Category Archives: World News

Gentle Giants: 5 Big Names Investing in Your Health & Wellness

Personalized healthcare is quickly becoming an important trend in healthcare. As more and more data about each patient and about genes and the human genome becomes available, technology companies are conducting research to store and analyze this data. They plan to use it to understand illnesses and treat patients on an individual level. Some big businesses understand the importance of personalized healthcare and are investing in ventures to make it happen.

Google and Bill Gates

Image via Flickr

Foundation Medicine is a diagnostics company possibly best known for helping Steve Jobs with his cancer treatments. Foundation sells a test that examines the DNA fueling a patient’s cancer and tries to pinpoint the exact genetic mutations involved so doctors can come up with a personalized treatment plan. Both Google and Bill Gates have heavily invested in Foundation Medicine. Google owns 9 percent of stock, and Bill Gates owns 4. Major technological players are aware of the advantages of this kind of personal medicine research, and their strong investments will help to further the research of companies like Foundation.

IBM

IBM is doing several things to further the development of personalized healthcare. They’ve teamed up with the New York Genome Center to conduct genomic research that will help bring more personalized treatment plans to brain cancer patients, specifically those affected with glioblastoma, a severely malignant form of brain cancer. In tandem with IBM’s Watson, a cognitive computing project that makes it easier for physicians to access and assess patient data and medical records, IBM and NYGC have been working at this cancer research for a decade. The Watson system analyzes genomic differences between cancerous and non-cancerous brain cells, then interprets this data in such a way that physicians can use it to create an individual treatment plan for each glioblastoma patient.

Mark Cuban

Image via Flickr

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently invested $760k in Validic, a company that streamlines personalized health data that comes from multiple sources like healthcare apps. This data helps doctors, healthcare professionals, and other relevant parties access a single stream of patient data. With so much data connected to every patient, the health informatics field is growing as personalized healthcare comes to the forefront of medicine and biotech. Validic is a startup, currently boasting only fifteen employees. But Cuban sees the potential in the small company and values the work they are doing, saying that personalized medicine is the direction in which healthcare is going.

Dell

Computer giant Dell has come up with a high-performance computing system specifically meant to analyze genomes. The Dell Active Infrastructure for HPC Life Sciences is software for scientists. The goal of the project is to quickly and easily work with the genomic coding and analysis that scientists need. Since genomes are a huge amount of data, scientists need a lot of power and storage to complete their work. Dell is working through previous issues that cause delays in research and analysis, and the Active Infrastructure is going to help with cancer research, agriculture, and many things in between.

Sony

Just this past January, Sony has announced they are teaming up with medical company M3 in Tokyo to create a new company that will focus on genomic research as it relates to personalized medicine. The new company, called P5 Inc, will provide genome analysis to research institutions in Japan. Eventually, Sony hopes the company will be able to provide the same services on a more individual basis, relating genomic data with other medical information to create personalized healthcare regimes for specific patients. P5 isn’t the only investment Sony has made in the future of medicine. In 2012, Sony invested $644M in camera company Olympus to further their research regarding medical imaging technology, specifically endoscopes with extremely high resolution.

More and more corporations and wealthy individuals are investing in personalized healthcare, genome research, and the data concerns that go along with it. These investments in new projects and innovative companies show that some big businesses care about the future of the medical field and personalized health. Research and development for personalized healthcare can only grow with the backing of these major players.

One World: Shiva Ayyadurai on Inventing E-mail at Age 14

Shiva AyyaduraiMost 14 year old boys find themselves interested just in sports, school dances and making it through high school. Shiva Ayyadurai was no ordinary 14 year old.

While his peers were busy just with the traditional pursuits of adolescences, Shiva was inventing email.  This did not mean he was a “nerd”, who sat drinking Red Bull and programming all day. 

He was more of the American kid — the one you’d want to bring your mom home to.  He excelled in baseball and soccer, had a paper route, made extra cash running a landscaping business, and did love the girl next door. 

“It’s been an interesting journey, as I look back on it. It’s a story of what can take place anywhere in the world,” he explained to Deepak Chopra. “Be it in any inner city or in any village, as long as we provide the right conditions.”

