The Future of Medicine Is Here. Now Let’s Start Using It.
Exciting new technologies with major health care implications are emerging. Singularity University's Daniel Kraft demonstrates some of these new innovations and explains how exponential technology will democratize health care for consumers.
Daniel Kraft is a Stanford and Harvard trained physician-scientist, inventor, entrepreneur, and innovator. With over 20 years of experience in clinical practice, biomedical research and healthcare innovation, Daniel chairs Medicine for Singularity University and founded and chairs Exponential Medicine, a program which explores the future of healthcare. Daniel’s academic research has focused on: stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, stem cell derived immunotherapies for cancer, bioengineering human T-cell differentiation, and humanized animal models. Dr. Kraft recently founded IntelliMedicine, focused on enabling connected, data driven, and integrated personalized medicine.
Daniel Kraft: I think the cutting edge of medicine is really not always high-tech; it's being more focused on prevention and being proactive, understanding your genetics. We're at $1,000 genome today; we'll be at $100 or even a free genome in the next decade. We know that sitting is the new smoking. We now have wearables that we can stick in our clothes and our cars and our phones that are going to help give us insight into our behaviors. We're in the era of integrating exponential technologies together.
I have in my pocket a version of the first medical tricorder, part of a clinical trial from a company called Scanadu that started at Singularity University. So as a consumer, you can track your vital signs very readily. They can help you do a better job of understanding health, wellness, early disease detection, and triage. Technologies like having an AI doctor blended with sensors like this one has in your pocket as a consumer will help you be more proactive, realizing that the best drug is walking, doing 30 minutes of exercise a day; being reasonable about your diet. And when we can use some of these tools as levers, understanding that behavior change is hard. If you can look in the mirror in the morning and see future you and if your future you is 100 pounds heavier, that might change your lever on behavior change.
We can use, I think, Myers-Briggs Type things of behavioral change to understand your care and your stick because just like precision and personalized medicine, not everyone needs the same drug or the same app or the same interface; we can start to use AI feedback loops integrated into your workday, integrated into your wearables, into your apps to be more proactive. And if you think about how the world has shifted, we've only had smartphones for seven years. The desktop of 2000 fits on your smartphone and as of now it fits on my smartwatch, which can kind of give you a bit of a Google Now. Not just leave work early because of traffic, but you need to check in the gym and get a few extra calories today if you're going to stay on track to a certain goal or to help manage diabetes or emphysema or heart disease.
And we're seeing a whole new realm of sort of digital diagnostics. In my pocket I have an attachment that's an otoscope that can go in your phone. I have 3D-printed parts; here's mini me. So we have new tools that you can use at home, whether it's 3D printing a cast if you've had a fracture, and here's an example from 3D Systems. Scan your fracture; make one that fits you. All these things are enabling cheaper, faster, more effective health care. It can democratize it around the planet. You can have telemedicine talking to your doctor or nurse on Skype anywhere on the planet, which has increasingly broadband accessibility. You can have diagnostics, labs on a chip. It's not just our quantified self-data; it's the ability to do this on your smartphone or to communicate that to a pathologist here in New York from rural Africa.
All those things are shifting the power curve to the empowered and engaged consumer and patient who can be a data donor, can be connected to their own data to gain insights early, can have a visit with their clinician in more seamless less expensive and less time-consuming ways. So we're in an interesting era now, whether it's a tricorder or knowing your own genomics or having embedded sensors kind of like your own personal check engine light can really shift health care diagnostics and therapy in smart ways. So I think the most important thing anyone can do is start owning their own health. Using tools and apps to quit smoking, get on a diet, tweet out their weight from your scale, all those things can come together in powerful ways to be more proactive and preventative as opposed to waiting for disease to happen. So be the COO of your own health; don't wait for your doctor to tell you what you need to do when you're in the ER or worse.
"Own your own health," says Singularity University's Daniel Kraft. Exciting new technologies with major health care implications are emerging. 3D printing, diagnostic apps, new forms of data analysis — these are all tools that democratize health care for consumers. In this video interview, Kraft shows off some of the emerging tools that fit in his pocket and demonstrates how exponential technology is about to change the ways we take care of ourselves.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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