Over the past several weeks the news media has been obsessed over impeachment, the coronavirus, and the Iowa Presidential Caucus. These news stories have consumed much, if not all of the air in the room, yet there have been many newsworthy developments which have been under reported.  One such development was a breakthrough in the study of the brain. Google, in partnership with the Howard Hugh Medical Institute, Janelia Research Campus in Virginia, performed a detailed 3D scan of a brain. Scientists, using a hot knife, sliced the brain into micro-thin sections to perform the study. Researchers discovered over 4,000 different types of neurons by exploring the “connectome” region of the brain which controls learning, vision, smell and navigation. The brain being studied was from a fruit fly. 

This Google/Howard Hughes Medical Institute partnership has helped to create an environment where groundbreaking discoveries can be encouraged.  The government can assist by providing funding. With the proper structure, government and business can work together to develop next generation therapies that reward solution-based results for all.  

In addition to conducting research on the fruit fly’s “connectome” region of the brain, the study will explore the fly’s circadian rhythm (internal clock) and sleep patterns. It is expected that such studies will help scientists to better understand sleep in humans. 

As the government takes a more active role in healthcare, it is important that the proper balance is achieved. In upcoming articles, I will discuss the actions being taken by the government to assume more control within the healthcare ecosystem and a common sense approach that would provide meaningful outcomes. 

About the Author:

Patrick Thornton is a former HCA Hospital CFO and risk management consultant for health insurance plans. He is passionate about the healthcare delivery system and helping employer’s find solutions to the rising costs of health insurance.