Here we go,
The first speaker today was Dr. Catherine Mohr. She talked about telemanipulation, which turned out to be a breakthrough in surgery. The most recent robotic interface is the DaVinci robot, which aids in keyhole surgery, namely laparoscopic. Training for the use of this robot is given to attending or resident surgeons. A certfication is required to operate it. Peter Fitzgerald, M.D.-Ph.D was the next speaker. He discussed the importance of increasing quality as opposed to quantity in healthcare in order to minimize hospital stays and complications. Also, we need to find a way to increase patient compliance rates to ensure effective treatment. The next speaker was Dr. Richard Satava. He talked about combat surgery of the future where the operating rooms are fully automated. In addition, we need to use technology responsibly. Sean Duffy, CEO and Glen de Vries spoke next, promoting various digital therapeutics. Dr. Leonard Sender was from CHOC and discussed how cancer is a genomic disease and how we need to share our data to advance our knowledge. Eric Chen is a 17 year old who used computers to help engineer new flu vaccines. He utilized molecular dynamics simulators to generate a pharmacophore that identified flu viruses that practiced cap snatching. Lisa Kennedy was next and talked about the 5 types of healthcare systems. They are: Pocket, Private Insurance, Bismark, National Health Insurance, and Universal Health Care. All have their pros and cons. However, we need to maximize health, not profit. After all, health is a merit good and society’s best investment. A cloud-based ambient intelligence network would be best to increase efficiency. This means that a doctor will have to work as a data scientist. Dr. Eric Rassmussen was next and talked about open source projects that can be used to help people in impoverished areas. One particular emphasis he placed was on disaster relief. There are 15.4 million refugees in the world and there are many diseases and crises going on. In fact, by 2030, we will be ~4 million healthcare workers short due to the needs of impoverished and disaster-stricken areas. Dr. Ajay Verma came afterwards and talked about a new photoreceptor that was discovered. It is called melanopscin and it is sensitive to blue light. Melanopscin is what sets the circadian rhythm of the body. Also, there are new methods of brain monitoring and manipulation. As a response to many questions aroused by these methods, the Human Connectome Project has been launched. We are attempting to make a wiring diagram of the brain and use open source data to do so. This also factors into our understanding of neurodegenerative disease. We are here to spread our germ cells and enhance our gene pool’s biodiversity. We degrade when our purpose has been served. These diseases brew silently for years and often have advanced significantly before the symptoms manifest. It is difficult to diagnose them due to the lack of convenient brain health status markers and direct access to tissue. By 202, the hope is that we will have the brain mapped, biomarkers for disease mapped, and at least treatment for 1 neurodegenerative disease. Ariel Garten, CEO was next. She talked about consumer brain-sensing technology that is becoming available to the market. Daniel Kraft, M.D. – Ph.D was after her and discussed regenerative medicine. This field consists of replacing damaged body parts with healthy ones grown from the patient’s own stem cells. This involves tissue engineering and therapy. One such approach is the treatment of leukemia by using antibodies to kill off old marrow and replacing it with healthy stem cells. The 3D printing of organs is becoming a possibility now as well as the generation of neuronal cells. Some sources of stem cells include bone marrow, umbilical cords, and peripheral cells. A device known as the MarrowMiner harvests stem cells from the pelvis. As for cancer stem cells, a molecular marker that protects them is called CD47. If we generate antibodies that target it, we can hypothetically kill them this way. Robert Hariri, M.D.-Ph.D was after Dr. Kraft. He talked about the importance of cellular medicine. As long as it is a progenitor cell, it can be used for therapeutic purposes. Local injections can be utilized for tissue repair. However, there is a risk of tumor formation. In addition, one must derive the cells from the patient in question in order to avoid rejection. Placentas are practically stem cell factories and can be utilized from healthy births in order to ensure an adequate supply. Eventually, stem cells may be used to fight the effects of aging. Dr. Bill Crounse spoke last today and his main point was to highlight the importance of the physician’s role as not only a healthcare provider, but a teacher as well. With the advent of big data and new technological breakthroughs, diagnosis will get more accurate and treatment more efficient.
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.
As of late, I have been attending a medical conference in San Diego from November 3rd through the 6th. The first speaker was Dr. Daniel Kraft, who started out by introducing the participants to several examples of exponential technology. Then, Dr. Diamandis discussed the importance of thinking exponentially in terms of technological development as oppossed to the traditional linear system. He brought Moore’s Law into play, where the only constant available was change. The “6 D’s of Exponential Technology” are as such: Digitized, Deceptive (looks linear, but is the start of an exponential curve), Disruptive (triggers the exponential explosion), Dematerialization (everything shrinks in size while maintaining the same if not more efficient functionality), Demonetize (the product becomes free), and Democratization (everybody have access to the technology). In the current environment, one must either disrupt or be disrupted. Next was Mr. Salim M. who emphasized the use of collaboration and technology in order to increase efficiency and progress. Neil Jacobstein spoke after him and discussed the importance of using technology to help process the new flood of information. In addition, he highlighted some of the newest A.I. that collaborate with humans to interpret information and data mine to figure out the best answers to questions and diagnostics. 3 such intelligent agents include Watson, Siri, and Archimedes. Rob Nail, a robotics expert, came on next. He talked about designing an open – source robot operating system. Two robots that have proven invaluable to the medical field are Baxter and DaVinci, which aid in keyhole surgery. Avi Reichental then elaborated on the sustainability and accuracy of 3D printing. In order to print more ergonomic products, one could utilize biomimicry. This means that we could design devices based on patterns and shapes found in nature. 3D printing can also be used to customize products, not to mention make anything needed. Raymond McCauley came in after Reichental and talked about digital and synthetic biology. He emphasized the possibilities presented by recreational genomics, which could aid in scientific research by providing data from the general public for study. Walter de Brouwer later talked about the possibility of a medical tricorder being developed by 2016. The prototype being tested is named S.C.A.N.A.D.U. The day ended with Dr. Eric Topol talking about the development of personalized medicine combined with genomics to better treatment and diagnosis for patients.
Just touching base with everyone. I am currently in-between projects and it has been rough for the past week. At the moment, I am conducting some research for a new pharmaceutical treatment to increase the longevity of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). Originally, we were going to use allicin, which is found in garlic. However, it proved to be logistically difficult to obtain. Then, the next trail led to statins and it ran cold due to a lack of viable papers detailing testing on Drosophila. So now, I am embarking on the search for some papers on Vitamin E and it looks promising.
I am still doing lab work, but currently waiting on the testing population to multiply so that my lab partner and I will be able to conduct a new series of tests in the future. We may be testing some controlled substances in order to attempt to reduce the instances of cardiac arrhythmia in older Drosophila specimens.
The overall goal I have is to become a research-physician specializing in either Oncology or Neurology with my clinical practice and Regenerative Medicine for my research focus. I believe that to be in good health is a right and not a privilege and want to help future generations with my research as well as reduce or even cure the suffering of the current generation. To be basic about this: All I want to do in life is continue to learn new things and help people. In addition, I try and keep many interests to stay well-rounded. If you have any questions as to what I do outside of my studies, feel free to ask.