Crowdsourcing Data to Research Pediatric Asthma

In development: a database that aggregates information on air quality and pediatric asthma. “A team of University of Utah researchers has received a $5.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to develop an informatics platform that will make it possible to crowdsource scientific data and, eventually, pinpoint the cause of a child’s wheezing…. [Julio] Facelli, along with co-principal investigator Kathy Sward, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor of biomedical informatics research at the College of Nursing, is leading teams to create an Internet-based ‘infrastructure’ that will enable kids with asthma, parents, doctors and researchers to feed real-time information into a comprehensive database.”

Database of Medical Cases and Relevant 3D Anatomical Models

In development (hopefully; it has to get funding) – a database of medical cases along with commensurate 3D models of relevant anatomy. “Doctors have already been taking advantage of 3D printed models of body organs and bones, as they are affordable and can be completely customized to the exact specifications of the patient. These models not only help the doctors practice surgeries, they can also be used to improve diagnoses and training for new doctors. The main advantage that [Gabriel] Maza’s design brings to the table, is that theoretically doctors from nearly anywhere in the world could access the same database and contribute to a growing body of knowledge that is not limited by geographical borders or any single doctor’s previous experiences. And, even if hospitals and research labs were not able to collaborate internationally, the database could even benefit individual hospitals by connecting doctors from various specialties.”

Californians Have Tool to Compare Health Costs

California consumers have a new tool to compare healthcare costs. “A first of its kind in California, California Healthcare Compare allows consumers to compare hospital and medical group quality in the areas of maternity care, hip and knee replacement, back pain, colon cancer screening, and diabetes to help consumers make informed decisions about where to seek care. The site also reveals estimated regional costs for more than 100 different medical procedures or conditions ranging from appendicitis to prostate cancer, illustrating dramatic price differences depending on where you seek care. To enhance consumers’ knowledge of the healthcare system, Consumer Reports provides expert tips and advice on how to navigate the healthcare system.”

In Development: Oncology Model Database

In development: a huge database to aggregate all experimental models across cancer research. “UC San Francisco has received a National Cancer Institute grant of $5 million over the next five years to lead a massive effort to integrate the data from all experimental models across all types of cancer. The web-based repository is an important step in moving the fight against cancer toward precision medicine. The goal is to accelerate cancer research to improve the way we diagnose, treat and conduct further research on the disease. The resulting database, called the Oncology Models Forum (OMF), will be accessible to researchers through the National Institutes of Health, to encourage scientists to use existing validated cancer models, rather than creating new ones.”

Online Database of Geroprotectors

Now available: an online database of geroprotectors. “Geroprotectors are interventions that aim to prevent, slow, or reverse the processes of aging in model organisms or humans such that the lifespan, and especially the healthy lifespan, can be extended….The database does more than simply list geroprotectors, it catalogs over 250 experiments involving over 200 known or candidate geroprotectors. Each compound has a comprehensive profile complete with biochemistry, mechanisms, and lifespan effects in various model organisms with information ranging from chemical structure, side effects, and toxicity to FDA drug status.”

Encrypted Medical Record Databases Can Leak Data

Apparently even encrypted medical record databases can leak information. “The paper, due to be presented at the ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security next month, shows how sensitive medical information on patients could be pilfered using four different attacks. Researchers discovered the sex, race, age and admission information, among other data, using real patient records from 200 U.S. hospitals.”

OpenFDA Getting an API

OpenFDA is getting an API. “OpenFDA’s Application Programming Interface (API) expands on the previous openFDA resources concerning medical device-related adverse events and recalls by incorporating information from the medical device product life cycle. This includes current data on device classification (6,000 records), 24,000 registrations of device companies and establishments, and the companies’ listings of more than 100,000 devices.”

Google Planning to Provide a Lot More Health Content

Google is planning to provide a lot more health content in its search results. “Google announced they are more than doubling their health conditions database, so that when you search for health or medical topics in Google, you are more likely to find factual medical data on that condition. Google launched medical content in search back in February with about 400 conditions. Over the next few weeks, you should see more than 900 conditions listed.”

FIT Launches Video Library for Parents/Caregivers of Autistic Children

The Florida Institute of Technology has launched an online video library for parents and caregivers of autistic children. “The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Institute of Technology has launched AutismAdvisor.org, an extraordinary resource for parents of and caregivers for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)….more than 100 videos featuring experts from the Scott Center and Florida Tech’s distinguished Applied Behavior Analysis Program, as well as parents discussing their challenges…”

UK Medical Heritage Libraries Project Digitizes 8 Million Pages

The UK Medical Heritage Libraries Project has reached 8 million pages digitized. Way to go y’all! “Our goal is to reach 15 million pages in early 2016. Each of the 10 partner institutions has contributed books and pamphlets from a wide range of medical and health-related areas, but each has a slightly different emphasis – University College London contributed a large number of ophthalmology books and pamphlets, while the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine naturally focuses on public health and tropical diseases. Military medicine is a top subject from both the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Royal College of Physicians of London, while cholera is well represented from Glasgow University Library and others.”

Google Helps Develop Diabetes Monitor

More Google: it wants to help people manage their diabetes. “In Google’s continued expansion into the realm of healthcare, the Internet giant has now announced a new partnership with glucose monitoring company Dexcom to develop a wearable glucose monitor. Whereas current monitors tend to be clunky and costly, both companies seem confident that their newfound alignment will bring a much needed revolution to diabetes patients looking to keep tabs on their blood sugar levels.”

EPA Releases Updated Health Indicators Database

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released updated environmental and public health indicators and made them available in an online database. “This is an online update to EPA’s Report on the Environment. Users can explore 85 individual indicators– on our air, water, land, human exposure, health and ecological condition– using interactive graphs, tables, and maps, and download the data for each indicator.”

Google’s Got a High-Powered Health Wearable

Google’s got a new health wearable, and it sounds like it’s going straight into a vertical market. Which is how they should have done Glass, but anyway. “The health wristband can monitor pulse, heart rhythm, skin temperature, light exposure and noise levels, providing valuable data not just about a patient, but about their surroundings, too. Where this niche wearable differs from those aimed at the more broad consumer market is mostly in accuracy; the readings it takes are more scientifically rigorous than those achieved by the current crop of Android Wear-powered devices, and the dedicated medical wearable unveiled today also monitors and reports information continuously, for better delivery of real-time actionable info to researchers and medical professionals.”