Shiva is clear that his success was contingent on a number of factors including his very supportive parents; teachers who stepped up to the plate and changed administrative rules to accommodate his talents; mentors who allowed him to excel well beyond his age, by enabling an environment of freedom and respect, that allowed him to create a computer program that fully automated the interoffice mail system — the system he called “email” — the system we all know and use today.

His creation, though, was not without controversy as his innovation was heatedly debated by academics, huge companies and the media. Shiva sites his political awareness as having been a key factor in ensuring that he was able to survive being raked through the mud by various media outlets as well as the support of Noam Chomsky whom had been a professor of Shiva’s during his time as an undergraduate student at MIT. Chomsky is famously quoted as calling the negative attention Shiva was receiving “childish tantrums” by industry insiders.

A brilliant mind from a young age, Shiva Ayyadurai’s story highlights the fact that so often society assumes that knowledge is owned and monopolized by the powerful few.  Knowledge must be fostered at every age, in every corner of the globe as intelligence is not solely the property of the rich, the powerful or the well connected.

It is a reminder that could help us expand the lens with which we view the world and make room for the next great innovation regardless of from where it may come.  The invention of email by a 14-year-old boy reminds us of a larger truth: Innovation Anytime, Anyplace by Anybody — the motto of Innovations Corps, a new initiative, which aims to unleash innovation among youth, to replicate more “Shivas”.

You can find Shiva’s full interview with Deepak Chopra on Newswire.FM here.

One World: David Gorodyansky Re-imagining Cyber Security

David GorodyanskyAs nearly every facet of our lives becomes more and more dependent on the sharing of data and information via the internet, we become increasingly vulnerable to virtual theft and breaches of privacy. With this new threat has come a demand for cyber security. David Gorodyansky is one of the savvy businessmen who are rising to meet that demand. His software security company, AnchorFree is responsible for creating to product ‘Hotspot Shield’ which became instrumental in fueling the dissemination of critical information during the Arab Spring.

A product that allows users to create a virtual private network, thus giving them uncensored access to the internet, Hotspot Shield was used by protestors in Egypt, Turkey and other countries to gain access to social media websites that were being banned by the government. This gave the protestors a platform for communication regarding the situation on the ground and a way in which to organize. “We had no idea how this idea to have free and secure Wifi could really impact the world in a meaningful way.”

When David started out, he and his business partner “wanted to find a way to impact the world.” He explained to Deepak Chopra when they sat down for a discussion on One World. “Our first interest in changing the world came way earlier when we were maybe 15 or 16, when we were inspired by our grandparents who had fought in WWII…we were really inspired and thought what will we ever do that will be that impactful; that can change the lives of millions of people?”

David set out from the beginning with the goal of making an impact in the lives of the most people possible and it was at San Jose State that he realized that “technology could be a really interesting way to do that.”

David’s success with AnchorFree shows once again the critical links between business and social activism and how the two are not, and cannot be, mutually exclusive in this new digital age. What started as an interesting college project, came to be one of the most critical pieces of technology for the advancement of democracy and freedom worldwide.

You can see David’s interview with Deepak Chopra and the rest of the One World series on Newswire.fm.

Campaign Video Teaches Lessons in Empathy for War Torn Families

If you made a compilation video of one second of every day for a year, what would it look like? A campaign video to raise awareness of the political strife in Syria wanted to show you what it would look like for a child stuck in the middle of a war zone. It follows a little girl from blowing the candles out on her birthday cake to exactly one year later. She goes to school. She reads books. She hangs out with her parents. Then small things start to change and rapidly her one one second a day shows her being scared, being shuffled from place to place, her neighborhood being bombed, refugee camps and hospitals.

The tagline of the video is “Just because it isn’t happening here doesn’t mean it isn’t happening somewhere.” It’s an eerie message as the world watches the current situation unfolding between Ukraine and Russia. Will those children lead similar lives to the girl in this video? How many candles will they blow out on their next birthday cake? It is naive to think that any singular one of us can have an effect on those less fortunate than us or that we have the power to save all of those stuck in tumultuous political climates. We can’t save them, but what we can do – and are encouraged to do with videos like this – is look at ourselves and bring more empathy into our every day lives. When all of us start looking at our actions as having ripple effects then we create a more compassionate global community.

