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".
When she was just 11 months old, Billie Sue Wozniak's daughter Juno was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that affects 1.25 million people and approximately 200,000 children under age 20 in the United States. The disease had affected several members of Billie Sue's family, including her uncle, who passed away at the age of 30. "My first thought was, 'Her life is going to be short,'" the 38-year-old from Reno, Nevada recalled. "The more that I learned, the more I found that many people with type 1 live longer and the treatment advances are really exciting." While looking for treatments, Wozniak learned about encapsulation therapy, in which an encapsulated device containing insulin-producing islet cells derived from stem cells is implanted under the skin.
IBM Watson Health has formed a medical imaging collaborative with more than 15 leading healthcare organizations. The goal: To take on some of the most deadly diseases. The collaborative, which includes health systems, academic medical centers, ambulatory radiology providers and imaging technology companies, aims to help doctors address breast, lung, and other cancers; diabetes; eye health; brain disease; and heart disease and related conditions, such as stroke. Watson will mine insights from what IBM calls previously invisible unstructured imaging data and combine it with a broad variety of data from other sources, such as data from electronic health records, radiology and pathology reports, lab results, doctors' progress notes, medical journals, clinical care guidelines and published outcomes studies. As the work of the collaborative evolves, Watson's rationale and insights will evolve, informed by the latest combined thinking of the participating organizations.
A new way to measure how humans age suggests that Latinos withstand life's wear and tear better than non-Latino Caucasians, and that they may have their Native American ancestors to thank for their longer lives. The new findings offer some insight into a longstanding demographic mystery: that despite having higher rates of inflammation and such chronic diseases as obesity and diabetes, Latinos in the United States have a longer average lifespan than do non-Latino whites. Those findings emerge from an intriguing effort to devise a biological clock -- a standard measure of age more revealing than birthdays, walking speed, wrinkled skin or twinkly eyes. By doing so, researchers hope to glean why some people die young while others live long, to understand what chronic diseases have to do with aging, and to predict and increase patients' lifespans. A reliable measure of biological age could also set a standard by which to judge the effectiveness of anti-aging therapies.
Apple is edging its way a little further into health care with the release of new iPhone apps that patients can use to manage their own medical conditions -- from diabetes to pregnancy and even depression. While there are hundreds of health-related apps on the market, Apple wants to put its stamp on a new ecosystem of treatment programs. Rather than build the apps itself, the tech giant developed a set of software tools and templates, called "CareKit," that health-care groups and health-tech startups can use to create their own programs. Apple says it wanted to help developers build easy-to-use apps for patients to record symptoms, get useful information, track their progress and even send reports to a doctor. Experts say the CareKit program could help bring standards to a relatively new and unruly industry, while giving Apple a toehold in the growing health-tech market.