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Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

A Digital Tattoo Measures Blood Glucose in Diabetes

I’ve been saying that the goal is not have as many wearables on our body as we can put on ourselves, but to measure vital signs and health parameters when we need it in a comfortable way. Here is a digital tattoo that can measure glucose levels. The proof-of-concept study was just published and it’s time to bring the era of wireless diabetes management to patients.

The thin, flexible device created by nanoengineers at UCSD is based on the much bulkierGlucoWatch, a now-discontinued wristband that worked through the same glucose-sucking principal. But the electric current GlucoWatch used to attract glucose to the surface of the skin was too high, and wearers were not keen on the discomfort. This temporary tattoo gets around the problem by using a gentler but still effective current.

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Top Trends And Technologies Shaping Medicine in 2015!

It was an extraordinary year for technological improvements in medicine & healthcare. Wearable devices measuring our vital signs at home; the 3D printing revolution producing prosthetics and biomaterials; exoskeletons getting FDA approval; brain-to-brain interfaces; artificial intelligence becoming widely available and many more as described in my book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine.

There are a lot of reasons to look forward to the year 2015, therefore let’s see the top trends and technologies that will shape the year 2015 in medicine and healthcare!

Organ-on-a-chip technique that can mimic the physiology of human organs might be available in the year 2015 which mean that we might soon be able to create the first virtual model of the human body making it possible to run drug tests on billions of patient models in seconds with supercomputers. Keep an eye on: Wyss Institute of Harvard

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In the coming year, digital tattoos as thin as two micrometers might become available making it the ultimate sensor. So I don’t have to use all these gadgets around myself to measure my health data but with one very thin digital tattoo I could measure whatever I would like to measure. Keep an eye on: Takao Someya

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Well, while the year of 2014 was the year of the wearable health trackers, 2015 will be the year of smart clothes. T-shirts and trousers which will be able to measure our health parameters in the most convenient way. Keep an eye on: Hexoskin.

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The first medical tricorders will come to the market due to the Qualcomm Tricorder XPrize and Nokia Sensing XChallenges. These will produce little devices that by scanning the body would come up with a few simple diagnostic options or measure any kind of vital signs at once. Keep an eye on: DMI.

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IBM supercomputer named Watson as a cognitive computer will be used in more and more medical practices worldwide and more and more hospitals will buy that as an actual asset to the medical decision making process. Keep an eye on: IBM Watson.

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Blood tests will be revolutionized by making them available with just one droplet of blood at first Walmarts around the US. Keep an eye on: Theranos.

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Food scanning is coming at home and we will be able to finally know what ingredients our food contains by using spectroscopy. Keep an eye on: Tellspec.

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Augmented reality will move away from Google Glass more towards the first digital contact lenses that can measure blood glucose levels from tears as an added benefit. Keep an eye on: bionic contact lenses.

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The first 3D printed biomaterials will become mainstream as this year, the first liver tissues printed out in 3D will be used by pharmaceutical companies maybe making animal testing unnecessary. Keep an eye on: Organovo.

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Empowered patients will attend more and more conferences, they will speak at these conferences and more and more e-patients will be included in editorial boards of peer reviewed journals.

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Direct-to-consumer companies in genomics will deal with the challenges FDA will come up with and we will move towards very cheap whole genome sequencing. Although the cost will not be zero next year, but we will get closer to my prediction that the shipping cost of the sample will be higher than actually sequencing the genome. Keep an eye on: Gentle.

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In areas with doctor shortages, telemedicine will be used at its best. Moreover, the first force-feedback gloves will come to the market making it possible to even feel the handshake form a distance, even from continents away while discussing medical issues through telemedical applications. Keep an eye on: InTouch Health.

Telemedicine Robots
Prosthetics will become more sophisticated and much much cheaper due to the 3D printing revolution. There will be people who will want to replace their healthy limbs for state-of-the-art prosthetic ones. Keep an eye on: Touch Bionics.

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And I think that the first brain-computer interfaces will be used in practice, plus we will more and more be able to measure our brain activities; and to learn how to be relaxed or how to be focused at home. Keep an eye on: Muse and PIP.

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Besides these, privacy and security issues will rule the year as well as an effort to get good mobile health applications and digital services reimbursed by insurers. We will see.

Here are some more lists.

2014’s Most Popular Medical Stories About The Future of Medicine

Here are the most important and interesting news and announcements about the future of healthcare & medicine in 2014 month by month. I hope you will enjoy looking back in time.

January

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February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

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August

Medical Doctor holding a world globe in her hands as medical network concept

September

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October

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November

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December

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Cognitive Computers Making Physicians Better

A few days ago, I wrote an article about why artificial intelligence is the stethoscope of the 21st century. Now by including some more stories, I covered this important topic in my newest video. Check it out!

“If artificial intelligence can improve a chess player, it can also improve a physician.”

My Wearable Health Trackers: Viatom CheckMe

In this edition of my series about wearable health trackers that I use, I have already described TinkéAliveCor, Pebble, Tickr Run and Withings. Now here is a new device from Viatom Technology that I have been testing for some time now.

