Tag Archives: Health

Think twice : UN’s biometric identity management system

Biometric identity management systems raise many very important questions and some very scary ones as well.

Even more so when they are big multinational programs, like the UN Refugee Agency biometric identity management system, and collect and store biometric data of millions of the most vulnerable people on the Planet…  The sick, injured, persecuted people, refugees, asylum seekers, ethnic, religious or other minorities who ended up in a humanitarian camp because another group with more power somewhere simply wants them wiped out…  Question: Should the biometric data of individuals who are the target of a genocide even be collected in the first place ?? How is this data protected, how are these people protected, short and long term ? Not to mention the great asymmetry of power between the “helper” and the “helped”, and the questionable validity of informed consent (if it is brought up at all) in situations where it’s primarily about survival.

The following article gives an overview of these questions through the example of the Rohingya.

Tagged, tracked and in danger : How the Rohingya got caught in the UN’s risky biometric database. / Elise Thomas, Wired

Gimme skin

SKIN is our greatest superficial organ and it needs consensual touch and comfort a little bit like the leaves on the tree need SUNSHINE.  A heartfelt hug, a massage, a good back rub, a dance or a long embrace, some tickles, strokes on the forehead, to hold hands, to sit back to back, a “skin bath” in bed with a loved one… An intimacy, which doesn’t have to be sexual – in fact the “hunger for skin”, is not primarily sexual, although sex is a frequently chosen way to satiate a need for contact.

And so SKIN is a place where we meet, it holds the sense of TOGETHERNESS, it is solid ground for relationships. It is an interface between the inner and outer worlds, SKIN contains us, mediates us, supports our PSYCHE. So we don’t crumble !

It is not just about healing this or that condition through touch (although touch does help heal, notably depression): To touch and be touched is to be HUMAN.  No-touch is torture (and solitary confinement is to be abolished, do read Chelsea’s statement).

The article shared below proposes to reflect about the vital sense of touch and the detrimental effects of a lack of thereof on our bodies and minds,  a “condition” psychologists call “skin hunger”.

>> > The life of the skin-hungry : Can you go crazy from lack of touch ?

Après demain la médecine ? Entretien

“Pour le professeur Didier Sicard, ancien chef de service en médecine interne à l’hôpital Cochin et ancien président du Comité consultatif national d’éthique (CCNE), cette manière de voir les choses constitue un leurre pour au moins deux raisons. D’un côté, il n’existe guère aujourd’hui, contrairement à hier, de révolutions médicales d’ampleur, mais plutôt une tendance à la stagnation dans la découverte de nouveaux médicaments et d’avancées majeures dans le traitement des corps souffrants. De l’autre, l’économie et la technologie paraissent prendre le pas sur les considérations éthiques, politiques et sociales qui constituent pourtant le socle de la médecine « d’après-demain ».

Pour le professeur Sicard, la France est dans une situation paradoxale, puisqu’elle dispose de nombreux atouts pour être le laboratoire de la médecine de l’avenir, mais ses logiques et structures actuelles risquent fort de la laisser sur le bord de la route. Pour celui qui a présidé le comité d’experts des données de santé, le big data en matière médicale en est l’incarnation. La France est en effet, du fait de la centralisation de l’assurance maladie, le pays qui possède de loin le plus de données, mais aussi celui qui s’en sert le moins, en raison des réticences des médecins et des inquiétudes du politique : une réalité qui n’est pas sans lien avec le fait que la France est aussi l’un des pays qui ont accumulé le plus de scandales sanitaires sur la longueur, à l’instar du Mediator.

À partir du constat d’une relation médecin/malade transformée par la technologie au point d’en oublier, de plus en plus souvent, le savoir du corps, Didier Sicard réfléchit aux transformations liées à l’individualisation du soin, au vieillissement de la population, à la captation marchande d’une médecine dont on attend de plus en plus, et qu’on maîtrise de moins en moins.”

source: Mediapart, Les Mirages de la médecine moderne, entretien avec le professeur Sicard, dans le cadre d’une série de rencontres intitulée “Penser le monde d’après demain” à Avignon, été 2017



“Would a licensed medical doctor with years of training really be unsure of what to do with a broken arm just because it was attached to a transgender person?

That’s the simple question at the heart of a complex issue dubbed “Trans Broken Arm Syndrome.” The term was coined by Naith Payton at British LGBT site Pink News on July 9 to describe when “healthcare providers assume that all medical issues are a result of a person being trans. Everything – from mental health problems to, yes, broken arms.”

This phenomenon is just one of many difficulties transgender people face when seeking healthcare. Even for something as common as a cold, trans people frequently don’t receive appropriate medical care due to a combination of under-educated physicians, insurance coverage denials, and fear of discrimination.”

Continue reading : ‘Trans Broken Arm Syndrome’ and the way our healthcare system fails trans people, by Mary Emily O’Hara, August 6, 2015

Chest Binding and Health

“Study highlights health problems related to chest binding”

“The practice of chest binding to create a more masculine appearance is well know within the queer community, but medical professionals and the general pubic are less informed – which leads to a lack of information about what is the best practice. Many people are forced to search online for information and guidance and YouTube videos have become on of the most common places for people seeking knowledge. Now a research team have published the findings of a large survey they conducted. Published in Culture, Health and Sexuality: an International Journal for Research, Intervention and Care, the study is based on anonymous interviews with 1800 people who had experiences in binding their chests.”


“Overwhelmingly people said chest binding had a positive effect on their mental health with decreases in suicidality, anxiety and dysphoria and increased self-esteem, confidence and ability to go out safely in public.


