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The Medical Futurist: Weekly Introduction

Working as a speaker and consultant with medical technology, pharmaceutical and web companies; as well as universities and governments worldwide, my mission as The Medical Futurist is to make sure the advances of technology lead to a better healthcare for everyone!

I publish a daily newsletter about the future of medicine, manage a popular Facebook page about the future; launched a Youtube channel and share related news almost every hour on Twitter.

Here is my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine:

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I’m also the author of Social Media in Clinical Practice handbookand the founder of, a service that curates medical content in social media for medical professionals and e-patients.

I launched The Social MEDia Course, the e-learning format of my university course focusing on medicine and social media for medical students, physicians and also patients with Prezis, tests and gamification.

I hope you will enjoy reading!

I Flew A Drone With My Thoughts

In one of my recent videos, I talked about how I try to improve my cognitive skills, how I measure my brain activities, and how I try to live a relaxed and focused life with devices. I have always wanted to improve my focus and the way I can immediately focus on something when needed.

Now I’m happy to share a new device with you, Puzzlebox Orbit, that finally lets me do it at home. It contains a helicopter or drone, a small receiver which must be attached to the smartphone, and the NeuroSky brain activity tracker. Here is how it works and how it could be used in training future surgeons.

Three Digital Services in Diabetes

When I wrote about why diabetes management is facing extraordinary times, I included digital services. I recently came across some new services I haven’t heard about and thought I would share them with you. Hopefully, patients managing diabetes will find them useful.

1) VoyageMD: It helps diabetes patients who need to travel. Created by Professor David Kerr, it provides the latest information on all aspects of travel and diabetes including reviews on places to stay; travel itineraries and checklists; travel product reviews and airport procedures.


2) ExCarbs: It was designed to help people with diabetes using insulin to feel comfortable with taking up exercise.


3) diasend: It is a standalone system for easy uploading of information from most glucose meters, insulin pumps, CGMs and mobile apps. It also users to choose to link to various activity tracker systems including Fitbit, Up by Jawbone, Nike+ FuelBand, Moves and Runkeeper.


Please let me know if you come across others.

Imaging IT: Purchases Report 2015

A quick note about the Imaging IT Purchasing Report that just came out from peer60. See below an example of what providers plan to buy in the next year.

An excerpt:

The imaging IT market continues to grow worldwide. Our research found that 46% of providers plan to make purchases in the next 12 months. Markets and Markets predicted that the global VNA market will reach $335.4 million by 2018.

Chart 1

Defining Digital Medicine: New Paper in Nature Biotechnology

There is a new paper in Nature Biotechnology about defining digital medicine and it’s one of the most comprehensive articles I have ever read about this topic. They also have a figure describing many of the devices currently available for measuring vital signs.

Based on the last segment, new pieces will come soon:

There are many opportunities and challenges that will be clarified as this exciting new field emerges and over the coming year; this column will dig deeper into topics, such as the complexities of data sharing, interpreting data for real decision support, the shifting regulatory landscape, new company opportunities and emerging business models.


Live debate/webinar: The Future of Medical Communications

Please feel free to join us on the 21st of May for a very exciting webinar about how new technologies change the way we communicate in medicine. The details are on

The way that physicians want and need to consume information has changed dramatically over recent years and continues to evolve rapidly. Working in conjunction with Ashfield Healthcare Communications, this event brings together Medical Futurist Dr Bertalan Meskó, Consultant Endocrinologist Dr Partha Kar, and Ashfield’s Ruth Herman and Nigel Campbell. The panel will be discussing insights and predictions from the recent Medical Education Future Forum and outlining a vision of the future of medical communications. (You can learn more about the Ashfield Medical Education Future Forum here)


How A Startup Tries To Understand The Network Relationship Of Diseases

In the basement office of Jeff Hammerbacher at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine, a supercomputer called Minerva named after the Roman goddess of wisdom and medicine was installed in 2013. In just a few months Minerva generated 300 million new calculations to support healthcare decisions. Dr. Joel Dudley, director of biomedical informatics at the Icahn School of Medicine, said that what they are trying to build is a learning healthcare system.

“We first need to collect the data on a large population of people and connect that to outcomes. Let’s throw in everything we think we know about biology and let’s just look at the raw measurements of how these things are moving within a large population. Eventually the data will tell us how biology is wired up.”

From The Guide to the Future of Medicine

When they assembled and analyzed the health data of 30,000 patients who volunteered to share their information, it turned out that there might be new clusters or subtypes of diabetes. By analyzing huge amounts of data it might be possible to pinpoint genes that are unique to diabetes patients in these different clusters, providing potentially new ways to understand how our genomic background and environment are linked to the disease, its symptoms, and treatments.

Analyzing big data is key to the future of healthcare. But it’s not only about computational power, but a new paradigm about how we look at the networks of diseases. I loved the book, Burst, from Albert-László Barabási, the world-known expert of network medicine. It proved there are hidden patterns behind everything from e-mails to science.

I had a chance to meet him in person a few weeks ago and we chatted about his theories of network medicine for an hour. He thinks disease-disease relationships can be predicted and uncovered through the protein network, so-called interactome which is incomplete at this time. He and his team think that there are molecular fingerprints behind diseases and hidden structures which can only be uncovered with smart algorithms and bioinformatic methods.

Map of protein-protein interactions in asthma. The colour of a node signifies the phenotypic effect of removing the corresponding protein (red, lethal; green, non-lethal; orange, slow growth; yellow, unknown).

Map of protein-protein interactions in asthma. The colour of a node signifies the phenotypic effect of removing the corresponding protein (red, lethal; green, non-lethal; orange, slow growth; yellow, unknown).

The system they have been developing is aiming at interpreting gene expressions and genome-wide association study data to drug target identification and re-purposing. The name of Barabasi’s exciting start-up is DZZOM, derived from their map called „Diseasome”. Their approach and tools are certainly offering new opportunities to reclassify disease relationship from a network perspective and molecular level interactions. Obviously, biopharmaceutical companies are the primer targets for their services.

We will see how it transforms the way pharma companies develop new drugs and how it affects everyday medicine. Until then, read the paper published in Science.


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