Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Dickson Live at SXSW

Posted on: March 10th, 2017 by Jeff Renoe No Comments


Published on March 23rd at 11:50am

You may have noticed, but between session hopping, travel and research, time got away from us a little bit. But, don’t fear, there is a lot more content still to come from our experiences at SXSW. We will be covering the below sessions in more detail in the coming weeks and will make sure to link back to them here so you always have a place to check.

Thanks for following along and we hope you enjoyed the ride!

Published on March 12th at 11:42am

Another interesting session we got to visit involved Hacking Pharma and learning about getting into the industry. We also learned about some of the industry’s biggest needs from digital health. Click below to see our notes from the event that we took on Twitter, and check back in the weeks that follow for a more in-depth look at the session.




Published on March 12th at 10:19am

Yesterday we had the opportunity to sit and listen to some great things. Unfortunately, when you’re frantically note taking, your computer tends to die, thus, no updates yesterday. It’s a shame, because there were some excellent topics on the docket. Yesterday we talked about Innovation in Healthcare through Telehealth, as well as whether or not the food industry needed a data standard. Spoiler Alert:  It does.

We’ll right some individual pieces on both topics in the weeks that follow, but if you’re interested in learning more now, you can find the threads we kept on Twitter @DicksonData. Click the images below to link to the start of our coverage for both conversations.


Food Data

Today we’ll be learning about how we can avoid a Diabetes Avalanche (something we’ve covered many times here in the past, including how Dogs could save a diabetic’s life) and what it’s going to take to get us to Mars.

Follow along on Twitter, and keep checking back over the next several weeks for more indepth coverage on each of the topics.

Published on March 10th at 10:28pm

Hope is a powerful thing. Providing it to those who, at times, feel they have none is an even more powerful one. It’s one of the ultimate points that could matter. That’s why it was incredible to sit and listen to three speakers talk about their experiences as amputees.

Melissa Stockwell was the first female from the Iraq war to lose her limb in active combat. As an above the knee amputee, she was able to go on and compete at two Paralympic Games and received a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio games for the Paratriathlon.

“My life is 100% better than I think it would have been if I had both my legs.”

Melissa was also a founding member of the non profit organization Dare2tri. According to their website, Dare2tri is an “organization with the mission to positively impact the lives of athletes with physical disabilities and visual impairments by developing their skills in paratriathlon.” Visit their website to learn more.

Heath Calhoun was a new father when he lost both of his legs in combat. After spending more than two years in a wheelchair, he finally found himself connected with the right prosthetics that would, eventually, allow him to walk again. Today he’s hoping for more.

“I want to see something that is linked neurally; something that I can control naturally.”

Now, he’s a certified peer visitor of theAmputee Coalition of America (ACA). Through the organization, he makes himself available to others who have lost limbs and provides emotional and informational support to them. He’s also an Alpine Skiier.

“(With) the monoski and the snow, the ball was back in my court. I could go anywhere I wanted on the mountain.”

Christy Wise is an active duty pilot who lost her leg in a hit-and-run boating accident while paddle boarding near Shalimar, Florida. The injuries she sustained required her right leg to be amputated above the knee. She is once again piloting and recently participated in the Invictus Games as an athlete, and is a Paralympic hopeful. It’s why she has five legs at home; six, if she counts the one that’s permanently attached.

“This is Xena Warrior Princess,” she said while pointing at the prosthetic she was wearing. She also had one named Aerial that she used for swimming and one named Bolt that she used for running. For Wise though, hope is found in others who are finding hope in her.

“The second you help somebody else, your own problems seem smaller. I think (that’s why) being a foster parent is better for me than the kids.”

All three of the sessions wounded warriors were incredible, resilient people. We’re grateful to live at a time when they’ve had the opportunities they’ve had to carry on even after their amputations. We’re even more grateful to have had them standing up in defense of our country. It’s their strength that carries the hopes of our nation. That can be a powerful thing.

Published on March 10th at 10:26am 

Over the next week, we’ll be live tweeting and blogging from Austin, TX is we learn all about innovations in healthcare at SXSW. The show itself is tabbed as being “the premier destination for discovery.” At Dickson, we pride ourselves on our curiosity. For us, every point can’t matter if we aren’t curious about how we can do more, and you can’t know how to do more unless you’re curious enough to discover it for yourself. Data may be what we do, but it doesn’t define us. You do.  Whether you’re our customers, our readers, our friends, our family, or anyone that doesn’t even fit into that category, you matter to us. It’s why we work so hard to help our customers manage their assets and succeed in their audits. That kind of work protects not only the companies that require monitoring, but it protects the customers they are selling to.

