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September 11, 2018

BehindTheMedspeak: NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Network


From the website


The Undiagnosed Diseases Network, funded through NIH Common Fund, is designed to accelerate discovery and innovation in the way we diagnose and treat patients with previously undiagnosed diseases.

The specific goals of the network are to: (1) improve the level of diagnosis and care for patients with undiagnosed diseases through the development of common protocols designed by a large community of investigators; (2) facilitate research into the etiology of undiagnosed diseases, by collecting and sharing standardized, high-quality clinical and laboratory data including genotyping, phenotyping, and documentation of environmental exposures; and (3) create an integrated and collaborative community across multiple clinical sites and among laboratory and clinical investigators prepared to investigate the pathophysiology of these new and rare diseases.

In 2008, the NIH Undiagnosed Diseases Program (UDP) was organized and established by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) and the NIH Clinical Center to help provide diagnosis and treatment for patients with unknown disorders.

In 2012, building on the early successes of the UDP, NIH extended the program into a network of seven clinical sites.

These clinical sites together with a UDN Coordinating Center and other Core Laboratories comprise the Undiagnosed Diseases Network (UDN) and will serve to test whether this type of cross-disciplinary approach to disease diagnosis is feasible to implement in academic medical centers around the United States.


September 11, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Travelodge UK Books Left Behind Index


Above, the top 20.

[via Travelodge UK and Travel and Leisure]

September 11, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

One-handed wireless typing device


I didn't know quite what to call it, so I settled on "device."

From the Wall Street Journal:


The Qwerty keyboard is a survivor.

It's been used on everything from typewriters to personal computers to today's ubiquitous touchscreens.

Inventors have fiddled around with the Qwerty layout for years, perhaps most notably with the creation of the Dvorak keyboard in the 1930s that aimed to improve typing speed and efficiency by placing more commonly used letters together.

The decades that followed brought funkier, ergonomically minded designs, like split-handed keyboards and devices with letters laid out on concave bowl-like depressions.

Now Tap Systems is taking a shot at Qwerty. The startup — co-founded by spouses Dovid Schick and Sabrina Kemeny — sells an eponymous wearable, one-handed keyboard-and-mouse controller that lets users type letters, numbers, and other characters by drumming different combinations of their fingers.

"When we came upon the concept of tapping we immediately knew we were onto something," Mr. Schick says. "Tapping, once you start doing it, has both the accuracy, complexity, and speed that this kind of system needs. It's an inherently human kind of action."

The Bluetooth-enabled device is sold for $179 and looks a bit like pliable brass knuckles.


Once on a user's hand, the Tap registers his or her finger movements and translates various combinations of taps into letters and other characters using a proprietary system called TapAlphabet.

The TapAlphabet pairs the most commonly used letters with the least dextrous movements.

Each vowel is entered with the downstroke of a single finger — for instance, one tap of an index finger types an "E."

While it is possible to type in the air, the Tap is most accurate on firm surfaces.

Users can learn the TapAlphabet with the help of TapGenius, an app-based game the co-founders designed with input from gaming experts and researchers at Stanford University's Memory Laboratory.

While Mr. Schick and Dr. Kemeny say the TapAlphabet is easy to memorize, the need to learn a new alphabet "layout" represents a major hurdle to widespread adoption.

"The reality is that people have learned one approach and they don't want to change it very much," says Dr. Alan Hedge, a professor of ergonomics at Cornell University and expert in keyboard history. "You would have to do something remarkable to show that one hand is better than two hands."

Still, after several years of developing a prototype, Tap Systems got off the ground with a $1.7 million infusion of seed funding from angel investors in March 2017, and started selling the Tap online in February of this year.

Customers span from gamers to gadget aficionados, says Dr. Schick, though the device has gained the most traction with blind and visually disabled users, who otherwise lack a tactile keyboard to use with their mobile devices.

Tap worked closely during the development phase with the blind community to understand its needs and requirements.

"This had offered them the ability for the first time to enter text on their mobile devices as quickly and easily as someone who has sight," Mr. Schick says.


Two things:

1) If I hurt one of my hands such it required a brace or wrap or cast, I'd buy one of these in a Podunkville minute. What fun to learn a new skill!

2) Whoever chose the background color for the graphic that leads this post is my favorite person of the week.

September 11, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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