Cervix ‘Selfies’ Help Diagnose Cancer Among High-Risk, Low-Income Women

Cervical cancer is one of the deadliest cancers among women, but also one of the most preventable, yet low-income patients often don’t have access to effective diagnostic measures. 

 

That’s why a small startup is working to bring a portable, low-cost screening tool to underserved women. 

 

Every year, more than 270,000 people die from cervical cancer, 85 percent of whom are in the developing world, according to the World Health Organization. Part of the reason why low-income women are more at risk is because they don’t have access to colposcopes, the device that’s used for screenings in most Western countries.

 

After learning of those statistics, MobileODT, an Israel-based group, was inspired to find a way to leverage the power of cell phones to ramp up screenings among women in need. Across the globe, 5 billion people have cell phones, but don’t have access to physicians, according to MobileODT CEO Ariel Beery.

 

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Last year, the 3-year-old group was ready to test the prototype for its mobile colposcope. This medical-grade case connects to a cell phone and adds optical and illumination components.

 

The device takes advantage of the phone’s eye and display in order to capture a clear image of a woman’s cervix, Beery explained.

 

The technology has been embraced for both its affordability and expediency. 

 

Traditional colposcopes cost between $10,000 and $15,000, Beery said. MobileODT’s device costs $1,800. 

 

It takes the clinician only a few minutes to capture and review the image for any abnormalities. She’s then able to use the phone’s “brain” to store the information and share it with other medical professionals in order to get a second opinion. 

 

Billions of people are “buying phones and buying minutes for their phones for banking, commerce and learning,” Beery told HuffPost. “The one thing they can’t do is use them for the most important thing in life, which is saving their life and the lives of loved ones.”

 

MobileODT conducted all of its clinical trials in the U.S., at such reputable health centers as the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Scripps Health in San Diego, before bringing the technology to Europe and the developing world. 

 

Currently, it’s being used in 11 countries, including Kenya, Gambia, Haiti and Peru. 

 

The company plans on bringing the mobile colposcope to the U.S. once it gets FDA approval.

 

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The group partners with local nurses, global health organizations and local cancer programs in order to dispense the devices to rural areas. 

 

 

 

The on-the-spot results have been a major boon for patients in need.

 

In high-resource settings, women undergo Pap smears, a test that involves the scraping of a cervix, which is then examined in a lab. It typically takes a few weeks for a patient to receive the results.

 

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With the mobile colposcope, patients are notified immediately if there are any issues, and the clinician is able to digitally confer with other experts about the images. Right away, she also receives a report about the risk factors each patient faces. 

 

Their personal information is kept confidential, Beery said. 

 

Patients say they’ve particularly appreciated the experience because they want to “see” their cervixes and know what a healthy one looks like as compared to one that has an infection. 

 

“It’s completely changed the way women interact with healthcare providers,” Beery added. 

 

He hopes that other innovators will take note of MobileODT’s success and feel inspired to find other efficient ways to use cell phone technology to solve plaguing health issues.

 

“The best minds of our generation are building apps to solve problems they see right around them — sharing video more easily, building better casual games,” Beery said. “What I would prefer to be working on, and what my team would prefer to work on, are those problems that are life and death problems, facing 5 billion people who have phones, but not physicians, not banks, institutions we take for granted.”

 

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Why Jack Dorsey Gave A Huge Portion Of Square To A Charity

Jack Dorsey did something unusual last week.

 

On Oct. 14, his financial services startup Square filed for an initial public offering, and Dorsey disclosed in the documents that he would give away 20 percent of the company to the Start Small Foundation, a charity he set up to serve struggling communities. The nonprofit’s first focus will be Ferguson, Missouri — a hotbed of tensions over racial injustice located just outside St. Louis, Dorsey’s hometown.

 

The 15 million shares Dorsey gave to Start Small can be sold during the IPO, though it’s unclear when that will take place or for how much the stock will sell. He promised the foundation another 40 million in the future.

 

“I’d rather have a smaller part of something big than a bigger part of something small,” he said in the regulatory filing.

 

Dorsey’s move underscores a larger shift in corporate culture, wherein companies are increasingly tethering their financial profitability to a larger social mission in their vision of succession.

 

“It’s always been the 20th-century model that people do well in their business, make money, then turn around and as a result of largesse give sums of money to philanthropy and nonprofits,” Jonathan Storper, a partner at the law firm Hanson Bridgett, told The Huffington Post in an interview. “In the 21st century, we’re seeing people actually using business itself as a force for good.”

