Stories about: Children’s Hospital Informatics Program

Contagion fever hits Children's

On September 9, the new feature film Contagion from Warner Bros. Pictures, Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi will be released in theaters nationwide. The picture sports an all-star cast and revolves around a rapidly spreading virus that threatens to infect millions of people.

Of course it’s a fictional movie, but that’s not to say it’s completely fake. The film’s depiction of how public health workers track the deadly outbreak shows them using a technology similar to HealthMap, a real-life online surveillance system designed to track emerging infectious disease threats. Co-founded by John Brownstein, PhD and Clark Freifeld of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Informatics Program, HealthMap has over a million users a year including regular users from the World Health Organization, the CDC and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

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The sounds of disease

music vortexAn amazing new software program developed by Gil Alterovitz, PhD, a research fellow in the Children’s Hospital Informatics Program, that turns gene and protein expression data into music, could help doctors hear whether their patients’ health has taken a turn for the worse.

WBUR recently did a story on the new software. “We felt that music, in some sense, can serve as a translator,” Alterovitz said in the piece. “There’s more and more information presented, so…we need a way to present it to the brain…in a way that it can handle it.”

We recently did a story on Alterovitz’s work in Vector, our research magazine, and Technology Review did a cool audio/video presentation that compared the sounds of sickness to the sounds of health.

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This week on Thrive: Jan. 11 – 15

Children’s research made the Huffington Post’s Top 10 Medical Research Trends to Watch in 2010. We find out exactly how dangerous secondhand smoke is to children. Are American destined to be obese? Two studies show how important a good night’s sleep for your children is. A gene for a devastating kidney disease is discovered. Do you know the dangers of leaving your child in the car alone? Dr. Rich responds to comments on his Call of Duty post. Have Americans finally hit an obesity plateau? The Flu Fighters invade Facebook. Children’s sends a team into Haiti and we offer advice on how to talk to your children about this devastating event.

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Children's research part of top 10 medical research trends

Outbreaks Near MeThird on the list of the Huffington Post’s Top 10 Medical Research Trends to Watch in 2010, is “the Health Internet,” the brain child of Isaac Kohane and Ken Mandl, from Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP).

Last fall, a group of leading thinkers and entrepreneurs from a variety of sectors gathered to discuss an idea that originated with Harvard’s Isaac Kohane and Ken Mandl — the development of an “iPhone-like platform” for health information technology (HIT), a more open and flexible approach than the architecture currently being contemplated, and one that holds greater promise for creating a consumer-oriented “Health Internet.” Obama Administration officials pledged at the meeting to have a pilot effort launched that could have real-time patient data accessible online this year.

The Children’s Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) has been instrumental in connecting the public with health care issues through technology. CHIP created HealthMap, a website, blog and an iPhone app that tracks disease outbreaks in real-time. We featured their weekly H1N1 tracking updates over the last several months here on Thrive.

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