Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Little Social Venture Start-Ups That Could: Day 1

Every day, up to the end of the month, we’ll profile one group that proves that global impact can come in small, energetic packages to help communities around the world.

We’ll kick things off with a veritable engine of developing world research that is igniting scientific exploration among developing world scientists: Seedings Labs.

The Cambridge social enterprise collects laboratory equipment academic and private sector research labs in the U.S., sorts, refurbishes it when necessary, and ships it to scientists who have passed the Seeding Labs selection criteria. Under the leadership of Echoing Green fellow, Nina Dudnick, the group has grown from a student-run outfit at Harvard to an independent technology transfer powerhouse.

Their mission has multiple benefits in different flavors:
  • Greening Science: They are reducing the burden of having to discard surplus laboratory equipment by giving it second tour of duty in labs around the world.

  • Democratizing Research: They are creating a generation of scientists that are home-grown, spurring local and unique research pathways, and opening the science education for students.

  • Reversing the Brain Drain: It’s empowering scientists who would otherwise not go back to their countries after receiving advanced training in the West.

  • Sustaining Discovery and the Next Great Minds Behind Them: This is not your weekend lab garage sale. By mapping their database of emerging research with a real-time inventory system, they can optimize shipments to the best candidates for cutting edge research in far corners of the earth.

How YOU can HELP!
  • Back them with your checkbook. All our featured start-ups have real expenses behind their fantastic stories. Send Seedings Labs some Holiday cheer and when one of their scientists makes Nature, you’ll feel like your own private Wellcome Trust.

  • Sign up to volunteer: If you want to see the operation first hand, contact Seeding Labs for volunteer opportunities. Packing boxes full of PCR machines and flow cytometers will energize the geek inside you on a Saturday morning

  • Spread the Word: Do you work in a lab that has some extra lab equipment looking for a new home? Talk to your boss and show them how Seeding Labs can find a new home in an exotic location. Your corporate social responsibility committee will be the coolest kids in town.
More at Seedings Labs

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Off-roading to save babies!

The "car parts incubator", a project of our colleague - Dr. Kris Olson - was featured in the New York Times. Kris was also the subject of a Boston Globe profile describing his other projects. 

This is a neo-natal incubator built entirely from parts scavenged from an automobile. The prototype featured here used parts from a Toyata4Runner.

One of the important learnings here is that the best way to sustainably implement technology-based solutions in the developing world is to include durable mechanisms of distribution and local technical support, very early in the design and development process.   

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have SMS, Will Operate :)

I thought I had read everything involving mobile phones and global health applications. We've covered cell phones as surgical lights, as health information companions, diagnostic and compliance platforms, etc.

I've never come across the cell phone as a surgical coaching aide. That the experience of Dr. David Nott from Médecins Sans Frontières during a risky life-saving arm amputation of a Congolese boy. Thanks for quick thinking (and thumbs) Dr. Nott received step-by-step instructions from his friend Professor Meirion Thomas back in London via SMS on how to perform a forequarter amputation.

The BBC interviews Dr. Nott:

Hat tip to Medgadget

Monday, December 8, 2008

Swiping for Health: Utah Researchers unveil diagnostic possibilities

Scientists Marc Porter and Michael Granger from the University of Utah have devised a method that takes advantage of a phenomenon known as giant magnetoresistance (GMR) to detect various disease markers. GMR is a Nobel prize winning discovery that has been known for 20 years:
Magnetoresistance is the change in a material's resistance to electrical current when an external magnetic field is applied to the material. That change usually is not more than 1 percent. But some multilayer materials display a change in resistance of as much as 80 percent. That is giant magnetoresistance.

Porter and Granger created a prototype reader that uses this phenomenon to detected changes in GMR caused by the presence of spots along the sensor. By swiping the sensor along the GMR reader, the sequence of spots (arguably the presence of some pathogen) creates a unique signature that gets interpreted as a diagnostic identifier. The device is currently PC sized but the team is working on miniaturizing the components for portability.

This is a pretty interesting approach to diagnostics and I wonder if it offers an alternative to the advances of lap on a chip technology, or if will become another form of diagnostic vacuum tubes.

More at Eureka Alert

Little Devices in the Wind: Part II

Some time ago we featured a series of mini wind turbines by a group of researchers in Hong Kong. A great follow up is the Febot which combines a single AA-battery socket with a mini turbine to make a single charging station that sticks on the side of a window. They should make a version that can stick to your bike handlebars.

More at Yanko Design

Malaria Vaccine Launched

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the development of a series of vaccine candidates against Malaria. The results are coming in from Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania and they show that one candidates to be 30 to 50% effective. That may be a little too low to make a huge impact. The investment seems to be paying off in a step in the right direction though.

More at Foreign Policy

The History and Science of LEDs

The Appropriate technology gurus at AIDG have a wonderful collection of LED videos that shows the history behind the ubiquitous light source, and a series of tutorials on a DIY LED. Sounds like a weekend project.

More at AIDG

Sunday, November 9, 2008

3D Printing from Paper and Glue: The Mcor Matrix 3D printer

File under: Christmas wishlist

According to Engadget, UK company Mcor has cranked out an affordable attempt at 3D printing that uses A4 paper and glue to produce rapid prototypes. I had to read this several times, but they use regular paper which gets cut up into bits and then glued to produce the results above. I'll say this is going to be invaluable for our HLab network real soon. The machines are expected to hit the States in 2009.

Their take:
We wouldn't go so far as to say that 3D printers are growing tired, but we are growing short on patience waiting for a commercial version that the average joe / jane can afford. Thankfully, Mcor is up to the challenge, recently delivering its Matrix to the UK and gearing up to bring it to other parts of the world in 2009. Put simply, this carving creature uses traditional A4 paper and PVA glue to create objects like the ones you see above. Throw in a nice, sharp blade and a little bit of computational prowess, and you've got yourself one wicked 3D printer with running costs "up to 40 times less" than competitors.

Thanks to Engadget

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What we've been up to

We're back everyone. After a long stretch of work that included some exciting and blog worthy moments, I've finally caught up with my RSS reader and Blogger to bring you more consistent posts.

We have been simply too busy to blog, which is a shame, because it's been the "good busy" type of busy. We've been awash with devices and great people who are more interested than ever in the convergence of medical technology and international development. That means more LTDC posts than ever in the coming weeks. While this is certainly not an IIH blog, I might as well explain what IIH (and by extension myself) have been up to.

Last week, CIMIT held their annual Innovation Congress which featured an Exploratorium which prominently featured global health medical technologies by the CIMIT Global Health Initiative spearheaded by Dr. Kris Olson and his crack team of innovation specialists [shown at left demonstrating their car parts incubator], as well as IIH technologies (thanks CIMIT!) working under the same tent (or thatch roof...)

We pulled allnighters trying to get newer prototypes delivered, last minute machining, and 3 am diagnostic reactions to make a good showing at the event. By listening to the crowd, it seems our team achieved that.

The week before CIMIT, we were invited to participate in the last session of MIT's Center for Biomedical Innovation's "Critical Elements of a "Learning Healthcare System" workshop, which featured a poster session on global health. We saw our friends at X Prize, M-Lab (MIT's Mobility Lab which designs mobility solutions for the developing world), the BAMM lab's CD4 microfluidic technology, and the other IIH, Innovators in Health which invented the uBox and uPhone telemedical systems for tuberculosis compliance.

Throughout this time, we were delivered the news that Interamerican Bank for Development is going to support us to bolster our collaboration with our Nicaraguan partners, CIES (Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios de la Salud) and CARE Nicaragua. The support will accelerate our collaboration with this dynamic organizational duo by deploying a set of field ready biomedical learning kits that will allow Nicaraguan innovators to come up with their own medical technology innovations. Check out the Scidev scoop here.

Beyond all this, we owe you updates on Joost Bonsen's Development Ventures and their great line up of startups to tackle the Millenium Challenges, my field notes from the upcoming Duke conference on Bioengineering Global Health, and another round of devices from the CIMIT event.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Seen and Heard

Another cool conference (or unconference) that I am missing: the first Open Sustainability Network unconference. Appropedia's Lonny Grafman told me about it and I'm sure they've come up with some great stuff over the last two days.