“97.2% of participants reported at least one negative outcome they attributed to binding. The most commonly reported outcomes were back pain (53.8%), overheating (53.5%), chest pain (48.8%), shortness of breath (46.6%), itching (44.9%), bad posture (40.3%) and shoulder pain (38.9%).”


“Sports bras, layering sports bras and neoprene or athletic compression wear were the binding methods least commonly associated with negative outcomes, and therefore may be the safest options for binding.”

34 Pictures To See Which Muscle You’re Stretching


Whether you’re a chronic sitter, a daily exerciser, or a weekend warrior, you probably know stretching is a critical habit. By sending blood flow to your muscles and helping your joints move through their full range of motion, stretching improves your posture and athletic performance while lowering your risk of pain and injury.

But when you do yoga or a flexibility routine, do you know which muscles you’re actually stretching? Or whether you’re performing each stretch correctly?

With this knowledge in your back pocket, you can choose the best stretches for your goals. And if you ever feel pain — and I don’t mean the good, stretchy kind of pain but the “Whoa, something doesn’t feel right” kind of pain — you can pinpoint the muscle giving you trouble and alter your technique to avoid getting injured.



Captain Paul Watson doesn’t do Stress


Sea Sheperd Captain Paul Watson who knows a thing or two about about stress shares his insights and tips :

“I am often asked how I deal with stress considering I’m wanted by Japan and Costa Rica, I have a price on my head from the shark fin mafia of Costa Rica, we have numerous ships on the sea in dangerous campaigns, I am being sued, threatened and harassed continuously and I have a lot of enemies, critics and people who wish me harm.

The answer to this is simple. I don’t deal with stress, because I do not suffer from stress. And these are ten primary reasons why, and for anyone suffering from anxiety, worry or stress, I would like to offer this advice.”

Continue reading “Dealing with that Killer called Stress”, by Paul Watson


On regulating the spirit in accordance with the Qi of autumn


“The three months of autumn,

they denote taking in and balance

The Qi of heaven becomes tense *

The Qi of the earth becomes bright.

Go to rest early and rise early,

get up together with the chicken.

Let the mind be peaceful and tranquil, so as

to temper the punishment carried out in autumn**.

Collect the spirit Qi and

cause the autumn Qi to be balanced.

Do not direct your mind to the outside and

cause the lung Qi to be clear.

This is the correspondence with the Qi of autumn and

it is the way to nourish gathering.

Opposing it harms the lung.

In winter this causes outflow of undigested food and

there is little to support storage. ***”

*Wang Bing: Wind blows with a cutting sound

** Violent storms in autumn appeared like a punishment. This was also the season, in ancient China, to perform executions of criminals sentenced to capital punishment. Wang Bing: When the mental Qi is hectic, one is not careful in their activities. If one is not careful in their activities, one accentuate the severity of autumn punishments, goes along with killing, and destroys life. Hence, one establishes a peaceful and tranquil mind to soften the punishments carried out in autumn.

*** Wang Bing: It is to say: to carry out the orders of summer in contrast [to the requirements of autumn]. The lung corresponds to metal and flourishes in autumn. Hence, to carry out [in autumn] the orders of summer, this harms the Qi. In winter the water flourishes and the metal perishes. Hence, the disease develops in winter. If one opposes the [orders of] autumn and harms the lung, this results in diminished Qi [with a reduced ability] to receive the storage in winter.

Comprehensive discourse on regulating the spirit in accordance with the Qi of the four seasons,  in Huang Di nei jing su wen, annotated translation, by Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow, University of California

Painting: John Grimshaw, Autumn Sun

Ethical research includes encryption: Surveillance Self-Defense for researchers

NEW >> EFF ‘s surveillance self-defense playlist for academic researchers

“This playlist addresses three separate but interrelated themes: first, the ethical conduct of research involving human participants, second, the protection of research data, and lastly, protection of the researchers themselves.”

Ethical research includes encryption !!!

Anarchy & Alcohol


“It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that alcohol has played a key role in the epidemic of fascism, racism, statism, imperialism, colonialism, sexism and patriarchy, class oppression, ungoverned technological development, religious superstition, and other bad stuff that has swept the earth over the past few millennia. It continues to play that role today, as the peoples of the whole world, finally universally domesticated and enslaved by global capitalism, are kept pacified and helpless by a steady supply of spirits. These evil spirits squander the time, money, health, focus, creativity, awareness, and fellowship of all who inhabit this universally occupied territory – “work is the curse of the drinking classes,” as Oscar Wilde said. It’s not surprising, for example, that the primary targets of advertising for malt liquor (a toxic by-product of the brewing process) are the inhabitants of ghettos in the United States: people who constitute a class that, if not tranquillized by addiction and incapacitated by self-destruction, would be on the front lines of the war to destroy capitalism.”

>> ANARCHY & ALCOHOL (CrimethInc.)

Wikileaks release: TPP Transparency Chapter Healthcare Annex + Expert analysis

Capture d’écran 2015-06-10 à 21.24.30


“Today, Wednesday 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks publishes the Healthcare Annex to the secret draft “Transparency” Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), along with each country’s negotiating position. The Healthcare Annex seeks to regulate state schemes for medicines and medical devices. It forces healthcare authorities to give big pharmaceutical companies more information about national decisions on public access to medicine, and grants corporations greater powers to challenge decisions they perceive as harmful to their interests.

Expert policy analysis, published by WikiLeaks today, shows that the Annex appears to be designed to cripple New Zealand’s strong public healthcare programme and to inhibit the adoption of similar programmes in developing countries. The Annex will also tie the hands of the US Congress in its ability to pursue reforms of the Medicare programme.

