Predictive Big Data Analytics for Personalized Patient Care and Response Prediction in Cystic Fibrosis ?

Here’s are the excerpts of a talk published by Medscape on  personalized patient care and prediction of responses in Cystic Fibrosis.Direct link to the talk gives a registration page.Hence copied and pasted here verbatim.An audio version of the talk is embedded here.

Dr. Boyle: Scott, at this meeting we have heard a lot of exciting things about cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) modulation, and some of the other new therapies that are coming along. Tell me some of the things you have learned about here at the conference that you believe will affect the way you are going to take care of your patients in the future.

Dr. Donaldson: This meeting struck me as being not only about randomized controlled trials, but also about raising new ideas to explore how we take care of patients. One especially interesting area was that we really need to personalize our approach to patient care of individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Dr. Boyle: Absolutely.

Dr. Donaldson: For instance,  ” clinicians are looking into ways of predicting how patients will do in the future, especially those on the younger end of the age spectrum. One approach is to use high-resolution CT scanning. The group from Wisconsin has shown that having a CT scan early in life predicts what lung function will be several years down the road. That kind of information would be very useful in identifying patients who might have a worse outcome so that we can be more aggressive with them and, hopefully, provide a better outcome. “

Dr. Boyle: Is that something you imagine using in your own patients?

Dr. Donaldson: As an adult pulmonologist, I think it probably applies more to pediatrics, but it is a very attractive approach to use that information early in life, and right now we do not have many other good outcome measures.

” Another common theme of this meeting is using existing databases. Doing so will enable us to look at patients early in life and predict how they are going to do down the road. Jessica Pittman and the pediatric group at the University of North Carolina looked at a large group of patients, and they are beginning to pick out those factors that predict a worse outcome. ” Some of the findings were not so surprising: poor nutritional status, more symptoms, almost any typical CF pathogen. Perhaps one surprise is that nonmucoid Pseudomonas was not a predictor, whereas mucoidPseudomonas was. It warmed my heart to learn that one therapy, hypertonic saline, seemed to predict a better outcome. Perhaps it is an early hint, at least from this study, that maybe we can be doing good things by providing hypertonic saline early in life.

Dr. Boyle: And some of those risk factors are things we can address early on.

Dr. Donaldson: That is really the point. That is right.

Dr. Boyle: As clinicians, we spend so much of our time focused on exacerbations. Was there anything at the meeting that struck you about that?

Dr. Donaldson:” More and more data are accumulating, such as that from the Toronto group, showing that frequent exacerbations have a profound impact on outcomes.”  As a community, we are thinking more about how best to take care of patients having exacerbations. There are still some basic questions that we really have not even started to answer, but at this meeting we are learning that different durations of therapy might be better than others. One comparison showed that 2 weeks appear to be better than 1 week; that’s perhaps not surprising, but it is good to have the information in hand. It still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Would 3 weeks be better than 2? Are 10 days okay? The more important question remains: How can we personalize it to an individual patient?

Dr. Boyle: What do you usually do in your practice in terms of length of therapy?

Dr. Donaldson: We do try to personalize it. I like to get a lot of lung function measurements. My treatment goal is to have lung function return to baseline. Not every patient achieves that, so sometimes you wind up treating for a very long time hoping that you will get there [with patients]. But that’s certainly one of my strategies.

Dr. Boyle: What other factors might you consider in personalizing treatment?

Dr. Donaldson: One interesting poster and talk at the meeting was the use of C-reactive protein (CRP) as an inflammatory biomarker.[4] Reduction in CRP during exacerbation correlates with time to the next exacerbation. That’s another piece of information that would help us figure out how long we need to treat our patients.

From big data analytics point of view,this discussion between two eminent healthcare practitioners proves that by leveraging the analytic tools at our disposal ,we can certainly make a huge impact on personalized patient care and response prediction.

Our Team @ BigDataCognition will be attending ‘Hack For CF” on October 5th.We hope to make an impact.

Quantified Self ,Personalized Medicine & Big Data

The Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person’s daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical). Such self-monitoring and self-sensing, which combines wearable sensors (EEG, ECG, video, etc.) and wearable computing, is also known as lifelogging. The primary methodology of self-quantification is data collection, followed by visualization, cross-referencing, and discovery of correlations. If we add genetic data to all the social and personal medical sensors data then the dream of data driven personalized medicine in healthcare is not too far.