Technology, Health and Development Blog has a great article on the future of M-money.

Wired has a great wiki on how to take microscopic photos using a digital camera.

According to the PSD Blog, Gartner has some ideas on the future of microinsurance, the scheme that aims to create a new insurance segment at affordable prices. We may finally be able to get a reimbursement code for those agricultural prosthetics.

Congrats to Amy Smith on Winning Popular Mechanics Breakthough Award!

Popular Mechanics just awarded MIT's own Amy Smith with a Breakthrough Award for her pioneering work in bringing technology to developing countries.

The Secret Life Bees: Diagnostics

Artist Susana Soares is creating a series of beautiflly crafted chambers that collect air samples, or breath samples. Her BEE'S project builds on bee's acute odor perception.  In my book, these a wonderful example of good elegant design that can have wonderful apps in the developing world. No electronic noses, or fancy micromechanical systems, or complex diagnostic arrays: just a handful of dutiful bees trained to be attracted to something which produces a yes/no response. 

Another company is working on using the bees as portable explosives detectors.

This reminds of a previous project funded by the World Bank to use trained rats to smell and detect TB in samples. I like the Soares approach more though, after all, no one's put a rat on a cereal box design yet.

More at Proto

Sunday, September 28, 2008

CIMIT Innovation Congress 2008

Dates: October 28-29, 2008
Location: Back Bay Events Center, 200 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA

CIMIT, which stands for Center for Integration of Medicine & Innovative Technology, is a unique consortium of hospitals and research labs in the Boston area. It is holding it's annual Innovation Congress which will include their Exploratorium featuring a dedicated section to Global Health. If you are in the Boston area, watch for IIH and LTDC innovations in the area including the XoutTB System, an incubator for the developing world by team led by Dr. Kris Olson, ClickDiagnostics, and several other devices and the innovators behind them.

Be sure to register early at

Saturday, September 27, 2008

MIT's Development Ventures

If you read this blog, it would be hard for you not to know about MIT's D-Lab. What could be forgiven is that you may not know about the newest newest member in the D-Lab family of classes: MIT's Development Ventures.

Development Ventures (DV) is an exploratory developmental entrepreneurship seminar on founding, financing, & building viable ventures in developing nations and emerging regions. DV is a member of the larger D-Labs family of classes addressing Development-Design-Dissemination at MIT. Since 2001 we have challenged students to use business methods to tackle the UN Millennium Development Goals by crafting enduring, scalable, and economically viable solutions to problems faced by at least One Billion people worldwide.

This is the 7th year the class is offered, spinning out about 12 real world companies focused on international development challenges. Under the careful guidance of Joost Bonsen and Sandy Pentland, the class, taught in the heart of the MIT Media Lab, combined top flight technologists with saavy business strategies that are incredibily informed about doing business in emerging economies.

I'm going to be attending the class all semester and hope to give you some weekly insights as I learn from the next crop of companies addressing the millenium development goals.

More at MIT

Indian Innovators on the Discovery Channel

I really have to catch up on my posts, and AIDG's Blog never misses a step. The latest posts include

Indian Appropriate Technology Innovators

and an interesting article on the NYTimes on the "factory frontier" of India and the plight of farmers fighter the transformation of their crop land.

MIT's D-Lab Founder Amy Smith on Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics has a wonderful article on Professor Amy Smith, founder of D-Lab, and orchestrator of any array of international development technologies at MIT.

For those of us who get a close up view of her work at MIT, the article provides a nice reminder that technology for development can and will make a difference one life at a time. Professor Smith is a pioneer who is making that happen.

Hat tip to AIDG

More at Popular Mechanics

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No Fedex, No problem: GPS-enabled robot airplanes transport your lab samples from the middle of nowhere

I totally want one of one these.

According to the fine folks at Medgadget and Gizmodo, these GPS-guided model airplanes carry lab samples from remote areas to a central lab.

