James Shapiro takes on central dogma, molecular bio style

Conventional expression of the Central Dogma of Molecule Biology:
(DNA ==>2X DNA) ==> RNA ==> Protein ==> Phenotype

Read the article, and look up Shapiro's paper, especially if you're interested in genomics, RNA World theory, genoanth.

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Public Health's New Best Friend = Soda?!

In the US, Coca Cola has done a deal with the American Academy of Family Physicians new corporate membership program, enabling it to help “educate consumers about the role their products can play in a healthy, active lifestyle”.

The AAFP today announced a corporate partnership with The Coca-Cola Co., in which the beverage giant will provide a grant for the Academy to develop consumer education content related to beverages and sweeteners for the AAFP's award-winning consumer health and wellness Web site, FamilyDoctor.org.

From: "Does public health want to be best friends with soft drinks industry? – Croakey"

Sounds a lot like pharma partnerships (or former partnerships) with hospitals, docs' offices, and medical schools, no?

Also Navigenics partnering with BIDMC for genetics education? Check out the Onion style review of the move by Gene Sherpa here: http://thegenesherpa.blogspot.com/2009/10/follow-up-to-yesterdays-wtf-harvard.html
Bet #1:
Get ready to see MANY more partnerships of this type.

Bet #2:
mHealth developers will be in on this action within months (branded mobile campaigns/applications for partnerships like this).

Via @laikas on Twitter (great Saturday reading from Oz + NL).

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Gaming for Health - Should We Hire Hollywood?

"How do we really engage people and encourage them to participate? That's the Holy Grail for wireless health. It needs to be more enjoyable and attractive on a day to day basis then it has been up until now. Just look at Apple's iPhone AppStore, there are pages and pages of applications available on the App Store, but consistently the games are the most popular applications. We need to find more enjoyable ways to get people engaged. Maybe we need to hire Hollywood — seriously, maybe we do.”

– Robert Schwarzberg, CEO, Sensei (quoted in Mobile Health News)

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Gmail - | 10.22.09 | Live from Connected Health Symposium - contagionhealth@gmail.com

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@mbhulo Contagion Health is on the right track; as is Hope Labs with gaming for health.


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The Kind of HIT You *Don't* Want Outsourced to India...

Medical records of patients treated at a private British hospital, The London Clinic, have been illegally sold to undercover investigators.

The revelations were made in ITV’s Tonight Programme report, Health Records For Sale, broadcast last night.

The programme reported that hundreds of files containing details of patients’ conditions, home addresses and dates of birth were offered to undercover reporters for just £4 each by sales executives from India, contacted online. 

is the illegal sale of your medical records, YOUR health data assets, for about $6.65 each.

From: "E-Health Europe :: Private medical records offered for sale."

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous


Apple and Epic, Sitting in a Tree...

We'd heard the rumors that Apple was working to take advantage of the fact that so many physicians have spent their own money on iPhones. We knew that Apple had convened a meeting among a number of healthcare software companies in Chicago a month or two ago. Now, courtesy of The Medical Quack blog, we learn that the company has turned to its Silicon Valley base--Stanford Hospital and Clinics--to test a mobile version of the Epic Systems EHR.

From: "Apple, Epic Systems teaming up on mobile EHR trial at Stanford - FierceMobileHealthcare."

I would guess Apple is doing a deal with Epic here not because they believe Epic will particularly solve the EHR problem, but to gather intel for a future healthcare offering.

Apple is the new AT&T, the new tech industrial tycoon. Why *wouldn't* they get into healthcare?

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That's Right: Your Hospital's EHR Provider May Make $ Selling YOUR Health Data

Big players like the Cerner Corporation, which maintains electronic health systems for 8,000 clients, including large hospitals and retail clinics, and smaller players like Practice Fusion, which offers its Web-based health record systems free to health care providers, say they make use of patient data collected from their clients.

A spokeswoman for Cerner, whose Web site promotes its “data mining of our vast warehouse of electronic health records,” said the company shares de-identified patient data with researchers or drug companies looking for patients to participate in clinical trials. The patient records are “double scrubbed,” she said, explaining that the company removes personal data like names and addresses before it runs a search using a numbered code for each patient.

Other sensitive information, like mental health records, might be removed before the patient data is sent out, she said.

The Web site of Practice Fusion, meanwhile, quotes Ryan Howard, the chief executive, as saying that the company subsidizes its free record-keeping systems by selling de-identified data to insurance groups, clinical researchers and pharmaceutical companies. In an interview, however, Mr. Howard said Practice Fusion had not yet started selling patient information but that it intended to do so.

NEW regulations require notifying patients if their personally identifiable medical information gets loose, and they prohibit selling protected health records. But privacy advocates said electronic health records remain vulnerable because no federal law now forbids the sale of de-identified health care data

From: "Slipstream - How Private Can Electronic Data Ever Be? - NYTimes.com."

Inexcusable. My health data is *MY* asset.

