Mobile Apps to Assist with Health Indicator on Global Scale for Noncommunicable Diseases

I was amazed when I read this article earlier today on October 4, 2012 that discussed leveraging technology to improve women’s lives in the developing world by Angie Chang.  According to Chang, the Senior Advisor for Women and Technology in the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the US Department of State, Ann Mei Chang, who spoke at a conference about making mobile apps accessible and affordable for women in developing countries.  According to Ann Mei Chang, sustainability is 80% of the problem, while data is expensive, but that may change with increasing demand and supply.  This led to additional thoughts while reading the Science magazine September 21, 2012 issue last week.


In Science magazine, 21 September 2012, the authors discussed the outcome of the United Nations (UN)’s High Level Meeting (HLM) of states that occurred in September 2011, to address the emerging health threat that humans face today, which are NonCommunicable Diseases (NCD).  NCD are types of disease that are not directly transmitted among humans such as heart attack, diabetes, stroke, cancer, and chronic lung diseases.  This is quite the contrary from UN’s HLM meeting in 2001 which addressed the HIV/AIDS communicable disease, which is caused by virus transmittance.


The purpose of this HLM is to facilitate the World Health Organization (WHO), “in consultation with member states, develop a global monitoring framework with key indicators and targets to be achieved by 2025.”  So far, one indicator with the target of reducing NCDs by 25% by 2025 has been proposed, to be followed with several other indicators to be announced by end of 2012.


The authors focused on the technical aspects of the global monitoring framework and indicators.  This could be facilitated through the use of mobile apps as mentioned in Angie Chang’s article published in Women 2.0 on October 4, 2012.  The mobile apps could monitor the ingestion events within the human beings throughout the day as a diary. Today, we have the continuous monitoring device for measuring glucose levels throughout the day, perhaps the mobile apps could be developed as continuous monitoring.  Many of us type our events throughout the day within various internet outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, and other private diary entries.  Perhaps a global health organization could include the development for this process by developing specific mobile apps and indictors for analyzing the chemicals secreted from our sweat glands such as water, minerals, lactate, and urea.  Albeit consisting mainly of water, the mineral composition include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other trace elements such as zinc, copper, iron, chromium, nickel, lead and other lower concentrations of trace elements and exogenous organic compounds.


Currently, hour healthcare have approved and established measuring system for the renal, liver, and heart functions.  The renal functions are currently measured through urine analysis of the creatinine, the liver through blood test measurement of bilirubin, albumin, and other liver enzymes.  The heart can be monitored through daily blood pressure.  The glucose levels are measured either through blood analysis or through FDA-approved continuous monitoring device with attachment inserted underneath the skin.


Perhaps with further investigations, the sweat secreted through glands in various parts of the human body can be further analyzed to measure organ functions as various indicators, with the continuous assistance of mobile apps throughout the day.  This way, we should have sufficient data to assist the healthcare providers in determining optimal treatments or follow-up, if any.


Additionally, with mRNA continuously translating into proteins within the center of all of our cells throughout our body, the proteins secreted can be measured.  Perhaps a step into the future would be measuring the level of real-time mRNA translation, which would involve considerate amount of research and validations to ensure effectiveness.


I always look forward to the future and am quite excited about it!  We all are witnessing exciting moments throughout our daily lives.


  1. 1.      Chang, Angie (Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Women 2.0).  Considerations for designing technology for developing countries:  10 Tips For Leveraging Technology To Improve Women’s Lives In The Developing World (Day 2, Grace Hopper Celebration).  (accessed October 4, 2012)
  2. 2.      S.Y. Angeil, I. Danel, K.M. DeCock. Policy Forum:  Global Indicators and Targets for Noncommunicable Diseases.  Science magazine, 21 September 2012, Vol 337 issue, page 1456-1457.  (accessed September 25, 2012)

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