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Posts from the ‘Health 2.0’ Category

My Health: Upgraded – Only Disruptive Technologies Can Secure The Future Of Humanity

While many technologies are advancing at an almost exponential pace; the loss of the human touch, failures at preventing diseases, rising costs and doctor shortages influence the days of patients and physicians. It’s time to change that. It’s time to upgrade our health with amazing technologies without becoming cyborgs. This way, there will be no limits to what humanity can achieve.

To support this mission, I answer the forty most exciting questions covering the future of robotics, sensors and medical algorithms I have ever received after my talks; and I also describe how I have been upgrading my health for a decade in my new book, My Health: Upgraded (paperback & e-book).


The book consists of three parts:

  1. The Technological Revolution in Medicine: Information in our DNA can predict our future health. Biotechnology advances enable medical scientists to produce cells that fight tumors. Wearable devices measure our vital signs while at home. What we would have considered science fiction a decade ago is quickly advancing modern health care, and we haven’t seen anything yet.
  2. The Most Exciting Questions About The Future Of Medicine: I offer a fresh look at how innovative technologies enable us to change health care for the long term. I share advances such as the present reality of surgical robots and tackle questions such as whether nanorobots will ever swim in our bloodstream or whether actual, functioning organs can be made with 3-D printers.
  3. Upgrading My Health: To keep readers grounded in the here and now, I discuss how I use technology to monitor and improve my own health. From charting my sleeping patterns to using exercise motivation apps, I give detailed examples of how we can use technology to live a healthy and proactive life.

With the unique graphics of Richard Horvath and the wonderful interior design of Roland Rekeczi, every futuristic thought and idea is visualized.



Book trailer

Here is the book trailer and you can find examples for advanced praise from Dr. Eric Topol and E-Patient Dave deBronkart, among others, below.

The book also includes movie suggestions and the top hashtags for each of the 40 topics. I hope you will enjoy reading it. You can get the paperback and the e-book here.


Advanced Praise for My Health: Upgraded

“Dr. Bertalan Mesko, the consummate medical futurist, takes us on an extended technological tour – one that bodes well for how healthcare can advance.”
— Dr. Eric Topol, author of The Patient Will See You Now, Professor of Genomics, The Scripps Research Institute

“Dr. Bertalan Mesko has been called a thought leader thanks to his views on the future of medicine, and his latest book proves yet again just why he deserves that title. Dr. Mesko’s thoughts on digital health are comprehensive and innovative, but most importantly, they are accessible and easily understood. This thrilling book is a must-read for patients, providers, and all other stakeholders interested in taking control of their own health.”
– Dr. Larry Chu, Executive Director, Stanford Medicine X

“Sit down, loosen your mind, and settle into this book. It’s an extraordinary, liberated tour of what health and treatment will be like when we no longer starve for information and when everything physical is digital – which is far closer than you think.”
– e-Patient Dave deBronkart, e-patient thought leader, speaker, author

“Only few have the gift of being transformative ánd using it; Dr. Bertalan Mesko is one of them. This book bridges Hype, Hope & reality in a way that fits both the world of technology and medicine. Definitely a must read if you’re on the intersection of technology & medicine.”
– Lucien Engelen, Director of the Radboud REshape Innovation Center

“An easy to read guide to future health. Introducing recent history and everyday examples of progress as evidence of trends, it looks to the future of health technologies and their interactions with everyday lifestyle with informed optimism, avoiding unnecessary jargon. Covering areas from personal health recording to cheap DNA sequencing and AI assistance, it shows how the reader can take control of their own health and the many future opportunities for improving it. It also explores when we will get the technologies we see in sci-fi movies. All of this makes it a compelling but easy-going read.”
– Ian Pearson, Futurologist, Author of You Tomorrow

“Dr. Bertalan Mesko has written an amazingly interesting book that explores the future of medicine and how it will affect our health. As a transhumanist and politician, I highly recommend this book to all those who are interested in how technology is going to impact our bodies and change our lives.”
– Zoltan Istvan, futurist and US Presidential candidate

“Three in one, My Health: Upgraded is a didactic snapshot of digital health today and to come, a practical “how-to” guide on self-tracking, and responses to real “questions from the audience”. And Dr. Bertalan Mesko dares to answer them all. While I see many digital health books and articles, My Health:Upgraded is definitely not to be missed!”
– Denise Silber, Founder of Doctors 2.0 and You

“This one is just fantastic, an encyclopedic work by one of the recognized experts. No need to “Google” about the future of medicine, this book is like a search-engine on itself, about the amazing facts & possibilities of our health, but upgraded!”
– Dr. Rafael J. Grossmann, FACS, Surgeon, Healthcare Futurist & Innovator

A Smartwatch Detects Seizures and Emotional Stress

A new smartwatch developed by Empatica can detect seizures and emotional stress. It uses sensors to measure electrodermal activities on the skin which are transmitted to a smartphone. It could not only help us live healthier by bridging the gap between human emotions and technology, but imagine the advantages of such a device in autism or epilepsy.

