Saturday, 22 December 2012

TUBERCULOSIS: Microsoft Research takes the fight to tuberculosis

Microsoft is continuing to help advance technology in a number of different areas, including medicine. Today, the company revealed that the Microsoft Research division in India has created a new way to fight one of the biggest threats to health in the world: tuberculosis.
According to Microsoft's press release, tuberculosis infects nine million people around the world annually, and ends up killing about 1.4 million people per year. While there is a tuberculosis vaccine called Bacille Calmette Guerin, it has proven to be more effective for children and less so for adults.
Adults can be successful in treating and beating tuberculosis. The catch is that it require more than 40 visits to a medical facility over six months. 
Microsoft Research India has now helped to develop a biometric monitoring system that includes a a fingerprint reader, a laptop and a modem. Microsoft states:
With those three devices working together, patients who come to the clinic can scan their finger, with an electronic record of their visit logged onto the netbook using software built on the Microsoft .NET platform. Throughout the day, the record of patients visiting each clinic is sent to Operation ASHA’s central office using the GSM modem, allowing workers to track which patients came to each clinic using Microsoft SQL Server database software.
The system started in the spring of 2010 in India and has since expanded to more than 40 medical clinics and has served 3,000 patients. Microsoft adds, "While researchers have yet to measure the impact on cure rates, interviews with health workers show that the biometric system is encouraging more patients to come to the clinics to complete their course of medication."

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