Personalized medicine or PM is a medical model that proposes the customization of healthcare – with medical decisions, practices, and/or products being tailored to the individual patient. Traditional clinical diagnosis and management focuses on the individual patient’s clinical signs and symptoms, medical and family history, data from laboratory and imaging evaluation to diagnose and treat illnesses. This is often a reactive approach to treatment, i.e., treatment/medication starts after the signs and symptoms appear. A proactive approach using big data technologies and application of predictive analytics can help us take effective preventive measures.

Life and health tracking information from various applications can be difficult to integrate and find meaning. But innovative and readily available open source technologies have delivered efficient tools in the hands of data scientists. Now we can combine, visualize, and analyze the cacophony data to identify correlations between specific input factors and treatments (independent variables) and psychological or physiological outcomes (dependent variables).

Today, creative data scientists can arrive at amazing conclusions about how various factors correlate with one another and affect a person’s psychology or physiology. We can combine this insight and apply predictive algorithms to build models, tools to predict how a person would respond to a device, situation, treatment or medicine. Open source innovators behind path breaking  frameworks such as Hadoop, Hive, MapReduce, Yarn, KNIME, WEKA and Apache Mahout have built a set of components that can help us achieve the goals of personalized medicine.

Learning all these technologies, building the analytical tool from scratch and then running data analysis is a set of daunting tasks. The team at Big Data Cognition  is helping  data scientists face this challenge. We have integrated all these technologies together  to build a single platform, Saarus. Using Saarus,data scientist can focus on creative use of data without wasting precious time and effort on the technology plumbing.

Saarus, as is the case with all it’s component technologies, remains open source and is designed to make life easier for data scientists. It helps data scientists harness the capabilities of all these technologies and provide a cost-effective graphical analytic work bench. Big Data Cognition is committed to work on integration of all promising statistical algorithms and technologies to help healthcare data scientists achieve the goal of personalized medicine and preventive care.

Mobile Gaming – the titanic shift

The industry is undergoing a titanic shift, factors like the ease of publishing to the App Store, the extremely low cost to become a developer, the growth of Freemium games (games given away for free with revenues coming from alternative sources) and the rise of the female gamers (53% of mobile gamers are female) are rewriting the rules.

Anywhere, any-time, high quality gaming, that fits nicely in our pocket, is yours to have .  The mobile entertainment industry was worth $33 billion last year, which is due in part to the success of smartphones like the iPhone and the plethora of Android devices like the HTC Thunderbolt.  These high powered computers were just waiting for people to turn them into gaming consoles.

An interesting infographic by Geekaphone:



“Every Startup CEO Should Understand Gamification” – Bing Gordon

Found this very interesting talk on Gamification last year in June led by Bing Gordon here:

Whole transcript is copied and pasted –

Former EA executive, KPCB sFund lead and all around inspiring person Bing Gordon led a talk today at the sFund Gamification Summit. In his talk Gordon broke down platitudes like “gamification is important” into key actionable takeaways on how succeed with gamification, takeaways that could be reformatted and applied to any company.

When asked why he went through the trouble of putting his guide to how to successfully gamify together for entrepreneurs, Bing told me, “Every startup CEO should understand gamification, because the gaming is the new normal,” referring to the fact that every one who had a Nintendo at 16 also has a brain that works in a way that’s more receptive to game elements. “We are overdeveloping the visual cortex of our customers,” he said.

Gamification is as important as social and mobile Gordon told me, which makes sense, as elements like rewarding people for behavior are pure human psychology. His talk was separated into a three-pronged approach, Acquire, Engage and Retain, “All your experiences are three part experiences,” he said.

The best way to acquire customers was to eliminate bounce, by creating a pleasant experience at first entry way, being said. “If you create cognitive dissonance in the first 5 seconds they bounce,” he said.  Designers should aim for creating a “touchable box” or something that people want to touch. He then referred to the game’s interface as being an engine, saying that a great UX/UI guy could save a company from having to throw out thousands of lines of code and could replace five engineers.

Baked in virality was also emphasized as a huge part of customer acquisition, and Gordon said that addition of Facebook profiles were responsible for 15 million versus 1 million monthly active users on Zynga Poker. Adding a friend bar meant 70 million MAUs versus two million on Farmville according to Gordon. “People come back more often when they have a date,” he said.

