Big Data revolutionizing how we research science and medicine

| | October 6, 2014
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

“The scientific method itself is growing obsolete,” says Atul Butte, an entrepreneur and associate professor of pediatrics at the Stanford School of Medicine.

This concept draws from an essay published in Wired Magazine in 2008 called “The End of Theory.”

According to the essay, so much information will be available at our fingertips in the future that there will be almost no need for experiments. The answers are already out there.

“Think about it,” Butte says. “The scientific method — we learned this in elementary school — is: We come up with a question, a hypothesis, and go make measurements to answer it. Now we’re living in this world where we already have the measurements and the data. The struggle is to figure out: What do we want to ask of all that data?”

Take, for example, a question Butte’s team has focused on recently: the rise in pre-term births in the United States.  One theory, says Butte, points to an increase in exposure to environmental toxins.

Traditionally, this would be a challenging hypothesis to study. Medical records for these births aren’t necessarily in any one place, online. The same problem exists with records on air pollution, or weather patterns.

But that’s changing.

Now, Butte says, “you can connect pre-term births from the medical records and birth census data to weather patterns, pollution monitors and EPA data to see is there a correlation there or not.”

Read full, original article: How Big Data Is Changing Medicine

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
a a b b a f ac a

Video: Death by COVID: The projected grim toll in historical context

The latest statistics, as of July 10, show COVID-19-related deaths in U.S. are just under 1,000 per day nationally, which is ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
types of oak trees

Infographic: Power of evolution? How oak trees came to dominate North American forests

Over the course of some 56 million years, oaks, which all belong to the genus Quercus, evolved from a single undifferentiated ...
biotechnology worker x

Can GMOs rescue threatened plants and crops?

Some scientists and ecologists argue that humans are in the midst of an "extinction crisis" — the sixth wave of ...
food globe x

Are GMOs necessary to feed the world?

Experts estimate that agricultural production needs to roughly double in the coming decades. How can that be achieved? ...
eating gmo corn on the cob x

Are GMOs safe?

In 2015, 15 scientists and activists issued a statement, "No Scientific consensus on GMO safety," in the journal Environmental Sciences ...
Screen Shot at PM

Charles Benbrook: Agricultural economist and consultant for the organic industry and anti-biotechnology advocacy groups

Independent scientists rip Benbrook's co-authored commentary in New England Journal calling for reassessment of dangers of all GMO crops and herbicides ...
Screen Shot at PM

ETC Group: ‘Extreme’ biotechnology critic campaigns against synthetic biology and other forms of ‘extreme genetic engineering’

The ETC Group is an international environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Canada whose stated purpose is to monitor "the impact of emerging technologies and ...
Share via
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend