Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Out of the Lab & Back – Insights on Science Media Coverage

Boston Business Journal’s BioFlash, MIT Technology Review, STAT, Xconomy – go-to science and technology publications with established local presences and a collective readership stretching near and far – assembled representatives for a power-packed panel at JLABS’s (Johnson & Johnson Innovation) “Out of the Lab and Into the Newsroom.” The cast of journalists intended to shed light on media relations for the area’s mission-driven science community, which is characteristically so laser-focused on forging new frontiers of human knowledge that they could admittedly use a reminder about the merits of communicating their science to the general public...[continue reading]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Inspecting the Innovation Narrative: where it’s been, where it’s headed

As a popular buzzword, innovation has accumulated serious mileage over the years. It has made its way out of the garages of Silicon Valley and into the boardrooms of nearly every modern employment sector (industry, government, academics), and even into our everyday conversations. Interestingly, the word is also accompanied by a lack of consensus on its meaning. One simple definition of innovation is: “the introduction of something new.” However, if we examine a few examples of how the word is being employed, it becomes clear this is not the operational definition...[continue reading]

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Everybody's Gotta Eat, Right?

"Unlike some similar organizations, which deliver meals mainly for the sake of ease and convenience, Community Servings is anchored by its belief that food is medicine, and that eating the right things can make an impact on treatment."

If it's helpful to think of food as medicine, then why not throw water and air into the mix too? I mean, we need them to live, right?

Is our society so healthcare-inclined that we can't think of life's essentials other than in medical terms? Air is air, water is water, food is food - they're all made up of atoms. We need these things to live regardless of if we're sick. Medicine has its proper place.

So it makes total sense then that an organization like Community Servings exists (at least in America where publicly funded social services are all but forgotten). They're great - and I recommend to anyone interested, read the article, volunteer your free time. And think about how we can bolster our health system to make being healthy easy!

Re: "Community Servings Delivers Medically Tailored Meals to Chronically Ill Patients"- J. Ducharme, Boston Magazine Blog, 09/10/15

Title inspired by "The Food" by Common featuring Kanye West on the Dave Chappelle Show (2005).

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Climbing Blind

Meritocracy is a beautiful idea, but we have to own up to the reality of the situation. People who are cash poor, can't take equity over eating this week. People who give birth (half of the world is capable of this, you know), shouldn't have to opt out of caring for themselves and their offspring in order to climb the professional ladder - though they increasingly do - Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer's recent announcement that she would all but forego taking maternity leave while carrying twins presents itself as the latest symptom of this backwards culture's ailments. And yet we wonder, why are our boardrooms filled with white men? Same goes for tech start-ups...where is the diversity!? Come on now, are we really surprised?

Re: "Inclusion in Tech Entrepreneurship: Meritocracy or Myth?" - J. Siefert Rose, Xconomy, 09/08/15

Monday, August 31, 2015

Refreshing Perspective

"Religious freedom 'does not include liberty to expose the community or the child to communicable disease' (Prince v. Massachusetts, 1944)."

Let us all rejoice! Amen!

Re: "Shifting Vaccination Politics - The End of Personal-Belief Exemptions in California", M.M. Mello, JD, PhD, D.M. Studdert, LLB, ScD, & W.E. Parmet, JD, New England Journal of Medicine, 373:785-787, 08/27/15

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Side-Stepping the Smoke and Mirrors

Sign the petition please!

"Tell U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Stop Fighting Anti-Smoking Measures"

"As reported in a major exposé by The New York Times (06/30/15), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has taken a systematic approach to enriching the world's biggest tobacco companies by fighting life-saving public health policies worldwide. It’s shameful that the face of American business is defending a product projected to kill 1 billion people this century. And we won't stand for it."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


“Without minimizing the possible gains to clinical care from greater realization of precision medicine’s promise, we worry that an unstinting focus on precision medicine by trusted spokespeople for health is a mistake — and a distraction from the goal of producing a healthier population.” - Dean of Boston University School of Public Health and Professor of Sociomedical Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

Re: "Public Health in the Precision-Medicine Era", R. Bayer, PhD & S. Galea, MD, DrPH, New England Journal of Medicine, 373:499-501, 08/06/15

Monday, August 17, 2015

Inside Amazon: All Signs Point to Cult

Learning about the Amazon workplace culture makes me sick to my stomach...

If this isn't a cult, I don't know what is. I feel sorry for these people, and for the many people whose employers emulate this style of dehumanizing their staff.

"[Employees] endure the hardships for the cause of delivering swim goggles and rolls of Scotch tape to customers just a little quicker." Sounds like it's totally worth it...

Re: "Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace", J. Kantor & D. Streitfeld, The New York Times, 08/15/15

Friday, August 14, 2015

So Misunderstood: Paleolithic Man & Diet

"I think evolutionary biology can have a lot to say about food and health,” said Dr. Thomas. “But nutrition is so incredibly complex, and we’ve only scratched the surface."

