How Video Games Help Doctors Diagnose Disease

By creating video games that allow non-professionals to diagnosis diseases like malaria, health professionals can reliably turn to the public to help them save timeand lives. 

What's the Latest Development?


A video game developed at UCLA allows non-professional volunteers to accurately diagnose the presence of malaria in patients' red blood cells, aiding medical professionals in this time consuming process. Players are presented with a six-by-eight grid of neutral and infected cells representing a patient's biopsy, the object of the game being to neutralize the infected cells while preserving all the remaining healthy ones. Having gamers diagnose malaria not only saves time but researchers behind the new game say it improves the accuracy of results in the developing world where diagnosis tools are not always in plentiful supply.

What's the Big Idea?

Another game, called FoldIt, which also uses the power of crowdsourced science, has been developed at the University of Washington in which "players wrestle with ways in which proteins fold themselves into different configurations." Understanding the role that proteins play in disease can help scientists to create new, synthetic proteins as part of drug research. FoldIt players even helped to crack the pathogen code of an AIDS-like virus in monkeys which had stumped medical professionals for over a decade. With respect to the malaria game, a 1.25% variation in diagnosis accuracy compared with health professionals suggests crowdsourcing diagnoses is a realistic future.

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com


'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Oumuamua, a quarter-mile long asteroid tumbling through space, is Hawaiian for "scout", or "the first of many".
  • It was given this name because it came from another solar system.
  • Some claimed Oumuamua was an alien technology, but there's no actual evidence for that.

Banned books: 10 of the most-challenged books in America

America isn't immune to attempts to remove books from libraries and schools, here are ten frequent targets and why you ought to go check them out.

Nazis burn books on a huge bonfire of 'anti-German' literature in the Opernplatz, Berlin. (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Even in America, books are frequently challenged and removed from schools and public libraries.
  • Every year, the American Library Association puts on Banned Books Week to draw attention to this fact.
  • Some of the books they include on their list of most frequently challenged are some of the greatest, most beloved, and entertaining books there are.
Keep reading Show less
Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote the video, or videos, you want to win.

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in. And note: We'll only count upvotes (not downvotes).

Keep reading Show less