The world doesn’t change with one person but we can start making a small difference with one intent at a time. Thanks to this video I intend to live with more empathy. What can you do to make the world a more compassionate place?

One World: The Art of Impact with Malaria No More’s Ray Chambers

Ray Chambers There aren’t many people who have had more of a dramatic impact on the health and wellbeing of children globally than Ray Chambers. In April 2011 Ray Chambers was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine not for his career in private equity-though he had an illustrious and extremely lucrative career that is worthy of note in and of itself-but rather for his work on behalf of children in the developing world.

Chambers is the founder of the Malaria No More campaign; a campaign built on the simple idea that if children sleep under insecticide treated nets, not only are they protected from the mosquitos that carry the deadly disease but the mosquitos will die from landing on the nets and disrupt the breeding cycle.

The results of his work are significant. As he stated in his ONE WORLD conversation with Deepak: “Over the last seven years,” Ray explains, “we’ve raised over 8 billion dollars, we’ve covered 800 million people with these insecticide treated mosquito nets and the annual death rate has gone from 1.2 million to less than 500 thousand.” These are results that speak for themselves.

It is an extremely effective solution to the malaria epidemic sweeping sub Saharan Africa and it is one of the reasons that in 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon named Ray Chambers as UN Special Envoy for Malaria. In February 2013, Chambers was named Special Envoy for Financing the Health Millennium Development Goals, a position that intersects his business career and his philanthropic endeavors.

Today, one of his most impressive accomplishments remains one of his simplest; by ensuring that children have a mosquito net costing less than $10 to produce, he and his organization Malaria No More have been able to drastically reduce the effects of Malaria on some of the most vulnerable populations in the world. An accomplishment that proves influence is not always about money or power, but rather recognizing need and meeting it head on with compassion and ingenuity.

You can watch Deepak’s full conversation with Ray here.

One World: Combining Healing & Medicine with Dr. Iva Fattorini

Dr Iva FattoriniAs a doctor focused on international health, Dr. Iva Fattorini has had the opportunity to observe many patients from around the world and the ways in which they deal with their treatment. She noticed that for many patients once the medical tests are done, so much of their time is spent waiting. They are essentially left to watch the clock because many hospitals do not provide additional stimulation beyond the basics of treatment for their patients. Dr. Fattorini believes that a hospital stay should be able to do more than just treat the body, hospitals should also offer chances for mental and even spiritual growth through the arts.

When a patient is in hospital for a life threatening illness, there is often a moment of self-reflection that is stronger than can be experienced by a person who is not being forced to confront their own mortality. Dr. Fattorini believes that this is a moment in which healthcare providers should be providing something new and beautiful to that patient’s life. While the idea of art and medicine intersecting is not a completely novel idea, it is one that Dr. Fattorini and the staff at the Cleveland Clinic have been able to refine in ways that ensure a patient’s complete being is attended to while they are in the hospital.

Dr. Fattorini is taking the connection between the arts & health to the next level with her newest program. Artocene is focused on ensuring that all patients and their caregivers have access to as many forms of art as possible in healthcare facilities. Her organization, Artocene, works to “activate the latent therapeutic power of art” in a way that not only makes a stay in the hospital more enjoyable but may also have a powerful impact on the healing process.

Often when we think of the practice of medicine we think in very clinical terms; white lab coats, clinical language and hospital beds in very sterile, white rooms. But as Dr. Iva Fattorini explains to Deepak Chopra, the hospital is not just a place that people pass though quickly. “It’s not like an airport, it’s not like a hotel; a hospital becomes their home.” It becomes critical that in treating the body, the mind is not forgotten. Dr. Fattorini’s vision has been “to infuse the hospital environment with the energy and vitality of the arts.” Art has the ability to bring patients to a place where they are mentally prepared to begin the healing process and for that reason Dr. Fattorini believes that art and medicine have a unique and significant connection that should not be overlooked.

You can see the full video on Newswire.fm.

America the Beautiful is Still America in Multiple Languages

By now you’ve probably heard about the controversial Coca-Cola ad that aired during the Super Bowl. The spot featured “America the Beautiful” sung in various languages and displayed images of various American families, including a gay couple (yes, that’s apparently still scandalous).

