Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Ethical Issues Abound with Fast-Growing Prenatal Genetic Testing


In the last few years, the standard tests for fetal abnormalities have been largely replaced with new genetic tests. Since they launched, traditional procedures that confer a small risk of miscarriage have dropped by about 70 percent. Now we face a big ethical issue: these tests reveal much more about future diseases than those they replaced. What information should parents know, and what can and should they do about it?   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

New Study: Meditation Literally Changes our Genes


People who practice meditation know it resets the mind and body, and there have been claims about its healing powers for centuries. Now scientific evidence backs them up. Researchers recently found that meditation does more than just relieve stress. It can literally change our DNA.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare Techonomy Events

Reflections from Ross: Why “Genetically Modified Everything” is so important to what we do at Techonomy

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 10.22.38 AM

The global biotech market is estimated to have a value of $604.40 billion by 2020. Techonomy program director Ross explains how central the theme is to us, and a bit of her own history of fascination with it. This year at TE16 we’re continuing this exploration into the industries being changed by life science, the technologies, the benefits and yes, the controversies.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Beyond Human: Life Extension, Enhancement, and the Future

Eve Herold's new book, published by Macmillan.

If artificial organs, miniature robots, and advanced medications could keep you healthy, would you want to live for hundreds of years? Author Eve Herold's new book "Beyond Human" argues that we might as well get used to these ideas, because they are inevitably coming. Reviewer Salisbury finds this an important overview of a rapidly-developing field of medical science, but is not yet ready to join the immortals herself.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Healthcare

Obama: Genetic Data + Precision Medicine Will Improve American Health

(Courtesy of Shutterstock)

Lost in a news cycle rife with heartbreak, the Obama administration made a major push last week for its Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). Also referred to as personalized medicine, precision medicine is based on the idea of using a trove of genetic and clinical information to determine ahead of time which drugs will work best for which patients, at which doses, and in which combinations. It could be the first step in an important breakthrough for American health.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Business Healthcare

Consumers to Health Insurers: Keep it Simple


The American healthcare markethas undergone a period of rapid change in recent years. Chief among these changes has been a general shift towards consumer choice, prompting the rollout of new tech products in a bid to entice customers. But a new study suggests the best way to win over consumers is to bring things back down to earth.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare Startup Culture

Funding, Coaching, and Data: StartUp Health Wants to Transform Healthcare

StartUp Health

Part incubator, part venture fund, part mentorship program, StartUp Health aims to create an ecosystem for digital health entrepreneurs. Backed by Steve Case, Mark Cuban, Jerry Levin, Esther Dyson, and GE Ventures, among others, five-year-old StartUp Health has 150 companies in its portfolio.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Global Tech

Nobel Laureates Tell Greenpeace to Ditch the GMO Conspiracies


On the list of misunderstood technology, genetically modified organisms might take the top spot. Now, more than 100 Nobel laureates have written an open letter asking the environmental group Greenpeace to reverse their stance on GMOs and promote potential breakthrough technologies like Vitamin A rich Golden Rice. Despite the pressure, Greenpeace remains skeptical.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Global Tech Healthcare

The Superbugs are Coming. Data Science Can Help.

Thanks to miraculous advances in public health and medical science over the past century, we can prevent and treat many common microbial infections.Yet some in the health industry fear that may be changing. We misuse and overuse antimicrobial drugs on a massive scale, and the bad bugs are beginning to evolve new resistance mechanisms. Data science can play a central role in the fight against the looming global threat.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare Internet of Things

David Agus Calls for Healthcare Leadership at Techonomy NYC

At Techonomy NYC last week, physician and author David Agus outlined a dazzling vision of a healthier society driven by digital and other tech innovations. But getting there requires leadership we now lack. We also need to aggressively engage consumers in their own health management.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Security & Privacy

How Microbes Could Help Track Criminals

Image courtesy Shutterstock/Couperfield

In the not-distant future, crime scene analysts will be gathering a lot more than DNA. The microbiome, or the universe of bacteria and other microbes that live in and on us, is the latest target in forensics. DNA evidence can be hard to find at a crime scene, but criminals (and all of us) have trouble keeping microbes to themselves.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Healthcare