>> WIKILEAKS FULL PRESS RELEASE with expert analysis

See also

>> Public Citizen Statement and Public Citizen Analysis


Biblioteca Digital de la Medicina Tradicional Mexicana

>> Biblioteca Digital de la Medicina Tradicional Mexicana 

“La medicina tradicional es reconocida hoy como un recurso fundamental para la salud de millones de seres humanos, un componente esencial del patrimonio tangible e intangible de las culturas del mundo, un acervo de información, recursos y prácticas para el desarrollo y el bienestar, y un factor de identidad de numerosos pueblos del planeta.

La medicina tradicional mexicana, como toda institución social, ha cambiado en el curso de los siglos, interactuando con otros modelos terapéuticos para conformar lo que llamamos el “sistema real de salud” de millones de mexicanos del siglo XXI, habitantes del campo y la ciudad. Asociada fuertemente a las plantas medicinales –su recurso más abundante, accesible y conocido-, la medicina tradicional es mucho más que botánica medicinal, y esta obra que hacemos pública hoy trata, precisamente, de dar cuenta de su riqueza y diversidad.

Tomando como base la información contenida en la Biblioteca de la Medicina Tradicional Mexicana que elaboramos en el Instituto Nacional Indigenista (INI) entre los años 1990 y 1994, la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México decidió preparar una nueva versión, recurriendo a las posibilidades y ventajas que ofrecen las Tecnologías de la Información y Comunicaciones: se trata, en consecuencia, de una Biblioteca Digital de la Medicina Tradicional Mexicana. La posibilidad de consulta y recorrido interactivos enriquecen a la versión impresa, la ponen a salvo de mutilaciones y alteraciones, y ofrecen al lector una cómoda y funcional labor de interacción de nombres, conceptos, pueblos, enfermedades y recursos materiales y simbólicos.”

“Wellness” can’t do what we won’t do for ourselves

“Despite the endless column inches devoted to how we can find balance in our busy working lives, the solution here isn’t personal, it’s political. Those of us working in the health and wellbeing industries have had our skills hijacked by commercial interests. Employee Assistance Programs, corporate stress management training and the burgeoning multi-billion dollar wellness industry all trade on, support and are supported by the culture of overwork. If we are truly committed to wellbeing, we need to remember who our clients are meant to be and be willing to risk acting in their best interests.

No amount of multivitamins, yoga, meditation, sweaty exercise, superfoods or extreme time management, as brilliant as all these things can be, is going to save us from the effects of too much work. This is not something we can adapt to. Not something we need to adjust the rest of our lives around. It is not possible and it’s unethical to pretend otherwise. Like a low-flying plane, the insidious culture of overwork is deafening and the only way we can really feel better is if we can find a way to make it stop.”

>> No it’s not you: Why “wellness” isn’t the answer to overwork, Zoe Krupka, the Conversation

24/7 : Late capitalism and the end of sleep


>> 24/7: Late Capitalism and the end of sleep, by Jonathan Crary (a Verso Book)

“24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep explores some of the ruinous consequences of the expanding non-stop processes of twenty-first-century capitalism. The marketplace now operates through every hour of the clock, pushing us into constant activity and eroding forms of community and political expression, damaging the fabric of everyday life.

Jonathan Crary examines how this interminable non-time blurs any separation between an intensified, ubiquitous consumerism and emerging strategies of control and surveillance. He describes the ongoing management of individual attentiveness and the impairment of perception within the compulsory routines of contemporary technological culture. At the same time, he shows that human sleep, as a restorative withdrawal that is intrinsically incompatible with 24/7 capitalism, points to other more formidable and collective refusals of world-destroying patterns of growth and accumulation.”

All the President’s Psychologists


All the president’s psychologists


A new report by a group of dissident health professionals and human rights activists argues that the American Psychological Association secretly collaborated with the administration of President George W. Bush to bolster a legal and ethical justification for the torture of prisoners swept up in the post-Sept. 11 war on terror.

>> Full document HERE


>> American Psychological Association bolstered CIA torture programme, report says – James Risen, NY Times, April 30 2015

>> First, Do harm, Justine Sharrock, Motherjones, July 14 2009

Business on the back of our pains: Personal health data harvested online with no respect for privacy

“For now, however, millions of people are exposing their personal health profiles to internet advertisers and data brokers, right at the moment they’re making the most confidential inquiries imaginable.”

“Health data is some of the most private data you have. That a data reveals a lot about you. There’s a reason that we have laws like HIPAA—unfortunately those don’t apply here,” Quintin said. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, and it forces the government and doctors to keep patient medical records secure and confidential. It has no jurisdiction over search engine companies or data brokers who sap data “volunteered” by users.”

Read : Looking up symptoms online ? These companies are tracking you

Malades et expulsés



“Les associations de l’Observatoire du Droit à la Santé des Étrangers ont le regret de vous faire part de l’expulsion imminente vers le Kosovo, par la préfecture du Doubs, de Monsieur B.

Il est enfermé au centre de rétention du Mesnil-Amelot depuis 10 jours avec sa femme. Au Kosovo, il ne pourra pas bénéficier de la prise en charge médicale que nécessite son état de santé. Ses jours seront en danger. Le ministère de la santé est alerté : il doit stopper cette expulsion.

Monsieur B n’est pas un cas isolé, depuis juin 2012 nos associations ont été informées de nombreuses situations similaires dont certaines ont conduit à l’expulsion. La mobilisation associative et citoyenne aura permis d’éviter que certaines de ces personnes ne soient renvoyées vers une mort certaine.”

