Roy Exum: Now, A 10-Second Clinic

Saturday, June 22, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There was one day, a week or two ago, when my medical friends stuck me with needles 10 different times in an 8-hour span to either draw something out or squirt something in. So as I continue to “rest” before I resume my stride, I was quick to notice a story in my morning reading that held the promise of “changing medicine forever.”

Quite frankly, I was a bit skeptical after I got all hyped up over the announcement of “the greatest invention of all time”  and it turned out to be that two-wheeled scooter contraption that you know as a Segway. Please – the inventor accidentally drove one off a cliff to his demise! But as one who hasn’t felt so good lately, I believe that a guy named Walter De Brouwer and his new gadget called “Scanadu” might indeed be the next big revolutionary miracle.

The little thing is a two-inch round disc, not an inch high, that you pinch with two fingers and hold the sensor to your temple for 10 seconds. Then you need only look on your Smartphone and – get this – it gives you your temperature, respiratory rate (heart beat), oximetry (amount of oxygen in the blood), ECG (electrocardiogram), both diastolic and systolic blood pressure and your stress level. Your Smartphone can then analyze, track and trend your vital signs.

Any medical professional will tell you such a device is incredible and, when you next visit your doctor, you’ll have a history to present like never before. Better yet, if you go to the website Scanadu.com you can make reservations to buy one of the first ones for $199. And it works on anybody – your kids, your friends, your first date with a stranger, whatever. (Delivery is March, 2014.)

The great story behind how the marvel happened is that De Brouwer, after being born a genius in France, earned his PhD. in semiotics and did well, doing everything from brain research to a punk magazine. But when one of his children was 7, the child thought he could fly out of a second-story window and, of course, a horrible tragedy occurred. The child landed on his head and months in hospitals followed.

“You think you are smart, and then you realize you are not a medical doctor, and you understand nothing,” De Brouwer’s pretty wife, Sam, told USA Today. As his business partner in addition to being the mother of three, Sam and her husband were stunned. “It was a traumatic experience that left us thinking it would be great to create a tool that allows patients and doctors to communicate better,” she explained.

DeBrouwer remembered the 1960s TV show Star Trek and how, in the show, a character named Dr. “Bones” McCoy would use a magical medical tricorder to fix anybody in the Starfleet who was puny. He also tapped into NASA research and the dazzling brain-trust in Silicon Valley. And already he has prototype machines being used by hundreds of friends who marvel at the results.

The Scanadu Company is already working on other incredible gadgets. Scanaflu can check one’s saliva for flu and they are working on a device that will use a nano-needle to enable Scanadu to do elementary blood work. A device called Scanaflo will use the Smartphone’s camera to read a urine test-strip and give quick results. If necessary, it will even give directions to the nearest emergency room!

As he told USA Today, “In order to make medicine appeal to consumers, you have to bring something magical to it, so they can take stock of their health before they end up in the emergency room on shock. Sooner or later, we all end up in the ER. We think it only happens to the neighbors, but we are the neighbors.”

My thinking is a little different. Can you imagine how much more efficient a hospital would be if every professional in the place had such a tool in their pocket. What about EMTs, school nurses, my goodness – it is mindboggling. Suddenly expensive and time-consuming tests can be done with a tricorder and texted to the physician’s office.

The vision is that less than a year from now Scanadu will be available to the general public. And as one who got stuck 10 times one day not long ago, I’m gonna’ sign up. Phone in the numbers – Dr. Spock’s nurse will phone back a prescription. That’s where we are headed.

royexum@aol.com



Roy Exum: Let’s ‘Pay It Forward’

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning, this at a Starbucks coffee store located at 2186 Tyrone Blvd. in St. Petersburg, Fla.,  an unidentified woman who was first in line at the drive-through window, politely told the drive-through window clerk she would like to “pay it forward.” The clerk checked the next order – it was a caramel macchiato – and the first customer paid for both her ... (click for more)

Families In Public Schools Fight Common Core, But Won't Get Out

The alarm among Christians who patronize government-run schools has a clear cause. Common Core, the name of the latest spate of reform, promises further control by Washington. What are moms and dads to make of the opposition to Common Core, particularly if they are Christian or home educators? How worked up should we get?  We’ll let Tony Perkins of a Washington G Street ... (click for more)

Jury Finds In Favor Of Texas Sheriff In Suit Brought By Chattanooga Photographer

A Federal Court jury on Friday found in favor of a Texas sheriff and his chief deputy who had been sued by a Chattanooga photographer. The jury in the courtroom of Judge Curtis Collier awarded no damages to Donna Johnson. In his closing argument after a two-week civil trial, attorney John Anderson said, "This is about the Fourth Amendment." Attorney Anderson represented Ms. ... (click for more)

Justin Wilkins Selected As Deputy Chief Of Staff For Mayor Berke

Native Chattanoogan Justin Wilkins will serve as Mayor Andy Berke's deputy chief of staff, it was announced Friday. Mr. Wilkins has spent the last several years serving as the Tennessee state director for multiple advocacy and electoral organizations, including Organizing for America and Organizing for Action. Prior to that, he worked as project manager at Profit Plans LLC ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain "Grounds" East Hamilton, 28-19

Signal Mountain was determined to run the football and take time off the clock Friday night in the second half of its 28-19 non-district victory over rival East Hamilton before a standing-room-only crowd at Hurricane Hill. “That’s our kind of football,” Eagles coach Bill Price said after the season opening game for both teams. “It was a tough football game and we just got out ... (click for more)

Maynor Leads Soddy Daisy Past Hixson, 49-36

If you wanted to see a lot of offense in a high school football game, then you should have been at  Soddy Daisy's Robert Talaska Field Friday night. Defense was all but non-existent on either side as the host Trojans took advantage of five touchdown passes from southpaw senior quarterback Hunter Maynor to outlast the Hixson Wildcats, 49-36. The last two minutes of the ... (click for more)