May 20, 2013
Written by Joe Pisani
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 00:00
The Koreans, who gave us Hyundai, Samsung and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, are on the verge of a major technological breakthrough that will let your smartphone diagnose your illnesses. It will save you a fortune in doctor bills but probably run up your cell-phone bill worse than your teenage daughter.
Scientists at Korea Advanced Institute of Science of Technology are exploring how touch-screen technology can perform medical tests, possibly even diagnosing cancer, by detecting bio-molecular matter and electronic charges in your body. I’m not clear how it works, but I suspect it’s similar to technology the IRS uses to determine whether you’ll get audited.
This is an exciting development for us hypochondriacs, who are prone to rare diseases since the invention of the Internet and WebMD.
In my circle of family and friends, two people were sure they had ulcers last month, another feared a brain tumor, another diverticulitis and another a colon blockage. This month, so far, they’re all healthy as hogs.
The strange thing is that while we crave all this medical attention, we’re not worried about smoking, boozing and over-eating.
Whenever I had a health problem, my mother would always say, “It’s all in your head.” (With that approach, she could have cut healthcare costs single handedly.) But that didn’t stop me from running to the doctor in the time-honored tradition of Woody Allen for aches and pains in the most embarrassing places.
A few years ago, I went to the emergency room because my gall bladder was acting up, at least that was the diagnosis of the MDs in the newsroom who had their gall bladders removed. However, the guys with stomach problems said it was my stomach, which is somewhere near your gall bladder, they decided following an intense Google search.
After a lot of tests, which probably cost more than a high-end Hyundai, the doctor said it was “all in my head.” The problem was “stress” — caused by my daughters and my boss. The cure was simple — leave home and quit my job.
That wouldn’t have happened if I had a smartphone MD. Now, we all can be doctors without the student loans.
This technology will help when we ration healthcare the way they do in England and Canada, where my friends who suffer imaginary ailments insist they’ve been denied treatment and had to resort to local herbalists and hypnotists, if not veterinarians.
There may be a shortage of doctors, but we have a surplus of smartphones. Best of all, the phones will make house calls, not to mention long-distance calls, and all you’ll have to do for a second opinion is borrow someone else’s phone. For a modest fee, of course.
At a cocktail party, your spouse says, “Linda looks a little pasty. Bring your smartphone over here so we can see what’s wrong with her.”
Then, you rub your smartphone all over Linda’s body in a discreet PG-13 way, and it whirrs and buzzes and sparks and produces a printout that says Linda is suffering from an extremely contagious disease known as “fungus-among-us.”
Before you know it, people are stampeding toward the door ... the marvels of modern technology.
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