The latest news from Verily
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
The field of medicine is ever-evolving, and the hope is that recent advances in technology will continue to spur the next generation of medical discoveries. At Verily, we have been focused on creating new tools to collect and organize information in ways previously not possible so that we can make the information useful. These initiatives, we believe, may chart a course towards the ultimate goal of improving human health. Our aim with Project Baseline is to contribute meaningfully to these efforts and to scientific research more broadly.
The Project Baseline study will collect a comprehensive set of health information both within and outside the four walls of a clinic. Within the clinic, a broad group of participants - including those who are exceptionally healthy, at-risk of disease, and with overt disease - will be providing deep data on a diverse set of measurements with repeat sampling over the course of four years. To bridge these encounters, we have also developed tools such as the investigational
and the Baseline mobile app to allow participants to provide more continuous insights throughout their everyday lives.
That means the Project Baseline study dataset will include clinical, molecular, imaging, self-reported, behavioral, environmental, sensor and other health-related measurements. To organize this information, we are creating an infrastructure that can process multi-dimensional health data – much of which have never been combined for an individual. Our vision is that this data platform can serve as a single query source and may be used for more seamless data integration and collaboration.
We recognize that we cannot achieve this vision in a silo. Teams across Verily have united around the Project Baseline study, and we work closely with Duke University School of Medicine and Stanford Medicine, as well as other partners from academia, medicine, science, patient-advocacy, engineering and design. In the future, the intent is to make de-identified data from the Project Baseline study available to qualified researchers to spur new ideas across the broad ecosystem. Importantly, the participants are at the center of this study. They will serve as active collaborators alongside the rest of the Project Baseline study team and have the option to receive certain health data and test results to share with a doctor.
The Project Baseline study is therefore a united effort to map human health. To achieve this goal, we are creating a new set of tools for medical discovery, with the aspiration that these tools and others from the broader community will pave the way for rich real-world insights, and potentially one day add to the way care is delivered. Today, we begin.
For more information, visit
Posted by Jessica Mega, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer at Verily
Introducing Verily Study Watch
Friday, April 14, 2017
Today, we are proud to debut our newest investigational device, the Verily Study Watch. The ability to passively capture health data is critical to the success of continuous care platforms and clinical research. Study Watch represents another step in our targeted efforts to create new tools for unobtrusive biosensing. While numerous wearables exist in the market, we have a specific need outside of these offerings: namely, the scalable collection of rich and complex datasets across clinical and observational studies.
Note: Study Watch is an investigational device and is not available for sale.
The architecture of Study Watch was tailored specifically for high quality signals and seamless usage, with consideration of the needs of observational studies, such as how continuous wear impacts a user’s experience. These design and functionality decisions were reinforced by feedback from users, researchers, and clinicians.
Verily Study Watch is designed with these key features:
Multiple physiological and environmental sensors are designed to measure relevant signals for studies spanning cardiovascular, movement disorders, and other areas. Examples include electrocardiogram (ECG), heart rate, electrodermal activity, and inertial movements.
A long battery life of up to one week in order to drive better user compliance during longitudinal studies.
Large internal storage and data compression allow the device to store weeks’ worth of raw data, thus relaxing the need to frequently sync the device.
A powerful processor supports real time algorithms on the device.
The firmware is designed to be robust for future extensions, such as over-the-air updates, new algorithms, and user interface upgrades.
The display is always on so that time is always shown. The display is low power and high resolution for an appealing look and a robust user interface. Note: currently, only time and certain instructions are displayed. No other information is provided back to the user.
Because the investigational device stores health data, all data are encrypted on the device for security. The encrypted data are uploaded and processed in the cloud using Verily’s backend algorithms and machine learning tools. This infrastructure is highly scalable and can serve population studies consisting of large volumes of data.
Study Watch will be used in several observational studies conducted by Verily’s partners, including the
Personalized Parkinson’s Project
, a multi-year study to identify patterns in the progression of Parkinson’s disease and provide a foundation for more personalized treatments. Also, Study Watch will be used in the forthcoming
, a longitudinal study exploring transitions between health and disease. In the future, we plan to incorporate Study Watch in a broad array of health applications.
Posted by David He, Technical Lead; Tushar Parlikar, Product Manager; and Harry Xiao, Technical Program Manager
Gathering MSSNG Insights into Autism
Monday, March 6, 2017
Verily-supported research sheds new light on autism genetics that could guide better care
Today, Nature Neuroscience published
from the newest study conducted by the world’s largest autism genome sequencing program: the Autism Speaks
project. Verily and Google Cloud Platform are supporting MSSNG with secure storage, scalable processing, easy exploration, and sharing of the invaluable data.
