Last week, we took a look at how mobile healthcare apps can personalize healthcare in our blog post. While such apps represent an innovative way of measuring data and incentivizing a healthy lifestyle, there are also many other approaches to patient-tailored medicine that are currently being explored in the clinic.
In our podcast featured in Biome magazine and accompanying forum article in BMC Medicine, Daniel Hayes discusses the development of targeted therapy in oncology, where treatments such as trastuzumab – an antibody drug against the HER2 protein – are given to those with certain cancer subtypes. Hayes emphasizes that genomic sequencing and “big data” approaches using electronic medical records will pave the …
Mobile healthcare applications – or “apps” – are having an increasingly profound impact on medicine; it is estimated that within 5 years, 50% of mobile device users will have downloaded healthcare apps. With drastic improvements in technology in the last few years, mobile medical apps now range from drug databases to sophisticated monitors that can measure blood pressure, heart rate and asthma symptoms.
In a podcast featured in Biome magazine and a forum article in BMC Medicine, cardiologist Eric Topol discusses the huge potential of mobile healthcare apps, describing how the smartphone can function as a “lab on a chip”, and can test for kidney and thyroid function, as well as levels of potassium …
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune digestive condition affecting approximately 1 in 100 people worldwide. The symptoms of celiac disease – including diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain – occur as a result of the body’s immune system mistakenly attacking gluten proteins, causing damage to the surface of the small intestine. The symptoms of CD can be well-controlled with a gluten-free diet, and prompt diagnosis is essential for controlling the symptoms. CD is usually detected through a blood test for CD-associated antibodies followed by an intestinal biopsy.
Advances in detecting CD and comorbid autoimmune disease
New research by Carlos López-Larrea and colleagues published in BMC Medicine has revealed that antibodies against the protein MHC class …
Late last year, ministers, researchers, pharmaceutical companies and charities from around the world gathered together at the G8 dementia summit to make a declaration and commitment for global action against dementia. This led to a significant increase in the budget to spend on research into the prevalence, diagnosis, clinical care, and policy issues in dementia, and the latest advances in these topics were highlighted last week at the 16th national conference on dementias in London. Some of the main discussions from the meeting have been highlighted below.
Prevalence and improving quality of life
Martin Prince gave an excellent overview of groundbreaking global epidemiological studies including some from the 10/66 Dementia Research Group. One of …
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium genus that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality worldwide, accounting for 7% of deaths in children younger than five years old.
Young children living in stable transmission areas are particularly at risk of malaria, since they have not yet developed protective immunity against the most severe forms of the disease. As clinical outcomes in this group can be poor, there is much interest in understanding what other factors contribute to a poor outcome in order to identify future targets for additional treatments.
Previous data had shown tentative indications that children infected with Plasmodium falciparum malaria …
Routine screening of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) levels in men to detect prostate cancer is very controversial. The higher the level of PSA in the blood, the more likely it is that a man has prostate cancer, and the PSA test has been widely used to screen for prostate cancer and monitor treatment response in those diagnosed with the disease. However, elevated PSA levels can also be indicative of prostatitis or a urinary tract infection, so the test can suggest the presence of prostate cancer when no cancer exists.
International consensus committees are divided in their recommendations about PSA testing. The New Zealand Ministry of Health recommends that all men over 50 should check for …
Health and healthcare were a prominent theme of this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, and one of the first sessions took a look into our medical future.
Notably, the leaders of the session did not include a doctor/physician. The moderator Lionel Tarassenko is a professor of electrical engineering at Oxford, and speakers were genomics researcher Professor Steve Cole (UCLA) and Andrew Thompson, CEO of Proteus Digital Health. Between them, they conveyed a powerful vision of digital health monitoring in our everyday lives that will empower preventative and personalized medicine.
Lionel Tarassenko explained how his previous work for Rolls Royce has fueled his ideas for developing digital health care. Their jet engines are continuously monitored as they fly …
As the arrival of February sees heart awareness month kicking off across many countries, it is important to consider how we can prevent heart disease through living a healthy lifestyle and avoiding potential harms that could negatively impact heart health.
One such harm could be testosterone supplementation, which is increasingly being promoted in older men to improve muscle mass, libido and overall wellbeing. While these potential benefits of testosterone therapy have been well-documented, much less is known about the possible risks associated with sex hormone supplementation, and emerging evidence suggests it could be harmful to the heart.
In a systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMC Medicine, Lin Xu and colleagues demonstrated that …
Respiratory diseases are one of the major chronic diseases and considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) to cause 60% of mortality worldwide. Significant research is being carried out on the diagnosis, treatment, management and care of patients with lung conditions. Clinical and scientific research on these specific topics were discussed at the recent British Thoracic Meeting (BTS 2013), where BMC Medicine joined over 2,100 delegates to hear new developments in the field.
Several clinical trials sessions were highlighted including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). A systematic review on randomized clinical trials was described by Daniel Bratton from the MRC Clinical Trials Unit in London, showing CPAP treatment reduces …
Although it was first reported that cancer cells have altered metabolism almost a century ago, metabolic pathways have only been recognized as potential therapeutic targets for cancer in recent years. This renewed interest has occurred as researchers have demonstrated that signaling pathways affected by genetic mutations have a profound effect on cancer metabolism.
Research into this area is now rapidly accelerating. Earlier this year, a clinical trial demonstrated that exercise-induced changes in estrogen metabolism could reduce breast cancer risk, and results from animal studies suggested that drugs used to treat metabolic diseases such as diabetes may be effective against lung cancer. These and other studies indicate that metabolism could be an important target for cancer …