Tag Archive for health

Alternative Facts in Medicine

Doctors' hygiene

While we are collectively freaking out over the Trump’s White House use of Alternative Facts, these kinds of “facts” have been floating around in medicine (and politics) for a long time. And it is instructive to take a look at how we as a society have been dealing with Alternative Facts in Medicine and what damage these “facts” have wrought on us individually and collectively. I propose the following formula for how Alternative Facts come to be: Desperate Need + Greed = Alternative Fact Medical Myths: Beliefs Based on Outdated Science To start, allow me to refresh your memory, for our history is full of myths when it comes to our heath and our diseases. Let’s begin with a bit of bloodletting. Bloodletting is almost as old as our civilization. Thousands of years ago (that’s thousands, with three zeros!), a healer’s first choice of treatment was to let out the “excess” blood from a patient. Be it a migraine, an infection, or a virus, a person who was probably too sick to object was cut with a lancet or some other easily available tool and weakened even further via blood loss. The Greek physician Erasistratus believed all illnesses were due…

Commons Assembly: Bridging Health Divides

Commons Topper

Last week was the week the Sage Event—a conference of Sagers (individuals who have been Sage Bionetworks supporters over the years and some new comers) that I have been organizing for the last 5 months. At its core, the idea for this event was the provide an opportunity for Sage Scholars and Sage Mentors to come together and share their projects. These Sagers are incredible people! Below are some of my thinking as it emerged from listening to their presentations. And when the videos become available, I will link to those as well in another post. There were four general themes for the day: 1. ICT and Health; 2. Delivering Health to Hard-to-serve Populations; 3. Rare/Orphan Diseases; and 4. Health, Education, Patient Data, and Advocacy. But the ideas shared at the event were not to be constrained! So allow me to present a very different non-technical view as a way of summarizing ideas that floated during the day. First, allow me to break the science investigations into two parts: • First based on DATA Science—analysis of information available about patients and the environment as coded in medical records or submitted via apps or gathered via sensors. In other words, scientific…

Health Foo: Health and Human Rights

I want to live a healthy life

“I want to live a healthy life!” For as long as humans have lived in groups, this meant a social covenant — conforming to rules set by many to insure mutual survival. One way or another, health and law have been intertwined for millennia: don’t poo in a public well — one of the first health edicts along with burial customs religious food-limiting laws — limiting food born illnesses from decimating communities mandatory immunization — the need for herd immunity Health and community are mutually entangled. The price of living in a community means giving up certain personal rights: “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” But this is a delicate balance. As a group, societies have done horrendous thing to individuals in a name of greater good: taking a right to privacy forced quarantines, treatment, and sterilization compulsory rehabilitation subjugation of women and minorities Starting about the mid of the last century, the awareness for the need to protect the rights of the few and the one from the many grew in its momentum. It was striking to me how the 1943 Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid of Human Needs became an echo for…

Health, Human Rights, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Mazlow's Hierarchy of Needs, used under the Creative Commons

In 1943, Abraham Maslow published a paper on human motivation: “A Theory of Human Motivation.” The ideas (and diagram) from that paper have been widely used in business schools and management training programs. But these same ideas can be applied to human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, signed into life by UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, just five years after the Maslow’s publication of “A Theory of Human Motivation”, echoes the work via a set of Articles stating the rights of every human being. Physiological Needs Article 25 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to the right of adequate food (and presumably water is included), housing and clothing (for homeostasis control), and medical care. The right to medical care implies to me the right to live healthy, or at least healthy to the best of ability of a particular individual. This right to medical care as a universal right of all human beings can be interpreted to mean many things. For the purposes of the comparison to the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it could be interpreted as every human has the right to have their physiological needs met. This could…

Health and Human Rights

Healthcare is a Human Right

I have been collecting some background materials for Health and Human Rights and would like to share a few resources. United Nations Documents The Universal Declaration of Human Rights — Article 25 directly address health: (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection. The right to the highest attainable standard of health : . 08/11/2000. Health is a fundamental human right indispensable for the exercise of other human rights. Every human being is entitled to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health conducive to living a life in dignity. The realization of the right to health may be pursued through numerous, complementary approaches, such as the formulation of health policies, or the implementation of health programmes developed by the World Health Organization…

BRIDGE to Health

2012-10-09 Sage Home Page

This week, I was invited to attend a BRIDGE Summit at Stanford. I was there to represent Ushahidi’s work and wasn’t particularly sure what to expect… But it turned out to be a very interesting brainstorming session for a new product/service in the health space: BRIDGE. Dr. Stephen Friend (M.D. and PH.D., president/co-founder/director of Sage Bionetworks) ran the show. What you will read below are just my notes, ideas, and understanding of what we were trying to do. I’m sure others at this summit came away with a whole different set thoughts, but, in the interest of advancing my own understanding and sharing of ideas in general, it seemed worth putting together a narrative of the product we were designing. So what is BRIDGE? After a two day discussion, we settled that BRIDGE is a platform (rather than an app) that will strive to: help gather medical information; crowdsource algorithms that would act on collected data with an aim to make medical advances; provide services to patients (information, education, support); facilitate research and make it easier for scientists to get access to data and to post requests for crowdsourcing projects; ease communication between all individuals and organizations working to advance…