 

Kind Snacks, the company that produces the high-end fruit and nut Kind Bars, helps fund PeaceWorks, a nonprofit that the food company’s CEO, Daniel Lubetzky, founded to foster commerce between politically embattled factions, such as Palestinians and Israelis. Unilever, adopting practices from its ice cream subsidiary Ben & Jerry’s, took the first steps toward getting B Corporation certification, a voluntary status that holds the company to strict environmental and social responsibility standards. Kickstarter last month reincorporated as a public benefit corporation, enshrining in the company’s charter its social mission to fund artistic projects.

 

Square isn’t quite there yet. The mobile payments firm — which allows users to swipe credit cards on a small white device that attaches to a smartphone or tablet — is still focused on turning a profit, particularly as it continues to lose money.

 

But Square has Dorsey, a rare tech executive who drew comparisons to Apple’s Steve Jobs this month as he assumed the top spot at both Square and Twitter, the popular microblogging company he co-founded. His existing celebrity, coupled with the heightened scrutiny on all of his actions as he helms two public firms, elevates Start Small as a potential model for other firms going public.

 

“Somebody with his profile is going to set the stage for more of this as people take their companies public,” Rick Alexander, the head of legal policy at the nonprofit B Lab, told HuffPost.

 

It’s not just an evolved sense of corporate citizenship driving companies to fund social good. Dorsey’s net worth, which Forbes this year estimates at $2.3 billion, has ballooned in recent years. The wealthier people get, the more they tend to give. And as they give more, they tend to want more control over their donations.

 

“In active philanthropy, the wealthy are not just content to write a check anymore,” Paul Roy, a partner at the law firm Withers Bergman specializing in nonprofits, told HuffPost. “They have foundations, they want to be active and they want to see the results. They want to feel more hands-on.”

 

But there’s a downside to that.

 
 

The desire for control leaves the massive pool of money set aside for charities — about $358 billion in the U.S. last year — divvied between the roughly 1.5 million nonprofits registered in the U.S. Creating a new organization every time a company or wealthy individual wants to foster change only shrinks the available slices of that pie.

 

“Just because you were successful in the for-profit world doesn’t mean that nonprofits are a bunch of bleeding-heart idiots that need you to come in and show them how it’s done,” Ken Berger, the managing director of the social-good data service Algorhythm, told HuffPost. He previously ran the nonprofit watchdog Charity Navigator. “We have one of the most complex and sophisticated nonprofit sectors ever seen. Partnering with others is the best approach.”

 

Square declined to comment on this story. Start Small did not respond by press time. 

 

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These #WhyDidISayThat Tweets Prove We All Say The Dumbest Things

 
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Thinking before you speak is so overrated.

 

In honor of all the politicians out there who keep putting their foot in their mouth, Jimmy Fallon decided to find out some of your most cringeworthy conversation fails, making #WhyDidISayThat a thing.

 

And with unfortunate comments like these, maybe you should think about running for office, too:

 
 
 

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Go to town? No, you should go straight to the White House.

 

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The Biggest ‘Walking Dead’ Premiere Question Has Been Answered

“The Walking Dead” Season 6 premiere left us with a lot of questions. Will the Alexandria walls hold against the walkers? How long can Carol keep up this sweet and innocent act? Is Maggie actually pregnant? And, of course, who is blowing that dang horn?

 

But one question has perplexed fans above all:

 

Did Michonne take Morgan’s peanut butter protein bar?

 
 

Image: AMC/YouTube

 

Michonne denies it, but Morgan “could’ve sworn there was one more peanut butter left.”

 

Following the exchange, Twitter blew up. Some people were on Morgan’s side, others on Michonne’s. Regardless, everyone loved it. Even celebs weighed in:

 
 
 

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But what’s the truth? Michonne wouldn’t lie, right? I mean, don’t we all always think there’s one peanut butter left?

 

Unfortunately, no. Michonne is full of it. And by “it,” we mean Morgan’s missing peanut butter bar.

 

The damning evidence comes in the Season 3 episode “Clear.” Rick is talking to Carl and you can see Michonne undeniably chewing on something.

 
 

Image: Netflix

 

No, don’t do it, Michonne! Noooooo!

 

A fan even put together a video of the moment:

 
 
 

Wow, it’s a good thing Morgan doesn’t have Netflix. Rick is all, “We’re eating his food now?” But Michonne is all like, “[The] mat said, ‘Welcome.'”

 

She’s got a point there.

 

Showrunner Scott Gimple confirmed the news on “Talking Dead” after the premiere aired, repeating Michonne’s line from the episode, “The mat did say ‘Welcome.'”

 

The showrunner added that he was surprised so many people were “aghast” Michonne ate the bar and didn’t own up to it, saying, “There’s a lot of bad things going on right now. Let her have the protein bar.”

 

So there it is. Michonne definitely took Morgan’s peanut butter bar.

 

The question now is, will this come back to bite her? Though, a better question might be: Does it look like she cares?

 
 

Image: Netflix/AMC

 

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