Now, I really don't care if UPS is available, I want my swab sample sent Predator style.

Open Source Infectious Disease Reporting

TriSano promises to do away with the flurry of faxes doctors are currently using (are you kidding me?) to report specific conditions that could point to a larger public health concern. The name comes from
Tri is a prefix meaning three. Tri represents the collaboration between local, state and federal entities. It depicts the primary disciplines of public health: epidemiology, biostatistics and health services. Tri also refers to the epidemiological triad of people, place, and time.

Sano is an adjective meaning promoting good health.

There's an interesting white paper here:

and a more comprehensive post at Medgadget

Monday, August 4, 2008

Neat Stuff Round Up

LTDC has been hit or miss lately because the author is working on stuff but not writing enough about it. To make up for it, we'll rely on a massive link drop covering what the health superstars at THD Blog are up to:

Th 60s: We have not succumbed to pollution and chemicals, but Rachel Carson warned us about it. As the Berlin Wall went up, so did the Peace Corps! The CCCP sent Yuri to Space and the USA followed with their own astronaut...and the Foreign Assistance Act was launched.

A comprehensive review of the Global Health Council meeting

A Global Health Video that made the Top 10 List at TED

Mosquirix - A new vaccine for Malaria by Glaxo: $100 Million in R&D, 16,000 children in a trial over 7 countries. The target data for launch is 2011.

Closer to home: MIT's Innovations in Technology, Governance and Globalization is free until August 30th. This is a great journal and I highly recommend it. More importantly, don't miss Aman and Jaspal's Aurolab article found here.

And for the mobilephiles our there a roundup of mobile phones in global health

Another human-powered ambulance

When did this

become this

Medgadget highlights a design from Yanko Design that propels this ambulance by pedal and solar power aimed at resource poor areas.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spotlight on MIT's new Innovations in International Health: LTDC is Institutionalized)

It's almost been a month since my last post. We have been incredibly busy with a whole new program that aims to nurture, discover, invent, and launch the next little devices that could. So hopefully my absence is justified by the some of the offline project you'll read about soon.

MIT's International Development Initiative has launched Innovations in International Health. IIH is a collaborative research program that spans across MIT Departments and brings in partners from around the country and around to world to create a rich multidisciplinary environment to launch medical technology for the next four billion.

I'll let you visit the site to learn more.

Back to work for me, but I'm back with the program.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Accidental medical device of the month: The Taser

This one is better than the superglue for toothaches covered a few months back. The WSJ Health blog describes the case of policeman who had to tase man while he was in the ER (it's better than it sounds).

Turns out the Taser jolted his heart back into a normal rhythm.
more at

Combating Cervical Cancer with Cameraphones

This is the start of a small series covering the projects at MIT's D-Lab II, Information and Communications Technologies for Development, or ICT4D short. The results of the semester-long class resulted applications for microfinance, telemedicine, mobile disaster management technoloogies, and rapid pneumonia response systems.

The following is a video highlighting efforts in their project for detection and treatment of cervical cancer.

From their project page
We are developing the process that would facilitate the use of mobile device to transport images taken by nurses at health care centers (point-of-care) in rural Zambia to a server in Lusaka where doctors can access the images in order to provide expert advice on cervical lesions. We would like to explore the use of this approach to facilitate a scalable national cervical cancer screening program. Finally, we would like to design a platform that would allow transfer of the images directly to an electronic medical record database for archiving.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Making sure you eat your Wheaties (and take your meds)

Patient compliance is a $30 billion dollar a year problem according to major pharmaceutical associations (DataMonitor). The challenge is universal, everyone is susceptible to procrastination regardless of GDP. Patient compliance has uneven consequences in different patient populations. We covered a couple of technologies aimed at developing world patients fighting TB. These are low-cost reporting and monitoring technologies that take advantage of widespread cellphone networks. One of the rationales for their use is to prevent the onset of a much more complicated disease. If they become too sick, their public health resources cannot support further treatment.

Closer to these shores, patient compliance takes on a different rationale. Insurers and healthcare sponsors seek savings through preventative medicine.

