lungs to reinvigorate demand for probiotics’

According to a report by Spoonshot, the connection between gut-lung may be a future trend for innovation opportunities, especially in the probiotics industry: "The lungs, like many other parts of the body, have their 'own distinct microbiome but not as diverse or voluminous as the gut' (...) Given the gut's role in our body's immune response, a healthy gut could prove vital in fighting off any infection in the lungs as well.", says the report.


“Radical” regulation needed to slash children’s ultra-processed food intake and obesity, flag UK scientists

A team of researchers from the Imperial College London asks for more effective public health actions to reduce children’s exposure and consumption of ultra-processed foods (UPFs) after data from 9,000 UK children revealed a link between high UPF consumption and the risk of becoming overweight or obese. Among them:
"(...) national dietary guidelines should be updated to emphasize a preference for fresh or minimally processed foods and avoidance of ultra-processed foods. This is in line with guidelines developed in Brazil, Uruguay, France, Belgium, and Israel;
(...) UPFs should be taxed and minimally processed foods should be subsidized to make healthier food choices more affordable; and
(...) restrict the promotions and all forms of advertising of UPFs, especially those targeting children, and mandatory bold front-of-pack product labeling.



Upcoming Events

Kisaco Personalised nutrition summit, 28-29th June

Personalised nutrition & Health (Wageningen) - 7th October

Personalised nutrition innovation summit Newtrition X (Cologne) - 12th October