The team kindly sent me a CheckMe which I have been using to measure my body temperature, ECG, pulse, oxygen saturation and sleep almost on a daily basis. This is the first device I have used which includes so many measurements at once.

It can measure:

  • oxygen saturation
  • pulse
  • perfusion index
  • ECG including QRS distance and regularity
  • body temperature
  • sleep quality + oxygen saturation
  • physical activities
  • blood pressure (indirectly)

It gives feedback about the results with a happy or sad smiley indicating whether we should get checked ourselves with a medical professional based on a measurement.

Although the way I have to wear it for measuring sleep  quality is not really comfortable, the data it gives me are very much detailed, plus finally I could see how my oxygen saturation changes during the night.

To be honest, there might be prettier devices out there with better background light for the screen, but for me, the fact that I can measure all these vital signs in quite a good quality led to keep on using the device on a daily basis.

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I also talk about Viatom in two of my recent videos:

New Book: “Trackers: How Technology is helping us Monitor & Improve our Health”

I’ve been in contact with Richard MacManus for a long time, actually since he worked at ReadWriteWeb. I witnessed the whole process from him coming up with the idea of writing the book, Trackers, to actually finishing it. Then he kindly shared the manuscript with me before publication and I can tell you this is going to be the ultimate book when it comes to wearable devices and health management.

Do not miss it!

Self-tracking is the practice of measuring and monitoring your health, activities or diet through technologies such as smartphone apps, wearables and personal genomics, empowering you to take control of your day to day health. Richard MacManus explains the benefits and risks of self-tracking and looks at:

  • What exactly is being tracked

  • The tools and techniques being used

  • The best practices of early adopters

  • How self-tracking is revolutionizing the health and wellness industries

  • How the medical establishment is adapting to these new trends

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Interview with a Nokia Sensing Challenge Finalist Making Blood Analysis Available Remotely

When the XPRIZE Foundation named the 11 finalists for the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, I had a chance to interview a team in which I see great potentials. Here is my short talk with the French team behind ARCHIMEJ TECHNOLOGY, a start-up led by co-founder Francisco Vega, developing technology focused on making blood analysis available remotely at an affordable price.

1) Can you tell me more details about the technology behind your solution?

I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to say much on that topic; everything is confidential for the moment. What I can tell you is that we have completely reimagined the linear process by which the measurement/analysis is performed today, to transform it into a complex multi-factor analysis, which paradoxically simplifies the entire process of testing.

There is 3 important parts in our technology:
– The technology that holds and conditions the sample for the measurement (sample = a drop of blood from finger-stick);
– The technology that performs the measurement (called Spectroscopy 2.0®);
– The technology that analyses the information measured and interprets it in test results easy to understand by the user.

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2) How can it be compared to Theranos which has similar goals?

What Theranos does is amazing! ..I mean, being able to perform hundreds (even maybe thousands) of tests with only a tiny volume of blood is already a huge step from anything existing.

What we do is taking this concept and trying to push it even further. We will not perform hundreds of tests (or at least not for now, maybe in the future), but for the moment we focus on those the most used, the most important ones and in making them available to people directly in their homes.

Our solution, Beta-Bioled, is a comprehensive and integrated platform that allows doctors and patients to get a blood-chemistry panel (10 to 20 tests) from 1 drop of blood, anywhere, in real time, for less than 2 dollars.

This idea of democratization of blood analysis, this.. new way for everybody to have access to medical relevant diagnostic is possible because of 3 factors: the mobility (or portability), the simplicity of use and the cost. If you miss one of those 3 factors the impact will not be the same, you will still be targeting a specific group of people or an elite..

3) How does your innovation contribute to the process of breaking down the “ivory tower” of medicine and making even blood analysis accessible to patients?

Imagine that you could monitor your heart, your liver, your kidneys, your lipids profile.. as if you were in a hospital but from the comfort of your home, with a fast and simple process and paying less in a month that what you pay for a coffee every morning.

It will be a huge step in the democratization of healthcare. Instead of going to check your health status when you are feeling unwell, you could anticipate and prevent. It would change the whole healthcare paradigm: less urgencies, and aggressive medication but smoother preventive treatments or lifestyle adjustments.

..Well this is exactly what we do; playing our part in the switch from industrial medicine that treats the symptoms to a personal preventing medicine.

Of course this transition is a process, and that’s why we are prepared to address each step of the transition, in order to speed it up.
– For existing medical facilities, our solution fits the needs of both patients and physician by reducing clinic overload, streamlining the process of performing a blood panel and receiving results instantly and more importantly, onsite.
– For emergency services and NGOs, it becomes an on-the-ground, easy to use ally to quickly make decisions and prioritize treatments.
– For medically underserved regions, either low medical infrastructure or low density of population, it becomes a bridge able to obtain and connect meaningful data to distant medical experts.
– Finally, for the elderly, and more generally for the chronic patients, who intend for more than 20% of all patients in the wealthy country, it brings them the so wanted autonomy and comfort.

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