Researchers then conducted functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans on the dogs while their owners stood in front of the machine calling out the name of each object while showing the corresponding toy. The owners also called out meaningless words while displaying random objects. The fMRI results showed increased activation in auditory regions of the dogs' brains to the unassigned words compared to the trained words.
Many public and private efforts in coming years will focus on research in precision medicine, developing biomarkers to indicate which patients are likely to benefit from a certain treatment so that others can be spared the cost--financial and physical--of being treated with unproductive therapies and therapeutic signals can be more easily uncovered. However, such research initiatives alone will not deliver new medicines to patients in the absence of strong incentives to bring new products to market. We examine the unique economics of precision medicines and associated biomarkers, with an emphasis on the factors affecting their development, pricing, and access.
The problematic program actually dates from the early 2000s, when WHO launched its first "traditional medicine strategy." In 2013 WHO's Director-General Margaret Chan announced an extension of original initiative to foster the integration of traditional medicine into health care systems as a way to improve health in developed as well as developing countries while limiting health care costs. In the resulting 76-page brochure, "Traditional Medicine Strategy," WHO touts the growing interest worldwide in traditional medicine as well as its increasing economic importance. The report pays lip service to the need for attention to the "safety and efficacy" of traditional medicine and refers in a generic way to "risks" associated with its use. However, it fails to cite a single example of the types of damage associated with the use of herbs or to refer to the extensive evidence of adverse effects.
Point-of-care medicine is key to providing better healthcare. Matching the patient examination with test results as part of a face-to-face discussion with the physician will allow for a significantly improved diagnostics and treatment process. But true point-of-care testing remains elusive. Urine analysis and basic chemistry have been solved, but the third pillar of point-of-care testing, complete blood count (CBC), is still missing, mainly due to technology barriers. Once this is solved, real point of care medicine will become possible.