An excerpt from the article:

Picard explained that autistic responses to difficult situations can seem non-intuitive and sudden to observers and might involve head banging, other self-injury, or catatonic behavior. “In some instances, they are doing this to release a neurotransmitter that can quell the pain.” Picard explains, “if an autistic kid is lying on the floor motionless, but his EDA sensor reads that his signals are through the roof, caregivers can make better decisions about how to respond.”

Electrodermal sensors also have important implications for youth with epilepsy, which Picard discovered when one of her students placed the sensors on his brother. Twenty minutes before his brother had a Grand Mal seizure, the sensors registered off-the-charts skin conductance.


The Future of Clinical Trials: Video

An excerpt from The Guide to the Future of Medicine:

Today, new pharmaceuticals are approved by a process that culminates in human clinical trials. The clinical trial is a rigorous process from development of the active molecule to animal trials before the human ones, costing billions of dollars and requiring many years. Patients participating in the trial are exposed to side effects, not all of which will have been predicted by animal testing. If the drug is successful in trial, it may receive approval, but the time and expense are present regardless of the trial outcome.

But what if there were another, safer, faster, and less expensive route to approval? Instead of requiring years of “ex vivo” and animal studies before human testing, what if it were possible to test thousands of new molecules on billions of virtual patients in just a few minutes? What would be required to demonstrate such a capability? At the very least, the virtual patients must mimic the physiology of the target patients, with all of the variation that actual patients show. The model should encompass circulatory, neural, endocrine, and metabolic systems, and each of these must demonstrate valid mechanism–based responses to physiological and pharmacological stimuli. The model must also be cost efficient, simulating weeks in a span of seconds.

Such simulations are called computational cognitive architectures, although the current ones actually lack a comprehensive representation of human physiology. A truly comprehensive system would make it possible to model conditions, symptoms, and even drug effects. To order reach this brave goal, every tiny detail of the human body needs to be included in the simulation from the way our body reacts to temperature changes to the circadian rhythms of hormone action.

HumMod is a simulation system that provides a top–down model of human physiology from organs to hormones. It now contains over 1,500 linear and non–linear equations and over 6,500 state variables such as body fluids, circulation, electrolytes, hormones, metabolism, and skin temperature. HumMod was based on original work by Drs. Arthur Guyton and Thomas Coleman in the early 1970’s.


HumMod is not the only effort in this area. The Avicenna project, partially funded by the European Commission, aims to construct a roadmap for future “in silico” clinical trials, which would make it possible to conduct them without actually experimenting on people. Other projects use real models instead of computational ones. A liver human organ construct, a physical object that responds to toxic chemical exposure the way a real liver does, was designed at the Gordon A. Cain University. The goal of the five–year, $19 million multi­institutional project is to develop interconnected human organ constructs that are based on a miniaturized platform nicknamed ATHENA (Advanced Tissue–engineered Human Ectypal Network Analyzer) that looks like a CPR mannequin.

It would then be possible to test molecules without risking the toxic effects on humans, and to monitor fluctuations in the thousands of different molecules that living cells produce and consume. The beauty of this project is its plan to connect their working liver device to a heart device developed by Harvard University. If successful, they hope to add a lung construct in 2015 that is being developed at Los Alamos, and a kidney designed by the UCSF/Vanderbilt collaboration by 2016, thus building the first physiological model of a human being piece by piece.

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The 12 Most Exciting and Surprising Collaborations in Digital Health

From time to time, I come across news covering collaborations between companies which are either promising or surprising. Sometimes both. A future full of science fiction technologies in medicine & healthcare starts with such collaborations. Here are those I’m the most excited about.

1) Oscar Health, the hipster insurance company, works with the wearable tracker Fitbit. Insured people can submit their Fitbit data and if they reach the daily fitness goals, they get $1 every day.


2) Qualcomm, which is world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies, and Walgreens, the largest drug retailing chain in the US, are collaborating  to power device connectivity in remote patient monitoring, transitional care support and chronic care management.

3) The patient community site started working with the pharma company AstraZeneca to support patient-driven research initiatives. AstraZeneca will use data from the community site to improve outcomes of several therapeutic areas.


4) The company Organovo that works on printing out biomaterials teamed up with L’Oréal to focus on printing out synthetic skin.

