Athena Project Newsletter – March 2016

The ATHENA Project is an EU co-funded project aiming to utilize social media communications and develop tools to empower citizens and first responders in crisis situations. Athena’s March Newsletter highlights the testing of the Athena mobile application, the Command and Control Intelligence Dashboard (CCCID), and the Athena Logic Cloud (ALC) that took place in Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK. Epidemico continues to improve the mobile application’s user experience and features. ATHENA newsletter_March 2016

Social Media Listening for Routine Post-Marketing Safety Surveillance

Our recent paper published in Drug Safety, “Social Media Listening for Routine Post-Marketing Safety Surveillance” highlights our work with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) on Project CRaWL. The publication represents an important milestone in drug safety, with insights into how one industry member is dealing with some of the challenges inherent in utilizing digital listening to capture more information on safety events. Using machine learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing (NLP), Epidemico worked with GSK to automatically de-identify, de-duplicate, and classify 15,500 drug safety discussions from social media and then translate internet slang into suitable terminology for analysis. Traditional drug safety metrics, such as proportional reporting ratio (PRR),… Read More

El Nino, Valley Fever, and Arizona

This post is brought to you by The Disease Daily’s Tessa Runels, Cheryl Lang, and Colleen Nguyen. Valley Fever is a disease that is becoming all too common in parts of the Southwest United States such as Arizona and California. This disease, which is gaining notoriety among residents and visitors to these states, is spread through the dust that is a hallmark of this region. The disease-causing spores that are spread via dust are highly sensitive to slight changes in the weather (1,2). It is predicted that this year’s unique weather patterns… Read More

Could Zika be the Mysterious Killer of Howler Monkeys in Nicaragua?

This blog post is brought to you by The Disease Daily’s Kara Sewalk, Wei-Chih Chang, and Colleen Nguyen Scientists are concerned that the recent mysterious deaths of howler monkeys in Nicaragua could be a result of the Zika Virus. Recently, nearly 40 howler monkeys have been found dead in the tropical region, with no apparent signs of trauma [1]. Paso Pacifico, an environmental non-profit organization that works in the Pacific jungles of Central America, is leading the efforts to determine what the cause of death is for these monkeys. The howler monkey… Read More

Have We Underestimated the Zika Outbreak in Venezuela?

Today’s blog post is brought to you by The Disease Daily‘s Yulin Hswen and Colleen Nguyen: In Venezuela, there have been reports of over 5,000 suspected cases of the Zika virus [1, 2] – a virus with potential links to severe birth defects in thousands of newborns in Brazil, and potentially related to the autoimmune disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome [3, 4]. Independent experts believe that the actual number of Zika cases in Venezuela is significantly underestimated. Using mathematical modeling and official government data, Julio Castro, a professor of tropical epidemiology at the Central… Read More

Unraveling the Zika Virus Mystery: Lessons Learned from Another Flavivirus

We are going to begin featuring blog posts from The Disease Daily, written by our friends & colleagues at HealthMap. The Disease Daily authors believe that infectious disease news should be accessible and comprehensible to everyone. As a publication from HealthMap, The Disease Daily has access to real-time reporting of infectious disease events all over the world. While HealthMap alerts the community to the outbreaks, The Disease Daily puts those alerts into context, showing readers the impact of infectious disease on policy, economics, and community. Enjoy! Feb 8, 2016 | Lauren Marsh, Christopher Mantell, Sumiko… Read More

Big Data Listening

Here at Epidemico we are not only harnessing big data, but listening to Adam Wilkis, more widely known as music producer Big Data. The electropop luminary’s newish album “2.0” is in rotation at 883 Boylston. Don’t get us wrong; we are into the 1.0 album, too. We have a lot in common with Big Data: we are both influenced by technology, Adam Wilkis is a Harvard grad/we originated out of Harvard’s Boston Children’s Hospital, and we love a wide range of music from Fleetwood Mac to Future. Though Big Data is most… Read More

Big Decisions, Big Data

Epidemico’s VP of Client Delivery, Dr. Sumiko Mekaru, was recently invited to be a panelist at the World Bank Group’s Big Decisions, Big Data: Using Big Data to Drive System Performance conference in Washington D.C on January 11th, 2016. The forum highlighted advances in data collection and analysis technology. Sumiko shared some of our favorite big data solutions that improve population health analytics and surveillance, namely HealthMap, MedWatcher Social, and StreetRx. When it comes to addressing the challenges that accompany big data, our innovative tools support cost-effective surveillance of large and noisy… Read More

Epidemico Year in Review

We had a great year at Epidemico. See you in 2016!  

An Epidemico update on Essure

Essure, an implantable permanent birth control device, was introduced to the market and granted early approval by the FDA in November 2002. Reports of adverse events among women implanted with Essure surfaced shortly thereafter, increasing over time, principally over the past two years. As a result, the FDA’s Medical Devices Advisory Committee met on September 24, 2015 to discuss the risks and benefits of Essure, seeking expert scientific and clinical opinion, as well as hearing patient testimonials. The Advisory Committee meeting focused on providing patients more information pre-procedure, guidelines for implants removal, and… Read More


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