There are so many amazing announcements and news on the future of medicine and healthcare that I need to share some of them.
1) VeinVeiwer Vision2 Uses Near-Infrared Light To Generate Real-Time Imagery Of Patient’s Veins
2) ‘Bionic ear’ lets deaf boy hear his family for the first time
3) Woman Wore A Fitbit During Sex, Got Mansplained By Trolls
4) ‘Organs-on-chips’ go mainstream
You can also follow the latest news about the future of medicine and healthcare on The Medical Futurist Facebook page, Twitter account or the Weekly newsletter.
Since 1997, I’ve been quantifying myself. The reason was living a healthy life for which I needed data. I’ve had genomic tests, used health wearables, the data they provided me with, I even thought about what could come after the so-called wearables revolution.
Getting my microbiome sequenced was just another step forward. Another attempt at learning more about my health and my body. I chose uBiome as I have been following them for at least a year. The microbiome is the colonies of bacteria living in our digestive system. They influence how we eat, digest, sleep or what mood we have. Knowing more about those cc. 8 kilograms of microorganisms could yield important pieces of information.
I ordered the test, received the sampling tube, provided a tiny sample of my feces and shipped it back. Three weeks later, the results arrived in my account.
Here is the overall structure of my microbiome:
I can compare my results to those of vegetarians, men, women, athletes, heavy drinkers and more.
They tell me the types of bacteria I have, the most unique ones and the most enriched or depleted ones too compared to the results of people of my age, gender and lifestyle habits (I had to fill in a very long survey about that).
The results didn’t change my lifestyle as there was no reason for that. My microbiome is similar to that of omnivore men. I must keep on living a healthy life. But learning more about my body and health certainly made a big impact on my life. Measuring health is purely freedom and I’m enjoying it from my home.
Here is the experience on video:
I met Scott Summit of 3DSystems in Dubai a few weeks ago and I took this photo of his cast there. The patient wearing such a 3D printed and thus customized cast can open and close it in seconds. They can have a shower with the cast on. The list of advantages could go on. He said the overall cost was around 50 USD.
This is how a truly disruptive technology can change the lives of patients. A Spanish company is already working on making this a common possibility.
I’ve been publishing videos on the Medical Futurist Youtube channel for months and I have received plenty of messages about what top lists I liked to create the most. Here they are, I hope you will enjoy watching them.
I’m very excited to share that I will give a new masterclass at the upcoming Stanford Medicine X. See you there!
A 90-minute Master Class on teaching social media in the health sciences. The final curriculum will be shaped by the learners themselves through their course applications, but his master class tentatively includes:
Strategies to create a curriculum for teaching students and medical professionals about disruptive technologies and social media.
Introducing online learning platforms as part of an official course curriculum.
Determining which online platform is most used by students and creating a parallel online curriculum.
Incorporating interactive content to leverage the power of social media in the classroom.
Here are 5 videos from the Medical Futurist Youtube channel about how to use health wearables at home. I hope you will enjoy watching them.
In The Guide to the Future of Medicine, I wrote about Lee Cronin and his group as they have been working on methods to print out drugs.
Lee Cronin, a chemist at the University of Glasgow, wants to do for the discovery and distribution of prescription drugs what Apple did for music. In a TED talk he described a prototype 3D printer capable of assembling chemical compounds at the molecular level. Patients would go to an online drugstore with their digital prescription, buy the blueprint and the chemical ink needed, and then print the drug at home. In the future he said we might sell not drugs but rather blueprints or apps. While this could make prescription drug distribution more efficient, a danger is that unscrupulous people will steal the designs and raw supplies in order to print out whatever drugs they want at home. This could become a regulatory nightmare, far worse than printing out guns. It will also restructure the pharmaceutical industry and biotechnology as we know it.
It sounded like science fiction but today it doesn’t seem so any more. The FDA just approved an epilepsy drug called Spritam that is made by 3D printers. It prints out the powdered drug layer by layer to make it dissolve faster than average pills.
This could prove to be an important step for integrating 3D printing more deeply into the US health system. Doctors in the US already use a government-sponsored 3D-printing repository to share tool designs to aid in surgeries and treatments; now scientists are working on 3D-printed tracheas and bones, as well as ears, kidneys and skin—which could one day help cover the massive shortage in donor organs.
While the quick-dissolving Spritam tablet is a world away from 3D-printed organs and body parts, its approval shows that the FDA thinks certain 3D-printed materials are safe for human consumption.
It was shown before how the technology could be used to print out drugs (with theophylline) but an FDA approval is a huge step forward.
I told you that soon the issue is going to be the overuse and not whether people get access to the right medications. We need to initiate public discussions about 3D printed drugs now.