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Posts from the ‘Technology’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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How Do Medical Students See Future Technologies: Infographics

I just wrote about how our Disruptive Technologies in Medicine university course prepares medical students for the coming waves of change. I also recently published an infographic related to new technologies in medicine.

Yesterday, I gave a talk to medical students about what kind of trends and technologies might shape the future and I was very curious what they think about these. Therefore I asked them to give a score between 1 and 3 about how beneficial or advantageous those can be for society; and a score between 1 and 3 about how big threats they will pose to us.

They also gave a score between 1 and 10 about how much they look forward to using a technology in action. See the full size infographics here.

Preparing them for the future is a real challenge but I remain confident that we need to to that and it is still possible.

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Disruptive Technologies in Medicine: Preparing Medical Students For The Future!

At Semmelweis Medical School in Budapest, we launched a new course, “Disruptive Technologies in Medicine” with Professor Maria Judit Molnar MD, PhD, DSc, the scientific Vice Rector of Semmelweis University in 2014. I’m very happy to share that we launched it again this semester.

Our plan is to prepare medical students for those future technologies they will face by the time they start actually practicing medicine. We need to give future physicians skills that help deal with the coming waves of technological changes in a way that they will learn how to improve the human touch with better technologies.

Here are the topics we cover with experts.

  • How Exponential and Disruptive Technologies Shape The Future of Medicine
  • Personalized Medicine – Genomic Health
  • Point of Care Diagnostics
  • The Future of Medical Imaging
  • Social Media in Medicine
  • Harnessing Big Data in Healthcare, Cognitive Computers
  • The Future of Hospitals
  • Biotechnology and Gene Therapy
  • Mobile Health, The Wearable Revolution and Telemedicine
  • Regenerative Medicine, Optogenetics and 3D Printing
  • Medical Robotics, Bionics, Virtual Reality, and Future of Medical Technologies

We are teaching them offline and online at the same time with plenty of assignments and interesting projects such as collaboration with the students of the course of Kim Solez at University of Alberta.

Students compete against each other in a Facebook challenge by answering questions about the topics we cover in the lectures every single day.

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Watch A Robot Drawing Blood From Patient

About a year ago, I wrote about a robot prototype made by a company based in California that aims at combining robotics and image-analysis technology so then it can find a good vein in your arm and also draw blood. Well, it seems now it became reality.

Top 10 Medical Campaigns in Crowdfunding!

One of the best things about the online world and social media is that you can crowdfund your idea if you don’t have the financial background. Websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been working on that and I thought I would collect the 10 most exciting and successful medical crowdfunding campaigns.

It includes health and food scanners, smart rope and robotic hands as well.

Printing Liver, Kidney and Skin Tissue

When Organovo announced they would print out liver tissues that could eradicate the use of animal testing for pharmaceutical companies, I had doubts. Then they came up with the actual product. Not long ago, they announced the first 3D bioprinted kidney tissue.

At the conference, Organovo presented their latest research, 3D printed a part of the duct system attached to the kidney, “kidney proximal tubular tissues“, using multiple cell types. Moreover, the tissue was able to survive in vitro for two weeks. This specific portion of the kidney may aid in the testing of medicines and the fact that they are made up of three different cell types will contribute to that application further, as well as provide a stepping stone to even more complex tissues.

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Now, they teamed up with L’Oreal to produce synthetic skin.

The partnership will undergo three different phases: the initial development of the 3D printed skin tissue models, followed by validation, followed by commercial supply. Each step is contingent on L’Oreal’s decision of whether or not to move onto the next phase, as determined based on a set of performance criteria.

In about one and a half years time, they have gone from an announcement to a product and two new directions. What will we see in the next one and a half years?

The Bionic Pancreas Might Not Be Far

For years, we have been talking about the possibility of improving the lives of diabetes patients with technology. A few weeks ago, I shared 8 reasons why we face extraordinary times in diabetes. Now The Smithsonian Magazine published a story about a device that tracks blood sugar and automatically administers insulin and glucagon when needed. Just like how the pancreas does.

Imagine seeing your bionic pancreas in action on your smartphone. We might not be far from this. Check out this story.

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