In today’s publication, the research team led by
The Centre for Applied Genomics
(TCAG) at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, reports the sequencing of 5,205 samples from families with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) resulting in identification of 18 new candidate autism-risk genes, bringing the total number of autism-linked genes discovered in MSSNG to 61. Importantly, these 61 autism-linked genes also include several that increase risk for additional medical conditions such as heart defects and diabetes. This illustrates how whole genome sequencing of individuals with autism can help guide their personalized medical care.
Ryan Yuen with Steve Scherer, research director for the MSSNG project, both of TCAG at SickKids
was borne out of the MSSNG project’s need to store and process a new scale of data that modern cloud technology is uniquely equipped to handle. At Verily we seek to make the world’s health data useful, so we are excited to see the data from this partnership contribute to the field of autism research. As we develop a deeper understanding of various health conditions, including their genetic blueprint, we hope to improve lives through thoughtful personalized care, tools, and platforms.
In the spirit of open science, the MSSNG data, along with analytic tools, is
to all qualified researchers free of charge. Nearly 100 scientists from academia and industry have received access to the data already and are applying their ideas to unlock the value it contains.
There are thousands more genomes in the queue for upload to the online MSSNG database. We’re excited to see the research community use this data for further discovery as we move forward!
Posted by David Glazer, Engineering Director
Translating daily life into tools for diabetes
Friday, February 3, 2017
At Verily, we know that the tools we create to help people manage their health must seamlessly fit into their daily lives. After all, people are not the net sum of the disease or diseases they are managing, but are students or workers and mothers or fathers with many other priorities that come first. There are few places where user-centered design can have a greater impact than for those living with diabetes. In the U.S., there are more than 29 million people living with diabetes and 1.4 million new diagnoses annually. Living with diabetes is a constant balancing act, requiring many people with the disease to regularly monitor their blood sugar levels. Throughout my career as a researcher, I have seen how critical it is to not only create tools that generate more and better data on diabetes, but that also translate data into actionable information that is easily used by people managing their condition.
We have several ongoing projects that approach the challenges of diabetes management from different angles and the user experience of people living with diabetes drives many of our efforts in this space. Recently, I sat down with Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer for JDRF, who was in the Bay Area as part of the JDRF 2017 Mission Summit.
Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., Chief Mission Officer for JDRF
, the leading global organization funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, serves as an advisor to Verily, offering insight into the range of experiences and perspectives of people living with diabetes. We discussed one of our core capabilities at Verily, the miniaturization of electronics, and its potential impact on the daily lives of people living with diabetes. A version of this Q&A is also available on JDRF's
Aaron, if you could summarize in one word how you want people managing their diabetes to feel, what would that be?
“Free”. Right now, there is no cure for T1D, so people who live with this disease are forced to manage it by the hour, night and day, every day. It can be unrelenting.
As JDRF Chief Mission Officer, you are very connected to the experiences of people with type 1 diabetes. What are some of the daily challenges faced by people with this condition?
Families need help with this often unpredictable disease, which deprives people of sleep and flexibility in their daily lives. There are new treatment options that allow people with T1D to participate in sports, travel, sleepovers and other activities, but it still requires careful planning and consistent management. We can’t wait for the day when we are free from the hourly obligation to manage our blood glucose and free from worry about medical emergencies and serious complications that can shorten our lifespans. It’s our hope that the next generations of diabetes devices can help alleviate some of those worries while offering better health outcomes as JDRF works toward our ultimate goal—a cure for this disease.
From an engineering standpoint, what improvements could have the most impact?
I’m connected to type 1 diabetes through my position at JDRF, but I also have T1D, and my brother has lived with it for more than 40 years, so I know from personal experience that the smaller and less intrusive devices are, the more easily we can go about our everyday lives. That’s why JDRF is working with many different organizations to support research that can make miniaturization possible—from devices and their components to ultra-concentrated insulins.
What does the future of wearables look like in T1D?
While devices have made significant progress towards achieving superior health outcomes and a better quality of life, the reality is that none of us really want to have to wear something for the rest of our lives. Making devices smaller is one of several next steps in lifting the burden that comes with having diabetes.
Posted by Howard Zisser, M.D., Diabetes Clinical Lead
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