This has launched what I will term the pillbox technology: simple dispensers that report usage of a dispensing mechanism. Essentially, you get a reminder, a convenient dispensing mechanism, and the time and frequency of the dispensing is reported to a central location. The approach is not limited to pillboxes. It has also been expended to inhalers and glucose meters.

Pillboxes: Gaming the System

A major flaw in this approach is reliance on the Honor System. This is going to make me really unpopular in some circles: trusting on people to behave themselves all on their own is a risky strategy. Some patients require a high level of monitoring to ensure compliance since their life is on the line. Forget about taking your multivitamin everyday (I forget to)---if you don't take your full course of TB meds, you're not going to make it. And if you do, you're going develop multiple drug resistant TB. If you do, and your national healthcare system can't provide, you're not going to make it.

Enter the Adult Supervision Brigades...

The second method goes further and ensures that the medication has actually been taken. We'll call this Detect-and-Report. Detecting metabolized drugs in patients such as University of Florida spinoff Exhale’s breathalyzer technologies enhances compliance by ensuring that drugs have been taken. For some this may be a little too Big Brother, but in the end, one can argue that it’s for your own good. After all, a much higher level of compliance enforcement would be experienced that same patient is hospitalized.

Exhale’s technology is being used to ensure compliance in patients undergoing a HIV/AIDS trials. The noninvasive test relies on adding GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) biomarker tags that are detected on an electronic monitor---just like an alcohol breathalyzer. There is no word on pricing, but it could easily pay for itself if can enhance the confidence of a clinical trial.

On the other end of the spectrum of detection-and-monitor technologies is the XoutTB system which I have described earlier. At a cost of a penny a day, the system relies on metabolic testing integrated with a mobile reporting platform.

The recent development of detect-and-report technologies means that the jury is still out on whether the honor system works as well as active detection and reporting systems. We’ll stay tuned.

In the meantime eat your Wheaties, take your statins, and rafampin, and all those little bottles behind the mirror.

More on Exhale in their website.
Stay tuned for information on XoutTB or get in touch with us directly.

Foldit: Competitive Protein Folding

Most of us are familiar with the Fold@Home project that allows millions of computers to share spare computing cycles to solve protein folding problems. If your screensaver is not set to provide Fold@Home some spare computing cycle, you are not alone.
Move aside Celtics: enter the league of Competitive Protein Folding.

The idea behind David Baker's project, called FoldIt is to employ battalions of gamers to provide what an army of CPUs can't: smarts. Algorithms are great, but they can't match the puzzle-solving abilities of a person dead set on solving a problem. Baker would know a thing or two about algorithms. His research launched the Rosetta@Home project which employed distributed computing power to solve proteins.

I like the concept because it combines the flattening power of the internet, the elegance of distributed computing, and a really cool gaming interface. Watch the video.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Innerspace News: Tiny boats delivery meds to your body

This drug delivery method is elegant, it may very make it to the a global health application one day.

Cheng Luo, an engineer from the University of Texas at Arlington, has developed a tiny device that uses differences in the surface tension of to propel it in water. The hope is that one day, they can take the concept and create micro submarines for delivering drugs inside the blood stream.

More at

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Ryan's Bill: Austism Insurance Bill Passes

We focus so much on global health in this blog it is easy to miss sight of those underserved closer to home. South Carolina resident Lorri Unumb can celebrate a small victory towards raising her son Ryan, who has autism. It turns out that most insurance companies won't cover autism therapy. This is ludicrous---you get hurt in a car wreck and you can go get physical therapy to get your walking muscle memory back. You suffer some sort of mental impairment and it's considered "educational therapy". Well, thanks to Unumb, insurers in South Carolina can no longer take cover behind this logic.

"I've met so many other moms who were doing the best they could, and I just wanted to say to them, 'You know, an hour a week of speech therapy for your child is never going to make him better,' " the mother of three says.

"But I didn't want to tell them what they needed is 40 hours a week of therapy, because there's nothing they can do to buy that."

