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As the Internet continues to mature and more people access the web through desktop and mobile apps, the need for APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) has never been more pressing. APIs provide a consistent, easy-to-use way for developers to access data that can be built into mobile apps or websites.
Since 2005, ProgrammableWeb has cataloged the world’s APIs and has become the de facto journal of the API economy. Today there are more than 12,000 APIs listed in the ProgrammableWeb directory, but only 2.07% of those APIs are health-related. Clinical research-related APIs are hardly present at all, accounting for just 0.07% of the APIs listed on ProgrammableWeb.
The Lilly COI API is at the center of our efforts to make it easier for people to find clinical trials that are right for them or their loved ones. The API was created to make publicly-available clinical trial information easier for people to understand and easier for developers to work with.
Photo from the University of Washington School of Medicine website.
A robotics researcher at MIT is studying whether a robot, called MIT-Manus, originally designed for physical therapy can also help speed up clinical trials related to stroke-recovery. According to Popular Mechanics, MIT-Manus can “detect whether an experimental drug is working by interacting with stroke patients and logging their movements.” Since the robot was already programmed to collect motion data from the patient’s arm movements, lead researcher Hermano Igo Krebs suspected that scientists could use that information to track patient improvement over time and determine whether experimental stroke drugs were having a tangible effect. Krebs is also considering how MIT-Manus could be brought into clinical trials for other conditions. [Source: Popular Mechanics]
Smartphone App Uses Selfies to Check Your Cholesterol Level | mashable.com
Researchers from Cornell University have designed a smartphone accessory and app that allows users to monitor their own blood cholesterol levels. All you need is their attachment, a smartphone, a reagent test strip and a willingness to draw your own blood. The researchers’ designed an attachment to be placed over the smartphone flash and camera that can illuminate and capture the color of the strip, rendering specialized equipment or a trip to the doctor’s office unnecessary. [Source: Mashable.]
MS is an unpredictable disease, and no two people experience the same symptoms or level of disability. Just 20 years ago, there was no effective treatment for MS. Patients were diagnosed and sent on their way, powerless to alter the course of their disease. Now there are 10 disease modifying therapies (DMTs) to choose from, but no clear criteria on which to base that choice. Stephen Hauser, M.D., Chair of Neurology at the UCSF School of Medicine, and his co-investigator Pierre-Antoine Gourraud, Ph.D., MPH, have been gathering data from 800 patients over more than eight years. The enormous amount of information they’ve compiled resides in a database. Using an algorithm they developed, BioScreen processes the data into a visual interpretation of the MS population as a whole, allowing individuals to compare their symptoms and disease course to those of other patients. [Source: Healthline]