If Cerner, Practice Fusion, and Patients Like Me can make money selling my anonymized healthcare data, why can't I:

1. Sell it on my own? Who will create the Ebay for me to profit from #myhealthdata? (note: It is very early for this kind of thing to float, but give someone 5-7 years - we don't want another Carol.com for #myhealthdata).

2. Donate it to charities/nonprofits and govt. agencies doing public health research, etc. ?

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Connecting Mobile Tech, mHealth, and Startups - Why I Moved to Silicon Valley

In the past 3 years, presenters at Under the Radar have gone on to raise over $1.36 Billion! Other knock-your-socks-off stats from the show:

  • 49% have gone on to raise funding or be acquired
  • 14% have been acquired by companies such as Google, eBay, Microsoft, Yahoo and Cisco
  • $14 Million average has been raised by presenting companies.

From: "Mobile Innovation Flies “Under the Radar” Nov 19th | Software Testing Blog."

Here's why I've been flying 'under the radar' lately...

Day gig = Dealmaker Media Geek in Residence (w00t!), working on events for developers and engineers who have the potential to take their code from product to company (new).

Day gig = supports 'passion project' Contagion Health.

Evening/weekend gig = Illness is viral. Health can be contagious too.

mHealth applications, a game for patient education in spec, and a consumer health platform in design. Oh yeah. If I don't return your call or email, this would be the reason.

As some very smart Stanford CS grad once told me, "most tech founders have day jobs." I sure hope he wasn't patronizing me...:)

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Researchers discover RNA repair system in bacteria

In new papers appearing this month in Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of Illinois biochemistry professor Raven H. Huang and his colleagues describe the first RNA repair system to be discovered in bacteria. This is only the second RNA repair system discovered to date (with two proteins from T4 phage, a virus that attacks bacteria, as the first).

The novelty of the newly discovered bacterial RNA repair system is that, before the damaged RNA is sealed, a methyl group is added to the two-prime hydroxyl group at the cleavage site of the damaged RNA, making it impossible to cleave the site again. Thus, the repaired RNA is "better than new."

Genoanthropology (RNA World-centric theory of genes+anthropology) = my life post Contagion (what can I say, I like to plan ahead...)

RNA in competition/collaboration with viruses and bacteria. Lots of nifty stuff to come.

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous


Toe to Toe: AHIMA Introduces a Bill of Rights - Takes on HealthDataRights.org (#myhealthdata)

The American Health Information Management Association has unveiled a Health Information Bill of Rights, a set of seven principles for protecting health care consumers.

The Chicago-based association introduced the document during its annual convention, being held Oct. 3-8 in Grapevine, Texas. The association in November will make available for downloading via its Web site a wall poster of the rights for display in waiting areas, and a certification that an organization pledges to upload the seven principles. The principles are:

* the right to access your health information free of charge;
* the right to access your health information during the course of treatment;
* the right to expect that your health information is accurate and as complete as possible;
* the right for you or your personal representative(s) to know who provides, accesses and updates your health information, except as precluded by law or regulation;
* the right to expect healthcare professionals and others with lawful access to your health information to be held accountable for violations of all privacy and security laws, policies and procedures, including the sharing of user IDs and passwords;
* the right to expect equivalent health information privacy and security protections to be available to all healthcare consumers regardless of state or geographic boundaries, or the location (jurisdiction) of where the treatment occurs; and
* the right to the opportunity for private legal recourse in the event of a breach of one's health information that causes harm.

More information is available at ahima.org.

AHIMA moving from talk to action...why didn't these two groups join up to present a unified front, or at least some cooperative cross-posting surrounding these launches?

Does this push the "My Health Data" http://www.healthdatarights.org/ charter in the right direction? Definitely.

So which Bill of Health Data Rights Wins? Let's take a look at the challengers' semantic stats, head to head:

1. 'free of charge' (AHIMA) vs. 'at minimal or no cost' (healthdatarights.org): Clear winner = AHIMA

2. 'access your health information DURING the course of treatment' (AHIMA) vs. (healthdatarights.org):
Clear winner = AHIMA

3. 'your personal representative(s)' should know who provides, accesses, and updates your health info, except as precluded by law or regulation Clear winner = There isn't one.

(AHIMA) - good start, but this means patients will still most likely have to fight to have someone declared legal 'personal representative' - does this mean power of attorney?

AHIMA adds the 'safe' legal exclusion clause at the end, while HealthDataRights.org goes big with 'share information with others as we see fit.' Clear winner here? Idealistically HealthDataRights, enforceably AHIMA.

4. Your user Id and password ('online identity') is "your health information" (AHIMA) vs. "complete copy(?)" (healthdatarights.org):
Clear winner = AHIMA

5. "equivalent...protections available to all healthcare consumers (healthcare consumers!!!) regardless of state or geographic boundaries" (AHIMA) vs. "no law nor policy should abridge these rights" (healthdatarights):
Clear winner = ideally, HealthDataRights.org takes it; legally, I'm guessing the specificity of AHIMA will carry this round into OT.

