EurekAlert: Deep learning transforms smartphone microscopes into laboratory-grade devices . “Researchers at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering have demonstrated that deep learning, a powerful form of artificial intelligence, can discern and enhance microscopic details in photos taken by smartphones. The technique improves the resolution and color details of smartphone images so much that they approach the quality of images from laboratory-grade microscopes.” WOW.
NHPR: New Website Aims To Help N.H. Consumers Compare Health Care Choices. “A website developed by the New Hampshire Insurance Department has new features aimed at helping consumers make educated choices about health care. The department’s health price transparency website…allows residents to compare the price of various health care services across doctors, hospitals and outpatient facilities.”
Stanford: Hidden Medical Text Read for the First Time in a Thousand Years. “An influential physician and a philosopher of early Western medicine, Galen of Pergamon was the doctor of emperors and gladiators. One of his many works, ‘On the Mixtures and Powers of Simple Drugs,’ was an important pharmaceutical text that would help educate fellow Greek-Roman doctors. The text was translated during the 6th century into Syriac, a language that served as a bridge between Greek and Arabic and helped spread Galen’s ideas into the ancient Islamic world. But despite the physician’s fame, the most complete surviving version of the translated manuscript was erased and written over with hymns in the 11th century – a common practice at the time. These written-over documents are known as palimpsests. An international team of researchers is getting a clear look at the hidden text of the Syriac Galen Palimpsest with an X-ray study at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.”
Stanford: Database allows physicians to tailor prescriptions to complement an individual’s genome. “The database is a website that, through careful curation, collects information to help researchers, doctors and patients understand the intersection of genes and drugs, a field of study known as pharmacogenomics. Visitors to the site will find detailed information about molecular drug structures, metabolic pathways, and perhaps most valuably, specific genes that have the potential to influence how certain medications function in the body. Currently, the website…highlights about 5,500 genetic variants that affect the activity of 600 drugs.”
Boing Boing: FDAAA Trials Tracker: leaderboard for pharma companies that break FDA clinical trial rules. “The US government currently requires all trials to be registered on ClinicalTrials.gov when they start — trials that aren’t reported in at their commencement are not eligible for consideration during FDA evaluation; and since ClinicalTrials.gov is public, it should be possible for the public and watchdogs to discover whether pharma companies are reporting in on all their trials. That’s where FDAAA Trials Tracker comes in: it downloads an XML dump from ClinicalTrials.gov, analyzes it, and tracks which trials are due or overdue, as well as ‘whether they have reported results in accor- dance with the law; give performance statistics for each individual trial sponsor; and calculate potential fines that could have been levied by the FDA against sponsors.'”
University of Florida: Deep brain stimulation shows promise for select Tourette patients in new UF-led worldwide registry. “University of Florida neuroscientists are leading a multinational effort to track outcomes for patients with Tourette syndrome who undergo deep brain stimulation surgery, an established treatment for other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease that’s now being tested as a potential means to decrease the motor and vocal tics of Tourette syndrome in certain patients. Data collected thus far in a registry of a small international group of patients with uncontrolled Tourette syndrome show a link between deep brain stimulation, or DBS, and some symptom improvement as well as some adverse events, the neuroscientists report in today’s issue of JAMA Neurology.”
New-to-me, from The Washington Post: A saving breath: The history of respiratory care. “Stethoscopes. CPR. Oxygen tanks. All make it possible for doctors to diagnose and treat conditions of the lungs, including tuberculosis and other diseases that claimed millions of lives before advances in respiratory medicine and therapy. There’s a fascinating history here. You can delve into that history — and learn more about the researchers and medical professionals who help people catch their breath today — at the American Association for Respiratory Care’s online museum.”