5) Organovo also works with the pharma company Merck to use the 3D printed liver system for drug testing. It could eradicate the use of animal testing at pharma companies.


6) The American Association of Retired Persons launched a collaboration with Pfizer and United Health to discover how wearable devices and other health trackers could impact the lives of people aged 50 and older.

7) The pharma company Boehringer Ingelheim has formed a new digital health collaboration with California healthcare provider Sutter Health. They will test digital health solutions, mobile technologies and data analytics.

8) Novartis signed an agreement with Google about the digital contact lens that Google patented in 2014 and can measure blood glucose levels from tears. It could be a hit in diabetes management.


9) The Human Longevity Inc. is joining forces with Cleveland Clinic for a human genomics collaboration aimed at disease discovery. They will sequence and analyze blood samples from the medical center’s patient study, running whole genome, cancer and microbiome sequencing.

10) Nestlé started working with companies that develop food printers. They want to have a branch with business models, experts and products by the time food printing becomes a common thing at home.


11) Google’s Calico project works together with the pharma company Abbvie to accelerate the discovery, development and commercialization of new therapies.

12) Pfizer surprised many of us when it announced its collaboration with a lab developing DNA robots. They could target diseases more efficiently with robots that deliver the drug to the desired location.

Have I missed anything? Please let me know.

The Medical Futurist on Instagram

As 90% of the hundreds of millions of Instagram users are younger than 35, I made a decision. I think the message that technologies can improve the human touch should reach millennials as well.

So, check out the Medical Futurist on Instagram. Photos and images about future technologies and the amazing innovations I come across worldwide.


How I Manage Stress With A Device

In my recent video, I describe how I manage stress with a device that teaches me how to relax. It helps a lot and only takes a few minutes. Do you use other technologies to decrease stress?

What Comes After The #Wearable Health Revolution?

The wearable health trackers’ revolution has been going on producing devices that let us measure vital signs and health parameters at home. It is changing the whole status quo of healthcare as medical information and now tracking health are available outside the ivory tower of medicine.

A 2014 report showed that 71% of 16-24-year-olds want wearable technology. Predictions for 2018 include a market value of $12 billion; a shipment of 112 million wearables and that one third of Americans will own at least a pedometer.


Now a growing population is using devices to measure a health parameter and while this market is expected to continue growing, devices are expected to shrink, get cheaper and more comfortable. At this point, nobody can be blaimed for over-tracking their health as we got a chance for that for the first time in history. Eventually, by the time the technology behind them gets better, we should get to the stage of meaningful use as well.

Let’s see what I can measure today at home:

  • Daily activities (number of steps, calories burnt, distance covered)
  • Sleep quality + smart alarm
  • Blood pressure
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Cardiac fitness
  • Stress
  • Pulse
  • Body temperature
  • Eating habits
  • ECG
  • Cognitive skills
  • Brain activities
  • Productivity
  • I also had genetic tests and microbiome tests ordered from home.


What else exists or yet to come? Baby and fetal monitors; blood alcohol content; asthma and the I could go on with this list for hours.

The next obvious step is designing smaller gadgets that can still provide a lot of useful data. Smartclothes are meant to fill this gap. Examples include Hexoskin and MC10. Both companies are working on different clothes and sensors that can be included in clothes. Imagine the fashion industry grabbing this opportunity and getting health tracking closer to their audiences.


Then there might be “insideables“, devices implanted into our body or just under the skin. There are people already having such RFID implants with which they can open up a laptop, a smartphone or even the garage door.

Also, “digestables“, pills or tiny gadgets that can be swallowed could track digestion and the absorption of drugs. Colonoscopy could become an important diagnostic procedure that most people are not afraid of. A little pill cam could be swallowed and the recordings become available in hours.


Whatever direction this technology is heading, believe me, I don’t want to use all my gadgets to live a healthy life. I would love to wear a tiny digital tattoo that can be replaced easily and measures all my vital signs and health parameters. It could notify me through my smartphone if there is something I should take care of. If there is something I should get checked with a physician.


But what matters is finally I can become the pilot of my own health.

Right now patients are sitting in the cockpit of their planes and are waiting for the physicians to arrive.

Insurance companies such as Oscar Health have touched upon this movement and offer incentives and rewards (e.g. Amazon gift card) if the patient agrees to share their data obtained from health trackers. This way motivating the patient towards a healthier life.

There is one remaning step then, the era of the medical tricorder. Gadgets such as Scanadu that can detect diseases and microbes by scanning the patient or touching the skin. The Nokia Sensing XChallenge will produce 10 of such devices by this June which will have to test their ideas on thousands of patients before the end of 2015.


I very much looking forward to seeing the results. Until then, read more about health sensors and the future of portable diagnostics devices in my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

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