Data Science: My Journey from Doctor to Noob Kaggler.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been pursuing another hobby  – data science and artificial intelligence (AI). You might have followed the much-publicised match between Lee Sedol, one of the world’s best Go players, and AlphaGo, an AI system developed by Google that spurred discussions about the future of AI. (Spoiler : AlphaGo won 4 – 1) This has been partly triggered by my work at Holmusk, where our brilliant data science team has been winning multiple competitions and most recently took part in the Second Annual Data Science Bowl on Kaggle. This was a challenge...

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We Are All Hypocrites: Changing Behaviours and Mindsets

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hooked onto the book ‘The Happiness Hypothesis‘, whenever I can squeeze out some time for non-medical reading. It’s fascinating, and has given me more insights into human psychology I first came across the book while I was studying up on Tony Hsieh and Zappos. Zappos is an online shoe retailer that is known for its legendary customer service, taking the words ‘the customer is king’ to the next level (they were acquired by Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009). I was searching for concepts we could apply in our own company...

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The Ominous Octet – How Type 2 Diabetes Develops

Back when I was in medical school, some 7+ years ago, diabetes mellitus didn’t seem so complex.  There were less big words – no canagliflozins, exenatides, sitagliptins, and the newest kid on the medication block were the TZDs.  And we were taught that there were 2 main mechanisms for the development of diabetes: Insulin-resistance – your muscles and liver don’t respond well to insulin Lack of insulin secretion – your beta-cells have lost their function   Today, we know that there are at least 8 different mechanisms that play an important role in Type...

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6 Startups Tackling The Problem of Modern Aging

6 startups pitched their ideas at the finale event for Modern Aging Singapore on Dec 5. If you didn’t already know, Modern Aging Singapore is a 4-month program in Singapore that was launched this year by ACCESS Health. During this period, it takes participants from ideation into a viable business plan through workshops and mentorships. My company has a significant interest in the problem – or rather, opportunity – of the rapidly aging population in countries like Japan, China and Singapore. In particular, around creating digitally-supported programs to prevent or delay...

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ice cream

Personalising dietary advice – Banana vs Cookies

Have less ice cream or chocolates, and more fruits and vegetables – that’s great dietary advice for good health right? Wrong!  Well, at least for some people. Let me pose you a simple question : Which do you think will lead to higher blood glucose levels after consumption – a banana or several cookies? (let’s say they were Famous Amos)   Cookies of course!  (you say?) This group of Isreali researchers attached a continuous glucose monitor to 800 participants and measured their responses to over 40,000 meals. They found that there was high variability in...

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hello WDD from Singapore!

WDD : Healthy Eating is a Right, not a Privilege

World Diabetes Day is celebrated internationally on November 14 and this year it happened last Saturday. The key message for this year is that Healthy Eating is a right, not a privilege. How can we ensure that everyone has access to healthy food at reasonable prices? How can we provide everyone with the knowledge and motivation to eat healthily? Difficult problems indeed. The statistics are alarming : More than 400 million people around the world have diabetes today. A healthy lifestyle can prevent up to 70% of type 2 diabetes, equivalent of up to 150 million cases by 2035. A healthy meal...

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Big Data and Chronic Diseases at Asia IoT Business Platform (4 Nov 2015)

Two weeks ago, I was invited to speak on the use of big data to fight chronic diseases at the Asia IoT Business Platform, held in Kuala Lumpur on 3 – 4 Nov 2015. Although I was only able to attend on the 2nd day, it was an interesting gathering of technologists and opportunists who are all interested in the potential for M2M and IoT to change the world. IoT = Internet of Things. It was my privilege to be able to share my personal viewpoints on how data science is going to transform medicine in the near future with an audience of over 200+ people, as well as connect with many new...

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exponential medicine

Exponential Medicine 2015 – Live stream

Exciting news for anyone who is interested in healthcare innovation : Exponential medicine 2015 (part of Singularity University) is live streaming these 4 days, free-of-charge.  That’s amazing, considering that it costs $5000 for a ticket to attend the conference and anyone can now watch it in the comfort of their room.  It’s a great conference on the cutting-edge in technology in healthcare with many distinguished speakers. It’s a bummer that it’s in a very different time zone (PST, 16 hours behind) but I’m catching as much as I can. Among the...

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Hans Rosling speaks on sex and babies

Inspirations at TEDx Singapore (6 – 7 Nov 2015)

The TEDx Singapore conference was held this weekend (Friday to Saturday). It was the largest TEDx event organised in Singapore to date, with 30 speakers covering a variety of topics from building smart cities to live looping and philantrophy. The atmosphere was great, with more than 1000 people turning up at the NTU auditorium. Kudos to the TEDx Singapore team – the sessions were inspirational and thought provoking! The theme was ‘An Undiscovered Country’, and was laser-focused on Singapore. Several of the talks were about unique, lesser-known aspects of Singapore, or...

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Discussing Genomics, Big Data and Medicine

For anyone who has an inkling of interest in the conversations around genomics, big data and medicine, I highly recommend this series of talks that are available publicly online, by the Icahn School of Medicine In particular, this was a great session by Tim Kelsey, who is the national director for patients and information in the NHS.  He touched upon many of the thorny issues we have to begin conversations about, as we move towards personalised medicine. If you don’t have time to watch it through (about an hour long), I’ve got some of the key points noted down: The UK has...

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