Monday, July 26, 2010

Where's George?

Some of you might already be familiar with Google's flu trends which uses search terms to track the prevalence of flu. Although this might seem like a crude tool it is actually surprisingly accurate and gets the data much faster than the CDC does because it has such a huge volume of data to mine.

The video above shows the results from the project by Northwestern University grad students that uses data from the Where’s George? website that tracks the movement of U.S. paper currency. Again, this surprisingly crude tool is able to amass so much data (they have over 200 million bills in their system!) it has revealed valuable lessons about the movement of people and therefore for the way that diseases like flu might spread. There was an article in the New York Times about the project last year.


Becky Lee said...

Since this is a "follow the money" post. I thought I would let you know that teaching students with the misguided lyme packet/lecture on your blog is unconscionable. There is some great information there, except for the whole rash thing. I grew up covered in ticks, and never, ever, never, ever had any kind of skin erythma of any kind.

Long-term antibiotics has helped me, along with treating my vitamin D deficiency. Which my family doctor ignored even though my skin basically had dandruff. My lyme doctor also tested for food allergies, none of which my family doctor did, or suggested I get done, even though I had been going there since I was 12 years old and was really sick.

My family doctor wrote in my medical records that my "tics looked staged" "family history of mental health problems" and by the way... my entire family grew up covered in ticks.

I am done with antibiotics because my lyme doctor assessed my entire body. Giving someone with lyme 10 days of antibiotics and ignoring all of their other health problems, (food allergies, chemical exposure, metal/mercury/lead levels, hormone levels, etc.) doesn't do squat. Doctors who ignore lyme are the ones who should have their licenses suspended. Need I go on?

You have a link to the Lyme Disease Association, yet you promote "Treat only with presence of rash". Why?

Maybe you should start linking to the documentary "Under our Skin" as well, and get a grip on reality.

John Latto said...

Thanks for reading.
Which information do you find misleading? You say:
'There is some great information there, except for the whole rash thing.'
but I'm not sure what you are referring to. Do you not think that the erythema migrans rash is associated with Lyme? It certainly is not seen in all cases but there's no doubt that it is something people should be aware of so they seek early treatment.

Please note that this blog is supplemental to the lecture course. I try to present a fairly balanced viewpoint in class where appropriate but that does not mean that every post to the blog presents all sides of every issue. If you look at the blog as a whole though I think you'll find it covers a range of viewpoints.

Maybe you should start linking to the documentary "Under our Skin" as well, and get a grip on reality.

If you check out the blog you'll see that there are actually several posts that refer to this movie:
Under Our Skin
Under Our Skin again

You'll also find them both, along with numerous other posts exploring many aspects of this disease, if you click on the Lyme disease tag.