Re: "For Evolving Brains, a 'Paleo' Diet of Carbs", C. Zimmer, The New York Times, 08/13/15

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Drugmakers & Their Shameless Plugs

Recent trend of celebrity drug endorsements through social media will be an interesting thing to keep an eye on - agree with the author that prescription drug marketing is shameless and should be heavily regulated, i.e. barred.

Re: "Kim Kardashian, Dr. Oz, and TV Drug Ads", J. LaMattina, Forbes, 08/13/15

Monday, August 3, 2015

Health > Healthcare | Hospital Aligns Vision & Mission

"Boston Medical Center has long understood that it takes more than just medicine to help patients get healthy. And now, with the creation of a vice president of mission, it will have a person dedicated to helping accomplish that goal.

Dr. Thea James, an emergency medicine physician, will take on the role of vice president of mission and associate chief medical officer, where she will be charged with coordinating programs outside the hospital to help patients overcome hurdles to health."

Expect to see more hospitals moving in this direction, if they haven't already. And that's a good thing! Health is way more than just health care.

Re: "Meet Dr. Thea James, Boston Medical Center's new executive on a mission", J. Bartlett, Boston Business Journal, 07/28/15

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Teams Pitch Once More at Culmination of CIMIT/B-BIC Boot Camp, Sure to Not Be Their Last

The program ended as it had begun: with a pitch. Just as the teams had done on day one, except this time armed with loads more insight on the value of their innovative business concepts garnered from a combined 500 customer interviews, they assumed their place in front of a room full of strangers turned peers and mentors to present how, with their idea, patient care would be forever changed...[continue reading]

Monday, July 27, 2015

Read: Questionable Whether Artificial Sweeteners Are Worse Than Added Sugar

In summary: Questionable whether artificial sweeteners are linked to cancer. Added sugars aren't doing us any favors. Neither of which are revelations.

My own take: Naturally occurring sugars wrongly get a bad rap. Nutrition is misconstrued and oversimplified all the time in the media, even by the "experts". The title of this article misleads by omitting the "Added" part of this equation. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to rises in obesity and reinforced by the discovery of the underlying biomolecular mechanisms, which the author failed to mention. A more honest title would be "Questionable Whether Artificial Sweeteners Are Worse Than Added Sugar".

Re: "The Evidence Supports Artificial Sweeteners Over Sugar", A.E. Carroll, The New York Times, 07/27/15

Monday, July 20, 2015

Meeting & Mixing of the Minds at BU OTD’s Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll

It was an evening full of collisions of all kinds at the Boston University Office of Technology Development’s 6th Annual Tech, Drugs, and Rock n’ Roll (TDRR) held in the George Sherman Union on BU’s campus set along Boston’s Commonwealth Ave. Entrepreneurs, academic scientists, industry folks and funders from venture capital and government / non-profit entities alike mixed and mingled over the course of an eventful evening. Much of the action centered around “Funder Alley” – a row of booths and monitor displays that featured many of the area’s funders of upstart biotechnology...[continue reading]

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Nuanced View of the World of Drug Development & its Value to Society

It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to play audience to a preeminent biotech company’s chief executive (in Boston it’s more like every other day), so I couldn’t pass it up when I learned Genzyme CEO David Meeker, MD, would be sitting down with Boston Globe Life Sciences Reporter Robert Weisman for a “fireside chat” (hold the fire) hosted by the MIT Enterprise Forum at the Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. Equally compelling was the thought provoking topic of conversation; “The Value of Drug Development: Can Society Afford Today’s New Wonder Drugs?” Given Dr. Meeker’s previous clinical and academic accomplishments as former Director of the Pulmonary Critical Care Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic and Assistant Professor at Ohio State University, plus a variety of high-level managerial undertakings with Genzyme prior to becoming CEO, he seemed uniquely positioned to offer a nuanced take on the world of drug development and its value to society...[continue reading]

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Leveraging Machine Learning Muscle at the Brigham & Women's Hospital iHub Idea Lab with Microsoft

The air was electric in the Shapiro Room at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH), the setting for the BWH iHub Idea Lab with Microsoft on the evening of Monday, June 22nd. With innumerable ideas afloat on the topic of “Machine Learning in Healthcare,” it seemed it would be only a matter of time until lightning struck – in the form of a truly groundbreaking idea to improve population health and/or care management. Combining the clinical and technical acumens of members in attendance from the respective BWH and Microsoft communities, it appeared that the necessary parts were all in place, like a well-oiled Rube Goldberg machine, to harness the room’s bottled energy to propel forward real world solutions to some of healthcare’s most nagging problems...[continue reading]

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Nine Teams Begin Commercialization Boot Camp, Canvas their Biomedical Business Concepts

On Day 1 of the CIMIT/B-BIC i-Corps Healthcare Commercialization Boot Camp, nine teams of innovators from a selection of the area’s most esteemed academic and medical institutions - including Boston Children's Hospital, Boston University, Brigham & Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Mass General Hospital, MIT and Yale - convened at Boston University to start the process of developing a commercialization roadmap for their projects. They shared their ideas in confidence, received valuable insight and feedback from expert mentors and coaches, and learned more about the commercialization road ahead...[continue reading]