6. "the right to private legal recourse in the event of a breach" (AHIMA) vs. "right to take possession" (lacks teeth - healthdatarights):
Clear winner = AHIMA, but I'm guessing this won't come without flack. Why?

AHIMA's Bill of Rights is actually stating:

1. My health data is my own, INCLUDING my 'online' assets like usernames and passwords. Here's a concrete recommendation I'll make AGAIN to protect the transfer of your online identity and any other 'assets,' current or future (ie income from blog advertising, etc): Compile your online assets in an addendum doc - including login information, hosting, inception dates, traffic stats hosting/compendium info, and have this added to your living will or your One Slide project pamphlet for family along with Advanced Directives of your choice).

2. AHIMA is placing the burden of reasonable, protective behavior on healthcare professionals who have 'lawful' access to your records. This means no more sharing gross Xrays of horrific wounds, interesting things in orifices, or celebrity lab results (or that of your local policeman) without permission. My medical record is not for your entertainment (I'm taking a devil's advocate tone on purpose here - MANY healthcare providers and caretakers, including many who have cared for me and my friends and loved ones, DO protect both my person and my personal information, and should be lauded and celebrated for both), but AHIMA is going out on a limb here. Healthcare delivery may not be a team sport, but often, unfortunately, looking at 'interesting' cases is a group activity. Wherein the patient responsibility for protecting our data and allowing access at will? Oh wait, we're still too sick, illiterate, and incapable of doing so, right? For some, maybe, but program in the choice.

3. AHIMA makes this a 'hot coffee' issue. Yes, I should be able to bring suit, but there should be more discussion of provisions for doing so in a concrete, quantitative way. What do damages look like? What and where are intermediaries who will step in if desired to help PRE-suit?

Lots more to do here. Good thing the Health 2.0 crowd voted that we're still 3+ years away from mass adoption of EHRs/EMRs, because at this rate it looks like we'll need that time just to figure out who owns my personal health information.

Unfortunately, it looks like it's still not me.

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous

N=1 Validation, From an Unexpected Source

Social Sciences Division Presents


"An Academic and Otherwise Life, An N = 1."

A lecture by Edward Tufte


The New York Times calls Tufte "The Leonardo da Vinci of data."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.


Room 122, Social Sciences Research Building


Edward Tufte has written seven books, including Visual Explanations, Envisioning Information, The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, and Data Analysis for Politics and Policy. He writes, designs, and self-publishes his books on analytical design, which have received more than 40 awards for content and design. He is Professor Emeritus at Yale University, where he taught courses in statistical evidence, information design, and interface design.



Questions? Please contact Nina Herbst at nherbst@uchicago.edu or 773.834.9067.

If you're in Chicago on the 20th, drop by...

From: "Lecture by Edward Tufte, Presented by Social Sciences Division, October 20 - Inbox - Yahoo! Mail"

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous

Aka Health 2.0...

PrimordialSoup.jpeg 2550×1114 pixels

Kind of explains the post-Health 2.0 hangover effect...

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Weird Science: Name Cows "Nice" Names, Get More Milk

The veterinary medicine prize went to Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University’s school of agriculture. They share the award for the groundbreaking discovery that giving cows names such as Rosie increases their milk yield.

From: "Quirky scientific research that raises a smile - The Irish Times - Tue, Oct 06, 2009."

Wonder if this works for landscapes/flora as well as various other fauna? Running home to name my succulents "Josie..."

Posted via web from Jen's Posterous

Is Behavioral Health in Trouble?

For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be the most effective treatment for PTSD and has the fewest side-effects, yet many psychologists do not use this method. Baker and colleagues cite one study in which only 30 percent of psychologists were trained to perform CBT for PTSD and only half of those psychologists elected to use it. That means that six of every seven sufferers were not getting the best care available from their clinicians. Furthermore, CBT shows both long-term and immediate benefits as a treatment for PTSD; whereas medications such as Paxil have shown 25 to 50 percent relapse rates.

From: "Where's the science? The sorry state of psychotherapy."

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Halloween Costumes as Barometer of American Appetite for Health Reform?

The departure of both nurses and politicians from the top costumes list could be an indication that Americans would like to shelve the health care reform debate – at least for one night – to have a little bipartisan fun,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. “Pop culture always influences Halloween costumes, and it will be interesting to see how creative Americans can get this year.

From "National Retail Federation - Vampires Move Up Top Costumes List; Nurses, Politicians Drop Off."

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What You Realize After Spending a Quarter Neck Deep in a Valley Startup...

After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, ...
via Posterous email

From I-Ming's Posterous...

What happens after the romance of moving to Silicon Valley to work on a startup wears off? Beware the quarterly slump and watch your founding team for signs of distress/burnout.

Road trips work, as do long hikes in Muir Woods, or grabbing lunch and snooping around houseboats in Sausalito.

Take care of your people (and yourself) so when the next 'time of exaltation' comes you'll be ready and raring to code.

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