Briefs: Health + Medicine

DIY Biotech: Citizen Foresight in Science


The do-it-yourself (DIY) biotech movement includes individuals and groups who are engaged in biotechnology outside of traditional academic, government, and industrial laboratories. The Introduction 1 movement has also been described as “garage biology.”

Some participants in DIY biotech are also known as “biohackers.” In the last several years, community biotech laboratories have begun to Introduction to DIY biotech 2 emerge to support and encourage such citizen science. The first of these laboratories was Genspace, located in Brooklyn, New York.

Eye-Tracking and Eye-Control: In the Blink of an Eye

Eye-Tracking Peter_Sheik_Flickr

Poets have long declaimed that the eyes are windows to the soul. Today’s technology entrepreneurs and marketers have a more prosaic idea—using eyes, specifically the movement and behavior of a person’s eye, to gauge interest, detect health problems, and control technology.

Bolstered by this possibility—and the spread of key technologies such as cameras, sensors, and cloud computing—eye-tracking and eye-control technologies are leaving the lab and demonstrations and moving into commercial settings. This could bring about new form factors for computing, new ways to interact with the built environment, and even new artistic processes. It will also likely continue to erode current privacy levels.

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China + Aging: Economic, Social, Policy Implications

China Aging Update

China faces an aging problem characterized by a number of interrelated components: A rising median age, a failing social safety net, the one-child policy introduced in 1979 to curb population growth, and a gender imbalance brought on directly by the one-child policy and a cultural preference for boys.

According to Yuan Xin, a professor and director of the Aging Development Strategy Research Center at Nankai University, “There is no country in the world that is facing such a big aging population problem.”

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The Future of International Science: Four Scenarios


The International Council for Science (ICSU), an organization that includes national scientific bodies from from 140 nations as well as international scientific unions, published International Science in 2031—Exploratory Scenarios, which offers outlines of four distinct scenarios on the possible future of international science.

These scenarios describe four plausible yet very different futures, were the culmination of two years of foresight analysis that invited input from all of ICSU’s members. The focus of the foresight process was to identify the key drivers that will influence international science over the next two decades and to develop strategies to support international science collaboration in a way that advances progress and benefits society.

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Diabetes: The Price of Increasing Prosperity


The incidence of diabetes continues to expand globally. By 2025, diabetes sufferers are expected to compose 7% of the world’s population, and the global cost of diabetes treatment will reach $440 billion.

The rise in diabetes is driven in part by rising affluence. Risk factors for the disease include unhealthy diets that contribute to obesity, the aging of societies around the globe, and sedentary lifestyles; all of these factors are exacerbated by economic development.

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Millennials and Health: Seven Trends

Healthcare Apps for Android Tablets - Intel Free Press

Members of the Millennial generation, born between 1979 and 1998, are 16–35 years of age in 2014. Like every generation before them, Millennials have been shaped by the parenting style of the generation that raised them (the boomers) and by a unique set of life experiences. As they head off to college, enter the workforce, and start families, Millennials are poised to bring their desires, values, and style to every aspect of society.

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Digital Health Monitoring: Home, Remote, and Mobile Care


US consumers continue to take a more proactive role in personal and family healthcare decisions. The convergence of consumer values and technological developments is creating a new type of patient—the e-patient. What will the future of the “instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent” health-monitoring environment look like? What is emerging at the device and application level?

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The New Patients: Digital Technology and the New Healthcare Consumer


US consumers continue to take a more central role in decisions about their own healthcare. Now, as technological capabilities and consumer values continue to evolve, a new type of patient is emerging. These patients are driven by a desire for greater control over their own healthcare, by a desire for more and more-timely healthcare information, by the need to control the cost of care, and often by their role as a patient with a chronic health issue or as the family member of such a patient.
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Health and the City


Public health concerns played an important role in the way in which our modern cities were originally built. The desire to improve public health and safety compelled cities to establish safe water supplies and sewerage infrastructures.

However, for at least half a century, health concerns have taken a backseat to a focus on mobility as planners have sought to optimize the city for drivers. In recent years, the relevance of urban design to health has reemerged, with a growing awareness that urban design is contributing to lifestyle diseases that diminish the health of World 1 and, increasingly, World 2.Read more…

The Transformation of Healthcare: From Volume to Value


Even as politicians wrangle over the future of healthcare, new approaches are emerging at the grassroots level — and this is starting to push 21st-century healthcare from a volume-driven, high-tech, acute-care paradigm toward a value-driven approach oriented to wellness, prevention, and optimal outcomes.

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Healthcare at Home: Six Forecasts for 2020

Nurse and elderly man spending time together --- Image by © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Blend Images/Corbis

The number of individuals receiving medical care at home will grow over the next decade, driven by demographics, economics, consumer preferences, and technology enablers. IBM notes that residential care and home care together constitute a $45 billion industry that is projected to grow, and that “the cost and quality of care improve” as care moves across the continuum from hospital and clinic to residential to home settings.

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Medical Tourism: Healthy Outcomes

William Cho_FLickr

Medical tourism — the practice of consumers traveling outside their home countries for healthcare — is moving from the medical fringes to mainstream status as a sophisticated, globally accepted approach to care. Read more…