Life's most valuable asset is health. Continuously understanding the state of our health and modeling how it evolves is essential if we wish to improve it. Given the opportunity that people live with more data about their life today than any other time in history, the challenge rests in interweaving this data with the growing body of knowledge to compute and model the health state of an individual continually. This dissertation presents an approach to build a personal model and dynamically estimate the health state of an individual by fusing multi-modal data and domain knowledge. The system is stitched together from four essential abstraction elements: 1. the events in our life, 2. the layers of our biological systems (from molecular to an organism), 3. the functional utilities that arise from biological underpinnings, and 4. how we interact with these utilities in the reality of daily life. Connecting these four elements via graph network blocks forms the backbone by which we instantiate a digital twin of an individual. Edges and nodes in this graph structure are then regularly updated with learning techniques as data is continuously digested. Experiments demonstrate the use of dense and heterogeneous real-world data from a variety of personal and environmental sensors to monitor individual cardiovascular health state. State estimation and individual modeling is the fundamental basis to depart from disease-oriented approaches to a total health continuum paradigm. Precision in predicting health requires understanding state trajectory. By encasing this estimation within a navigational approach, a systematic guidance framework can plan actions to transition a current state towards a desired one. This work concludes by presenting this framework of combining the health state and personal graph model to perpetually plan and assist us in living life towards our goals.
Artificial intelligence is already ubiquitous, and is increasingly being used to autonomously make ever more consequential decisions. However, there has been relatively little research into the consequences for equity of the use of narrow AI and automated decision systems in medicine and public health. A narrative review using a hermeneutic approach was undertaken to explore current and future uses of AI in medicine and public health, issues that have emerged, and longer-term implications for population health. Accounts in the literature reveal a tremendous expectation on AI to transform medical and public health practices, especially regarding precision medicine and precision public health. Automated decisions being made about disease detection, diagnosis, treatment, and health funding allocation have significant consequences for individual and population health and wellbeing. Meanwhile, it is evident that issues of bias, incontestability, and erosion of privacy have emerged in sensitive domains where narrow AI and automated decision systems are in common use. As the use of automated decision systems expands, it is probable that these same issues will manifest widely in medicine and public health applications. Bias, incontestability, and erosion of privacy are mechanisms by which existing social, economic and health disparities are perpetuated and amplified. The implication is that there is a significant risk that use of automated decision systems in health will exacerbate existing population health inequities. The industrial scale and rapidity with which automated decision systems can be applied to whole populations heightens the risk to population health equity. There is a need therefore to design and implement automated decision systems with care, monitor their impact over time, and develop capacities to respond to issues as they emerge.
What exactly is biotechnology, and how could it change our approach to human health? As the age of big data transforms the potential of this emerging field, members of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Biotechnology tell you everything you need to know. What if your doctor could predict your heart attack before you had it – and prevent it? Or what if we could cure a child's cancer by exploiting the bacteria in their gut? These types of biotechnology solutions aimed at improving human health are already being explored. As more and more data (so called "big data") is available across disparate domains such as electronic health records, genomics, metabolomics, and even life-style information, further insights and opportunities for biotechnology will become apparent. However, to achieve the maximal potential both technical and ethical issues will need to be addressed. As we look to the future, let's first revisit previous examples of where combining data with scientific understanding has led to new health solutions. Biotechnology is a rapidly changing field that continues to transform both in scope and impact. Karl Ereky first coined the term biotechnology in 1919.
In 1983, the IBM PC XT debuted with 128K of RAM and a 10MB hard disk. In that same year, the first mobile phone debuted weighing about 2.5 pounds and with a $4,000 price tag. Fast forward to today and the average person unlocks their smartphone 76-80 times a day and relies on it for every aspect of their lives. These amazing pieces of hardware are millions of times more capable than all of NASA's computing power in the 1960s. Now that we have a supercomputer that never leaves people's sides, maybe it's time that we do some more innovation and see how that device can be used for "mobile health".
Such information includes: the database in modern hospital systems, usually known as Electronic Health Records (EHR), which store the patients' diagnosis, medication, laboratory test results, medical image data, etc.; information on various health behaviors tracked and stored by wearable devices, ubiquitous sensors and mobile applications, such as the smoking status, alcoholism history, exercise level, sleeping conditions, etc.; information collected by census or various surveys regarding sociodemographic factors of the target cohort; and information on people's mental health inferred from their social media activities or social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, etc. These health-related data come from heterogeneous sources, describe assorted aspects of the individual's health conditions. Such data is rich in structure and information which has great research potentials for revealing unknown medical knowledge about genomic epidemiology, disease developments and correlations, drug discoveries, medical diagnosis, mental illness prevention, health behavior adaption, etc. In real-world problems, the number of features relating to a certain health condition could grow exponentially with the development of new information techniques for collecting and measuring data. To reveal the causal influence between various factors and a certain disease or to discover the correlations among diseases from data at such a tremendous scale, requires the assistance of advanced information technology such as data mining, machine learning, text mining, etc. Machine learning technology not only provides a way for learning qualitative relationships among features and patients, but also the quantitative parameters regarding the strength of such correlations.