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TMFHelical (99.05)

A couple of notes on the recent NEJM issue

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February 07, 2008 – Comments (1)

This blog is mostly bookmarking for me on a couple of interesting perspective pieces from the recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

The first is more on the healthcare debate.  This commentary points out some of the inherent problems with market driven healthcare.

Market-Based Failure:  A Second Opinion on US Helthcare Costs

The article makes for a good read and does have points, but I'm not so inclined to fully agree with it or even appreciate if it has an overall point.  Pointing out problems is always easier than proposing solutions, and the commentary does more of the former.  It also makes some conclusions that I believe are specious.  But the more perspective the better in my opinion.

Second, and more interesting from an investor standpoint is an excellent commentary related to next generation sequencing.

Focus on Research: The New Age of Molecular Diagnostics for Microbial Agents

It outline some of the promise of next generation sequencing.  For those non wonks, next generation sequencing involves low cost, rapid, short, multi parallel, sequence collection.  Combined with existing databases of genetic info, much information can be gleaned. 

The article talks about some real life examples from what seems to be 454's (part of Roche) next gen seq technology.  And it is great stuff --- for discovery. 

In all, I love next generation sequencing, but not so much as an investment.  It is and will be an outstanding and revolutionary research tool.  But high throughput clinical analysis needs yes-no answers - and here PCR will rule for genetic analysis.  I want an answer that says - you have this specific problem, not one that says, Hey, this is novel.  When PCR fails to diagnose, send the samples to the research labs with the next gen sequencers.  So great technology, but in my mind still limited outside research applications.

Zz

 

1 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On February 07, 2008 at 6:56 PM, bubuzim (96.03) wrote:

I like the last paragraph, "Sometimes, we Americans do the right thing only after having exhausted all other alternatives.  It remains to be seen how much exhaustion the health care system will suffer before we turn to national health insurance."

There's one point where I differ about national health insurance, though... it won't make the doctor visits any longer.  From what I've seen of national health insurance in Taiwan, you can see a doctor any day, and usually your preferred doctor within a couple of days of your choosing.  But because of all the case load, each visit is only about 3-5 minutes.  So far I'm pleased.  The elderly tend to make frequent visits because they have tons of time on their hand... so it adds up to the same total time.

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