Featured Science and Innovations
CHIP researchers discuss the power and potential of bioinformatics
Using powerful computational tools and a variety of databases -- from insurance claims files to pharmacy records to real-time emergency-room data -- Kenneth Mandl, PhD, MPH and John Brownstein, PhD, have made a variety of discoveries, many of them unexpected, and all of them relevant to public health. They and their colleagues in the Children's Hospital Informatics Program (CHIP) have shown, for example, that the grounding of flights after 9/11 delayed the ensuing influenza season by two weeks, suggesting a way of controlling a dangerous flu pandemic, and that preschoolers lead and drive flu epidemics, a finding that has led to a change in immunization practice. Examining drug side effects, they've shown that the increased risk of heart attacks linked to the blockbuster painkiller Vioxx could have been discovered much earlier -- even four years before the drug was pulled from the market. In their quest for more and better public health data, they've dipped into novel information sources, including Google News reports and Internet chatrooms.
Here, Mandl and Brownstein discuss some recent projects and their future plans, comment on the power and limits of bioinformatics and lay forth their goal of taking their technology to the people and capturing even more data -- by putting patients in control of their own health records.
4. Why is patient control so essential? 1:25/ 3.8MB
6. How are news reports enhancing your data collection? 2:01/5.5MB
9. In the case of Vioxx, how did this play out? 1:29/4MB
10. What's next for Health Map? 1:28/4MB
13. What other projects are you now working on? 2:53/7.8MB