Archive for November, 2012

Cancer: A Mere Nuisance

Posted by on Friday, 23 November, 2012



What if doctors could always find cancer before it starts to spread? When they could still remove it and send you home?  No chemo. No radiation. See ya.

Here’s a blood test for cancer that gives a warning early enough to avoid big trouble. The test tells what type of cancer and may give inferential information about where it is located. Devin Koestler, Margaret Karagas and Jason Moore  (Geisel School of Medicine) did the work. Their test could spare you a biopsy as well as save you from metastatic cancer.



It’s only a test. You still have to get rid of the tumor, okay? And, yes, you still have to pay the bill.  But, if this preliminary research does pan out,  the term cancer won’t have the same punch. Most cancers would be nipped in the bud and wouldn’t be such a durn big deal. Worse than a hair cut. But much much better than looking up through the dew covered sod.

ScienceAintSoBad Rating = 5. The science seems okay  but hold on to your war hoops. Preliminary.




IBM’s Doctor In A Box

Posted by on Wednesday, 7 November, 2012


What if your doctor knew everything?

Instead of just acting like he did.

I mean what if your physician ACTUALLY had all those studies and papers – all the latest stuff – in his.her head?

Nobody’s saying doctors aren’t smart but they can’t be up on every possible disease or every possible drug. Nobody could keep all that information “upstairs”.

Except for Dr. Watson.

The latest incarnation of  Watson, IBM’s supercomputer, takes in the Internet as well as other sources of up-to-date medical information, sorts out all the useful stuff, and  shares this with busy medical professionals as it is needed. Easy access to everything. And an algorithm to help.

Maybe you remember Watson. From Jeopardy. Watson was a contestant on the show and trounced  all the other (human) players.

They never had a chance.

IBM now wants to get Watson in the medical game, offering direct help as well as second opinions to physicians. Maybe, eventually, aiding and abetting the delivery of primary health care. (This, by the way, is from Brandon Kleim, Wired Magazine).

Would it work? Is this a good idea? Well… doctors do make mistakes.

No. I’m serious. It can happen.

Like.. all the time.

Thousands of errors every year. People who should get better, don’t. People who should go home, die. Not knocking the docs. They are amazing. But nobody’s perfect, right?

“I am. I am.” (Shut UP Watson!)

Okay. That’s the idea, anyway – that a machine, indefatigable, without human biases, with always up-to-date information – can offer useful assistance to healthcare providers.


Nobody’s threatened by THAT idea, right?

One of the doctors quoted in the article above reminds us that doctors have enough knowledge. No need to waste electricity. We’re fine here.

Mister ScienceAintSoBad will stand aside while the geniuses from medical school figure this out. Some would say that most medical errors can’t be prevented this way. Well, guess what? This one’s inevitable. Watson, Shmatson. Eventually? The strong right arm of every physician will be his Doctor In A Box.

I’m right on this.

Trust me.


MISTER ScienceAintSoBad.

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