Benefits and Risks of Artificial Intelligence

This image represents Artificial Intelligence, a digital mind that can learn and act on its own. According to a recent article in MedicalFuturist.com, artificial intelligence (AI) will redesign health care with unimaginable potential. The author sees great benefits, and so do I, but he dispels the risks – risks that visionaries like Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Stephen Hawking warn against. They warn that full development of AI could spell the end of the human race, and I share that concern. That’s why I’m writing today’s article with a cautionary tone.

The accelerating pace of change

At issue is whether or not man will find ways to guard against the dangers of tech innovation accelerating exponentially and indefinitely. The questions start with, what will AI, automation and robotics eventually do to employment? Which jobs will be replaced first, and which are safe for now? What might AI do for (or to) government? I don’t share the author’s confidence and instead side with the visionaries. Here’s why. Read More …

Research Funding and Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease?

Is there hope for Alzheimer’s disease?

Can Alzheimer's be stopped? a NOVA broadcast

This past week NOVA aired Can Alzheimer’s Be Stopped? (watch below) The program covered research funded by drug companies as they race to cure Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. The profit potential from discovering a breakthrough cure, as noted at the beginning, is well into the Billions. Sadly, a treatment without a cure may be worth even more. So hence the race, given the large and growing numbers of people affected and the devastating impact the disease has on them, their caregivers, and society. Read More …

Wireless Networks and Electromagnetic Radiation

Schumann Resonance

RESONANCE is eye-opening documentary, revealing the biological harm from and health impact of wireless networks and electromagnetic radiation. The entire documentary is included here with some added comments. Most troubling to me are the long-term effects of electromagnetic radiation on cellular structures, cancer, and Melatonin, an important antioxidant and sleep-inducing hormone. Read More …

Digital Health at CES 2016

Digital Health at CES

EDITOR:  The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest trade shows and conferences in the world, with well over 150,000 attendees, including more than 30,000 international attendees from 140 countries. Each January they come to Las Vegas, NV to see the latest tech products from over 3,000 exhibitors or showcase their own. Nowhere else on earth can you see and experience so much in such a short space of time. That’s why I love attending, but now I do it without the expense and hassle of traveling there.

For background, I’ve attended big technology shows like COMDEX & CES as an exhibitor, speaker or attendee for some 30 years, and while still at IBM I organized one of the first Hot Spots (now TechZones). It was for Home Networking just after I introduced IBM to the Connected Home concept (in 1994) and while I held leadership positions in some industry standards groups.

My CES coverage starts with an article by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn about what to expect, which first appeared in Huffington Post. It’s followed by links to Related Articles that you won’t want to miss if you’re a tech geek like me. Read More …

Are Our Plates Too Full? A Nation Confronts Addiction

By David L. Katz

Earlier this month, thanks largely to the influence and convening power of Dr. Mehmet Oz, the nation was invited to talk about addiction. Among those weighing in to lend support, on air and via social media, was the nation’s Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.The National Night of Conversation - about Addiction

The symbol chosen for the campaign was an empty plate, the image meant to convey that this night — the conversation and related food for thought — matter more than the food. Something additional suggests itself to me, however, especially as I try to get this column written (as I promised I would): catch up and then keep up with demands as furious and frenetic as a swarm of bees. Maybe our plates are generally way too full.

I really have no cause to complain on my own behalf. Yes, I am too busy, and yes, I do often feel like Sisyphus. But I have a loving family and plenty of support. Many are not so fortunate. Read More …

Sleep Problems in Dementia

How to Manage Sleep Problems in Dementia

Click image to view original article.

Sleep problems are common in Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. They are also a common source of tension for family caregivers, because when your spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s doesn’t sleep well, this often means that you don’t sleep well.

To make matters even worse, not getting enough sleep can worsen the behavior and mindset of someone with dementia. Of course, this is true for those of us who don’t have Alzheimer’s as well: we all become more prone to emotional instability and irritation when we’re tired. Studies have also shown that even younger healthy people perform worse on cognitive tests when they are sleep-deprived. Read More …

2015 Alzheimer’s Statistics

EDITOR: These stats are from Alzheimers.net, an online community dedicated to education, advocacy and supporting those whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimers.net was created by people touched by Alzheimer’s to give caregivers, those with Alzheimer’s a place to share our passion for change and a cure for the disease. I added a short section on the impact of sleep duration & quality and a related infographic.

Alzheimer’s Statistics Worldwide

2015 Alzheimer's Statistics

  • Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Only 1-in-4 people with Alzheimer’s disease have been diagnosed. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia is most common in Western Europe (North America is close behind)
  • Alzheimer’s is least prevalent in Sub-Saharan Africa. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)
  • Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause for disabilities in later life. (Alzheimer’s Disease International)

Read More …

Why Color and Light Matter

Secrets for Improving your Sleep, Health & Productivity:
Why Color and Light Matter

by Leanne Venier, BSME, CP AOBTA

(From her LinkedIn article. Also Published under “Research” in Texas MD Magazine, April/May 2015 (sold throughout Texas) & in TexasMDMonthly.com)

Leanne Venier - Luminous Tranquility

Pictured Above: “Luminous Tranquility” by Leanne Venier- LeanneVenier.com

It’s 7 am. The alarm clock starts blaring and you groggily reach over to swat it into snooze-ville, wishing for nothing more than an extra hour of sleep. Lately, you just never feel rested in the morning although you go to bed plenty early every night. Read More …

The End of Moore’s Law? Don’t Bet on it.

