'Informatics' helps doctors unlock medical mysteries in mounds of data

  • Article by: Dan Browning , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2013 - 10:15 PM

An emerging field brings together doctors, mathematicians, programmers and other professionals in an effort to grasp the complexities of the human body.

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luzhishenAug. 4, 13 9:20 AM

Interesting article. I have taken one of the heredity tests and the results included medical information regarding inherited conditions. I also have been asked to take questionnaires about my health on the site - and it seems that the same forces controlling pharma in the USA have made specific requests regarding information on "quality of life" conditions rather than things like malaria, hepatitis, etc.. Rest assured this data will be mined to discover cures for baldness, cellulite, ED, etc.. before conditions that currently require "orphan" drugs are.

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johnmcfaddenAug. 4, 1312:12 PM

Charlie what a courageous little boy you are and you are an inspiration and the things you are teaching us on how to make you better will help so many other little boys and girls. Atta boy!

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woodyagAug. 4, 13 5:32 PM

Sorry- but- it's impossible to "snip out a piece of a genome". Really. You can only snip in a few cells- the "genome" means the entire body, and there's NO way they can/could/ever will snip out a DNA segment from every cell in the body. I'd love to know what they DID do- and how it helps- but you can't tell from anything written here.

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turgidAug. 4, 1310:20 PM

I don't doubt that data-mining for some things will provide useful information. But aside from the odd discovery in university settings, it will be used mainly to increase profits for hospitals and HMOs.

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charliesmomAug. 4, 1311:05 PM

I am Charlie's mother. here is a link to more information on the research done at the U of MN by Dr. Tolar and his team. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-06/uoma-uom060613.php

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railroadAug. 4, 1311:28 PM

Be Thankful for your healthy children. Bless this poor little boy to have strength to continue and hopefully the doctors can come up with something to help him.

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ccugacgcaaAug. 6, 1312:25 AM

woodyag- Genome by definition does not entail every cell in your body. All cells in your body (with a few exceptions) contain an exact copy of your entire DNA code or genome. What the researchers did was precisely correct the genetic mutation in one of Charlie's skin cells and then expand that one cell into millions of corrected skin cells. Excitingly, we took it one step further by "reprogramming" some of the corrected skin cells into "induced pluripotent stem cells", or iPSC as we call them. These cells remain an immunological match to Charlie, but now are capable of becoming nearly every single cell type in the body. In particular, the hope is that we can turn charlie's corrected iPSC into therapeutically relevant cell types such as skin and blood stem cells. This is truly the future of medicine.

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