Do you want to be a disease detective? the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a new app, Solve the Outbreak.
New outbreaks happen every day and CDC’s disease detectives are on the front lines, working 24/7 to save lives and protect people. When a new outbreak happens, disease detectives are sent in to figure out how outbreaks are started, before they can spread.
- CDC iPad App Lets You Solve Disease Outbreaks (mashable.com)
- New CDC App Turns You into a Disease Outbreak Detective (forbes.com)
- CDC app lets you solve disease outbreaks at home (onlineathens.com)
- Play Disease Detective With New CDC App (medicalnewstoday.com)
- CDC Launches Free App 'Solve the Outbreak' (counselheal.com)
- CDC app turns iPad users into disease detectives (bizjournals.com)
A very interesting use of crowdsourcing for medical research.
Using data drawn from queries entered into Google, Microsoft and Yahoo search engines, scientists at Microsoft, Stanford and Columbia University have for the first time been able to detect evidence of unreported prescription drug side effects before they were found by the Food and Drug Administration’s warning system.
Using automated software tools to examine queries by six million Internet users taken from Web search logs in 2010, the researchers looked for searches relating to an antidepressant, paroxetine, and a cholesterol lowering drug, pravastatin.
- Unreported Side Effects of Drugs Are Found Using Internet Search Data (secretsofthefed.com)
- Unreported Drug Side Effects Discovered by Analysis of Google Big Data (labsoftnews.typepad.com)
- Google Search As A Tool To Identify Unreported Drug Side Effects (drx.typepad.com)
- Web searches uncover hidden drug dangers (newscientist.com)
- Ramblings: Big Data or Clinical Trials or both? (binaryhealthcare.wordpress.com)
- Search Engines May Be More Able To Do The FDA's Job Than The FDA (huffingtonpost.com)
- Should You Mix Those Two Drugs? Ask Dr. Google (news.sciencemag.org)
Epidemiology: What Is It and Why Should Adult Children Know About It? With Link to a Related Supercourse
It happens over and over again as I listen to the radio or read the news. I hear about an aging parent issue or a disease that is increasing in magnitude. Or sometime it’s a health issue that is affecting certain groups of people or a new bit of research the describes problems with an intervention — one that I thought was working well. Invariably these stories make me ask why? Sometimes I ask a more personal question, “If that seems to work for me, how come researchers say is isn’t effective?”
In just about every case, I answer my question by learning more about the study of epidemiology — a field that explores and collects data about how diseases specifically and health issues in general occur and affect people and in certain places. Epidemiology measures by some period of time. This short video from the Centers from Disease Control explains more.
Epidemiology can be difficult to understand, especially because people, including me, tend to personalize the issues. Here are just a few questions to illustrate this personalization.
- What risk factors for exposure to hazards contribute to aging parent falls as individuals age (in fact we are talking here about people over 60)? Why don’t people worry environmental health problems and do things early on to prevent falls?
- How come after years and years, I’m suddenly told that yearly mammograms are less important?
- Why are men being cautioned to reconsider using prostate tests for routine cancer screening?
- Why are older seniors now being told to consider getting fewer screening tests such as colonoscopies as they age?
Supercourse is a repository of lectures on global health and prevention designed to improve the teaching of prevention. Supercourse has a network of over 56000 scientists in 174 countries who are sharing for free a library of 5050 lectures in 31 languages.
- 10 (strongly suggested yet humorous) commandments for physicians when prescribing treatments (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- New guidelines for reporting epidemiological studies that involve molecular markers (eurekalert.org)
- Geographical Epidemiology (danielgillis.wordpress.com)
- Epidemiology: Type 2 Diabetes – Rising obesity and aging populations are driving diabetes trends (onlineindustryresearch.wordpress.com)
An evaluation of the Public Health Grid (PHGrid) technology during the 2009H1N1 influenza pandemic could enhance the capabilities of epidemiologists and disease-control agencies when the next emergent disease appears, according to a study published in the International Journal of Grid and Utility Computing***. …
…During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, however, the Public Health Informatics and Technology Program Office at the CDC together with various partners used simulated data to explore how a decentralized information architecture run on the Public Health Grid (PHGrid) might be used to acquire relevant data quickly, securely and to effectively model the spread of disease. The main advantage of building the system on the PHGrid is that it allows for disparate, distributed data and services to be used by the public health community and so avoids the obstacles seen with repurposing specialized surveillance systems.
“The speed with which public health officials can identify, respond, and deploy interventions in response to public health events has the potential to change the course or impact of a disease,” the team explains. The PHGrid framework could be used to address specific surveillance needs such as those related to novel pandemic influenza in 2009. By using advances made by the “grid” community in health and other fields, PHGrid was able to focus on specific issues without having to re-invent and re-evaluate the information technology needed by using established data tools and formats. Such an approach also avoided the need to find ways to circumvent bugs and problems that would have arisen had new technology been developed at the time for the specific purpose. …
- Mexican flu pandemic study supports social distancing (eurekalert.org)
- WHO: Swine Flu Pandemic Is Over (zocdoc.com)
- Characterizing the Epidemiology of the 2009 Influenza A/H1N1 Pandemic in Mexico (veilleprosp.wordpress.com)
Researchers used U.S. census data to create a synthetic population that helps disease modelers simulate the spread of infectious outbreaks, including H1N1. [From NIMGS News Item, March 31, 2010]
The US Census Bureau is only mandated to count people for Congressional District apportionments.
However, the US Census Bureau has historically increased its role through collecting and disseminating data in many areas, including housing, health insurance, foreign trade, economics, and state income.
Non government researchers apply census data in many imaginative and practical ways. For example, a North Carolina corporation is using population data to “simulate the spread of an infectious outbreak through a community and identify the best ways to intervene”. A recent news item outlines their progress.