Why I’ve just voted for DMI in the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE

There are 11 finalists and I’ve watched each of the videos – very brief notes for each below.

Really I hope that all of these come to fruition, and any one of them would be a great advance for medicine, so why did I choose DMI?

My dream for healthcare is that I can walk into a doctor’s surgery (OK, showing my age there, maybe I’ll just tweet them or something) and they will be able to run hundreds of tests within seconds, and then assess those results compared to my medical history, personal physiological data and my genes to determine whether its a minor ailment or is it an early warning to something that will take a minor intervention now rather than becoming life threatening in a few weeks/months/years time. DMI’s technology with nanostrips analyzed by laser seems to closest to this vision – over time they can just keep adding more and more nanostrips until even the rarest conditions could be checked for on a daily basis.

In the 5 minutes I get with my GP on one of my rare visits theres no way that all of that could be considered, so as well as this a Watson style AI will need to do the analysis with the doctor interpretting the results for his or her patients. Hopefully one day hypochondriac can be removed from the dictionary because we just won’t have to worry about whether we have a disease or not – we’ll know every day before we’ve even finished brushing our teeth in the morning.

UPDATE: DMI won! http://sensing.xprize.org/teams/competition-2-teams


zLab magnetic biosensing – Ovarian cancer- results in 15 minutes – different cartridges for different tests
Archimej – blood drop tester – send to phone – main thing was software (including fidning nearest A&E)
Biovotion – constant monitoring using armband (eg hear rate, blood oxygenation, skin temp) *would be good if smaller, maybe too basic?
Atpotix – miniature spectrometer  – eg blood oxygenation – sheath for phone *minitiarisation
Eigen Lifescience – hepatitis B – current antibodies expensive so only target infected children – test takes < 10 mins – cartridges for other diseases (similar to zLab?)
eyeMITRA – mobile retinal imaging – monitor blood vessels – eg detect damage caused by diabetes *nice but limited applications?
SensoDX – cardiac scorecard – different cartridges with lab based analyser *looks bigger than other entrants
Hemolix – maternal deaths – current monitoring requires several tests and takes hours – 3D printed phone accessory
DMI – 100s lab values from drop of blood – plus body pack – nano strip reagents read by laser ***looks like good techology with variety of uses
Gues –  respiratory problems ~ 50% of population – no early diagnosis (cumbersome or inaccurate) -> AcuPebble stick on chest to monitor
Endotronix – pulmonary arterial pressure – currently only monitored when in hospitcal > implant *very invasive for preventative monitoring

Classic exponential growth in age distribution of older UK citizens

As the population of the UK grows obviously we will see more people of all ages. But if you examine the age distribution, what percentage of people are now living to a grand old age?

This graph shows the percentage of the UK population that are aged 85 or over – a feat only achieved by 1 in a thousand in 1881 but more than 1 in 50 now.

Over 85s age distribution over time

Over 85s age distribution over time

I’m not a statistician but I realise a percentage can’t grow forever – otherwise more than 100% of the population will be over 85 eventually! However, I thnk this shows that more and more people are going to be living a lot longer and eventually apart from the “new borns” everyone is going to be over a 100 years old.

A worrying mystery of Ebola infection

The BBC News is reporting the infection of a Spanish nurse after treating two people who were infected in Africa. Whereas there must be 100s of infections of healthcare workers already given the thousands of deaths what is concerning about this case is that the nurse worked at a specialist facility with strict procedures and modern resources.

“It could never happen here” I’ve heard said recently as Western countries show off their isolation units with plastic tents completely engulfing the contagious patients. Well I was already worried about that stance – I’ll have to research the number but I suspect theres only a handful of those types of units in each major city, so what do you do after the first person has been infected and you’re already monitory a dozen contacts? What when the next patient with advance symptoms turn up, and then the next? I’m not saying we’re 10 patients away from civil disobedience and people refusing to be isolated but I don’t believe it is quite such a clear distinction.

And of course that was before the Spanish mystery – hopefully this was a human error that allowed this unfortunate infection of a nurse who was no doubt told there was no risk at all to them. However if its turns out there is a new unknown transmission pathway then we’d all better lock ourselves in – and if Ebola mutates to become airborne it won’t just be the children playing ring a ring a roses.