Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog

Is DNA the Key to Preventing a Digital Dark Age?

Posted on Thu, Feb 26, 2015 @ 03:00 PM

The image accompanying this post is of the Phaistos Disk. It was created in about 2000 BCE in Crete. Its front and back surfaces are covered with nearly perfectly preserved etchings, but we don't have much of a clue about what it all means. Why does this matter? It matters because the photos, data, research, and other information that matters to us today barely has a chance of lasting 2 decades, much less 2 millennia. 

Experts, including Vint Cerf who is widely credited as the "father of the internet" and who is now Google's Vice President and Chief Evangelist, believe that much of the information that distinguishes the 21st century is at risk of being lost to future generations. A gaping chasm in humankind's understanding of our era could be called a digital dark age. 

So how would this happen?

The 21st century could become a victim of its own remarkable technological advancement. We've made tremendous progess in data storage over the past few decades. The smartphone in your pocket, for instance, holds far more data than did PCs from even a decade ago, and the price of that storage has fallen dramatically. However, the ability to hold onto that data for -- in optimal cases -- more than twenty years is incredibly rare, and even when the data is pristine, it's not always easy to make sense of it. If you've stumbled upon a cache of floppy disks recently, it is unlikely that your current computer can do anything with them. 

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Tags: Big Data, DNA, health data

MoB: Your Health Data Belongs to You

Posted on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

Lab results must be returned to patients who request them

These Map of Biomedicine blog posts have been focused on how diagnostic tests get to market, from an interesting biological discovery to a test that your doctor can order to help guide your treatment or diagnose disease. We saw that there were different ways this could happen, with or without the involvement of the Food and Drug Administration.

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Tags: map of biomedicine, electronic health record, electronic medical records, health data

The Father of Biomedical Informatics

Posted on Tue, Oct 07, 2014 @ 03:00 PM

About 50 years before many of us began obsessively tracking our sleep, diets, and exercise habits on tiny,wearable devices, the medical director at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland,California began packing up his family to move to San Diego where he was going to launch a new program for Kaiser. With his house on the market, his family ready to go, and a newly appointed director in Oakland, Kaiser switched gears.

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Tags: Big Data, biomedical informatics, health data

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