Nothing they can do because most medical insurance policies generally don't cover autism treatment, and it's too expensive for many parents to afford out of pocket. Ryan's therapy costs between $70,000 and $80,000 a year. That's Lorri Unumb's entire salary.

Well, it didn't hurt that Lorri Unumb is both a lawyer and a law professor. She soon turned a sour situation into a solution that helps her family countless others. Professor Unumb, way to go!

More at CNN

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Neat Stuff Roundup

Monday, March 24, 2008

World TB Day

Thanks to Aman at THD Blog, I am informed that today is World TB Day. I'm not sure how you treat this: "Happy TB Day", "May you and yours have a wonderful TB Day" do not seem appropriate.

THD by way of Christine at Families USA has featured an anti-TB game:

In response*, my group at MIT has developed the XoutTB diagnostic paper microfluidic toolset. It aims to keep patients on track with their meds at a cost of a penny a day. X out TB program is currently under continued development at MIT with the assistance of partners in the Ministry of Health in Nicaragua, the InterActive Research and Development group in Karachi, Pakistan, and the guidance of the Poverty Action Center. Funding has been provided by the IDEAS Competition (Lemelson Award in International Technology) and private donations.

*In response to TB, not TB Day, but it is fitting that I make the announcement on LTDC on March 24, don't you think?

2008 NCIIA Annual Conference: Wrap up

3 : Hours in the ER before my DC flight due to Aerovax prototype airborne shrapnel landing in my left eye
7:30 : Scheduled departure from Logan to Dallas on Tuesday
5 : Number of liquid crystal displays on the Airtran Embraer Jet taking me to DC connection
1 : Number of check engine lights that rendered the LCDs useless and grounding the flight
2:30 : Arrival time into Dallas the next afternoonDespite the misadventures of travel, I left the 2008 NCIIA Conference wiser and humbled, having met an oustanding group of individuals and institutions working on fascinating products, educational strategies, and global challenges. I'm going to provide some detailed notes at the expanded Conferences and Lectures version of LTDC.

A quick preview:
  • Paul Polack on Design for the Other 90% (it's not just the museum exhibit, it's going to change the face of business and products for folks in emerging markets)
  • Sir Ken Robinson on creativity.
  • The Small Engines group from the Global Innovation Center in Energy, Health and Environment at Colorado State University (guys I need a link here).
  • Baylor University's efforts of transforming coconuts into Home Depot products
More after coffee break (Dallas has a severe deficit of Starbucks, though).

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

TB Compliance the "smart pillbox" way

Those nerds at the Massachusetts Institute for Technophobes have done it again by inventing the "uBox" - a souped up version of the humble pillbox, that tracks how often people take their medication and improves compliance with drug dosage. The device comes with a USB that enables healthcare workers to plug into the pillbox and download the compliance record. Read more..

DIY drilling: Neurosurgery in the developing world

Who knew that a Bosch drill could have so many uses? When working for the National Health Service, Marsh uses a £30,000 compressed-air medical drill, but he uses a £30 drill with the standard medical drill bits when operating in less ideal settings in Ukraine. How does he ensure patient safety? "The traditional way... by talking to them throughout the operation." Read more...

Thanks to Kevin MD via Medgadget


The folks in the Blume Center for Developing Economics have devised a nifty little device that can provide 50x magnification by adding $50 in off-the-shelf components to a cellphone camera. Called the 'Cellscope', this initiative "extends the reach of modern microscopy by turning the camera of a standard cell phone into a clinical-quality microscope. With a magnification of 5-50X, cell-phone microscopy will enable visualization of patient samples critical for disease diagnosis. Images captured by health workers on a microscope-equipped cell phone could be annotated, organized, and transmitted to medical experts at major medical centers for analysis and recommendation. Preliminary work has demonstrated the technical feasibility of this ‘telemicroscopy’ concept." Read More about it here or visit the project page.