La Cimade / Actualités


Health-related searches privacy sell-outs

“A new study found that 91% of health-related web pages reveal potentially sensitive information to third parties like data brokers and online advertisers.(…)

To conduct the study, University of Pennsylvania PhD student Timothy Libert analyzed the top 50 search results for 1,986 common diseases, some 80,000 web pages. He found that on 91% of the pages, third parties like social networks, advertisers, and data brokers could access information about who was viewing the page, like the user’s IP address. On 70% of the pages, those third parties could see information about specific “conditions, treatments and diseases” viewed.

Altogether, 78% of the health-related web pages sent information about you to Google, 31% sent information to Facebook, and 5% sent information to Experian, a credit bureau and data broker”

>> Your embarrassing online searches about health problems aren’t private 

BIO-reSEARCH – GYNEpunk (autonomous gynecology lab)

GYNEpunk‘s objective is to make emerge DIY-DIT accessible diagnosis labs and technics in extreme experimentation, down the rocks or elevators if is necesary. Has to be possible in a situated stable place or/and in nomadic mobile labs. Has to be able to perform as much as WE WANT, in a intensive way: smears, fluid analysis, biopsy, PAPs, synthesize hormones at will, blood exams, urinalysis, HIV tests, pain reliefs, or what ever WE NEED. Hack and build our own ultrasound, endoscope or ecography devices in a low-cost way. All this in a strict complementation with herbs and natural knowledges, oral traditions, submarine recipes, seeking with hunger generate superavit of DIY lubricants, anti-conceptives, open doula domains, savage caring of any visceral hands on technologies, as menstrual extraction, all elevated at maximun potential of common learning and radical self-body-power…!


Swedish Doctors For Human Rights

“Our aim is to contribute to the international Human Rights movement based on our research and professional experience in the health sciences. Health concerns are an important area in the HR-international mission that has, unfortunately, been neglected as primary focus by most of established HR NGOs. We have chosen to undertake this endeavour from an independent platform, as a new established organization independent from government or partisan-politic interests. We act upon the basis of the UN chart of human rights and the ethical norms of the World Medical Association. We seek no sponsoring from any institution. We are totally independent from government, and we will not receive any financial support from governmental or corporative entities.”


UK National Health Service whistleblowers ignored and bullied

“NHS staff who blow the whistle on substandard and dangerous practices are being ignored, bullied or even intimidated in a “climate of fear”, according to an independent review.

A significant proportion of health workers are afraid to blow the whistle about poor patient care and safety failures in the NHS, the government commissioned inquiry, which documented “shocking” accounts of the treatment of whistbleblowers found.”

Continue reading Guardian article

Kiss for immunity

“As many as 80 million bacteria are transferred during a 10 second kiss, according to research published in the open access journal Microbiome. The study also found that partners who kiss each other at least nine times a day share similar communities of oral bacteria.

The ecosystem of more than 100 trillion microorganisms that live in our bodies – the microbiome – is essential for the digestion of food, synthesizing nutrients, and preventing disease. It is shaped by genetics, diet, and age, but also the individuals with whom we interact. With the mouth playing host to more than 700 varieties of bacteria, the oral microbiota also appear to be influenced by those closest to us.”

>> read 80 million bacteria sealed with a kiss

DSM5 Oppositional Defiant Disorder

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, a.k.a DSM5, published in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association, has a chapter of its section 2 dedicated to the diagnosis of “Disruptive, Impulse-control, and Conduct Disorders”. These refer to “conditions involving problems in the self-control of emotions and behaviors”. They are are “unique in that these violate the rights of others and/or bring the individual into significant conflict with societal norms or authority figures”.

Within the disruptive disorders group is the rather irritating ODD, namely Oppositional Defiant Disorder : “A pattern of angry/irritable mood, argumentative/defiant behavior, or vindictiveness lasting at least 6 months as evidenced by at least four symptoms from any of the following category, and exhibited during interaction with at least one individual that is not a sibling”.


The DSM warns that individuals with ODD will “typically not regard themselves as angry, oppositional or defiant. Instead, they often justify their behavior as a response to unreasonable demands or circumstances.” Also “it appears to be somewhat more prevalent in males than females, prior to adolescence”.

These types could seem like sound, possibly even brilliant, people we like to meet. Some in the profession have spoken against potentially debilitating categorizations.

For psychiatrist Bruce Levine, for instance, ODD is part of an arsenal of diagnoses which pathologize, to better neutralize, anti-authoritarian individuals.

See his “Why anti-authoritarians are diagnosed as mentally ill”, on Mad in America :

“In my career as a psychologist, I have talked with hundreds of people previously diagnosed by other professionals with oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, anxiety disorder and other psychiatric illnesses, and I am struck by (1) how many of those diagnosed are essentially anti-authoritarians, and (2) how those professionals who have diagnosed them are not.

Anti-authoritarians question whether an authority is a legitimate one before taking that authority seriously. Evaluating the legitimacy of authorities includes assessing whether or not authorities actually know what they are talking about, are honest, and care about those people who are respecting their authority. And when anti-authoritarians assess an authority to be illegitimate, they challenge and resist that authority—sometimes aggressively and sometimes passive-aggressively, sometimes wisely and sometimes not.

Some activists lament how few anti-authoritarians there appear to be in the United States. One reason could be that many natural anti-authoritarians are now psychopathologized and medicated before they achieve political consciousness of society’s most oppressive authorities.”

