The Reproducibility Crisis in Cancer Research: With the US spending $5 billion each year on cancer research, and private donors, charities and corporations contributing billions more, why aren’t we closer to a cure for cancer? According to Slate’s Daniel Engber, the problem is that the data behind some of the country’s most important cancer research is corrupt. “Sloppy data analysis, contaminated lab materials, and poor experimental design” all contribute to a replication crisis that plagues biomedical research. VCs, pharma and biotech companies have long known about this problem, many of who assume that at least half of published studies do not have reproducible results. (Slate)
This Startup Is Using Drones To Deliver Blood to Remote Areas in Rwanda: California-based robotics company Zipline International recruited employees from SpaceX, Google, NASA and Boeing to help them develop drones that fly between 50-80 mph and deliver blood and medical supplies via parachute. (Tech Insider).
A Call For Medical Device Surveillance Systems: The Brookings Institution reports that medical devices contribute to about 3,000 deaths per year; however, this number may be much higher. According to Austin Frakt of the New York Times, “the data needed to systematically and rapidly identify dangerous medical devices are not routinely collected in the United States,” and the FDA does not proactively screen for quality and safety as it does for pharmaceuticals. By implementing a medical device surveillance system that costs roughly $50 million, Frakt argues that hospitals would save both lives and money. (The New York Times)
Ethics and Mental Health Apps: Therapies administered through smartphone apps provide promising solutions to populations that suffer from mental health disorders but do not have access to psychiatric care. With that said, this new opportunity to deliver care has its drawbacks; the apps currently available range greatly in quality, and are not all backed by clinical evidence. In this article, Fast Company’s Christina Farr consults three experts about the ethical obligations facing mental healthcare app developers. (Fast Company)
This Week’s Listen – “Switching On” Emotions with TMS: In this episode of Fresh Air, Terry Gross speaks with Harvard Professor and Neurologist Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone about his experimental use of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as a treatment for Autism, and Pascual-Leone’s patient who experienced an “emotional awakening” as a result of the treatment. (NPR)
Abby Ballou is the managing editor of MedTech Boston. She has a B.A. and M.Phil in English literature from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center, respectively. When she isn't writing and editing for MedTech Boston, Abby enjoys reading, rock climbing, watching classic movies and listening to opera.
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