Solving global health problems requires entrepreneurship – Anjali Sastry and Julie Devonshire

MIT Sloan Sr. Lecturer Anjali Sastry

From Times Higher Education

Solving complex global health challenges calls for innovation in the many domains that shape current thinking about the field: medicine, economic development, public health, product engineering, anthropology, design thinking, and the emerging science of healthcare delivery. But what’s often missing in the mix is entrepreneurship.

A new breed of entrepreneurs is making headway in global health. Some are challenging the status quo by launching new ventures while others work with public, private and non-profit organisations. By developing novel applications of technology and analytics, improving processes and starting businesses, these innovators are developing brand new solutions to global health challenges. Creating clinically effective offerings that people choose over existing alternatives requires a deep understanding of relationships, dynamics and context. Doing this with an eye to improving the quality, sustainability and reach of healthcare in emerging markets calls for innovators who are ready to tackle the complexities of global health.

It’s important to provide education and training for this new breed of entrepreneurs because the wrong kind of failure comes at too high a cost. Too much pivoting, and public trust is eroded. A misstep may even harm patients. Innovators need to be creative and agile, but they also need to invest in the groundwork, a combination of imperatives that can be difficult to follow when building a business.

Read More »

Join the #Innovate4Health Twitter Chat “Accelerating Developing World Growth Through Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Healthcare” on May 15

Building Sustainable Healthcare Systems through Innovation and Entrepreneurship, MIT-King’s College of London Summit, May 22, 2019

What role can innovators and entrepreneurs play in overcoming global health challenges, creating a safer and healthier world, and driving global prosperity?

Join us for an #Innovate4Health Twitter chat on Wednesday, May 15 at 9 a.m. Boston / 2 p.m. London time.

The featured experts are Georgina Flatter (@GeorgieMIT), Research Scientist at the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at MIT, and Prashant Jha (@drpjha), Head of Affordable Medical Technologies at the School of Biomedical Engineering & Imaging Sciences at King’s College London. Suranga Chandratillake (@surangac) of Balderton Capital, will be leading the discussion as host. Together, they will discuss how innovators and entrepreneurs around the world are challenging what is possible in healthcare and driving global progress.

Read More »

Elder-care researchers: Critics using invalid arguments to oppose statewide Question 1 – Paul Osterman

MIT Sloan Prof. Paul Osterman

MIT Sloan Prof. Paul Osterman

From Portland Press Herald

Everybody knows that the population of older adults is set to explode as the baby boomers age. Everybody knows that overwhelmingly, the elderly want to remain in their homes even as they need help with daily living.

But what people may not know is that many older adults in Maine will not be able to achieve this unless something changes. What could change for the better is a favorable vote on Question 1. And contrary to the lies that critics are spreading, Question 1 would be good for the economy, as well as Maine families.

As experts who have spent decades researching the economics of caregiving and the effectiveness of social policy, it has been infuriating to see opponents of Question 1 try to dupe Mainers with unsound arguments and scare tactics. The argument for Question 1 is clear: Older Mainers currently do not have the freedom of choice to stay at home as long as they want to, for two reasons.

Read More »

These 5 “productive” habits are doing your brain more harm than good – Tara Swart

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Tara Swart

From Fast Company

It’s probably no surprise to you that exercise, nutrition, and caffeine can have a significant impact on your brain health. You’ve probably read many articles giving you advice on how they can help your mind. You might even have adopted a habit or two.

But while certain practices seem productive in theory, they’re more likely to hamper your brain function rather than boost it. Here are 5 of those common habits, and what you can do instead:

URBAN JOGGING OR CITY CYCLING

Whenever I see joggers on city pavements, I want to stop them and tell them to stay away from the roadside and head to the gym. This is because although cardiovascular exercise is a great way to boost alertness, mood, and learning, inhaling polluted air means you may cancel out much of the benefit. Particulate matter from car exhaust is terrible for the brain–it can lead to neuroinflammation and cognitive decline.

When you inhale polluted air, it reduces levels of BDNF in the brain. BDNF is a protein that enhances brain plasticity–which improves cognition and memory performance. One study looked at BDNF levels among cyclists who rode in heavy traffic and found that the exercise led to no increase in BDNF at all.

The best alternative for urban dwellers is to head to an indoor gym–but if you don’t want to give up your outdoor run, download an air-quality app and check your route before a ride or a run. There are lots to choose from, including Air Matters, Air Visual App, and Breezometer. You can also just avoid major roads altogether, and jog on woodland trails or in park interiors instead, away from traffic and fumes.

Read More »

Hospitals hit back on drug pricing, but will they knock out the problem? – Ernst Berndt

From The Conversation

MIT Sloan Professor Ernst Berndt

MIT Sloan Professor Ernst Berndt

Drug manufacturing and pricing vaulted into the news several years ago when a privately held company raised the price of a drug used for infections from US$13.50 to $750 for one pill.

After an outcry from hospitals, the company later relented, dropping its price by a small margin. Still, this single dramatic increase shed light on the once obscure arena of older generic drugs that continue to be in short supply and whose prices occasionally skyrocket.

Frustrated with these shortages and alarmed by the potential for price gouging, a coalition of hospitals has recently struck back. Four not-for-profit, religiously affiliated hospital systems and the U.S. Veterans’ Administration announced their intent to form a company that would manufacture generic drugs, thereby helping to mitigate or eliminate shortages and prevent future massive price spikes for rarely used generic drugs.

I’m an economist who has studied the health care industry, including the U.S. generic industry, and I see a few regulatory and business hurdles to this approach.

Read More »