(continue reading here)

Compassion in Care – Call for Edna’s law and public inquiry into whistleblowing

“Edna was a defenceless elderly lady who died after terrible abuse and neglect in a BUPA care home even though the “BUPA Seven” had notified management.  This campaign is dedicated to Edna’s memory and to all those who have suffered or died because a whistle-blower was ignored or too afraid to speak out.”

Compassion in Care is a charity funded by caregiver-whistleblower Eileen Chubb

Go to Info and Petition page


Healthcare and Big data and Feminism @ CPDP, Brussels

The Computers, Privacy and Data protection conference in Brussels today until 23rd has/had talks on topics related to healthcare system and research, the data it generates, the status and the uses of this data, the political and ethical questions this gives rise to today.

Also, some Feminist perspective on privacy and data protection, talks on LGBT vital rights to privacy, freedom from surveillance, safety, free speech, access to information on sexuality…

La santé selon la Silicon Valley

Evgeny Morozov dans Le Temps – “Quelques sociétés de la Silicon Valley peuvent nous imposer une façon de vivre”...

Exemple avec la santé :

– Du coup, craignez-vous que les autorités s’impliquent de moins en moins dans la résolution de problèmes, laissant des sociétés high-tech s’en charger?

– Oui, ce risque existe. Dans la santé, un domaine dans lequel Google s’implique de plus en plus, par exemple. Avec ses solutions individualisées, l’on peut craindre de glisser de plus en plus d’un système d’assurance générale avec un partage des risques pour toute la communauté à des solutions individuelles où chacun devra supporter totalement ses propres risques. Avec leur technologie d’apparence si séduisante, les sociétés de la Silicon Valley entrent dans des domaines tels que la prévention du crime, la détection de fraudes fiscales… Ces sociétés, avec des systèmes de contrôle en temps réel, pourraient aussi décider qui peut séjourner dans quel pays. Cela risque d’aboutir à une société où l’Etat, qui ne peut tolérer le moindre risque et dont les moyens financiers diminuent sans cesse, se base de plus en plus sur des sociétés technologiques pour le maîtriser.

– Prenons le service Google Flu Trends, qui permet de détecter les débuts d’épidémies de grippe. Ne pourrait-on pas imaginer que les autorités se servent de ces données pour améliorer leurs politiques?

– Oui mais le danger est que l’Etat devienne beaucoup trop dépendant de sociétés privées pour déceler des maladies ou des comportements criminels. Du coup, au final, la question suivante pourrait se poser: pourquoi a-t-on encore besoin de l’Etat? Ne voulons-nous pas plutôt confier toutes nos données à des firmes high-tech qui les analysent, nous connaissent par cœur, nous ciblent avec de la publicité personnalisée et prennent des décisions à notre place? Et se pose aussi la question du chiffrement de nos données. Google ne les code pas et les diffuse telles quelles pour qu’elles soient utilisables à des fins marketing, ce qui n’est pas acceptable. Il faut que nos données soient protégées et qu’elles soient aussi découplées de la publicité.

AI diagnosis…

“Like many parents of a bright mind, IBM would like Watson to pursue a medical career, so it should come as no surprise that one of the apps under development is a medical-diagnosis tool. Most of the previous attempts to make a diagnostic AI have been pathetic failures, but Watson really works. When, in plain English, I give it the symptoms of a disease I once contracted in India, it gives me a list of hunches, ranked from most to least probable. The most likely cause, it declares, is Giardia—the correct answer. This expertise isn’t yet available to patients directly; IBM provides access to Watson’s intelligence to partners, helping them develop user-friendly interfaces for subscribing doctors and hospitals. “I believe something like Watson will soon be the world’s best diagnostician—whether machine or human,” says Alan Greene, chief medical officer of Scanadu, a startup that is building a diagnostic device inspired by the Star Trek medical tricorder and powered by a cloud AI. “At the rate AI technology is improving, a kid born today will rarely need to see a doctor to get a diagnosis by the time they are an adult.”

in The Three Breakthroughs that have finally unleashed AI on the world,Kevin Kelly, WIRED

Cheap parallel computation,

Big Data,

Better algorythms



Ebola Hackathons..

“EBOLA has a new enemy: an army of hackers. Alongside health workers and fast-tracked vaccines, software developers are now part of the campaign, putting together novel tools which could save lives.

Earlier this month, teams of physicians and graduate students from various disciplines spent a weekend huddled round laptops and drawing boards in the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. The aim of the Ebola Crisis Hackathon was to develop software and systems to help West African communities devastated by the worst-ever outbreak of the disease.”

Continue reading > Hackathon develops tech tools to fight Ebola Epidemic, Chris Baraniuk in the New Scientist, 19 November 2014


> 6 ways technology is helping to fight Ebola, on TechChange, which ends with these wise words :

“Don’t start an SMS campaign or launch a drone just because you can. It’s not about what you want to do. It’s not about technology. It’s about what’s best for the people we are there to help.”


EU trade secrets directive threat to health, environment, free speech, worker mobility

Multi-sectoral NGO coalition statement against a new EU directive on Trade Secrets, December 14.

On the subject of Health:

> Companies in the health, environment and food safety fields could refuse compliance with transparency policies even when the public interest is at stake.