Digital MindIn Moore’s Law and The Future of Health Care, I offer a vision of healthcare based on exponential advancements in tech innovation as described by Gordon Moore. Moore is an Intel cofounder and is credited with observing that computer circuits have shrunk in size and doubling in compute capacity every two years. Moore’s Law is what drives down costs & size, but that logarithmic trend is not easy to grasp. So let’s look at two analogies explaining a 60,000 improvement in cost and 90,000 improvement in speed since Intel started tracking computer chips in the 1960’s.

COST — If the price of cars and gas improved exponentially at the same rate as computer chips, we’d be able to buy a new car for about 8-cents today and would only spend 2-cents per year on gas. At that rate, cars would be disposable, and we might just buy a new one for each trip, as a fashion accessory matched to our outfit.

SPEED — If the speed of air travel advanced at the same exponential rate as computing, today we’d be able to fly from the U.S. to Japan in less than a second, but the plane would be just over 1-tenth of an inch long.

Industry analysts keep predicting the end of Moore’s Law, arguing for many reasons that computer chips can only get so small or so cheap, and today I responded to another article about The End of Moore’s Law. Here’s my response, which shows optimism from my 30 years at IBM (I retired in 1999) and my interest in technology as a futurist. Read More …

Amyloid Plaques and Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurons

Alzheimer’s Disease affects millions of Americans, but right now, there isn’t a known cure. Researchers in Connecticut, however, suggest that the solution might lie in understanding the gooey protein that builds up in brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

That’s how WNPR introduced an article on Alzheimer’s Prevention: Understanding Malicious Brain Proteins.

Modern Health Talk has spent a lot of time covering sleep issues because of the direct relationship between good sleep and health, safety and performance. That includes its relationship with Alzheimer’s, so I added the following comment and include it in today’s post, along with an introductory video by the National Institutes of Health. Read More …

BRAINCHANGE with David Perlmutter M.D.

BRAINCHANGEOur local PBS channel (KLRU.org) today aired BRAINCHANGE, a special on Alzheimer’s Prevention that featured Dr. David Perlmutter, M.D.

Perlmutter is a board-certified neurologist who gained much of his knowledge about brain science from his dad, who was a practicing neurosurgeon and now has Alzheimer’s. That experience gave him even more motivation to understand why Americans have such a high rate of Alzheimer’s and why that is increasing.

The special served as a PBS fund-raiser but in many ways seemed like an infomercial to sell Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers. Still, it was factual, thought-provoking, and complements work I’m involved with at Intelligent Sleep, where we see sleep as the third leg of wellness and as important as nutrition and exercise. I could not find an online version of the show, but here are my notes and some summary videos: Read More …

On Legacy Writing & The Gift of Remembering

memory tattooby: Jess Hagemann

Everyone has a story to share; not just presidents and kings. Preserving your memories is a gift to yourself and everyone who knows you, a gift to which I can personally testify. — Jess

EDITOR: I urge you to read this article and preserve your story while you can, because it will mean a lot to your family after you’re gone. This article reminds me of the memories my mom left in a hand-written book, Grandma was Quite a Girl.” And it reminds me to mention other articles on this site about preserving your legacy.

Why One Man Tattooed His Memories on His Body.

When director Christopher Nolan released Memento in 2000, the National Institute of Mental Health hailed the film as “a perfect exploration of the neurobiology of memory.” In Memento, protagonist Leonard Shelby suffers from anterograde amnesia, or the inability to create new memories following a trauma. (That is, Leonard’s short-term memory is completely shot, while his long-term memory remains intact). To make up for the fact that he can no longer mentally record the day-to-day events of his life, Leonard begins tattooing ‘clues’ onto his body at the end of each day, so that when he wakes in the morning the tattoos might trigger or reinform his daily experiences. Tattoos! A permanent, physical manipulation of the human body, just to remember something—that’s how urgently important memories are to the human race! Read More …

Make it Possible – about overcoming disabilities

Stephen Hawking

Click image for other quotes as Stephen Hawking turns 73.

I’m always inspired by pioneering tech ideas that help people overcome physical or mental disabilities, so the videos that follow caught my attention. They’re about EyeWriter and BrainWriter, which use eye movements and brainwaves to help people with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, often called Lou Gehrig’s Disease). ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causes loss of muscle control, including the ability to breathe, and thus leads to early death.

The famous theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, has helped to bring attention to the disease and what can be done with a severe disability by beating the odds and living past age 70.

Don Moir: ALS patient, husband, and father

In the video below, watch Don write a love letter to his wife and audibly say “I love you, Lorraine” for the first time in 15 years, thanks to a digital solution by the Not Impossible team, Speak Your Mind Foundation and HP’s #BendTheRules.