NIH Fast-Tracks Giant Precision Medicine Study

President Obama visiting the National Institutes of Health in 2014. Now he wants citizens to have access to the data in an upcoming gigantic healthcare study open to one million Americans. (photo: NIH)

At a genomics conference last week, National Institutes of Health official Kathy Hudson provided an update on the government’s gigantic Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI). NIH aims to make real progress before the next president takes over–and to enable any American who wants to to take part.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Government Healthcare

Senators Seek to Legislate DNA Privacy—But Is It Really Possible?

Senator Elizabeth Warren joined with Republican Mike Enzi of Wyoming to protect some DNA data. (photo U.S. Treasury Department)

A new bill introduced by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mike Enzi would add important privacy protections for genetic data generated by federally funded scientists or housed in government databases. It aims to protect research participants who expect their data to remain confidential. Even if the bill passes, though, the genetic data may not always be protected. But some genomics leaders now say full protection may not even be possible.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Healthcare Goes Digital: Fewer Hospitals, Empowered Doctors, and a Medical Sharing Economy

Digital tools hold the promise of not just making people healthier, but radically upending the structure of the healthcare industry.   (Photo: Africa Studio via Shutterstock)

Tech is helping drive exciting changes in healthcare, though they don’t galvanize public attention like driverless cars or virtual reality headsets. But as the industry embraces digital strategies, American patients may begin to see a patient-centric model that will streamline the system and upend the way medical professionals operate.   More

Arts & Culture Bio & Life Sciences

Glowing Rabbits and Sculptures That Breathe: The Rise of BioArt


“BioArt” is a growing movement that involves either using living organisms as part of a work of art or imitating life processes and biological research to create art that critiques or embraces life sciences. Artists have created glowing bunnies, sculptures that breathe, and even encoded sexual drawings in living cells.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Lawsuit Underscores Risk of Thinking Genetic Tests Authoritative

Interpreting the results of genetic testing remains as much art as science. (Image courtesy Shutterstock)

A recently filed lawsuit suggests trouble may be brewing for the new era of genomic testing. A mother claims an inaccurate test result contributed to the death of her young son, who had a mitochondrial disorder. But interpreting genetic tests remains as much art as science, which we will have to accept if this field is to get on its feet. It would be a shame if such tragedies hindered the innovations that will ultimately make genomic medicine more reliable.   More

Bio & Life Sciences

How an Entrepreneur Tackled a Rare Disease: A Conversation with Matt Wilsey

Matt Wilsey

Matt and Kristen Wilsey consulted more than 100 doctors and scientists to identify their daughter Grace’s rare disease, persisting when suggested diagnoses didn’t seem quite right or when doctors had no answers at all. Finally genome sequencing ended their diagnostic odyssey—and made them crusaders for a better approach.   More

Analytics & Data Bio & Life Sciences

23andMe’s Community Wants to Help, CEO Tells Genomics Researchers

Image via Shutterstock

At a genomics conference in February, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki took the stage to make the case for the scientific importance of her consumer genetics platform. Wojcicki still has a grand vision for how the service could help advance our understanding of human health, even as she acknowledges that recent restrictions imposed on the company by the FDA have left her more cautious about growth plans for 23andMe.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Genomic Medicine Is Here. American Healthcare Isn’t Ready.

Illustration for Techonomy by Jonathan Rosen

As many as half a million people have had their genomes sequenced. This data has already contributed to major medical success stories, but it is not yet clear that genomics can overcome the significant barriers that exist in traditional medicine to achieve its potential for American healthcare.   More

Bio & Life Sciences Healthcare

Dear Scientists: This Is Why People Hate You


Editors of the New England Journal of Medicine called scientists who make discoveries from publicly-shared data “research parasites.” Outrage ensued. Too many scientists believe they get a competitive advantage from data no one else has access to.   More