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Posts from the ‘Medicine’ Category

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!

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.

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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.

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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Brain Bar Budapest: See You There!

Join us between the 4th and 6th of June in Budapest for the Brain Bar event where I will talk about the future of medicine and give a workshop in an exciting topic (announced soon).



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