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Brainstorm Health: 2018 Predictions, Diabetes Drug for Alzheimer's, 'Raw Water'

Happy New Year, Brainstorm Health Daily readers. I spent much of the post-Christmas break—perhaps too much of it—mulling the transformations happening in the world of digital health in preparation for writing a “Top 10” list of trends for 2018. But it seems No. 1 on my list is that such lists take longer to prepare than I’d realized. So I’ll have to deliver mine tomorrow.

In the meantime, I don’t want to leave you empty-listed. So to kick off your 2018, here are two of my faves so far.

Alan Murray, Time Inc.’s chief content officer, my boss, and perhaps most important, author of the eagerly read CEO Daily, predicts these five trends will dominate in the new year (click here for the newsletter version or here for the web). Alan avers that two key trends of 2017—the grand AI infusion-into-everything and the backlash against tech—will accelerate, that CEOs will increasingly embrace their roles as social change agents, that women will finally start to get a fair(er) shake in American workplaces and executive suites, and that, alas, we may be headed to recession. Oh well. But don’t stop at this summary: His arguments are well worth reading.

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Secondly, the Eurasia Group’s wise and hyperkinetic Ian Bremmer offers what he suspects will be the world’s top 10 risks of 2018 (click here for the summary version and here for the full report, which I thoroughly recommend reading). The top development that’s likely to fuel global jitters is China’s newly discovered mojo, says Bremmer: “China is no longer biding its time. [President] Xi has now consolidated enough domestic power to redefine China’s external environment and set new rules within it.” What that newfound confidence translates to is a more aggressive role in global investment and trade, more leadership in places like technology—particularly AI (see Alan’s predictions above)—where it has not been a leader before, and a lot more influence in regions of the globe where the U.S. once held a position of authority and favor. Bremmer says this—and other factors—could lead to what he calls a “Global Tech Cold War” (see his item No. 3).

It’s a great, smart, and sobering analysis—and if you’re looking for some worldly perspective that takes you away from your winter office for a few more precious minutes, reading Bremmer is a good way to begin the new year.

Sy has the news below.

DIGITAL HEALTH

Microsoft, GV pour money into DNAnexus funding round. DNAnexus has secured $58 million in funds from a slew of investors including GV (formerly Google Ventures) and Microsoft to finance an expansion of the company’s biomedical data and informatics platform. The firm has its fingers in a number of analytics-focused fields, including clinical trials research and precision medicine.

INDICATIONS

The diabetes drug that may have promise in Alzheimer’s. Disclaimer upfront: This study was done on mice. But it yielded some fascinating results—a paper published in Brain Research found that a triple-receptor drug designed for diabetes helped protect the brains of rodents with mental deterioration, including by preventing plaque buildup in the brain. This research is still in its early stages; but, given the continuing disappointments in the Alzheimer’s drug field, even initially promising results may prove tantalizing. (GEN)

THE BIG PICTURE

“Raw water?” Is 2018’s next big Silicon Valley-endorsed health trend… Water? Startup “Live Water” is one of the firms benefiting from the ostensibly “health-conscious” fad. (It’s exactly what it sounds like—water, but uh, raw, aka untreated, unfiltered, and otherwise un-accosted). Public health experts are pretty skeptical, though, given the movement’s parallels to the anti-vaccination agenda (Live Water’s CEO has compared public tap water to “toilet water with birth control drugs in them). Anti-fluoride activists are also into the trend. (Fortune)

REQUIRED READING

An Apple Conspiracy Theory Bloomsby Aaron Pressman

Five Big Business Trends to Watch in 2018by Alan Murray

Amazon Will Buy Target in 2018, Tech Analyst Predictsby Bloomberg

It Feels Like -7 Degrees and This Gas Company Just Told Customers to Turn Down the Heatby John Patrick Pullen

Produced by Sy Mukherjee @the_sy_guy sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
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