Health :

Pharmaceutical companies argue that all aspects of clinical development should be considered a trade secret. Access to biomedical research data by regulatory authorities, researchers, doctors and patients – particularly data on drug efficacy and adverse drug reactions – is critical, however, for protecting patient safety and conducting further research and independent analyses. This information also prevents scarce public resources from being spent on therapies that are no better than existing treatments, do not work, or do more harm than good. Moreover, disclosure of pharmaceutical research is needed to avoid unethical repetition of clinical trials on people. The proposed directive should not obstruct recent EU developments to increase sharing and transparency of this data

Mains propres sur la santé, Michèle Rivasi @ Mediapart

Michèle Rivasi : opération mains propres sur la… by Mediapart

“Michèle Rivasi travaille sur la santé publique depuis trente ans. C’est l’une des premières, en 1986, à avoir alerté sur les retombées de la catastrophe de Tchernobyl, au moment où les autorités assuraient, contre toute évidence, qu’aucun nuage radioactif ne menaçait la France. Elle créera dans la foulée la Criirad, la commission de recherche et d’information indépendante sur la radioactivité.

Députée de la Drôme en 1997, députée européenne depuis 2009, elle veut aujourd’hui lancer une opération « mani pulite » à la française, sur le modèle de ce qui s’est fait en Italie dans les années 1990. Elle soutient que dix milliards d’euros d’économies pourraient être réalisées chaque année, dans le domaine de la santé, sans réduire la qualité des soins.

Elle constate « des différences incroyables » entre le prix de certains médicaments en France et notamment en Italie. Elle cite un anti-leucémique des laboratoires Novartis vendu 500 euros en Italie et 2 300 euros en France. Elle note que le prix des génériques français « dépasse de 30 % la moyenne européenne ». Elle accuse les laboratoires de créer en permanence de faux nouveaux médicaments pour éviter que leurs molécules ne soient vendues sous forme de générique.

Elle souligne enfin « l’opacité » du CEPS, le comité économique de protection de la santé, qui délivre les autorisations de mise sur le marché et fixe le prix des médicaments.

Pour elle, toute la chaîne du médicament serait gangrenée par les conflits d’intérêts. Elle cite Nora Berra, Claude Evin, Edmond Hervé, Henri Nallet, Michèle Barzach, Bernard Kouchner, Philippe Douste-Blazy, Élisabeth Hubert, Roselyne Bachelot, tous anciens ministres ou secrétaires d’État à la santé, qui ont collaboré, de près ou de loin, avec les laboratoires…

Michèle Rivasi évoque aussi Michel Barnier, Jacques Godfrain, Claudie Haigneré, et parle de parlementaires « corrompus ou gratifiés », de clubs parlementaires, de hauts fonctionnaires, d’« associations sous influence »

Sa proposition : imposer la transparence, et en finir avec les allers et retours entre décideurs politiques ou professionnels de la médecine, et laboratoires pharmaceutiques « dont l’investissement en communication et en lobbying est plus élevé que dans la recherche ».

Dans la dernière partie de l’entretien, la députée européenne parle de la Grèce et de l’Espagne, en considérant que la victoire de Syriza ou de Podemos « peut changer l’orientation de l’Europe », une Europe à laquelle elle croit mais dont elle dénonce le fonctionnement : « Trois millions de Grecs n’ont plus accès la Sécurité sociale, 25 % de gens au chômage, dont 60 % des jeunes… C’est ça leur système ? »


On regulating the Spirit [in accordance with] the Qi of the Four [Seasons] : Winter

“The three months of Winter

they denote securing and storing.

The water is frozen and the earth breaks open.


Do not disturb the yang [Qi].

Go rest early and rise late.

You must wait for the sun to shine.


Let the mind enter a state as if hidden,

{as if shut in}

as if you had secret intentions;

as if you already had made gains.


Avoid cold and seek warmth and

do not [allow sweat] to flow away through the skin

This would cause the Qi to be carried away quickly.


This is the correspondence with the Qi of Winter and

it is the Way of nourishing storage.

Opposing it harms the kidneys.

In Spring this causes limpness with receding Qi, and

there is little to support generation.



the yin and yand [Qi] of the four seasons,

they constitute root and basis of the myriad beings.


Hence the sages

in spring and summer nourish the yang and

in autumn and winter nourish the yin, and

this way they follow their roots.



they are in the depth or at the surface with the myriad beings at the gate to life and growth.

To oppose one’s root

is to attack one’s basis

and to spoil one’s true [Qi]”


From Comprehensive discourse on regulating the Spirit [in accordance with] the Qi of the four [seasons], chapter 2 of Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen, an annotated translation of Huang Di’s inner classic – basic questions, by Paul U. Unschuld and Hermann Tessenow.


Sleep for Immunity

So winter is here and you want a strong immune system : make sure you get some good sleep first thing (quantity, quality, regularity..).

>> Sleep deprivation effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress (Science Daily)


Severe sleep loss jolts the immune system into action, reflecting the same type of immediate response shown during exposure to stress, a new study reports. Researchers compared the white blood cell counts of 15 healthy young men under normal and severely sleep-deprived conditions. The greatest changes were seen in the white blood cells known as granulocytes, which showed a loss of day-night rhythmicity, along with increased numbers, particularly at night.

>> Sleep and Immune Function, (Critical Care Nurse)


Scientists are only beginning to fully understand the purpose of sleep and its underlying mechanisms. Lack of sleep is associated with many diseases, including infection, and with increased mortality. Lack of proper sleep is an important problem in the intensive care unit, and interventions have been designed to improve it. Sleep is associated with immune function, and this relationship is partially based on the physiological basis of sleep, sleep architecture, the sleep-wake cycle, cytokines and the hypothalamic-pituitary axis.

