New Horizons in Science

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Gathering big data on tiny devices: A path to better medical diagnosis?

Monday, October 12, 2015 -
9:30am to 10:30am

With today's sequencing techniques, every individual's genotype can be precisely described. But genetic information is useful to medicine only when it can be related to the same individual's actual condition, or phenotype. Michael Cima is one of a growing number of engineers looking for better ways to gather phenotypic data to enable comparisons of genetic patterns with patterns of disease and dysfunction, in many cases using wearable electronics. Among the devices he is developing is a miniaturized NMR-based sensor to determine an individual's hydration state—something not possible with current measurement tools. The project, driven by the military's need to address dehydration in the field, could improve kidney dialysis and reduce hospitalization of heart-failure patients. Cima is participating in a large-scale project that will use novel technologies to monitor and analyze the genotypes, phenotypes and clinical outcomes of 10,000 super-volunteers to improve diagnosis and treatment. Social media hashtag: #TinyNMR


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