In terms of user engagement, Gordon advised CEOs that first impressions matter, “Your job is to create a “Wow” within the first session … The value of gamification is the mechanics second and the mind of gamers first.”

Things like virtual goods, showing numbers and giving badges are ways to positively reinforce users for playing your game. Letting them own part of the game by generating and submitting their own content was another way to solidify this emotional bond between creator and user.

Bing also emphasized the value of avatars in games, “Any kind of avatar that people buy into can dramatically change engagement.” It makes sense, people love things that give them a sense of identity. If a game, service or anything really can give them that, then they’re hooked.

Constraints, pre-announcements, and engendering social obligations to play a game were other things Gordon touched on that can contribute to customer retention. He said that the number one question on a game designer’s mind regarding a user should be “Will she come back?” and then “When?”

“We’re in an era where we can have billion dollar audiences,” he closed out the talk saying. There’s no harm in using a few tried and true devices to keep people coming back.

The Right Segment

In a posting last week (  Customer Engagement, Gamification & Social Games – 2 ) I referred to the importance of genre in the social media design and how it can impact the ability to attract a target segment.I also referred to the fact that target market for Seduction is male.

After three weeks here’s what data tells us  about the demographic distribution of  Seduction players –


There is marked preference for this game by males compared to females.Younger population ( 18-34 )in both genders are interested in Seduction.Now armed with this insight we can select the brands that fit this demographic distribution and make sure that there is a match between brand’s target market and game player distribution.This statistics will also help us target our marketing efforts in attracting the segment that’s not showing much interest and help strike the ” right balance ” 😉

Social Media Games and Product Placement

We all have spotted an iPhone or Pepsi can in a movie scene.It’s a well known concept of “Product placement”, a form of advertisement, where branded goods or services are placed in a context usually devoid of ads, such as movies, music videos, the story line of television shows, or news programs. The product placement is often not disclosed at the time that the good or service is featured.

Games such as Mafia Wars and FarmVille, attract millions of active players. Mafia Wars, for example, is played by more than 25 million Facebook users each month.This huge audience, which includes a wide range of demographics, particularly women, is highly engaged and motivated to interact with brands, particularly those that reward them with virtual currency or progress their social game status.By using the same techniques as product placement marketing in movies, brands can be seamlessly woven into the fabric of a social gaming environment.

Genre of the game and player demographics are the deciding factors in matching a game’s story and/or player’s connection with a specific brand.FarmVille, for example, is the perfect place for food-related brands to get in front of a social gaming audience that stands in the tens of millions. Israeli chocolate brand, Elite Taami Nutz, did just that.

Saatchi & Saatchi BBR Tel Aviv and its digital subsidiary, Saatchi Interactive, developed a campaign in which FarmVille players were able to buy and grow Nutz branded peanuts.Non-profit brands are also finding success with in-game product placement. raised $13,000 in under a week through FishVille players purchasing a specially designed fish. Not only that, traffic to their website increased ten-fold during the campaign.

Movie promoters are also jumping on the social gaming bandwagon. A week-long, pre-launch campaign was run on Mafia Wars for gangster movie “Public Enemies” whereby players could undertake Public Enemies-themed “jobs” and unlock additional virtual items associated with the movie along with loot, clips and facts.Here Mafia Wars theme of gang violence was the driving factor to match the movie ( a product ) of similar theme.

In a game such as Seduction, genre is closer to humor and sex with flirtatious story lines.Our experiences suggest that this genre is enjoyed equally by both genders.Products where sexuality is used in advertising, certain values and attitudes towards sex are necessarily ‘sold’ along with a product. In advertising terms, this is called “the concept”.

The message may be that “innocence is sexy” (as used by Calvin Klein when it uses young people in provocative poses), or that link pain and violence with sexiness and glamour (as used by Versace), or that women enjoy being dominated, or that women come with a product (e.g. in the advertisement for Budweiser Beer), or that the use of a certain product is naughty but legal, or that use of a certain product will make the user more attractive to the opposite sex, and many other messages.

These messages are weaved into the story narratives through scenarios .Gaming experience is aided by the scenario graphics and seamlessly links player’s in-game activity with actual online purchase of a product.