Sleep is one of the biggest riddles known. The knowledge that all animals sleep implies that sleep fulfills some basic physiological need. Yet, scientists are only beginning to fully understand the purpose of sleep1 and the underlying mechanisms.2 Lack of sleep is associated with many diseases and with increased mortality1,3 and is an important problem in the intensive care unit (ICU).48

In this review, I describe the relationship between sleep and immune function. Understanding this complicated association requires knowledge of the physiological basis of sleep and the basic elements of immune function as applied to sleep. Therefore, I briefly review sleep architecture and the sleep-wake cycle. I also discuss immune function and cytokines and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

Although evidence linking sleep and immune function has come from studies of the sleep-wake cycle, cytokines, and the HPA axis, most investigators have relied on 2 basic approaches. In the first approach, laboratory animals and human volunteers are deprived of sleep and the consequences of the deprivation on immune responses, bodily systems associated with the immune system, and/or immune products are measured. In the other approach, laboratory animals or human volunteers are infected with pathogens or given substances that challenge the immune system, and the effects of these interventions on sleep are determined.9 I present evidence provided by using both of these research strategies. Finally, I describe how sleep in the ICU affects patients’ immune function and suggest interventions to improve patients’ sleep.


The ethical challenges of ubiquitous healthcare (Brown & Adams)


Ubiquitous healthcare is an emerging area of technology that uses a large number of environmental and patient sensors and actuators to monitor and improve patients’ physical and mental condition. Tiny sensors gather data on almost any physiological characteristic that can be used to diagnose health problems. This technology faces some challenging ethical questions, ranging from the small-scale individual issues of trust and efficacy to the societal issues of health and longevity gaps related to economic status. It presents par- ticular problems in combining developing computer/information/media ethics with established medical ethics. This article describes a practice-based ethics approach, considering in particular the areas of privacy, agency, equity and liability. It raises questions that ubiquitous healthcare will force practitioners to face as they de- velop ubiquitous healthcare systems. Medicine is a controlled profession whose practise is commonly re- stricted by government-appointed authorities, whereas computer software and hardware development is notoriously lacking in such regimes.

” In this article we present a practise-based ethics approach, raising the questions to which medical and computing professionals will be forced to face up, as they collaborate to develop and deploy ubiquitous healthcare systems.” 

The ethical challenges of ubiquitous healthcare, Ian Brown & Andrew A. Adams in IRIE, International Review of Informational Ethics, Vol.8 12/2007

Keeping in Touch

Touch is a bonding agent, a means of pain relief and perhaps most importantly, a way to say, “I care.” The inherent human need for touch has always been a part of our story, and it continues to this day. “

“Touch takes place on the canvas of human experience. Healthy, positive touch is intended to help and to heal, and the application of healthy touch takes many forms. Massage, for example, is the structured form of applied touch, administered with purpose and by way of thoughtful techniques based on knowledge.”

In  “The power of Touch: A basic human need”, by Judi Calvert on Massage today

Les Corps Vils

Ce sont les paralytiques, les orphelins, les bagnards, les prostituées, les esclaves, les colonisés, les fous, les détenus, les internés, les condamnés à mort, les « corps vils » qui ont historiquement servi de matériau expérimental à la science médicale moderne. Ce livre raconte cette histoire occultée par les historiens des sciences. Qui supporte en premier lieu les périls de l’innovation ? Qui en récolte les bénéfices ? À partir de cette question centrale de l’allocation sociale des risques, l’auteur interroge le lien étroit qui s’est établi, dans une logique de sacrifice des plus vulnérables, entre la pratique scientifique moderne, le racisme, le mépris de classe et la dévalorisation de vies qui ne vaudraient pas la peine d’être vécues. Comment, en même temps que se formait la rationalité scientifique, a pu se développer ce qu’il faut bien appeler des « rationalités abominables », chargées de justifier l’injustifiable ?”

Les Corps Vils, expérimenter sur les êtres humains aux XVIIIè et XIXème siècle, de Grégoire Chamayou (également auteur de Théorie du Drone)

Table des matières 

1. Les cadavres des suppliciés

L’anatomie des suppliciés
Médicalisation de la mort pénale : l’exécution comme expérience
Expérimentations post mortem
2. Les corps des condamnés
L’expérience souveraine : le corps du condamné comme substitut du corps du roi
Le criminel comme sujet inhumain
Convertir la peine en expérience ?
Des sujets morts-vivants
3. L’inoculation, expérience de masse 
L’introduction d’un nouveau procédé
L’inoculation est-elle moralement permise ?
Le droit de vie et de mort et le pouvoir d’expérimenter
Vers une « peirasmologie » de l’essai ?
4. L’auto-expérimentation
Les raisons de l’auto-expérimentation
« Ma main à couper »
Portrait du médecin en héros et en martyr
Condition restrictive ou blanc-seing pour l’expérimentation sur autrui ?
5. L’expérience clinique et le contrat d’assistance
Le corps des assistés
De l’hôpital à l’expérience clinique : charité et utilité
Le contrat d’assistance
La prudence de la médecine clinique
6. Le droit à l’essai
Déontologie de l’essai thérapeutique
La codification de l’essai
7. Crises et mutations de l’essai thérapeutique
L’historicité de l’essai
Premières définitions de l’essai comparatif
La guerre des médecines et l’arme de l’expérimentation
La crise épistémologique de « l’ancienne médecine »
8. L’expérimentation pathologique
L’introduction de la méthode expérimentale
L’impératif de l’expérimentation pathologique
La microbiologie et les nouveaux réquisits de la pathologie expérimentale
9. Le consentement du cobaye
Une notion introuvable
L’émergence du consentement
10. L’expérimentalisation du monde
Un estomac à ciel ouvert
Le concept d’expérimentalisation
Ce qu’implique un usage
L’expérience professionnelle
11. L’expérimentaion coloniale
Les expériences du maître
La raciologie expérimentale
Le problème de l’acclimatement et l’expérience de la médecine coloniale
Expérimentations pathologiques et maladies tropicales
Index des noms.



