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Posts tagged ‘Medicine’

Superhero Vision With Graphene Contact Lenses?

Graphene, a 2-dimensional crystalline allotrope of carbon, is capable of detecting the entire infrared spectrum with visible and ultraviolet light therefore it could be used to enhance human vision although there have been technical limitations such as the fact that it can absorb only 2.3 percent of the light that hits it. This problem seems to be solved now by researchers at the University of Michigan.

To achieve this amplification, the researchers started by sandwiching an insulator between two sheets of graphene. The bottom sheet has an electrical current running through it. When light hits the top sheet, electrons are freed and positively charged electron holes are generated. The electrons are able to perform a quantum tunneling effect through the insulator layer, which would be impenetrable in classical physics.

“If we integrate it with a contact lens or other wearable electronics, it expands your vision,” Zhong said in the release. “It provides you another way of interacting with your environment.”

I’ve told you in my recent white paper, The Guide to the Future of Medicine, we would soon experience the rise of “recreational cyborgs” with augmented human capabilities just because they can afford it.

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Read more news about the future of medicine every day on MedicalFuturist.com!

My CNN Article: 10 ways technology will save your life in the future

I was invited to write an article about 10 ways technology will save our lives in the future for CNN.com and I was happy to do so. It was featured today on the main page of CNN. I hope you will find it useful. Here is the introduction:

The medical and healthcare sectors are in the midst of rapid change, and it can be difficult to see which new technologies will have a long-lasting impact.

Ideally, the future of healthcare will balance innovative medical technologies with the human touch. Here, I’ve outlined the trends most likely to change our lives, now or in the near future.

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The “Social Media in Medicine” Course At Semmelweis University Launches!

I’m always very excited when the new semester of the Social Media in Medicine university course launches at Semmelweis University. I’ll introduce medical students to the world of social media by showing them a lot of practical examples; as well as to the world full of technological advances they will face when they leave medical school.

9 weeks, 15 extended topics, two surveys, one exam, and a lot of Facebook challenges every single day.

This course is still unique worldwide and I created a digital format as well so not only medical students and professionals at Semmelweis University can acquire such digital skills. Feel free to use the #HCSMcourse hashtag when communicating about the course.

Here is the timeline:

February 20: Introduction to social media and medicine
February 27: Medical search engines and the Google story
March 6: Solutions for information pollution and Medical communities
March 20: The mysteries of medical blogging
March 27: Crowdsourcing on Twitter for medical purposes
April 10: The world of e-patients; The era of Youtube and mobile apps
April 24: Wikipedia: the power of masses; Collaboration online
May 8: Education 2.0; written test
May 15: The future of medicine and the internet; results of the surveys

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

I’m very excited to announce that this semester we launch a new course, “Disruptive Technologies in Medicine” with Professor Maria Judit Molnar MD, PhD, DSc, the scientific Vice Rector of Semmelweis University. Our plan is to prepare medical students for those future technologies they will face by the time they start actually practicing medicine. I want to persuade them that the relation between the human touch and technologies is AND instead of OR.

Here are the topics we will 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
  • Biotechnology and Gene Therapy
  • Mobile Health and Telemedicine
  • Regenerative Medicine, Optogenetics and 3D Printing
  • Medical Robotics, Bionics, Virtual Reality, and Future of Medical Technologies

We are going to teach 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.

Feel free to follow all the developments and announcements of the course on Facebook. All the seats are already taken by international students. This is going to be an amazing semester!

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The Relation Between The Human Touch and Medical Technology: AND Instead of OR

I’ve been giving talks about the future of medicine for years and many times, part of the audience is worried about losing the human touch of practicing medicine by using more technologies. As a medical futurist, I want to make things clear here.

The relation between the human touch in medicine and disruptive innovations is and; instead of or as people tend to think. By losing the quintessence of practicing medicine, the real-life doctor-patient relationship, we would lose everything. Although without using innovative technologies, it is becoming more and more complicated (if not impossible) to provide proper care.

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When I was 10 years old, I volunteered in computer shops to learn the hardware part of PCs. That time a man kept on coming back to the shop as he was expecting a delivery of a brand new hard drive he ordered some weeks ago. It was a hard drive of 40 megabytes (yes, megabytes) and he told me he had no idea what he would do with so much space on his computer. After almost two decades we have over a zettabyte of information online. It is practically impossible to keep up with that without using proper technologies. Moreover, it doubles now every 12 months, and soon will double every 12 hours.

