Sunday 19 June 2011

Gingko-CADx - or - Debian Med is not only about bioinformatics

There is a new package in town, namely Gingko-CADx. This is all about viewing and (for those who want to) also about programming with image data from medical devices. And there are only a handful of packages that render it so obvious why Open Source is about freedom. A couple of years ago I was not so very concerned when I could not immediately read the image data from a befriended clinical institute. My personal eye opener was when I learned that the local Gynecologist could not read the 3D image data but relies on his ultra sound experience and the summary of the Radiologist. I am not so worried about him deciding not to look at it, it is more that this doctor cannot freely make this decision. He does not have the software. Well, he does, now, or to be more exact .. I should go and bring it.

Also in my field, the investigation of complex diseases, image data and their automated analysis is gaining ground. There are movies on the activity of animals, videos counting migrating cells, substances traced in the body ... the more molecular the better. This way, one aims at characterising intermediate phenotypes that are more strongly coupled to genotypic variations, and thus one hopes to better explain the complete disease phenotypes with those additional insights. This is not an academic exercise, but the very start of an understanding that different patients need different treatments. And we will understand better, in what ways the animal models of diseases differ from what one can observe in humans.

So, Open Source once again brings us better communication between doctors, patients and doctors, and between either and statistical geneticists. Yippee.

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