How the Poor Die, by George Orwell

“In the year 1929 I spent several weeks in the Hôpital X, in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris. The clerks put me through the usual third-degree at the reception desk, and indeed I was kept answering questions for some twenty minutes before they would let me in. If you have ever had to fill up forms in a Latin country you will know the kind of questions I mean. For some days past I had been unequal to translating Reaumur into Fahrenheit, but I know that my temperature was round about 103, and by the end of the interview I had some difficulty in standing on my feet. At my back a resigned little knot of patients, carrying bundles done up in coloured handkerchiefs, waited their turn to be questioned.”

Continue reading How the Poor Die, by George Orwell (1946)

A day in Tahrir hospital + Portrait of trauma surgeon Seif Khirfan (Florence Tran)

A day in Tahrir hospitals from florence TRAN on Vimeo.

Seif Khirfan from florence TRAN on Vimeo.

Seif is a trauma surgeon who was shot in Tahrir the 25 th of January. This triggered a complete transformation in him. He is now a presenter for a TV program called “Let me hear you”. He goes in the field and listen to Egyptians who have positive and citizen initiatives.

Open-source healthcare software

List of open-source healthcare software on wikipedia 


GNU Health :

A free Health and Hospital Information System with the following functionality: 
Electronic Medical Record (EMR)
– Hospital Information System (HIS)
– Health Information System

Our goal is to contribute with health professionals around the world to improve the lives of the underprivileged, providing a free system that optimizes health promotion and disease prevention. 

GNU Health is an official GNU Package, and the Hospital Information System adopted by the United Nations University, International Institute for Global Health, for the implementations and trainings.

GNUMed : 

Free, liberated open source Electronic Medical Record software in multiple languages to assist and improve longitudinal care (specifically in ambulatory settings, i.e. multi-professional practices and clinics).

 It is made available at no charge and is capable of running on GNU/Linux, Windows and Mac OS X. It is developed by a handful of medical doctors and programmers from all over the world.

 It can be useful to anyone documenting the health of patients including, but not limited to, doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, acupuncturists, nurses, psychologists …


UK health sector’s “duty to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”

Check UK government Prevent duty guidance: a consultation (which will run until Friday January 30th 2015). Direct implications for the healthcare sector.
“The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill, which is currently before Parliament, seeks to place a duty on specified authorities (identified in full in Schedule 3 to the Bill, and set out in the guidance) to ‘have due regard, in the exercise of its functions, to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism’. Preventing people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism also requires challenge to extremist ideas where they are used to legitimise terrorism and are shared by terrorist groups. In carrying out this duty, the specified authorities must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State. A draft of that guidance is attached here, for consultation.
Purpose :
“The purpose of this consultation is to seek views on the draft guidance from: local authorities, schools, further and higher education institutions, the NHS, the police, prison and young offender institution governors, and providers of probation services. These bodies are listed in Schedule 3 and will be subject to the duty, when the provisions come into force. We would also be interested in hearing from other bodies working in these fields who feel that they should also be subject to the duty.
We have included specific consultation questions throughout the document which we invite responses on. But more generally, we would like to hear views on the practicality of the guidance, what other measures could proportionately be taken to comply with the duty, any examples of existing good practice, and any opportunities and barriers to implementation. “
The health sector (p.30-32)
119. Healthcare professionals will meet and treat people who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Being drawn into terrorism includes not just violent extremism but also non-violent extremism, which can create an atmosphere conducive to terrorism and can popularise views which terrorists exploit. The key challenge for the healthcare sector is to ensure that, where there are signs that someone has been or is being drawn into terrorism, the healthcare worker is trained to recognise those signs correctly and is aware of and can locate available support, including the Channel programme where necessary. Preventing someone from being drawn into terrorism is substantially comparable to safeguarding in other areas, including child abuse or domestic violence.
120.There are already established arrangements in place, which we would expect to be
built on in response to the statutory duty.
Health specified authorities
121.The health specified authorities in Schedule 3 to the Bill are as follows:
•NHS Trusts
•NHS Foundation Trusts
Question for consultation
19. Are there other institutions, not listed here, which ought to be covered by the duty?
Please explain why.
122. NHS England has incorporated Prevent into its safeguarding arrangements, so that
Prevent awareness and other relevant training is delivered to all staff who provide services to NHS patients. These arrangements have been effective and should continue.
123. The Chief Nursing Officer in NHS England has responsibility for all safeguarding, and a safeguarding lead, working to the Director of Nursing, is responsible for the overview and management of embedding the Prevent programme into safeguarding procedures across the NHS.
124. Each regional team in the NHS has a Head of Patient Experience who leads on
safeguarding in their region. They are responsible for delivery of the Prevent
strategy within their region and the health regional Prevent co-ordinators (RPCs).
125. These RPCs are expected to have regular contact with Prevent leads in NHS

organisations to offer advice and guidance.
126. In fulfilling the duty, we would expect health bodies to demonstrate effective action in the following areas.

Every breath you take, they’ll be tracking you

“The Propeller sensor keeps track of your medication use for you, with a record of the time and place you have used your inhaler. The sensor is a small device that attaches to the top of your existing inhaler and stays out of your way when you need to use it.”

“Dr. Lawrence Madoff, an epidemiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Boston, says this is a new trend in public health. “The patient or the public is actually participating in their surveillance directly. You’re moving back closer to an event actually happening – when does someone get sick? When do they show symptoms? When do they first report something going on?”


by Alison Bruzek for Popular Science