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Stephen Friend

Visiting Professor of Connected Medicine

Nourishing health through sharing relevant insights by each other for each other at times of metamorphoses

Introduction

I joined this Department because I yearn to be contacted by people courageous enough to deeply question our fundamental assessments about healthcare, about what it means to be human, about what it takes to offer radical alternative to the existing institutional systems be those hospitals, research labs or universities as this the 21st century unfolds.


Background

Having spent some time interested in how to predict and treat various conditions from the vantage point of a physician-scientist I am now intrigued by the diversity of individual trajectories taken by people in that phase where symptoms arise and shift in many chronic conditions.

Realising that wearables such as smart-phones, smart-watches and smart-rings etc... offer ways to explode the dimensions of individual assessments while doing so semi-continuously it feels an appropriate time to ask whether we can yet move beyond the current world of "medical alchemy" where within the existing medical industrial complex most medical care is given by anointed guilds of experts (MDs) using paternalistic orders to be followed. We are exploring what would it take to give people direct assessments that could forecast proximal symptom changes and the paths that might offer alternatives. What would it take to build communities where participants interested in building knowledge by each other for each other would share health data and insights as a means to find others whose paths would be informative for certain others. Unlike in the past, we are testing if we might use as AI driven approach to finding similar individual paths built up from data and insights on very large numbers of participants.

Current Efforts

We are designing studies to test what are the fundamental unknowns in making individual forecasts for symptom changes and in empowering people to co-pilot their own chronic medical conditions.

A major current interest is focused on tracking momentary and allostatic stress as detected by wearables and how they might be used to help forecast symptom changes in diverse conditions such as pregnancy, menopause, migraines, MS, and Crohn's disease.

Recent talk- Alan Turing Lecture https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3zbg-l-UkI

More info available at the nonprofit 4YouandMe: https://www.4youandme.org

LISTEN to Nokia Bell Labs podcast - episode 5 - Future Human, a series about human potential of technology. 'Not only do we need to take more agency in our own healthcare, beyond the "priestly experts" we entrust, but we need to reclaim "endangered experiences" where we have a dialogue with ourselves.'