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Demystifying Medicine One Week at a Time

Olympian Dreams

It was nice while it lasted. All 48 hours of it.

The paper of record, theĀ The New York Times, gave legitimacy to a farfetched effort to bring the 2024 Summer Olympics right here to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

profile-picThere was a lot of joking about it in these parts, but hey: Why not think big? Many of us started fantasizing about improvements in infrastructure, building a more meaningful and serviceable public transportation system, etc.

A mere day later, the Mayor and the head of the Tulsa Sports Commission pulled the plug on the whole dream.

Easy come, easy go.

Hard to envision spending billions of dollars (anyone’s billions, be they public or private) on something so ephemeral as a two week summer athletic festival when there are social and economic disparities of major significance.

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First FDA-approved App*

The plus side of not focusing time, energy, and resources on the Olympics means we can turn our attention to other stories.

In the last two weeks, there has been a mini-media splash over a Tulsa-based startup that’s truly innovative.

Sway Medical has come up with an app called “Sway Balance,” that uses nothing more than existing technology in current smartphones to test an individual’s balance.

The state of the art equipment in diagnosing balance issues is a machine on the order of $30,000. The app is free but will require a $200 subscription. When I see a product that can reduce the price of a technology more than two orders of magnitude, I’m impressed.

The story about this interesting startup was covered in the both theĀ Wall Street Journal and in the Tulsa World. One area of intense interest is the app’s ability to determine if an athlete diagnosed with a concussion is at baseline with respect to their balance and gait. Using such an elegantly simple tool, sideline evaluators (team doctors and trainers) could gain valuable information not heretofore possible in the heat of battle.

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*First FDA-approved app that’s only software and doesn’t require an attachment.

Disclosure: I sit on a local non-profit board with the inventor/CEO of Sway Medical. I have no proprietary interest or relationship with the company, but simply find the story compelling.

2 Comments

  1. John, I really enjoy Glass Hospital, and I understand that some weeks are just slow news weeks. I guess this is one of them.

  2. I grew up in Maine, and always dreamed of the Olympics coming to our state too, but alas, capitalism and reality always won, and only giant cities or whole countries have much of a chance these days with the literally billions of dollars of infrastructure spending needed to host the event. Nice to dream though. Keep dreaming.

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