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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Medical Innovations

Medical equipment is frequently insanely expensive. Getting basic medical tools in third world countries is a consistent problem. I love that Rice University even has a class that works on creating medical tools at reduced cost, and love that they were able to use a salad spinner to build a low-cost, portable, human-powered centrifuge. Now my favorite toy from my grandma's kitchen is being used to diagnose anemia.

Meanwhile, back in the first world, they're developing a tattoo system for detecting blood glucose levels for diabetics. Stabbing yourself multiple times a day isn't fun for anyone, and even if you get used to it, it doesn't make it pleasant. This is awesome and I really hope it works out as planned.

There's been a lot of press about the new book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Perhaps my favorite coverage of this is the Radiolab episode on Famous Tumors. It's amazing how a horrible, murderous cancer can actually end up being so bizarrely useful to medical science in so many different ways.


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