By Linda Carroll (Reuters Health) - - For years, researchers have been studying medical conditions using huge swaths of patient data with identifying information removed to protect people's privacy. But a new study suggests hackers may be able to match "de-identified" health information to patient identities. In a test case described in JAMA Network Open, researchers used artificial intelligence to link health data with a medical record number. While the data in the test case was fairly innocuous - just the output of movement trackers like Fitbit - it suggests that de-identified data may not be so anonymous after all. "The study shows that machine learning can successfully re-identify the de-identified physical activity data of a large percentage of individuals, and this indicates that our current practices for de-identifying physical activity data are insufficient for privacy," said study coauthor Anil Aswani of the University of California, Berkeley. "More broadly it suggests that other types of health data that have been thought to be non-identifying could potentially be matched to individuals by using machine learning and other artificial intelligence technologies." Aswani and colleagues used one of the largest publicly available patient databases, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NHANES. Included in the database were recordings from physical activity monitors, during both a training run and an actual study mode, for 4,720 adults and 2,427 children. The researchers showed their computer the data from the training runs for each person and included six demographic characteristics: age, gender, educational level, annual household income, race/ethnicity, and country of birth. The training data for each person was given a made-up record number. Then Aswani and his colleagues fed the computer the second set of activity data, including the six demographic factors. For 95 percent of the adults and 86 percent of the children, the computer successfully matched the two sets. What are the practical implications of that matchup? Aswani offers a hypothetical situation. "Say your employer is giving a discount for participation in a wellness program and will be collecting demographic information as well as physical activity data," he said. "At the same time, your health insurance company might have a program to try to get insureds to lose weight. They also collect demographic information and physical activity data, but remove identifying information." Theoretically, your employer could link the two data sets and "then they will accurately be able to link to the rest of your medical record," Aswani said. Another scenario, Aswani said, is that your smart phone is collecting your movement data as part of a health app. If your insurer also has movement data, the app maker might be able to link your name to your medical record and then sell the information to others. Dr. Elliott Haut worries that studies like this one will spark fears in the public, which might call for cessation of research using de-identified data. That would be a mistake, said Haut, vice chair of quality, safety in the department of surgery at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and an associate professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. While Haut acknowledges the risk that patient data could be relinked to patient identities, the benefits of research with this kind of data far outweigh those risks and can change medical practices for the better, he said. For example, he said, as a trauma surgeon, he wondered if the common practice of spine immobilization - putting a neck collar on and buckling a patient to a back board - is helpful or harmful for gunshot victims. The goal is to prevent movement and thus possibly paralysis. "We looked at the data and not only is this not beneficial, but it also could be harmful because the first responder takes five to 10 minutes doing this procedure instead of going directly to the hospital where we can start fixing them," Haut said. "If you are critically injured, that five minutes makes a huge difference." SOURCE: http://bit.ly/2EDCm8k JAMA Network Open, online December 21, 2018.
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- The Independent
‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
- The Week
Constitutionally-speaking, Chief Justice John Roberts is meant to preside over President Trump's impeachment trial, but he apparently wants out, Politico reports.Multiple Republican and Democratic sources have reportedly told Politico that Roberts is seeking a way to avoid the job because of how things played out when he oversaw Trump's first impeachment trial last year. Roberts, Politico notes, has worked hard to keep the Supreme Court apolitical during his tenure, so he was reportedly displeased that he "became a top target of the left" during the proceedings. "He wants no further part of this," one source told Politico, although there's been no official word from Roberts' camp about what he'll ultimately do.Trump's trial is a bit of a constitutional oddity. On the one hand, it's a presidential impeachment, but on the other hand, the trial will take place after he leaves office, which is why there's a chance Roberts may have some wiggle room. Historically, either the vice president or the longest-serving member of the Senate have taken up the mantle for lower-level impeachments, per Politico. That means Vice President-elect Kamala Harris or Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) could be the choice. Read more at Politico.More stories from theweek.com 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties Trump's White House staff and alumni are reportedly using the same excuse to skip his big sendoff
- Associated Press
The Kremlin on Tuesday brushed aside calls from the West to release opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who was arrested upon his return to Russia from Germany following treatment for poisoning with a nerve agent. Moscow called his case “an absolutely internal matter.” Navalny blames his poisoning on President Vladimir Putin's government, which has denied it.
"This is also a desire that's shared by other GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries," he said in an interview. Separately, the Qatari government was supporting discussions between Iran and South Korea to secure the release of an oil tanker seized by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards early this month, the foreign minister said. As far as any potential U.S.-Iran talks, he said that Qatar will facilitate the discussions if asked and will support whoever is chosen to do so.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
- National Review
Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) blocked a quick confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security secretary, citing Mayorkas’s immigration policy stance. Mayorkas is a former Obama administration official considered the architect of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children a renewable deportation deferment, without providing a path to citizenship. The confirmation hearings for Mayorkas come as Biden has pledged to undue many of the Trump administration’s restrictions on immigration, although it is unclear how quickly the Biden administration can act on those promises. “Mr. Mayorkas has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border given President-elect Biden’s promise to roll back major enforcement and security measures,” Hawley said in a statement. “Given this, I cannot consent to skip the standard vetting process and fast-track this nomination when so many questions remain unanswered.” Biden is reportedly set to propose an immigration-reform bill that would grant roughly eleven million illegal immigrants a path to citizenship over eight years. The bill could also grant citizenship to agricultural workers and illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. However, the proposal is not expected to include Republican-backed border security measures. The looming immigration debates in Congress come as a new migrant caravan continues to travel toward the U.S.-Mexico border. Several thousand people in the caravan clashed with Guatemalan security forces while crossing the border from Honduras on Sunday. “There’s help on the way, but now is not the time to make the journey,” a Biden official said in comments to NBC.
- The Week
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has received a letter from Dominion Voting Systems, warning him that litigation is "imminent" due to his false claims that the company's machines were rigged to change the outcome of the election.Lindell, an enthusiastic supporter of President Trump, has been spreading baseless claims of widespread voter fraud for months. In the letter, Dominion's lawyers told Lindell, "You have positioned yourself as a prominent leader of the ongoing misinformation campaign. Litigation regarding these issues is imminent."Lindell told The New York Times he would "welcome" Dominion to "sue me because I have all the evidence against them. They sent this letter a couple of weeks ago. They're lying, they're nervous because I have all the evidence on them." Lindell did not say why, if he has such evidence, he has kept it to himself this entire time, holding onto it as judge after judge rejected lawsuits filed in an attempt to overturn the election in Trump's favor.More stories from theweek.com Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties
A boy who was killed in an alleged murder-suicide by his father has been identified as 9-year-old Pierce O’Loughlin. Family tragedy: The boy and his father, Stephen O'Loughlin, 49, were both found dead at their home on Scott Street, Marina District in San Francisco on Wednesday afternoon, SF Chronicle reports. The boy’s mother, Lesley Hu, asked authorities to check on her son after learning that he did not show up for school that day.
Armenia has returned all Azeri prisoners who were captured during last year's conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but the process with Armenian prisoners has been held up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. The six-week conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was brought to a halt in November by a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement under which Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces were expected to exchange all captives. Armenia has said that many of its prisoners of war remain in Azerbaijan, a problem it has raised with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group.
- The Independent
‘If you turn me in, you’re a traitor and you know what happens to traitors...traitors get shot,' he told his children
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for reelection. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
Antony Blinken, President-elect Joe Biden's choice to lead the State Department, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday and appears to have passed with flying colors. As it turns out, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) may have been his biggest fan.Graham, who called Blinken an "outstanding choice" and gave him an elbow bump during a break, asked a series of questions, many of which resulted in answers the senator found quite agreeable. For example, Blinkin doesn't "trust" the Taliban to police al Qaeda and the Islamic State in Afghanistan after a U.S. exit. He also considers Iran the world's worst sponsor of terrorism and said he concurs with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assessment that China is committing genocide against the Uighurs and other religious and ethnic minorities. That last point reportedly left Graham "positively gushing."> Blinken agrees that the Chinese Communist Party engaged in genocide against the Uighur Muslim population, agrees they were not transparent on Coronavirus. Lindsey Graham is positively gushing.> > — David B. Larter (@DavidLarter) January 19, 2021If the friendly exchange was any indication, Blinken won't have much trouble getting confirmed, but the bipartisanship on display did have receive from sharp criticism from supporters of non-interventionist policy.More stories from theweek.com Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties
Inauguration Day is a time of great expectancy and transformation. There are reports of at least 12 National Guard members being removed from the inauguration patrol duties. There are 25,000 troops in D.C. to protect attendees at the inauguration after the deadly and unprecedented Jan. 6 Capitol Hill insurrection.
- Associated Press
A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said.
Facing a 50-50 partisan split in the U.S. Senate, the chamber's top Democrat and Republican discussed adopting a power-sharing deal similar to one struck two decades ago in similar circumstances, a Democratic spokesman said on Tuesday. Democrat Chuck Schumer, set to become majority leader on Wednesday thanks to incoming Vice President Kamala Harris' tie-breaking vote, told the chamber's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, that he favored adopting a deal along the lines of the 2001 arrangement "without extraneous changes from either side," a Schumer spokesman said.
- Yahoo News Video
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Pennsylvania Health Secretary Rachel Levine to be his assistant secretary of health, leaving her poised to become the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
- The Week
New York City is on pace to run out of COVID-19 vaccine doses and be forced to cancel appointments within a matter of days, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has warned. The New York mayor in a briefing Tuesday said that the city "desperately" needs more supply as COVID-19 vaccinations move "faster and faster.""At the rate we are going, we will begin to run out on Thursday -- this Thursday, two days from now," de Blasio said. "And we will have literally nothing left to give as of Friday. ... If we don't get more vaccine quickly, a new supply of vaccine, we will have to cancel appointments and no longer give shots after Thursday for the remainder of the week at a lot of our sites."De Blasio went on to say that "on the current schedule," New York City isn't set to be resupplied until next Tuesday, meaning "many of our sites" wouldn't be able to begin administering vaccines again until next Wednesday."This is crazy," de Blasio said. "This is not the way it should be. We have the ability to vaccinate a huge number of people. We need the vaccine to go with it."De Blasio called on the federal government to do everything possible "to get us the maximum supply" of vaccines, and one day ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration, he expressed hope that the incoming administration "is going to fix a lot of this." > Mayor Bill de Blasio announces NYC will run out of vaccine doses by Thursday.pic.twitter.com/QItlrO5WeC> > -- The Recount (@therecount) January 19, 2021More stories from theweek.com Chief Justice John Roberts reportedly wants no part of Trump's impeachment trial 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment 12 National Guard members removed from inauguration duties
- The Independent
Vice president will also not attend outgoing president’s departure ceremony