Kathie Melocco - Health Activism

Blog dedicated to Social Justice and Health and Wellbeing Activism

July 20, 2012

The Future in Health: Disease Detection, Waiting to Exhale


As Stony Brook University researcher Perena Gouma looks
on, technician demonstrates breath­alyzer device that
promises to detect signs of disease.
Instead of instructing us to breathe deeply and say “ah,” future doctors may simply have us exhale into diagnostic breathalyzers.

The Single Breath Disease Diagnostics Breathalyzer is being developed by a team of scientists at Stony Brook University in New York, led by materials scientist Perena Gouma. The device uses sensor chips coated with nanowires to detect chemical compounds that may indicate the presence of diseases or infectious microbes.

While the first such “medical breathalyzers” will be specific to one type of disease (for instance, to monitor diabetes), future handheld devices will allow individual users to self-monitor and detect diseases ranging from lung cancer to anthrax exposure.

Source: National Science Foundation, www.nsf.gov. and full credit to the World Futures Society for this post.

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July 01, 2012

Blogopolis 2012 -Does social media work for healthcare communication

At the weekend I attended the most wonderful event in Sydney known as Blogopolis. 200 of Australia’s leading bloggers came together to share lessons, learn new tools and celebrate the power of the authentic voice.

I confess at the outset I too am a blogger, but what was fascinating from a brand sense was how many otherwise influential writers from the healthcare sector were present. I like to say they were there as themselves, representing their passions and of course for the fellowship of others.

I caught up with Catherine Saxelby well known dietician and lots of people came by to welcome us and share their day jobs too - they were either psychologists or nurses or married to doctors and journalists too. It was fascinating. That alone for me was satisfaction enough. Satisfaction that my representation to the company I work with that bloggers are a powerful voice and can either make or break a brand was viewable in one mass – right in this room. Word of mouth still reigns and it was great to hear ‘real opinions’ on matters that mattered and matters that did not. Like what was that question again?

Blogopolis Nuffnang 2012

However one blogger and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing her story really caught my attention. Her name is @mumtalksautism. She has almost finished training as psychologist and has built a respite retreat for those with autism. Her story really touched my heart and I thought I would share it with you.

“I have three boys who all have autism. I am also trying to rebuild my life after our second child was tragically killed.

My eldest #1 is 19 and has high functioning autism and generalised anxiety disorder. Than we had our beautiful #2 who was tragically killed in 2003. #3 is five and has high functioning autism also but additionally has a sensory processing disorder. Then our little man #4 has classic autism, phonological receptive and expressive speech delay, sensory processing disorder and global developmental delay. We are pretty full on around here.

On top of the challenges that we face we are trying to overcome the devastation that feels our life after the death of our son some years ago. This is also that story. How we made it through to the other side. Sort of anyway.

Through my blog I talk about our life. The ups the downs. The good times and the madness that can be grief and living with autism. Having said that.

This is a happy place where I hope you will find inspiration. A place where you will find out how I am making it with three autistic boys. I want to explain how we made a difference and how you can too. We were told our #4 (4) would never talk. Last count we had about 78 words but I think we are way past that to be honest.

We can do this. The good stuff, the bad stuff, the great stuff. We can do this. Together. So please join me for what I can promise will not be a boring journey. Hope you will jump on for the ride. It wouldn’t be the same without you. Plus I wouldn’t want you to miss out on some amazing surprises that we have just around the corner to share with you all. We are going to make a difference. Not only for our boys but your family too. You don’t want to miss this.

Don’t stop believing.”

Mum Talks Autism

Bloggers at Nuffnang BlogopolisIt’s stories like this one, real stories that make what I do as Marketing Director of 1stAvailable so satisfying. We are just one small piece in this amazing cog of healthcare access. Everyone counts, it’s all about equity.

For us at 1stAvailable trying to make people’s lives simpler by being able to book an appointment with the doc when you are able to do that, ie maybe you have time later at night when the kids are bed to jump online and book your regular health checkups. You can see the available appointments your doc has has during the 9-5 window, select one that suits and then book it. It’s simple, easy and quick. And its free.

Thank you again my new friends at Blogopolis 2012 – we learnt a lot and hope to be back. Oh and if you would register and try 
1stAvailable.com.au as a service I’d be ever so grateful for your feedback.

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