by Guillermo Cecchi
Patterns are everywhere. Benoit Mandelbrot found them in nature, and gave us fractals. And now computer systems and algorithms find them in data, like how Watson teases out relevant information in just about anything. Machines can even find patterns in speech to accurately predict psychosis onset in high-risk youths, as colleagues and I explain in a recent Nature Publishing Journals – Schizophrenia article, Automated Analysis of Free Speech Predicts Psychosis Onset in High-Risk Youths.
About 1 percent of the population between the age of 14 and 27 is at clinically high risk, or CHR, for experiencing a psychotic episode at some point in their lives. One percent might not sound like much, but a statistically significant 30 percent of those known CHR individuals will have an episode. This led me to work with academic and clinical psychiatrists to apply machine learning to the data – in the form of transcribed interviews – to find patterns that would accurately predict that 30 percent. Continue Reading »
By Juana Marcela Ramírez
Almost a sixth of the adult population in Mexico suffers from diabetes and that number is only expected to grow.
The diabetes epidemic in Mexico holds massive implications. It profoundly impacts the health of individual Mexicans and negatively affects the country’s socioeconomic development. The Mexican government is working hard to not only combat the diabetes, but prevent it. For example, it launched a “soda tax,” which increases the price of sugary drinks 10 percent and the price of junk food 8 percent, to deter consumption.
This was the impetus behind IBM and Tienda Diabetes’ decision to team up to launch Farmacia Online, the first-ever specialized online drugstore in Mexico. Farmacia Online provides diabetes patients with affordable same-day delivery options for medications and treatments, as well as personalized care. Continue Reading »
By Steve Hamm
Dr. Jose Morey has a full-time job as a radiologist with the U.S. Veterans Administration in Hampton, VA. He also teaches part-time at the University of Virginia and Eastern Virginia Medical School. As if that wasn’t enough, he is helping IBM develop a system, Medical Sieve, aimed at assisting doctors to interpret medical images.
Why does he do it? “I have an eight-year-old son,” Jose says. “I tell him that someday a computer might help save his life. I’ll play a little part in that. And even when I’m gone it might help his kids. It’s a legacy thing.” Continue Reading »
By Dr. Lukas Wartman
I have the dubious distinction of being a famous cancer patient. I’m an oncologist who specializes in leukemia; I got leukemia; and I’m cured, at least for now, thanks to advances in genomic medicine and the efforts of some brilliant physicians and researchers.
My health was broken. It took some of the best minds and science in the world to put me back together again.
Unfortunately, in spite of advances in gene sequencing and oncology, too few cancer victims have outcomes like mine. The genomic treatment I received, an example of precision medicine, simply isn’t scalable to millions of people right now.
This is where IBM Watson could help. Using Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities, I hope it will be possible for oncologists like me to quickly mine insights from the immense amount of genomic data that’s becoming available about individual patients by using Watson to identify potential drugs that target our patients’ specific genetic profiles.
By Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP
There was an interesting decision to make within IBM about what to call a new business organization that we’re announcing today. Should it be named Watson Health or Watson Healthcare?
“Health” is an aspiration, for individuals and society. “Healthcare” describes an industry primarily focused on treating diseases.
While healthcare is essential, it represents just one of many factors that determine whether people live long and healthy lives. Some other critical factors are genetics, geography, behaviors, social/environmental influences, education, and economics. Unless society takes all of these factors into account and puts the individual at the center of the healthcare system, we won’t be able to make large-scale progress in helping people feel better and live longer. So, Watson Health it is. Continue Reading »
By Ajay Royyuru
A physician once told me that “your genes load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger.”
We were talking about how genetics play a role in the likelihood of a disease manifesting itself – and how the way we live also influences that likelihood. And it’s getting easier and faster for doctors and scientists to precisely understand which genes influence which diseases, and by how much.
This improved access and understanding of the genome, though, brings up challenges to the notion of ownership, consent, and privacy. Should a patient ask her siblings, parents and grandparents for permission to reveal genetic information? How much of a person’s genome should be tested, disclosed, or archived, per analysis? Continue Reading »
Major (Ret.) William Lyles
I have always wanted to work in an area that requires athletic skills. From original aspirations of being a baseball player to my eventual calling as a member of the U.S. Army and Green Berets, I have always loved physical activity.
Unfortunately, in the summer of 2010, my unit came under heavy fire in Afghanistan. During the attack, I stepped on an improvised explosive device. As a result of the explosion and infections that followed, I had to receive partial amputations in both legs. I am now a bilateral above-the-knee amputee, restricting my physical activities.
I am incredibly grateful to the Military Health System (MHS) for saving my life. And much of my experiences with the system over the past 11 years have been positive. However, I have also seen firsthand areas that could be improved with a more advanced electronic health record (EHR) system. Continue Reading »
By Dr. Bertalan Meskó
Simply having access to the information that patients or medical professionals actually need could be the biggest milestone in the history of medicine.
Even in the modern era, we are struggling to find the right information either about lifestyle or therapeutic decisions. Is this the right diet or exercise regimen for me? Is this the only study I should read about this patient’s case? This could change with cognitive computing.
What even the most acclaimed professors know cannot match cognitive computers. As the amount of information they accumulate grows exponentially, the assistance of computing solutions in medical decisions is beginning to take off. Continue Reading »
By Dr. Patrick Parfrey
Research within the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland is about to enter a new era.
For decades, researchers at our facility followed traditional routes to answer their research question with the hope of finding a sometimes elusive answer that could affect change. Conventionally at the end of the project, with luck, a good research paper was published in a high-impact journal. And for a substantial amount of time these findings didn’t move in the direction of change the researchers had hoped.
The Translational & Personalized Medicine Initiative (TPMI) is a program that will support the broader goals of health system reform through the creation of a sustainable health system by reducing inappropriate utilization, increasing efficiencies, improving cost effectiveness, and improving patient outcomes. Continue Reading »
By Dr. Erica Ollmann Saphire
The current outbreak of the Ebola virus is the largest in history, and has been described by the World Health Organization as “the most severe acute public health emergency seen in modern times.”
While previous outbreaks have ended when the disease was contained and disappeared from the human population, the scope of the 2014 outbreak raises the possibility that the virus, rather than disappearing again, could become endemic – permanently persisting in human populations in one or more areas. Continue Reading »