Follow along as we share what we learn throughout the day, and as we (at least try) to provide a wrap up at the end of each of them. Today we’ll be learning about how Wounded Warriors are transforming biotech and the ways that the LGBT community is driving digital health innovations. Feel free to join in our conversation in the comments below or on Twitter @DicksonData. Look forward to speaking with you all soon!


New Database Shows Promise of Technological Innovation in Pharma

Posted on: March 3rd, 2017 by Jeff Renoe No Comments


Expediency is often an appreciated trait for someone to have when one’s life is at stake. While that should work the same way when an organization is involved, you’ll rarely, if ever, hear anyone say the FDA is expedient about anything.

The same, frankly, can be said about healthcare in general. We’ve said as much here in the past. The FDA, however, has instituted some changes that they hope will speed drug approvals, labeling changes, and delivery for pharmaceuticals.

“When your physician or other health care professional prescribes your medicine using their e-prescribing system, the new safety information now displays much faster than with our previous system,” said Mary E. Kremzner, PharmD, MPH, and CAPT, of the U.S. Public Health Service.

According to a piece by Kremzner, what’s taken weeks, if not longer in the past, should now be handled within days.

“Within days of FDA approval of new drug safety information for a drug product, the information is entered into the safety labeling changes database. Health IT vendors that provide clinical and drug information support for hospitals and pharmacies are then alerted to integrate the safety labeling changes data into their systems.”

That database is even open to the public. With a quick search you can see information on a variety of drugs that are contained within. Earlier this year we talked about a number of medical practices that were quickly becoming outdated. One we discussed was a lack of detail listed on pharmaceutical labels. This new database would seem to help fill in any gaps that may currently exist in the data readily available.

While the industry still has a long way to go in order to recoup the $30 billion we’ve estimated in the past that the American healthcare system could save with improved technology and communication practices, this is a great first step. Progress is always important when lives could hang in the balance. 

Developers are Once Again Working to Bring Reality to Science Fiction

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 by Jeff Renoe No Comments

Medical devices come in many shapes and sizes and can be inspired in a great many number of ways. As we’ve discussed on our blog many times in the past many ideas come from the imaginations of those outside of the industry.

Another example of this kind of innovation has been underway thanks to a competition that was initiated back in 2012 that has these innovators working to recreate a medical marvel that first debuted on televisions a half century ago.

Star Trek’s Tricorder was a multifunction hand-held device used for sensor scanning, data analysis, and recording data. Each prototype must have the capacity to monitor five vital signs and diagnose medical conditions, send data to the internet, and weigh under five pounds.

You can read more on STAT about the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize and how two teams are working to develop a real life version of Star Trek’s medical Tricorder.


Pulled Apart: How Magnetism May Soon Help People Put their Lives Back Together

Posted on: February 14th, 2017 by Jeff Renoe No Comments


Valentine’s Day means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

For those lucky enough to be with a special someone, it’s a time for celebration. For those who aren’t with someone, the pressure to be in a relationship can become even more apparent. In extreme cases, feelings of loneliness can bubble up to the forefront. This, according to Louise Hawkley, PhD, a research associate in the psychology department at the University of Chicago, often leads to depression.

“Although depression doesn’t always lead to loneliness, feeling lonely is often a predictor of depression, and it certainly leads to sadness,” said Hawkley.

Allowing depression to go unchecked is a dangerous game. According to the non-profit, the number one cause that leads to suicide around the world is related to untreated depression. NeuroQore, a company out of Ontario, believes it can help more receive treatment. They claim to have found a way to cure depression through the use of magnetic pulses. Mehran Talebinjad, co founder of the company, discussed her method’s success in an interview with TechCrunch.

“We have an 87.5 percent remission success rate over drug-resistant depression,” said Talebinjad.

The method that NeuroQore uses isn’t a new innovation. In fact, it’s built on Neurofeedback therapy, an idea that’s been around for more than twenty years. Tech Times discusses how that treatment has historically worked.

