“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is certainly not a new book—it became a celebrated best seller almost immediately after it was published in early 2010.
Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog
Friday, March 16th, marked the release of CONNECT 3.3, an open source product that enables health information exchange, securely, across the Internet. This product is used by Health Information Exchange (HIE) organizations, hospitals, healthcare institutions, and government agencies around the world. The release of CONNECT 3.3 is important news to healthcare, as the software helps the country achieve the goal of sharing medical information to improve healthcare and lower costs. CONNECT’s release also was a big day for several of us at 5AM Solutions. For nearly the past year, several colleagues and I have been working tirelessly on the CONNECT project, which is a program of the Federal Health Architecture (FHA), an E-Government initiative managed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Assembling and implementing the varied requirements of several government agencies, the open source community, and standards bodies sometimes led to late nights and long days. We enjoyed the work and the people we got to work with, but being a software engineer often means that you are down in the trenches, which can cause you to lose perspective on the big picture of what you are working on. After the release last week, we had the opportunity to lift our heads up and once again look at what CONNECT really means to healthcare.
The Surgeon General's "My Family Health Portrait" -- a tool developed by 5AM and a team of collaborators -- was recently referenced in the the book "The End of Illness" by David B. Agus. Dr. Agus is professor of medicine and Engineering at USC Keck School of medicine. He is the founder of Oncology.com and served as attending physician and as head of the Laboratory of Tumor Biology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In "The End of Illness," Agus suggests that as a society we should change our view of health and wellness, and offers that we have been thinking about our bodies in an incorrect manner. One interesting concept the author addresses is how certain diseases and conditions can be addressed through early detection and changes to habits and lifestyle. Essentially, we shouldn't focus on the late stage solution for a particular condition if it is possible to prevent the condition to begin with. Agus suggests natural behavioral "prescriptions" -- such as wearing a comfortable pair of shoes and eating lunch at the same time every day -- can improve one's health. He also explores the positive and negative consequences of different drugs and the statistics behind the change in death rates of particular conditions over the last few decades as certain drugs have been introduced to the market.
During bioinformatics engagements, many of our clients use Microsoft Excel for working with their data. Indeed, the projects often begin and end with the delivery of a spreadsheet. Although Excel is ubiquitous and has many attractive features, there are some common pitfalls. This blog post details the first of the five issues we take a look at--To dowload the full "Using Excel for Bioinformatics Data" whitepaper, featuring five common issues and some great solutions, click here.
It was recently announced that the Cleveland Clinic and 23andMe are teaming up to seek out volunteers for a study where patients will be asked to provide a saliva sample for DNA analysis and agree to participate in online surveys about their experience with Parkinson’s Disease to study the interactions between genomics and the disease. I wondered, how powerful is the draw of this kind of personal philanthrophy, when the donation (be it a donation of tissue or participation) is of the self rather than of the pocketbook? And to arrive at such a decision, what are the motivations, reservations, and implications?