The real challenge here is finding a balance between these; and it’s easier than you would think. By preparing for what is coming regarding medical innovation for all stakeholders of healthcare, we get a chance to start working out the methods and solutions in time, therefore we can use more and more efficient and secure technologies in medicine without losing the human touch of the doctor-patient relationship.

This is the topic I cover in my new book which should be out in a few months’ time. Wish me luck!

 

 

20 Predictions in Medicine And Healthcare for 2014: From DIY Biotech to Mind-Controlled Exoskeletons

Every January, I publish my predictions for the upcoming year regarding medicine and healthcare. Usually, the majority of these predictions turn out to be valid later on, although I prefer calling them apparent trends rather than actual predictions. Here are my 20 points for 2014.

1) Google Glass to be used in everyday healthcare: Google Glass has shown its potentials as demonstrated by forward-thinking medical professionals such as Lucien Engelen, Christian Assad and Rafael Grossmann, even the first clinical study came out focusing on the use of Glass in the clinic in 2013. Prepare to see the first real practical examples in 2014.

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2) IBM Watson’s first commercial use by hospitals: IBM’s supercomputer has been tested by US clinics for months and it has proven its validity and value in medical decision-making processes. The first hospitals that make their doctors understand that Watson does not replace them, instead, it assists them, will buy the service in 2014.

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3) Direct-to-consumer genomics to get new rules: The recent story about the FDA and 23andMe demonstrated how insufficient the regulation around DTC genomic testing is, therefore it is time to come up with standards that only the best services can achieve. By standard I mean the FDA should make sure only companies with deep scientific knowledge and expertise get the permission to perform genomic analysis online. Now it’s certainly not the case.

Close View of a DNA Strand

4) 3D printing artificial limbs and biomaterials goes mainstream: We have already seen some great examples when artificial limbs and different types of biomaterials such as kidney or heart tissues were printed out in 3D but in 2014 this industry becomes mainstream with the first home 3D printers in the market.

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5) The healthcare experience will be brought to the home: See the recently published “doctor chair” that can measure a user’s blood pressure, pulse, temperature, body motion, and other vital signs just by having the user sit in the chair as an example and expect more similar solutions which will, by time, make hospitals almost useless as we will measure everything about ourselves at home.

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6) LEGO Mindstorms to be applied for DIY biotech: The amazing concept behind LEGO Mindstorms that teach you how to build an actual robot at home could be applied to the biotech industry with people growing cells and performing even simpler biotech tasks at home resulting in a new generation of scientists.

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7) Home diagnostics to be the key trend: Not only Scanadu will ship the first prototypes early 2014, but other similar devices with which patients can measure simple health parameters at home will become available.

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8) Wearable MRI technology: What if we could use radiology imaging without those huge machines? A Swiss group has been working on a wearable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detector and sensor arrays. It would vanish long waiting lists and allow medical professionals to literally see through the patient in emergency situations.

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9) Optogenetics to be featured at major scientific journals: I’ve been following the latest developments related to optogenetics and I was amazed when scientists were able to create false memories in the hippocampus of mice which was the first time fear memory was generated via artificial means. We might see even more studies that will put its potential implications on display.

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10) Bigger role of MOOCs as medical schools change approach about digital literacy: By the time the majority of medical schools worldwide realize the potential and importance of teaching digital literacy for future medical professionals, we will need more and more massive open online courses such as The Social MEDia Course to serve their needs and train a new generation of doctors.

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11) More connected digital healthcare devices and services: This should be one of the key trends this year as for the last years, we have been seeing plenty of great solutions either as medical devices or unique online services, but the connectivity has been a major issue. John Nosta featured the imperative of connectivity in his recent Forbes column.

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12) The first steps of Google Calico to be public: When Larry Page announced the launch of Calico, their new venture focusing on reversing and stopping the process of aging and related diseases, nobody knew what to expect. They will announce the first steps in 2014 led by the former CEO of life sciences giant Genentech and a chairman at Apple.

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13) EEG controlled devices to appear: There have been little games available on Amazon which let you control a ball with your “mind”, but what about those devices that really use your thoughts to control things? I’ve used myself a wheelchair which was controlled by thoughts and will meet soon the team behind SynetIQ, a platform for neuromarketing.

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14) Exoskeletons will be featured worldwide: We have been talking about the potential use of exoskeletons for disabled people but this year the technology will become available for the masses. Also related to the EEG controlled devices, a mind-controlled exoskeleton will kick off the 2014 football World Cup watched by billions of people.