You’ve also probably seen the lists of tweets from people rebelling against it and threatening to boycott Coke products (Good luck with that – they are everywhere). The outrage over the commercial sparked the hashtag #SpeakAmerican. Are we really surprised? That sort of backlash is to be expected whenever a company or campaign tries to embrace the “otherness” that America was founded on.

What is inspiring though is the amount of people that have stood up in support of the ad, toasting it for it’s depiction of America’s core values of diversity and togetherness. One noble newswoman added her two cents that sum up the situation very nicely:

Her line about the Statue of Liberty not saying “give me your English-speaking-only-Christian-believing-heterosexual-masses” is especially applaudable. What’s even more ironic is that the song’s lyricist Katherine Lee Bates lived with her female partner in Boston for 25 years.

When controversies like these occur, one has to wonder if some of us received a different course on American history. Were some of us not told that America was a country founded by foreigners? The Puritans came from England to escape religious persecution and thus our forefathers created a Constitution that intended to give a religious safe haven and a fair chance to anyone that came to America’s shores. That’s not to say that America has been perfect at embracing diversity. In fact we’ve been far from it – you only have to look at the Civil Rights Movement or the current fight for marriage equality to see that. But does the sound of America the Beautiful being sung in the languages of America’s people – all kinds of them – really still enrage us? Why does that feel so unnatural to some of us?

Tolerance will never develop overnight, and we may never see a day of universal acceptance of religion, race and sexual orientation. Yet we can ask to move forward. The advertising gurus at Coke seem to appreciate that, and so do people like this news anchor and all those that supported this ad.

Trash: Making Beauty out of What We’ve Thrown Away

recycled orchestraWhat’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word trash?

Dirt. Germs. Land fill, maybe? Trash is what we call the things we no longer have a use for – the things we throw away and discard never to be thought of again. Even when it’s used in a derogatory sense for people it refers to them as the things we don’t want to think about, the things we wish would disappear. Trash is beneath us.

What about “recycle” though? That sounds better, right? It turns out that it’s not just plastic bottles and newspapers that can be re-used or re-created into something else. Things we throw away are being taken by very creative individuals to create new works of art. Favio Chavez is using the trash sent to a slum in Cateura, Paraguay to build instruments for his teenage students.  They make cellos out of rusted oil bins and violins out of old tin. Ordinarily a violin is worth more than a house in that slum. The families who live there raid the land fill for trash to recycle and re-sell and they’ve begun to make instruments for their children. The children then perform in the Recycled Orchestra.

They’ve managed a way to redefine something that inhabits the way they live. They’ve taken something “dirty” – the things we throw away – and made them into works of art that demand to be heard. You can find out more about their project and how you can support (and see the full movie) here.

In a different part of South America – on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil – artist Vik Muniz is trying to change the lives of a community of catadores, garbage collectors. They are an unemployed, marginalized part of society, collecting garbage in the largest landfill in the world for recyclable materials to sell and make their living. Vik creates portraits of them with the garbage they collect every day. His original intention was to create the portraits, sell them and use the money to help the catadores find an elevated station in life, but the art inevitably became a collaboration. Vik would take a picture of each of the catadores and then project it onto the floor of a nearby warehouse and every day the catadores would help him fill the picture with the recyclables they had found that day in the landfill. For three years they filmed the process and created a documentary called “Waste Land.” The workers say that the movie has lifted a stigma around their profession and the country of Brazil uses it to encourage recycling nationwide.

These stories take place in two different places, told by two different people with very similar themes. These projects force us to take another look at areas of humanity where we tend to turn a blind eye. They show us that the things we dismiss can be beautiful, the things we throw away can be works of art. So the next time you’re throwing anything away, take a deeper look.

What You Need to Know About the State of the Union

State of the UnionTalking about politics is a touchy thing (and we don’t try to hide that we’re pretty liberal here at Intent – but we do promote listening to contrary opinions with an open ear and encourage healthy, respectful debate!). However, the annual State of the Union address isn’t really about which side of the aisle you vote for – it’s about civic responsibility to  be informed about the state of affairs of the country.

