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Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

Top 10 Health Parameters You Can Measure At Home!

I receive a lot of message on- and offline about what devices I use to quantify my health. Therefore I decided to list the 10 health parameters I measure and the relevant devices I use. I hope you will find it useful.

Health parameter | Name of the device | Website

  1. Blood pressure | Withings Blood Pressure |
  2. Brain activities | Muse |
  3. Focus or attention | Puzzlebox Orbit |
  4. Sleep | Withings Pulse |
  5. Pulse | Wahoo |
  6. Body temperature | CheckMe |
  7. Daily physical activities | FitBit |
  8. Electrocardiogram (ECG) | AliveCor |
  9. Cardiac fitness | Tinké |
  10. Stress | PIP |

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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Google + Levi’s = Truly Smart Clothes

I just wrote about the most exciting collaborations in digital health and a new one has come up since then.

Here is a reason why the project of Google and Levi Strauss could lead to the invention of truly smart clothes:

A Jacquard jacket might contain a small patch of fabric that’s sensitive to a hand gesture or touch, and this could be interpreted by a smartphone or smartwatch as a command to make or take a phone call, for instance, or decline one.

An article of Jacquard clothing could be trained to recognize any of a hundred specialized body movements or gestures. These could include gestures that start a connected car engine, or allow the wearer to pass through a turnstile at the subway.

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 Most Popular Articles About The Future Of Medicine & Healthcare

I’ve received plenty of messages about where the most popular articles I’ve written about the future of medicine can be accessed. I thought I would share the list in one post, I hope you will enjoy it!

Will The Hospital Of The Future Be Our Home?

The biggest part of healthcare is self care which takes places outside the medical system. I need to manage my health and disease not only in the hospital and during the doctor visits, but also at home. Still when people talk about the future of hospitals, they usually depict amazing technologies and really huge devices.

Intelligent bathroom_hi2

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.


12 Things We Can 3D Print in Medicine Right Now

3D printing is just one of the many revolutionary technologies currently being used in healthcare.


Commentary: we need to be better prepared for a technological future (BMJ)

IBM Watson is the Stethoscope of the 21st Century

Computer assistance can only facilitate the work of physicians, not replace it. Just like how stethoscope did.


10 Things How Artificial Intelligence Could Make Me a Better Doctor

I was watching the movie Her for the second time and I was fascinated again about the scene in which the main character played by Joaquin Phoenix got his new operating system with artificial intelligence (AI) and started working with that. I couldn’t stop thinking about the ways I could use such an AI system in my life and how it actually could make me a better doctor.

JOAQUIN PHOENIX as Theodore in the romantic drama "HER," directed by Spike Jonze, a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

What Should Hospitals Look Like In The Future?

How do you start when the goal is to design the hospital of the future? When I was writing this chapter for my new book, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I contacted talented architects, as well as organizations such as NXT Health focusing on this sensitive topic and shared my own views as well.


The Future of Diabetes Management: 8 Reasons Why We Face Extraordinary Times!

Around 400 million patients have diabetes worldwide according to estimations. And over the last few years, diabetes management has been improving but due to the new technologies and devices coming to the market very soon, the whole management of diabetes will significantly change in the coming years. Let me show you some examples how.


Ethical Issues of The Future of Medicine: The Top 10

I remain confident that we are still in time and we can still prepare for the amazing yet uncertain future of medicine. What is definitely needed, among others things such as new skills, is initiating public discussions now. It was my intention when I made a list of 10 potential ethical issues we will all have to deal with soon.

[In the first test of a new program designed to bring innovative medical devices to market faster, the Food and Drug Administration will evaluate brain-controlled prosthetic arms developed by the Defense Department. Photo credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory.] *** []

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.

The World’s Most Famous Real-Life Cyborgs

In the future of human mankind, we could have brain implants improving memory and other cognitive skills. We could have implanted magnets or RFID chips in our fingers to replace passwords and keys. We could have exoskeletons boosting our strength, we could be faster, jump higher augmenting a whole range of human capabilities. But augmentation will pose threats and ethical issues to society we have never faced before. It’s important to remain humans though, but use technology to improve our lives.

Let’s see what kind of real-life cyborgs we know of today who might show a good example of where we should find a balance between using technologies with our body but remaining a human being.

1) Neil Harbisson: He has a specialized electronic eye, rendering perceived colors as sounds on the musical scale. So it means it lets him “hear” color. He said „It’s not necessary to hack into the body to become a cyborg. We are all cyborgs already.” He is an artist born with achromatopsia, or extreme colorblindness that meant he could only see in black-and-white, he is now capable of experiencing colors beyond the scope of normal human perception.


2) Dr. Kevin Warwick: He is a cybernetics professor in the UK’s University of Reading. He has experimented with different electronic implants since 1998 such as installing a microchip in his arm which lets him operate lights, heaters, computers and lights remotely. He and his work have become one. He is the founder of Project Cyborg using himself as the guinea pig, he’s on a mission to become the world’s most complete cyborg.


3) Jesse Sullivan: He became a cyborg when he got equipped with a bionic limb, which was connected through nerve-muscle grafting. Aside from having control over his limb with his mind, he can also feel temperature as well as how much pressure his grip applies.


4) Nigel Ackland. After losing a part of his arm during a work accident, he got upgraded. His new arm has a hand that can independently move to grip even delicate objects. He controls the arm through muscle movements in his remaining forearm. The range of movement is truly extraordinary. He can independently move each of his five fingers to grip delicate objects, or even pour a liquid into a glass.


5) Jerry Jalava: He lost a finger in a motorcycle accident, and decided to have a 2GB USB port embedded into his prosthetic. It doesn’t upload any information directly into his brain though. He is the perfect example of how you don’t need to be a robotics mastermind to become a cyborg; you can pretty much do it yourself.


6) Cameron Clapp: He was 14 when he collapsed and fainted along a railroad track. When the train passed, he unfortunately lost both of his legs plus an arm. He got fitted with a couple of prosthetic legs controlled by his brain with the help of a microprocessor. Since then, he has become an athlete and an amputee activist.


7) Professor Steve Mann: He designed a headset that is outfitted with a number of small computers and through it, he can record and play video and audio. He was one of the, if not the first, cyborgs in the world.


8) Claudia Mitchell: She became the first woman to become a cyborg when she was outfitted with a bionic limb. Her robotic arm is similar to the one installed on fellow cyborg Jesse Sullivan.

WASHINGTON - SEPTEMBER 14:  Claudia Mitchell demonstrates the functionality of her "bionic arm" during a news conference on September 14, 2006 in Washington, DC. Mitchell is the first female recipient of a "thought controlled bionic arm", an advanced prosthesis, developed by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

9) Stelios Arcadiou, also known as Stelarc: He is a performance artist who believes that the human body is obsolete. To prove this, he’s had an artificially-created ear surgically attached to his left arm. In another show, he hooked up electrodes to his body to allow people to control his muscles through the Web.


They are the world’s most famous real-life cyborgs. Did I miss anyone? You can read more about cyborgs and the future of life in The Guide to The Future of Medicine.

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