Hat tip to Medgadget

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The OR Channel: TV dinners are never gonna look quite the same

When I was 3 or 4 year old, I ran into my grandfather's collection of 35mm projection slides of surgical procedures that he used to teach his students in medical school. I remember that the images were fascinating (at least for me) and left an indelible mark on my view of the human body: Try to understand a 3 year old who goes "eyes, nose, ears, hands, feet, liver, pancreas, vein." Fast forward a long time and instead of becoming a vascular surgeon like Pepe, I grew up to design devices that he could have used. Problem is that I am out of 35 mm projection slide discovery I ran into this today:

OR Live is a website offerings video streams of 600 different surgical procedures.
Each procedure comes from different institutions so you can get a good sense of how each procedures varies by physician and hospital.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Play doctor online using CureHunter

Before you send me your letters, don't try this at home without adult supervision and please don't start Googling your symptoms. Okay, now the fun part.

CureHunter is an online web service that provides access to medical literature in a straight forward interface. So next time you are arguing about the performance of Cimetidine and Omeprazole, do yourself a favor and go to CureHunter's Mobile site. Type in a disease or a drug, and it will tell you what is the generally accepted therapy. I know, it takes an MD to really figure out what a person has, etc. etc. This is a tool and timely one.

Healthcare workers with GPRS access will find it invaluable.

More at Medgadget

A Cancer Breathalyzer

Researchers at Swansea Univrsity in Wales are developing a method for detecting cancer and other diseases using your breath. Medgadget reports that Dr. Masood Yousef and his research team have been working on improved volatile marker-based diagnostics. This has been tried before but the improved analytics are bringing them closer to being a reality. The impact for global health could be huge if the costs of the test remain reasonable (no word on pricing yet). Imaging a scenario where a nomadic patient can be given a test result that would usually take a week to come back from the lab—and an additional two weeks to go back and track the person. I'll keep my tabs on this one. Dr. Yousef, if you are reading this, we'd love to chat and introduce you to some cool cellphone technology we're developing with these types of technologies in mind.

Dr Yousef [Dr Masood Yousef, senior research assistant in the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating at Swansea University -ed] believes that the breath test will provide a more convenient and rapid method for diagnosing serious diseases than blood or urine analysis, and will require minimal medical intervention.

He said: "Breath samples are much easier to collect than blood and urine, for the patient as much as for the person collecting the sample. They can be collected anywhere by people with no medical training, and there are no associated biohazard risks."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Little Devices That Could @ AAAS

Our friend Aman at state of the art THD Blog sent us an opportunity to participate in a global health panel at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston Sunday February 17, 2008.

So for those of you based in Boston looking for a good excuse to dodge the weather on a Sunday afternoon, come by the Hynes Convention Center this Sunday and say hello.

There will be a discussion on the intersection of global health, technology, and the role of the entrepreneur. We owe the invitation to Usha Balakrishnan, CEO of Cartha, a fledging organization in the business of fostering innovative opportunities for social entrepreneurs and the next generation of thought leaders. Thanks Usha!

As additional incentive, Cat at AIDG has a great preview on all the other panels at AAAS for you to go to.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Smoking will kill 1 billion

Some devices suck. A recently unveiled WHO report on smoking reveals some shocking stats on cigarettes. According the Bloomberg (as in Mayor Michael) financed report, smoking will kill 1 billion people this century. China, India, and Indonesia will top the list. As these economies mature, and purchasing power increased for consumers, the rise of cigarette purchases will be inevitable.

According to Foreign Policy
While progress has been made in many countries thanks to higher taxes and bans in public places (the unbelievable smoking ban in Paris cafes, for example), smoking is on the rise in the developing world. The WHO projects that one billion people, 80 percent of them in the developing world, will die of smoking-related illnesses by the end of the century if trends continue on their current trajectory.
More after the jump.

Update: Adding insult to injury, the Chinese government wants to encourage smoke-free restaurants during their Olympic Games. The backlash from consumers that insist on smoking have put certain restaurants on the brink of going out of business.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

HST 939 is Launched: First Day of Class

Previously mentioned HST 939 has been launched! I'll be back blogging starting (now) since most of the hard work getting ready for the course is done. There's a nice cross section of students from many different fields (including some students from across the country finding creative ways to get credit for taking the class via telecourse).

more to come in the next few days!