In this week’s platter, we look at curing disease through big data; then we pay attention to the early applications of virtual reality technology in healthcare; we look at how a simple tweet about your cough could help reduce the impact of a pandemic; we consider the rise of ‘digiceuticals’; and finally, and frankly ironically, we turn our attention to the lobby against digital addiction. Sign up for our newsletter on the left. Enjoy!
MediChain is a Medical Big-Data Platform that allows patients to control all their medical data with complete privacy and at no cost to themselves, the doctors, or hospitals using the system. The platform is unique in that it that stores the anonymised data in such a way that patients can opt to let researchers use it in developing cures for every possible disease or illness that occurs in the population. So your data can actually be used to save the life of others. This is a fine example of curing disease through big data.
Proponents of virtual reality (VR) technology believe VR offers a valuable new addition to the clinical toolkit, with potential applications ranging from education and training to rehabilitation, pain reduction and even treating anxiety and depression. But is there evidence supporting the use of VR in the treatment of medical conditions? This article answers in the affirmative, and suggests that VR could even find application in cognitive behavioral therapies.
Early detection and prediction of disease outbreak is critical because it can provide more time to prepare a response and significantly reduce the impact caused by a pandemic. Multiple researchers are harvesting data from social media platforms to estimate current (real-time) influenza activity and determine hot spots of transmission.
This represents a big leap because such predictions provide actionable insights for public health that can be used for planning, resource allocation, treatments and prevention. So, the next time you tweet ‘Oh, I’m coughing,’ you may just be helping the authorities determine to where to focus their resources. Was that a cough I just heard…?
LUANN STOTTLEMYER has had diabetes for 23 years, but it was only in 2016 that her doctor prescribed a treatment that changed her life. It has allowed her to bring her blood-sugar levels under control and lose weight. Yet this miracle of modern science is not a new pill. It was a smartphone app (a “digiceutical” for those who are into the lingo).
With the advent of digital solutions/apps for just about anything, a lobby group has been formed to highlight the dangers of excessive smartphone use has on the mental health of the users. Ironically, the lobby group is spearheaded by the very same people who helped create these ubiquitous social media platforms. What was once a solution is now becoming a massive problem…