After fulfilling my childhood dream of becoming a doctor and a geneticist, I decided to make a brave change in my academic career and tried to merge my two selves: the doctor and the geek. As there was no profession like that, I created one. This is how I started discovering the steps needed to become a medical futurist. There is no clear path or course for that, therefore I try to reveal more and more pieces of information about this exciting journey in a series of blog entries.
I clearly described my mission and the reasons behind becoming a medical futurist before and it was time to contribute to this field in many ways. When I published my white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine with those 40 trends I think will shape the future, the feedback was amazing. By creating the #MedicalFuture hashtag in collaboration with Symplur, the plan was to centralize the flow of information focusing on the future of medicine & healthcare.
Similarly to how I strategically collected networks focusing on filtering the news in the topic of ”healthcare-social media”, I use the same method for building networks around myself in the field of futuristic studies. This is one of the reasons why I’ve dedicated a lot of efforts to the Medical Futurist Newsletter, a free, daily newsletter selecting the key news items every single day.
I had a chance to contribute to the FUTURIST magazine managed by the World Future Society which is a good way to get some exposure for my white paper and to get introduced to the futurist communities.
I keep on improving my knowledge about foresight and the methods used in futuristic studies; attend conferences such as the recent Singularity Summit Europe and test services/tools/products that lead to the future of medicine.
The John Kemény Award I got from the John von Neumann Computer Society for my research and other activities in computer science is a fantastic recognition. Moving forward, I work hard on completing my new mission: bringing disruptive technologies and innovations to everyday healthcare.
In order to reach this, I still have to learn the tricks of the methods used in foresight and futuristic studies; contribute more to this field and find a way to introduce the profession of “medical futurist” to the industry. I’ll keep on sharing the steps required for these.
Steps taken so far:
As I wrote in my recent white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, there will be more and more cyborgs out there. Now here is Neil Harbisson who is the first person to have a passport photo that shows his cyborg nature.
In his UK passport, he’s wearing a head-mounted device called an eyeborg. The color-blind artist says the eyeborg allows him to see color, and he wants to help other cyborgs like himself gain more rights.
Harbisson felt that the device was fully integrated into his sense of self when he began to have emotional responses to colors in his environment. He also says that he “dreams” of color.
When I published the 40 trends that shape the future of medicine white paper, this is what I wrote about optogenetics:
Optogenetics is a neuromodulation technique using a combination of methods from optics and genetics to control the activity of individual neurons in living tissue. Optogenetics will provide new solutions in therapies. A recent study published in Science reported that scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice. This is the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. By time, we will understand the placebo effect clearly; and just imagine the outcomes we can reach when false memories of taking drugs can be generated in humans as well. The ultimate goal is to be able to modulate our senses, repair lost senses or even perform specific DNA targeting with femtosecond laser.
Well, here is a great new explanation from MIT News:
I just came across a great infographic summarizing the key concepts of using 3D printing in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry. Check it out here!
A quite relevant announcement was published a few days ago describing an ambitious project from the Cardiovascular Innovation Institute in Kentucky aimed at replacing the human heart by designing a 3D printer capable of recreating such an organ.
I was invited to contribute to the FUTURIST Magazine managed by the World Future Society. My first contribution was about Top 40 Trends Shaping the Future of Medicine.
It’s a great step on the path of becoming a medical futurist.
Last week, I attended Singularity Summit Europe in Budapest at an amazing venue (Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music). Here are some notes I took during the event.
We have to accept the exponential changes in technologies, but should not exaggerate it.
The potential developments in biotechnology might not come from huge companies but brave youngsters. An example is mirOculus which makes it possible to screen cancer types using microRNAs.
Robots/drones that can communicate with each other become smarter and smarter.
Exoskeletons let disabled patients walk again.
Genia Aims to Build the iPhone of Gene Sequencing.
Humanoid robots with artificial intelligence will be commercially available soon.
3D printing could be mainstream in months.
My white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, came out a few days ago and the feedback has been amazing therefore I thought I would share the list of trends included in the infographic that will shape the future of medicine and healthcare.
Please feel free to download the PDF and share your comments by using the #MedicalFuture hashtag.
- 3D Printed Biomaterials and Drugs
- Adherence Control
- Artificial Intelligence in Medical Decision Support
- Artificial Organs
- Augmented Reality
- Augmenting Human Capabilities
- Curated Online Information
- Customized Mobile Apps
- Digestible Sensors
- Digital Literacy in Medical Education
- DIY Biotechnology
- Embedded Sensors
- Evidence-based Mobile Health
- Full Physiological Simulation
- Gamification Based Wellness
- Holographic Data Input
- Home Diagnostics
- Humanoid Robots
- Inter-disciplinary Therapies
- Meaningful use of social media
- Medical Tricorder
- Microchips modeling Clinical Trials
- Multi-functional Radiology
- Nanorobots in Blood
- Personalized Genomics
- Real-time Diagnostics in the OR
- Recreational Cyborgs
- Redesigned Hospital Experience
- Remote Touch
- Robotic Interventions
- Robotic Nurse Assistant
- Semantic Health Records
- Virtual trials
- Virtual Dissection
- Virtual Reality Applications
- Virtual-Digital Brains
- Wearable e-skins
I’ve lived through the era of the Human Genome Project, then the Personal Genome Project, after that, the race to lower the price of genome sequencing, but what if sequencing your genome would cost nothing and you shouldn’t have to send your samples to laboratories full of sequencing machines, but you could sequence your genome at home using a USB stick.
We are not far from that.
To sequence anything longer than a few hundred base pairs, scientists mince up thousands of copies of the target DNA, sequence all the fragments, and use software to painstakingly reconstruct the order of the DNA bases by matching overlap within fragments. A new approach, called nanopore sequencing, can handle long strands of DNA at once, eliminating the need for overlap analysis. As a result, nanopore sequencers could be cheaper, faster, and more compact than other DNA sequencers. They can also accurately sequence stretches with many repeating base pairs. The MinION from Oxford Nanopore Technologies connects to a USB port. Soon, anyone with $1,000 and a computer will be able to sequence DNA.
I just received some books I plan to read in the next couple of weeks. As I mentioned earlier, in my journey of becoming a medical futurist from a doctor, I need to retrain myself and such books are of great help. Have I missed something from the recently published ones?