Read More …

Concussion Awareness

FallBy Thomas Barnet, Rehab Tech at Waccamaw Community Hospital

Concussion Awareness.
What is a concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is usually caused by a sudden and/or forceful blow to the head or surrounding area. Concussions range in severity and are often described by their most blatant acute (short-term) symptom, unconsciousness. While athletes may be more prone to concussions, specifically those in contact sports, anybody can get one, including in “non-contact sports” such as baseball and soccerConcussions are also often seen in vehicular accidents, explosions in combat (military), or simple falls.

Symptoms generally associated with concussions include: Read More …

Music as Medicine

I’ll be home for Christmas

Henry has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home, and is mostly unresponsive and depressed, but watch what happens when he’s introduced to music. The part of the brain that recognizes music is usually one of the last parts affected by Alzheimer’s disease; but not only does the music awaken that part; it improves Henry’s communication and memory too. He remembers the words AND the artist.

Having seen this reaction before, I became interested in the healing powers of music and met Sean Maher, an award-winning musician and music therapist at Intelligent Sleep who uses vibration, sound and binaural beats to help people entrain their brains to reduce stress, focus, or improve creativity. I also discovered Lisa’s article below and got permission to repost it.

Music as Medicine

Bad to the Bone

Click on image to hear George Thorogood’s classic, “Bad to the Bone” on YouTube.

by Lisa Suennen

It happens every time. I hear “Bad to the Bone” on the radio and suddenly all is right with the world. I love music and I have learned that if I choose the correct genre and tempo  I can improve a depressed state or calm a hyper one. I have song lists on my iPod called Cranky and Stressed, F the World, and Happiness, all designed around my various moods. Music can have a profound affect on my state of mind. I think this is true for most people, actually.

The therapeutic value of music has long been known to the medical world. Famed neuropsychologist Oliver Sacks used music to engage his patients (this was dramatized in the movie The Music Never Stops, where a brain-damaged patient is able to recall memories otherwise lost when he hears the favorite music of his youth). And I saw an article this week, courtesy of my BFF, which stated this:

Doctor playing the violin“One hundred years ago, Pennsylvanian surgeon Evan Kane penned a brief letter to JAMA in which he declared himself a rigorous proponent of the ‘benefic [sic] effects of the phonograph within the operating room.’ To Kane, it was an optimal means of ‘calming and distracting the patient from the horror of their situation.’ Of course this was before effective anesthesia so anything would have helped.” Read More …

Curing The Holiday Blues

Ho Ho ChristmasEDITOR: We wish you all a Joyous Christmas, but in case your mood is just Ho Ho, this article may help.

A Long Slide Home

By Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. (Huffington Post)

That’s how a man in his 50s described his life to me: “It’s my long slide home.” He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him.

I often see the holiday blues strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one’s life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression — especially during midlife.

Read More …

Parafacial Zone as On-Off Switch for Deep Sleep

Scientists discover new “sleep node” in the brain

Findings may lead to new therapies for sleep disorders, including insomnia

Parafacial zone in brain stem

Using designer genes, researchers at UB and Harvard were able to ‘turn on’ specific neurons in the brainstem that result in on-off switch for deep sleep.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (9/16/2014) – A sleep-promoting circuit located deep in the primitive brainstem has revealed how we fall into deep sleep. Discovered by researchers at Harvard School of Medicine and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, this is only the second “sleep node” identified in the mammalian brain whose activity appears to be both necessary and sufficient to produce deep sleep.

Published online in August in Nature Neuroscience, the study demonstrates that fully half of all of the brain’s sleeppromoting activity originates from the parafacial zone (PZ) in the brainstem. Read More …

What Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad

EDITOR: 9 Surprising Things Quadriplegics can do with an iPhone or iPad, by Mauricio Meza, is republished here with permission. It shows how Tecla gives iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android access to people with spinal cord, brain, or muscular disorders or anyone else who can’t use a touch-screen, including quadriplegia, multiple sclerosis (MS), ALS, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, brain injury, and stroke.

Read More …

101 MiniTrends in Health Care

Watch for Trends Ahead

This image is from MiniTrends, a book by John Vanston that I strongly endorse. I’ve known John for years and did consulting work for his company, Technology Futures. His book inspired my Modern Health Talk vision. (Click image to see book. Go to end to hear about the MiniTrends conference.)

“What the Hell is happening to health care?”

“And is it an Opportunity or a Threat?”

Insights by Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk.

An awful lot has changed in just the last few years and even more will change in the near future, with the aim of reducing (or at least containing) our health care costs. What’s behind these MiniTrends, and what is their implication for providers, payers and consumers? That’s the $1.5 trillion question. Here I talk about many, many MiniTrends–surely you can find 101 of them if you look! 

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

That quote is important, because 429 of the original Fortune 500 companies [1955] are no longer in business today. That’s a scary thought for those sitting at the top of the healthcare mountain, because they know they must adapt to the megatrend of health reform and Obamacare (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) or die. And they are looking down with fear at the hungry competitors who are already exploiting the many related minitrends, because for them these are times of great opportunity.

Read More …