next era of computing

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When it comes to the future of computing, there is one major known and a principal unknown.

The known, with almost guaranteed certainty, is that the next era of computing will be wearables. The unknown, with commensurate guaranteed uncertainty, is what these wearables will be and where on your body they will live.

Apple and Samsung, for example, are betting on the wrist; Google, the face. A slew of tech companies believeclothing will simply become electronic. Yet there’s a whole new segment of start-ups that believe all of the above are destined for failure and that we humans will become the actual computers, or at least the place where the technology will reside.

Their enthusiasm is on an emerging class of wearable computers that adhere to the skin like temporary tattoos, or attach to the body like an old-fashioned Band-Aid. Read more

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Chalmers University of Technology

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A man in Sweden has become the first recipient of a mind-controlled prosthetic arm that is directly interfaced with muscle, bone and nerves.

A Swedish amputee has become the first person in the world to be fitted with a prosthetic that directly interfaces with his bone, muscle and nerves, and can be controlled with his mind, making him what could be considered a true cyborg.

The patient, whose right arm was amputated 10 years ago, received the prosthesis in January 2013.

“We have used osseointegration to create a long-term stable fusion between man and machine, where we have integrated them at different levels,” explained lead study author Max Ortiz Catalan, research scientist at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden.

“The artificial arm is directly attached to the skeleton, thus providing mechanical stability. Then the human’s biological control system, that is nerves and muscles, is also interfaced to the machine’s control system via neuromuscular electrodes. This creates an intimate union between the body and the machine; between biology and mechatronics.” Read more

Chimerix

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Just seven months ago, executives at the biotechnology company Chimerix were receiving death threats after refusing to provide its experimental drug to a 7-year-old boy who was close to dying from a viral infection.

The refusal set off a fierce social media campaign and subjected the company to unfavorable news coverage. Chimerix quickly found a way to provide the drug to the boy, Josh Hardy of Virginia, who then recovered.

Now Chimerix is back in the news, but in a more positive way. That same antiviral drug has suddenly become the medicine of choice for Ebola, being used on an emergency basis to treat both the Liberian patient in Dallas andthe NBC News cameraman in Nebraska.

What is remarkable is that the drug, with the unwieldy name brincidofovir, has never before been tested in people with Ebola, and there is not even any data available showing that it works in animals infected with the virus.

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Zoeticx

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Zoeticx has written middleware which can unify data from any current provider into a single common format. Their newly released API provides easy access to that middleware, enabling developers to easily write applications against multiple databases storing records in different formats.

There are currently over 350 competing formats for storing medical records electronically.

Zoeticx’s middleware, known as the Patient-Clarity platform, resides in the cloud. It uses gateways to communicate with the different Electronic Medical Record (EMR) formats, and transforms them into a custom, common format provided by Zoeticx. Currently the five most common formats are supported — Epic, Cerner, Allscripts Sunrise, Allscripts Professional, and OpenVistA. The gateways are designed against a shared interface, making it easy to add more formats. Read more

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When Jennifer Hopper raced to the emergency room after her husband, Craig, took a baseball in the face, she made sure they went to a hospital in their insurance network in Texas. So when they got a $937 bill from the emergency room doctor, she called the insurer, assuming it was in error.

But the bill was correct: UnitedHealthcare, the insurance company, had paid its customary fee of $151.02 and expected the Hoppers to pay the remaining $785.98, because the doctor at Seton Northwest Hospital in Austin did not participate in their network. Read more

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A drug used to treat advanced breast cancer has had what appears to be unprecedented success in prolonging lives in a clinical trial, researchers reported on Sunday.

Patients who received the drug — Perjeta, from the Swiss drug maker Roche — had a median survival time nearly 16 months longer than those in the control group.

That is the longest amount of time for a drug used as an initial treatment for metastatic breast cancer, the researchers said, and it may be one of the longest for the treatment of any cancer. Most cancer drugs prolong survival in patients with metastatic disease for a few months at most. Metastasis means the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Read more

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Like many clinics nationwide, my surgery office recently started using electronic medical records. Headaches and glitches abound, but over all, it has been a godsend: no more lost forms, deciphering lousy handwriting or waiting endlessly for someone to “pull the chart” if you want to look up a patient. Everything’s in one centralized computer system, accessible anywhere.

This brave new world, however, has created a singularly embarrassing moment at the end of all my new patient encounters. After saying hello, performing a history and physical examination, talking over the details of surgery and answering questions, I fire up the computer and start entering orders and preparing an after-visit summary for the patient to take home. Read more

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Robin Evans said that while she does not support the senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes or President Obama she has taken advantage of the Affordable Health Care act. 

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Affordable Care Act allowed Robin Evans, an eBay warehouse packer earning $9 an hour, to sign up for Medicaid this year. She is being treated for high blood pressure and Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, after years of going uninsured and rarely seeing doctors.

“I’m tickled to death with it,” Ms. Evans, 49, said of her new coverage as she walked around the Kentucky State Fair recently with her daughter, who also qualified for Medicaid under the law. “It’s helped me out a bunch.”

But Ms. Evans scowled at the mention of President Obama — “Nobody don’t care for nobody no more, and I think he’s got a lot to do with that,” she explained — and said she would vote this fall for Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, who is fond of saying the health care law should be “pulled out root and branch.”

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NEW DELHI — The maker of one of the costliest drugs in the world announced on Monday that it had struck agreements with seven Indian generic drug makers to sell lower-cost versions of its $1,000-a-pill Hepatitis C drug in poorer countries.

Gilead Sciences, the California-based drug maker, also said it will begin selling its own version of the drug in India and other developing countries at a fraction of the price it charges in the United States.

The moves are intended to provide greater access to the medicine Sovaldi for most of the nearly 180 million infected worldwide with Hepatitis C who do not live in rich countries. Some 350,000 people die every year of Hepatitis C infections, most of them in middle- and low-income nations.

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Although few medical experts realize it, part of the population in West Africa is immune to the Ebola virus, according to virologists who specialize in the disease.

Assuming they are correct, and if those people can be identified, they could be a great help in fighting the outbreak. Immune persons could safely tend the sick and bury the dead just as smallpox survivors did in the centuries before smallpox vaccine.

Also, antibodies could be harvested from their blood to treat new Ebola victims.

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