Last night the President covered several important topics from raging minimum wage, increasing America’s clean energy initiatives, creating greater access to higher education and ending the war in Afghanistan. He repeatedly called out Congress’ tendency to gridlock in debate rather than create legislation to help Americans move out of a recession and lead the way in the 21st century. He also re-iterated on several fronts, including minimum wage and infrastructure policy – that he will take whatever action he can without legislation to promote American progress, circumventing the roadblocks often created by tension in the House of Representatives.

The President’s most powerful moment however came at the end of the address when he called out  Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg who was severely injured during his 10th deployment to Afghanistan. After being hit by a bomb while on duty, Cory was left unable to speak and barely move. After dozens of surgeries, hours of grueling physical therapy today, Cory has relearned to talk, stand and walk. He still has trouble with his left side but he and his father were both present for the State of the Union address. His presence garnered an extended applause and standing ovation from the entire assembly. “Cory reminds us what is best about America,” the President said.

If you missed the State of the Union, we’ve compiled some of President Obama’s most compelling quotes from last night:

On Congress’s responsibility to the American public: “If our business is shutting down the Government or ruining the good faith and credit in America then we are not doing right by the American people.”

On creating a bi-partisan Federal budget: ‘The budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crisis.”

On American wages: “But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.”

On American troops and military involvement abroad: “I will not mire our sons and daughters in open ended war entanglements. We must fight battles that need to be fought, but not those that terrorists prefer for us. America must move off it’s permanent war footing.”

Closing statement: “If we work together, if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow, I know it is within our reach.”

To see these quotes in context and to hear the President’s point by point plans for energy initiatives, healthcare progress and the path to comprehensive immigration reform you can watch the full State of the Union Address below:

What do you think of the State of the Union? Leave your opinion in the comments below. Remember to be respectful of those that disagree!

*Picture credit to WhiteHouse.Gov

Jehane Noujaim Receives Academy Award Nomination for Documentary “The Square”

Jehane NoujaimWith her unusual background and upbringing between the United States and the Middle East, Jehane Noujaim has a unique vantage point from which to film the stories of the Arab Spring. In her newest documentary “The Square,” Noujaim follows a number of Egyptians through the ongoing Egyptian Revolution. That unique vantage point helped score an Academy Award nomination this morning for Best Documentary Feature (a first for a Netflix feature film).

The organic way in which the film’s crew came together is one of the many unique twists that makes Noujaim’s brand of storytelling particularly engaging and insightful. The team met in Tahrir Square as the protests began. All brought there by a similar desire to witness history and then to share what was happening with the world. The danger to herself and the crew was very real and they were arrested on several occasions but the importance of sharing this story was larger than the fear of arrest.

In discussing her film, Noujaim speaks with a frankness of one who has a genuine passion for the story she is telling. The daughter of an American mother and an Egyptian father, she felt a deep connection to the people and to the story. “I grew up ten minutes away from Tahrir so I felt I had no choice but to be there,” she explains in her interview with Deepak Chopra.

Jehane Noujaim set out not to tell the story of the victors, who can hardly be named as the revolution is still ongoing, but rather to explore the reasons the Egyptian people were protesting. She wanted to explore what is it like when you feel like you’ve lost. In the moments of hopelessness what keeps a revolutionary going? Those are the critical moments, the world should know what makes those people come back the next day and continue fighting for what they believe in.

When exploring issues of war and revolution there is always a tendency to place blame, either with a dictatorial leader, with a fundamentalist rebellion or with an overzealous military. Noujaim shies away from such bold pronouncements. The only conclusion that she can come to about the ongoing struggles in Egypt is that all of these actors are merely symptoms of the larger issue. They are symptoms of a system that has a lack of consciousness and an inability to protect all Egyptians equally.

Despite this disheartening reality, she maintains a deep seeded optimism that she credits to the people she was able to follow in her film and others that she had the opportunity to meet during the five years she spent filming in Tahrir Square. Their conviction is clear, they want a better life for themselves, their children and for the people of Egypt. Noujaim’s mission is to present the stories of these real people engaging in a struggle that is larger than themselves and working to create positive change. For Jehane Noujaim, this is the story of the Egyptian Revolution and this is the story that demands telling. You can watch the trailer for “The Square” below.

The Academy Award ceremony will air March 2. Check your local listings for time.

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