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15) First really useful food scanners to be released: While there are thousands of wearable devices and smartphone apps focusing on fitness, what about a healthy diet? Using a simple meal diary makes no significant change in a lifestyle. The device of a Toronto-based company, Tellspec, detects allergens, chemicals and nutrients in your food. We could also link such data to our own genomic background to make the truly best diet choices.tellspec-17

16) Gamifying the healthy lifestyle: HapiFork measures whether you eat properly, a smart bra spots cancer in time; FitBit, Shine and hundreds of wearable devices were meant to help us live a healthy life by measuring our health parameters/lifestyle and gamifying the steps required for making positive changes.

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17) Finally remote touch and simpler data input become possible: The technology behind designing touchscreens that can work on any surfaces has made crucial steps in the past 2 years therefore it’s time to make simple data input possible. Omnitouch seems to be a valid player in this area.

Turn Any Surface Into A Touchscreen

18) Nanotechnology to be included in the medical curriculum: For years, nanotechnology has presented the potentials of using nanotech devices in treating diseases, but as bombing cancer cells and using less invasive diagnostics became possible in 2013, we can expect to see nanotech-based clinical trials soon which also means we must teach students about such solutions..

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19) Decision on newborn genome sequencing to be made: Although the recent FDA vs 23andme debate prolonged this, certain countries (mainly in Asia) might start providing newborn babies with their own genome sequences at birth. The decline of the cost of sequencing and the rise of genome centers in Chine could be the key factors in this.

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20) First results of Ray Kurzweil’s work at Google to be revealed: One of the most exciting collaborations of recent years is Google hiring Kurzweil to create the first artificial intelligence brain. While no details about his actual work have been released so far, 2014 could be the year when they present at least a roadmap, if not real results.

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Saving 170 Billion USD with Health IT: Infographic About Adherence

I recently worked as a consultant for a pharmaceutical company as they asked me to help them create a long-term digital strategy. In this work, I learnt about some new health IT developments and one of them seemed to be very interesting. It aimed at improving adherence through an online system.

They say the world could save 170 billion USD by using their patform based on survey-evidenced results and the estimated nonadherence-related health expenditures. Here is their brief description:

PraxisPlatform developed a proprietary, versatile, fully secure health care ICT platform on which it designs and manages patient adherence management programmes, pharmacy care programmes and non-interventional clinical studies for innovative and generic pharmaceuticals and medical devices. PraxisPlatform currently reaches 120.000 patients, 4.800 physicians and 100 pharmacies in Hungary.

PraxisPlatform has a proven track record of increasing patients’ adherence to medicinal treatment by 70-130 per cent (at 6/12 months) in chronic therapy areas such as hyperlypidaemia (high cholesterol levels), prostatic hyperplasia and breast cancer.

Here is the infographic they came up with (click on the image for larger size)

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I think there are some key conclusions of this:

  • It’s important to develop something that is scalable on many levels.
  • As adherence is a global problem, a locally proven method could work anywhere else.
  • The ICT behind a digital health development must be universal but flexible to local needs.
  • They are also ready to sell the know-how with legal wireframes, not only the service itself.

What do you think about it?

The medical conference is dead, long live the medical conference

Len Starnes, digital health guru approached me a few days ago about how I see the future of medical conferences. I told him my views and he just published an amazing presentation under the catchy title, The medical conference is dead, long live the medical conference. Check it out!

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Social Media in Clinical Practice: Chapter 12, Use of Social Media by Hospitals and Medical Practices

When I realized Springer made the individual chapters of my book, Social Media in Clinical Practice, available, I thought it would be useful for future readers to get some insights about each chapter one by one.

Here is the short summary of what you can read about and an excerpt of the twelfth chapter, Use of Social Media by Hospitals and Medical Practices:

Health 2.0 is a term referring to the interaction between healthcare institutions and medical practices and social media. As social media is becoming more popular among e-patients, it was a clear trend that hospitals and medical practices would start using it for creating an online presence and keeping in touch with patients.

  • A few examples what purposes hospitals can use social media channels for
  • Adoption Curve of Social Media
  • A Successful Social Media Presence by Mayo Clinic
  • Building a Medical Practice Online
  • How social media platforms can be used in healthcare
  • The potential benefits of using social media properly for managing a medical practice

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Chapters that have already been covered:

Glassomics: Developing Medical Applications for Google Glass

I’ve been watching closely the developments related to the use of Google Glass in medicine. Once I wrote that start-ups focusing on Google Glass and medicine should be able to join accelerators and incubators. Fortunately, this step has been taken as Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life teamed up to build an incubator for developers called Glassomics.

Here is a video describing what Glassomics can do:

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