Deepfake Technology

a-CT-scan-of-the-abdomen-showing-innumerable-liver-metastases-in-a-patient-Case-1.pngGenerative adversarial networks, the algorithms responsible for deepfakes, have developed a bit of a bad rap of late. But their ability to synthesize highly realistic images could also have important benefits for medical diagnosis.

Deep-learning algorithms are excellent at pattern-matching in images; they can be trained to detect different types of cancer in a CT scan, differentiate diseases in MRIs, and identify abnormalities in an x-ray. But because of privacy concerns, researchers often don’t have enough training data. This is where GANs come in: they can synthesize more medical images that are indistinguishable from the real ones, effectively multiplying a data set to the necessary quantity.”

More on A new way to use the AI behind deepfakes could improve cancer diagnosis via MIT Technology Review.

For those interested in learning more on deepfake technology and the concerns that have been raised regarding its use, check out Artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and the uncertain future of truth by Villasenor via TechTank. Learn more about the legal aspects here at What Can The Law Do About ‘Deepfake’? by Black & Tseng via McMillan.

Health Care Hero for Vancouver Coastal Health

Congratulations to one of our own! Dr. Todd Sakakibara, Primary Care Physician Vancouver Coastal Health, for his 2019 Health Care Hero award!

“Dr. Todd Sakakibara is a primary care physician at Vancouver Coastal Health’s Three Bridges Community Health Centre. He has made a long-term commitment to improving health care for residents of Vancouver’s vulnerable and under-served populations. His innovative approach to community medicine can be seen in his leadership of the Vancouver BOOST Collaborative at his clinic that sees the highest concentration of opioid overdose deaths. Improving access to integrated, evidence-based care for opioid users has resulted in a significant increase in the number of individuals who receive and remain on opioid treatment therapy.

Dr. Sakakibara is also an educator, researcher and mentor in the areas of LGBTQ health, substance use, mental health, transgender care, and addictions. Working with UBC’s Community Health Initiative, he developed an innovative, multidisciplinary rotation model to expose students and residents to the impact of the social determinants of health for marginalized populations in the downtown eastside.

In 2015, he was involved in a continuing professional development workshop called “But I Don’t Have any Gay Patients! Care for Men Who have Sex with Men,” which aims to build capacity for family physicians to provide primary care for this patient population, and move beyond sexual health into more complex issues.

For his commitment to improving health care in vulnerable and under-served communities, Dr. Sakakibara has been named this year’s Health Care Hero for Vancouver Coastal Health!”

Learn more on VCH physician Dr. Sakakibara and end-of-life initiative iPACE recognized at BC Health Care Awards via Vancouver Coastal Health.

Cells & Managing Stress

Image of L3MBTL2 detected in Nucleoplasm from The Human Protein Atlas.

“Using the gene editing tool CRISPR, Lu and his team were able to look at how different genes affect the stress response, and they homed in on L3MBTL2 because it appears to play a protective role for cells. When L3MBTL2 was removed from cells and Lu’s team induced a stress response by exposing the cells to arsenic—a toxic element commonly found in the environment—the cells died. When they overexpressed the gene—or made more of the proteins that the gene consists of—the cells had a higher threshold for stress and didn’t self-destruct.

From a public health perspective, the findings are especially intriguing as Lu noted that the ER produces secretory proteins, including insulin and beta-amyloid, which are implicated in diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, respectively. Understanding how L3MBTL2 affects ER-related stress responses may lead to new insights into how these diseases develop.”

More on When Cells Reach their Breaking Point by Chris Sweeney via Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Healing Communities & the Planet

“Although many countries have not done an extensive assessment of their health sectors’ contributions to climate change, the NHS estimates that the health sector represents 39% of all public sector greenhouse gas emissions in England. In the US, healthcare contributes 9% of overall greenhouse gas emissions.

Pollution and toxic waste rank alongside climate change as major threats to health and sustainability, particularly for low income communities. The World Bank estimates that 23% of child deaths among residents of India could be attributed to pollution, which means that about 350,000 children aged under 5 years die every year as a result of bad air, contaminated water, or similar problems. Unfortunately, healthcare is an important contributor to morbidity and mortality from pollution. One study estimated that the indirect health burdens caused by emissions from the healthcare sector are commensurate with the health burden caused by preventable medical errors.

Increasingly, healthcare organisations of all sizes are implementing strategies to limit their harmful environmental effects. By switching to renewable energy and reducing healthcare waste, healthcare organisations can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution, contribute to growth in renewable energy employment, and realise large financial savings.”

More on How Healthcare Can Help Heal Communities and the Planet (2019) by Francis et al via BMJ.

#CleanUpHealthcare #KnowYourFootprint #TransformingTheHospitalMeal #BringingRoomServiceToPatients #DietAndClimateChange

Simulation Experience: Indigenous Health

“Through the development of a simulation experience, Dr. Amanda Sauvé, a Métis family medicine resident at Royal Victoria Hospital in Barrie, is providing medical students and residents with a glimpse into what it is like to walk in the shoes of an Indigenous Person in Canada.

Stand Up for Indigenous Health is an Indigenous-specific offering of Stand Up for Health – an immersive simulation that allows medical trainees and other health professionals to gain a better understanding of the social determinants of health, through experiential learning. Leveraging the technology of a mobile app, participants are placed in the role of Canadians living in poverty and must interact, make choices, and solve challenges within their given set of circumstances.”

Read more on Simulation Experience Allows Medical Students to Walk in the Shoes of an Indigenous Person in Canada via University of Toronto Family and Community Medicine. Learn more about Stand Up for Indigenous Health.

Thank you Dr. Christie Newton for sharing!