tech

How Information Can Be Extracted From The Brain

Philip Low, PhD, the founder, chairman and CEO of NeuroVigil, discusses the evolution of highly sensitive brain sensors that can see 5-times more signal than previous tools. Using these sensors allows for data that is largely uncorrupted and is retrieved non-invasively. Filmed at FutureMed, in February, 2012, at Singularity...

Turn Your Smart Phone Into An Advanced Biosensor

Researchers at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign have created an add-on for smart phones that turn the device into an advanced biosensor. In addition to allowing doctors and patients the opportunity to quickly analyze a sample, the cradle also leverages your phone to replace expensive scientific equipment. Check out an Associated Press video about the technology: Part of the genius of this app/cradle combination is just how many different technologies are crammed into a small package: you can test for peanut traces, bacteria, water toxins, and crop contaminates with the same device. That’s smart tech. Read more about it from the Associated...

FOAM: It’s Not Just the Frothy Stuff at the Top of Your Beer

As a medical student in the 21st century, it’s highly unlikely you go to the library for anything other than the peace and quiet the environment affords you and to be surrounded by your studious cohort in an effort to motivate histology studying. We live in the age of the internet. We’re mobile, on the go. Why peruse the articles on the dusty shelves when you can download a PDF from Pubmed, sipping on an Americano from Hipster Coffee Co.? Why attend lectures in business casual garb at 7:00 am when you can podcast, eating cheerios in bed in your sweatpants in the afternoon? Plus, with the information age and the rapid turnover of data, what you read in a book can become outdated almost as soon as you pick it up. Enter FOAM – Free Open Access Medical education. So, what is FOAM? Legend has it, the founder of the acronym and editor of Life In the Fast Lane, Dr. Mike Cadogan, was at a pub in Dublin when the inspiration came to him in the form of an almost empty glass of Guinness. FOAM is a constantly-updated, ever-expanding online repository of free, electronic resources for medical education. It’s a Facebook page, piquing your interest in updated diagnostic guidelines for subarachoid hemorrhage, as you idly scroll through your feed and gaze at pictures of toddlers at piano recitals....

The Top 7 Free Android Apps For Medical Students

Medical students are a notoriously frugal bunch. Why else do so many lunch-time lectures entice attendees with the allure of free pizza? These Andriod apps are sure to boost your productivity without you having to adjust your student loans.   1. AirDroid An app that allows you to control your smartphone from a PC web browser, Airdroid blends your phone and computer into one. From a web browser, Airdroid alerts you when you’re receiving a call, lets you send text-messages through your web browser, and turns your phone into drag-and-drop file storage device. The app can even track and lock your phone should you lose it, with the added ability to control the camera and capture photos of the misguided thieves.   2. AnkiDroid Flashcards have been a tried-and-true method of studying for ages, but Anki has quickly become a medical student favorite by incorporating the concept of “spaced repetition” into the study staple. To see specific examples of students using Anki in their medical school classes, check out these review from The Hero Complex and Dr. Willbe.   3. Dolphin The Android browser alternative for techies, Dolphin makes web-browsing a more customizable experience. Dolphin lets users force the desktop version of websites to load (versus the often lower-quality mobile), use swiping gestures or voice recognition to access bookmarks, and sync easily with other services like Dropbox or Evernote. Adding on the Jetpack plugin boosts browsing speeds up...

3D-Printed ‘Magic Arms’ Give Hope for Girl with Rare Congenital Disease

Born with a rare neuromuscular condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita, two-year-old Emma Lavelle has severely contracted joints and muscle weakness leaving her without the ability to lift her arms. With the help of Dr. Tariq Rahman, a mechanical engineer at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, and his work developing 3D printable exoskeletons, Emma has gained the ability to use her “magic arms” with the use of the WREX exoskeleton.   Featured image from video...

#AAMC13 #BeyondFlexner: Tweeting Back to the Future

I am just returning from AAMC 13 in Philadelphia, which happens to be the site of the very first AAMC conference in 1876.  Perhaps it is this historic backdrop which made it more poignant when AAMC President and CEO Dr. Darrell Kirch charged the audience to rise to the occasion during our most challenging time, or our healthcare system’s “moment of truth.”  Between sessions on how academic health centers needed to evolve to survive healthcare reform and how medical students need to avoid the “jaws of death” from the Match, there was certainly much to fear and much to learn. In spite of this, there are always moments where it was undeniable that the future was bright.  But, the most interesting moments at this meeting were when it felt like we were going back to the future. One of those moments was sitting in on the CLER (Clinical Learning Environment Review), or the new ACGME institutional site visit process which is not meant to be scary, but helpful!  As a non-punitive visit, its meant to catalyze the necessary changes needed to help improve the learning climate in teaching hospitals. This session was particularly salient for me as I transitioned from being an Associate Program Director into role of Director for GME Clinical Learning Environment Innovation about a month ago.  At one point, Dr. Kevin Weiss described the CLER site visitors observing a...

Is IBM’s Watson The Future Of Medical Decision Making?

Ever since soundly winning Jeopardy! in 2011, IBM’s Watson has been quite busy. Besides soundly beating out members of Congress in an untelevised Jeopardy! match, Watson also became possibly the smartest second-year medical student of all time. But like any bright medical student, Watson didn’t just stop there. IBM recently announced the development of two paradigm-shifting projects, WatsonPath, a diagnosis and education program, and Watson EMR Assistant, a tool for analyzing information stored in medical records. Building upon Watson’s question-answering abilities, WatsonPath draws from clinical guidelines, evidence-based studies, and reference materials to either support or refute a set of hypotheses. WatsonPath is essentially the algorithm machine every medical student wishes they had in their head during board exams. And with a “learning regimen” that includes breaking down board-style questions, why wouldn’t WatsonPath score the highest USMLE score ever? How can WatsonPath be used as an educational tool? The video above explains how the project not only offers answer suggestions, but also displays a schematic flow diagram showing the reasoning behind answers and confidence levels. WatsonPath breaks down clinical scenarios the same way any medical student would, looking at signs and symptoms, interpreting lab values, and searching for key associations. The project is currently being assimilated into the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) curriculum at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine. Beyond the classroom walls, the possibilities of Watson for actual...