Space age & digital communication at BIO Convention Luncheon

Research!America

An image of Scott Kelly on the International Space StationAstronaut Scott Kelly described the type of work underway on the International Space Station in a special satellite uplink at today's BIO International Convention luncheon. During a live interview, floating in zero-gravity, Kelly said they're working on 400 scientific projects on the station, and they hope to learn more about such things as bone loss and muscle wasting disease in space. With the latest technology, he said they're able to get plenty of data on human health performance and physiology, adding he hopes to learn "if there is a cliff out there in regards to our physiology as we go from six months to a year and longer." There are health related problems that can only be solved in the space station, according to a NASA spokesperson. He encouraged BIO attendees to partner with them on commercial projects that can be conducted on the station. 

Can a smartphone be viewed as a primary care physician? Not yet, according to Dr. Eric Topol, director, Scripps Translational Science Institute, but he said it's quite possible in the future. He described the numerous digital health tools available and soon to be available on the market to optimize health outcomes as BIO's luncheon keynote speaker, noting that society is moving towards a culture of on demand medicine in four areas: datafied, digitized, democratized and dignified. Instead of a population based approach to health care, our country is adopting an individualized approach where researchers can assess health of individuals from prewomb to tomb and recommend interventions, he said. But unlike Switzerland which created a health bank, Americans do not own their data although they are monitoring their health information much more than ever before.

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor