FutureMed Day 2

Hello again,

The first speaker today was Ray Kurzweil, who was virtually present.  He talked about how medicine is turning into a field of information technology.  Genes can be looked at as a type of software.  Then, he started to discuss the pathology and properties of cancer.  In a tumor, there are cancer stem cells, which are anaerobic.  Normal cancer cells are aerobic in nature.  In fact, chemotherapy drugs cut off the oxygen supply to the cells in order to kill them.  However, the tumors often recur due to the anaerobic cancer stem cells surviving and dividing.  They reproduce via a DNA-RNA duplex and possess a unique morphology.  Also, the cells responsible are the same ones that initiate fetal organogenesis.  Mutations in mitochondrial DNA are what are responsible for aging.  However, the nucleus has a back-up copy mitochondrial DNA except for chromosome 13.  Mr. Kurzweil also talked about our evolution and development over millions of years, particularly the neocortex.  The neocortex is what enables us to think beyond survival and recognize patterns that other species cannot.  To help us process the information explosion we have produced with modern technology, we are now attempting to create an artificial neocortex.  Dr. John Mattison came after him and talked about how healthcare should be patient-driven.  In addition, how we, as researchers and doctors, need to design better experiments for more accurate data due to 41% of medical literature being refuted.  Also, to brace ourselves for the 52% of jobs that will disappear due to the advancement of technology.  Christopher Longhurst spoke next.  He emphasized the importance of upgrading our recording system, which is severely outdated and still uses papers and filing cabinets.  The more efficient solution is to digitize this information.  In addition, we should look to research papers for solutions to problems in healthcare when standard fare fails.  We should turn to practice-based evidence as opposed to evidence-based practice.  As a response, we also need to develop an ethical framework for a learning practice.  There’s also the issue of group responsibility for patients.  Have the treatment process be transparent to allow any physician to treat any given patient when needed.  Dr. Tracy Gaudet was after Mr. Longhurst.  She stated that we need to emphasize on health and well-being as well as use technology to transform healthcare.  Customization for patients may lead to better treatment and fewer hospitalizations due to complications.    We must provide care based on a continuous, healing relationship and look at the whole person rather than just the affected part.  Tim O’Reilly spoke about machine-human symbiosis and the importance of big data in healthcare.  To produce better treatments, we should turn to data-mining.  Also, for more flexibility, we should get creative with hardware, not just software.  Dr. Marty Kohn came after him and talked about the current waste and excess in the healthcare system.  Approximately 1/6 of the money spent in healthcare goes to administration.  Also, many treatments provided to patient don’t even work and have no point other than to generate further revenue.  To add to the issues, we have created 90% of current data in the last 2 years and 80% of the world’s total data is unstructured,  This prevents people from being able to use it for information.  Intelligent agents can help us organize and mine data for the correlations we need in diagnostics.  We need to utilize them in order to better the system.  Dr. Ari Caroline placed emphasis on this issue as well.  Shiv Gaglani was the next speaker and he described a program for medical students and doctors called “Osmosis”.  It is a free app meant to teach people different aspects of medicine and minimize forgetting said information.  Robin Farmanfarmaian spoke after him and she described how technology is our next hope as providers and patients to produce a system of patient-driven healthcare that remotely monitors patients and gives warning signs to allow for necessary visits.  Also, in the event of an emergency, the remote monitors can send triage information to the nearest hospital so that it arrives before the patient and the doctors have time to prep beforehand. This enables more efficient and faster access to care.  Dr. Larry Smarr came next.  He is an astrophysicist who decided to provide data from his gut microbiome to help biologists better understand the profile of a diseased versus a healthy profile of gut flora.  They learned that the gut microbiome has multiple stable equilibria and effective treatment of inflammatory bowel disease correlates to an understanding of the human immune-microbiome system.  Shiv Gaglani came back and was followed by Dr. Erik Douglas and Don Jones.  They talked about various medical apps available to monitor patients and be utilized by clinicians.  Sigalit Tsadok was next and they discussed the importance of continuous monitoring of patients to catch any warning signs in time.  Computers can do it for us now, which gives providers more time to react to various situations.  Also, Google Glass can assist in surgery to minimize errors and complications.  It graphically displays vitals and lab results.  Dale Fox, CEO, was next and he talked about a modern, miniaturized x-ray system that runs on a 9V battery in lieu of the outdated, bulky systems still in use.  David E. Duncan came afterwards and again emphasized the integration of technology in healthcare as well as personalized medicine.  Dr. George Church was second to last and talked about gene therapy being on the rise again.  We should let the genetic monitors allow people to experiment a bit with their own care and bodies to figure out with physicians which treatments work best for them.  Lastly, Dr. Dean Ornish came in and discussed the importance of preventative medicine.  In addition, lifestyle changes can be used as treatment as opposed to prevention with many conditions.  Often, a lifestyle change is more effective than drugs and has minimal side effects.

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