“Neurofeedback therapy entails stimulating parts of the brain to send a positive signal in the form of a pleasant tone through the ears. This happens each time a desirable mood is achieved by the subject. The process is repeated over time in hopes of eventually achieving a permanently positive and healthy pattern, and has been used in clinics that did not rely on drugs as a primary treatment.”

The Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or rTMS, that NeuroQore uses, works similarly. However, instead of using audible tones through the ears, they use magnetic pulses that transmit tones directly to the brain. According to TechCrunch, there’s one other subtle difference in the process.

“NeuroQore also measures its results with biomarkers as physical evidence. Unlike with talk therapy or drugs, this takes out some of the guesswork of if and where the brain might be improving.”

The idea was pioneered following Talebinjad’s first performed brain surgery.

“Neuromodulation is super important and the brain is so complex,” he said. “I realized during this surgery there wasn’t a lot of effective approaches out there.”

While the treatment is still awaiting FDA approval, it has already been approved in the company’s native Canada. As with all treatments that currently exist for this and similar disorders, there is no guarantee that this method will work for every patient. However, the results, mixed with the lack of side effects that the company claims exist, make it a treatment worth exploring. A life without depression could mean something different to a lot of different people. Whatever the meaning, everyone should be lucky enough to experience that.

Are you suffering from depression and/or experiencing thoughts of hopelessness or suicide? There are a tremendous number of resources available online just like this to find the help you need.


Dickson at Pittcon 2017: Booth 5245

Posted on: February 8th, 2017 by Jeff Renoe No Comments


Updated on 3/8/2017 at 8:59 AM

We’ve just started day number three and things are continuing to move right along. We’re hopeful that some of you had as good of an experience on day two as we did. We had an opportunity appear at our booth that was so perfect, we thought it was staged. Here’s a snippet of that conversation.

“I’m looking for something that uploads my temperature and humidity data someplace where I can access it from anywhere at anytime. My team has also become upset at the calibration process because they have to send their devices off to be re-calibrated and then they don’t have anything to track and record what’s going on during their experiments. Personally, I’d really like to be alerted if any of our loggers are disconnected because of cleaning and are never set up again. Do you know of anything like that?”

Our response?

“Why yes. That is exactly what we do and exactly why we are here.”

If you’re looking to address any problems that are similar to the above example we saw yesterday, make sure to stop by and visit us today. You can also meet with one of our project managers to talk about the system and, depending on his availability today, with our manager of Mapping and Validation Services.

We’ll look forward to talking with many of you soon and wish you all a wonderful Wednesday at Pittcon!

Updated on 3/6/2017 at 10:27 AM

The day has arrived and Pittcon is officially underway. Last year we were able to spend the week at the show in Atlanta. This week, it’s returned to Chicago, our own personal stomping ground, the home of Italian sausage, deep dish pizza, da Super Fans, and baseball’s world champions.

Follow us on Twitter for images and updates on the show (@DicksonData) and check back often for updates on the things we see and hear on the showroom floor.

Also, our business development team is manning the booth today, so stop by if you have any questions related to any of your temperature and humidity monitoring needs. Hope to visit with you all soon!

Published on 2/8/2017 at 2:39 PM

Curiosity is one of the most interesting aspects of life. The desire to know or learn can give life meaning. It’s about the desire to grow and to better one’s self and in some cases humanity as a whole. Few places is that more on display than at Pittcon, the world’s largest conference and expo on the field of laboratory science.

The show covers a variety of topics including subjects like biomedical and electrochemistry. Its audience is made up of all laboratory scientists, and provides value to anyone who identifies, quantifies, analyzes or tests the chemical or biological properties of compounds or molecules, or who manages these laboratory scientists. While the convention was initially rooted in analytical chemistry and spectroscopy, Pittcon has now evolved to include life sciences, pharmaceutical discovery and QA, food safety, environmental, bioterrorism and other emerging markets.

Last year, one topic that was often discussed involved water. Several of the companies and researchers we spoke with had invested tremendous time on the subject. General Electric was working on a product that would allow them to do a better job of recycling surface water for human consumption. Another had been working to detect oil spills that occur off the mainland.

This year’s show is located at McCormick place in downtown Chicago from March 5th – 9th. If you’re attending, or considering to, reach out and let us know. We’ll be set up at booth 5245 and would love to hear from you. We’re currently scheduling live consultations with our validation and mapping experts as well as time with our product manager for discussing our DicksonOne platform. Send an email to to learn more.