We Like, March 23: Dr. Eric Topol on NBCNews, SpiderSense suits and Fighting flu through tobacco Reply

The key to better health care may already be in your pocket… and it’s not your wallet

It happened on flight from Washington, DC to San Diego.

The pilot’s urgent question reverberated over the intercom during a cross country flight, “Is there a doctor on board?” A passenger was experiencing severe chest pains, and luckily for him Dr. Eric Topol was sitting in seat 6A.

Topol is the energetic chief academic officer of Scripps Health, a prominent cardiologist and the foremost figure in the field of wireless medicine. He believes the future of health lies in our own hands, namely in our smart phones and other portable electronic devices.  According to Topol, “the smart phone will be the hub of the future of medicine.  And it will be your health-medical dashboard.”

Superhero science: UIC students build ‘SpiderSense’ suit

Have you ever wanted superpowers? Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago have built a suit mimicking Spider-Man’s “SpiderSense” by using sensory receptors to “feel” their environment.

The students in the computer science, communication and bioengineering departments were broken up into groups and charged with the task of making something that could “see the invisible.” Victor Mateevitsi said that he and his classmates were looking for a way to supplement the existing human senses, to fill in the blind spots.

Fight Flu Through Tobacco

This flu season has been a particularly bad one. But an innovative method for making vaccines promises an easier and quicker response to pandemics—thanks to good ol’ tobacco. Sounds healthy, right? Currently, the majority of the 130 million seasonal flu vaccine doses administered in the US every year are made using live chicken embryos. But the process is costly, time-consuming, and requires a lot of eggs.

So Medicago, a Canadian pharmaceutical company, is testing a new idea: Coax tobacco plants into expressing the proteins to make vaccines. Last year Darpa challenged the firm to make 10 million doses in a month. Medicago succeeded, proving it can respond quickly to a new outbreak—much faster than the six months required for egg-based vaccines. This is how the tobacky gets wacky.

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