The observable examined

Trends in the lifesciences

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If you are interested in healthcare or the lifesciences, this is a great time to get involved. Especially if you are a technologist. There are a number of reasons. The trajectory of healthcare costs is soaring and the trends are unsustainable. There are not enough doctors to handle the demand for care. Most affected is the aging population. After decades of stubbornly resisting the  rapid adoption of technological advances, the healthcare industry seems ready to embrace them. Witness the power of a tool like Watson from IBM. Cloud computing, big data, wireless sensors, wireless technology (near and far field), tablet computing combined with trends in bioengineering, molecular genetics, biomedical engineering and other disciplines is now enabling a very exciting interdisciplinary effort that is poised to revolutionize healthcare and lifesciences. (In the 90s, the genesis of cognitive neuroscience,  combined forces from computer science, neuroscience, psychology, physics, and other fields to make significant advances in the understanding of the human brain. I am proud to have been a part of it).

In an earlier blog, I wrote about one such effort at the Smolke lab at Stanford. A couple of days ago, I learned of this great  program at John Hopkins University. You can read more about CBID here. It brings together partners from the industry, biomedical engineering and medicine to deliver, pratical and immediately applicable innovations to healthcare both in the developed and developng world. One brilliant example of a product developed at CBID is a marker like pen filled with the ingredients required for detecting eclampsia (high blood pressure) in pregnant women. What is neat about this device is that it enables women in the underdeveloped world to be diagnosed at the cost of pennies. You simply mark a piece of paper with the device. The women pee on the paper and the litmus test indicates Yes or No. A clever part of this design : the cap of the marker is the same color as a positive result. Neat!

Other examples of innovation (not from CBID) include the Mobisanti portable ultrasound for your mobile phone!! Skin implants for Alzheimer’s patients to keep track of them and even guide them. Subvocal speech recognition (out of NASA) and this one is way out there : the Proteus raisin microchip. This is a biodegradable chip that can be swallowed. It sends out a signal to the doctor that you have taken the pill (something drastic like this is necessary because the medical adherence rate is about 21% !!).

We at iNDx Technologies are bringing together pathologists, physicians, molecular geneticists, and technologists, to deliver some innovative products for enabling integrated diagnostics for improving quality of care at reduced costs. Stay tuned!


Written by asterix98

February 26, 2012 at 1:50 am

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