Stories about: diagnostic tests

Improving global health: texting and behavioral economics

This urine test gives a numerical readout that TB patients can text to clinicians.

The number of mobile phone subscriptions worldwide is approaching 5 billion, many of them in developing countries where cell phones are the most reliable communications platform. So it’s no wonder that they’re becoming a global health tool to combat diseases like tuberculosis and AIDS.

In a recently reported trial in Kenya, for example, HIV patients who were texted weekly on their cell phones

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Bringing beauty and ease to medical information

From the Fasciculus Medicinae (c. 1495), via Medicá, a free iPhone app

Some of the presentations I’ve enjoyed most at TEDMED were those that combined the arts with health and medicine.  For example, the amazing medical book collection of Jay Walker (founder of Priceline.com and a zillion other Internet-commerce related businesses). Using themes like “freedom,” “beauty” and “patterns,” he illustrated how medical art and illustration have evolved over the last several hundred years, and in many instances how imagination has helped to fuel it. (Check out his library.)

Perhaps most amazing, Jay didn’t just use PowerPoint to show the images; he brought the actual books,

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Biopharm America 2010, Day 1: “Consumer Reports” for diagnostics

As the keynote speaker at this year’s BioPharm America 2010 conference, Dr. Isaac Kohane, the Henderson Professor of Pediatrics and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard Medical School and Chair of  the Informatics Program at Children’s Hospital Boston made a provocative point: We as consumers spend much more energy reporting on crash testing in the automotive industry than we do evaluating the predictive value of our diagnostic tests.

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Invention favors the prepared mind

Bezzerides' hydration monitor

I used to think inventing was an act of sheer will, systematically working a problem. But after listening to one of our hospital investigators disclose an invention — a hydration monitor — I think the key quality is having a mind that’s able to receive.

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On the sidelines of personalized medicine

We’re supposedly in the dawn of personalized medicine, where advances in molecular biology are providing doctors the opportunity to optimize each patient’s care. As a Technology Marketing Specialist in Children’s Hospital Boston’s Technology and Innovation Development Office, I should be enjoying the view. But I’m still waiting: how will it happen, when will it happen?

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Personalized rational medicine for all

Electrospray needle of a mass spectrometer

As a medical student at the last century’s end, I was taught to practice evidence-based medicine, to use the scientific method instead of the largely anecdotal, experiential practice of the physicians that came before. At this century’s beginning, medicine has begun yet another tectonic shift, termed personalized medicine.

Striving to use information about individual patients to their own benefit is probably as old as medicine itself.

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