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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.

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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.

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:

Top 10 Science Fiction Movies About the Future of Medicine

As a science fiction movie geek, I collected those 10 movies that give a good picture about what we can expect to see in the next years in the future of medicine.

Please share your favorite ones and read more about such movies in “The Guide to the Future of Medicine“.

Here are the movies described in the video:

  1. The Fifth Element
  2. Gattaca
  3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
  4. Inception
  5. Prometheus
  6. Robot & Frank
  7. Cloud Atlas
  8. Elysium
  9. The Zero Theorem
  10. Lucy

Top 5 Wearable Trackers And Handheld Devices Measuring How And What You Eat

For years, I’ve been measuring plenty of health parameters and vital signs about myself to make sure I truly live a healthly life but tracking what I eat and my eating habits has been a real problem. Although, I have been using a few trackers and have had a chance to try or see some other devices which will revolutionize the way we eat every day. Let’s see the top 5 wearable trackers and handheld devices.

1) Liftware: Designed by Lift Labs which was acquired by Google, Liftware is a stabilizing handle and a selection of attachments that include a soup spoon, everyday spoon, and fork. Liftware is specially designed to improve the lives of those with Essential Tremor, Parkinson’s Disease, or other motion disorders.

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2) HAPI fork: Eating too fast leads to poor digestion and poor weight control. The HAPIfork, powered by Slow Control, is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits. It also alerts you with the help of indicator lights and gentle vibrations when you are eating too fast.

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3) Tellspec: The world’s first handheld device able to scan food so consumers know more about the ingredients before they buy or eat the food. TellSpec brings together spectroscopy and a unique mathematical algorithm in a revolutionary system that can analyze the chemical composition of foods.

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4) BitBite: BitBite is a wearable device meant to track, analyze and change the way you eat. When you slow down, chew more and eat at regular intervals you’ll be improving your nutrition, feel better and shed those extra pounds.

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5) Automatic Ingestion Monitor: Known as the Automatic Ingestion Monitor (AIM), the 3D-printed prototype device is worn over one ear. Among other things, it incorporates a motion sensor, a tiny camera, and a Bluetooth transmitter. When the user eats, the sensor detects the distinctive chewing motion of their jaw – it’s able to tell the difference between that motion, and those that accompany activities such as talking. Once AIM is triggered by the chewing, its camera takes photos of what the user is eating.

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See how some of these work in action and how they could be used to improve eating habits in the newest video of The Medical Futurist Youtube channel. And please let me know if you know about other devices.

Start Measuring Your Sleep Quality at Home!

I’m sure a lot of people hate their jobs and others just because they always have a bad sleep.Today’s news are full of scary facts and side effects from missing sleep. It’s time to improve that.

I’ve been measuring my sleep quality for over a year and now I sleep less but still wake up in a more energized way. How? With wearable trackers.

I use Withings Pulse once a week on my wrist at night to measure my sleep quality. How long deep sleep periods I have and how much time it takes to go asleep. Then I use the Morpheuz app on the Pebble smartwatch that wakes me up at the best time when I’m not in deep sleep any more. Jackpot.

This is the topic I cover in my new video on the Medical Futurist Youtube channel.

Television Documentary about the Future of You

QUEST published a TV documentary about how the so-called wearable revolution will change how we live our lives. An excerpt:

Today, there are tens of thousands of health and fitness apps that consumers can download onto their smart phones and tablets. From tracking the calories you burn to helping manage your stress through guided meditation, these apps are proving to be popular: within the first six months of 2014, their use increased by more than 60 percent, according to one recent study.

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