Looking back at tomorrow's health – re:health at #rpTEN

Crowdsourcing cost-efficient medicine, or computer games against dementia – the re:health track at re:publica (Twitter: @rehealth) has provided many examples in the past year for how digitization is not only changing, but also improving our health and wellbeing. Together with the World Health Summit (WHS), our long-time co-curator Tobias Neisecke, and journalist and re:publica speaker Shari Langemak, our content team again compiled a choice selection from your submissions for the re:health programme at #rpTEN. In 24 sessions, a total of 40 speakers presented their visions and ideas – leading to lively debates.

In their session entitled “Best Friends Not Forever? Depression and Social Media”, for example, Kati Krause and Uwe Hauck spoke about their very personal and almost conflicting experiences with depression. While in Kati's experience Facebook and Twitter were increasingly draining her of joy and energy, Uwe found his online exchanges more liberating. In the discussion that ensued following their talk, both came to the conclusion that their opinions weren't that far apart after all: after all, everyone has to find out for themselves whether social media has a reinforcing or an alleviating effect on their depression.

That sharing may help in regard to other diseases was demonstrated with “#GameForGood: The quest to save the human brain”. In this case though, sharing takes place incidentally – just by playing the adventure game “SeaHeroQuest”. “We have found that gaming and crowdsourcing are fantastic ways of creating a large database for the navigation of healthy individuals, which in turn helps us make better dementia diagnoses”, says Professor Michael Hornberger from the University of East Anglia in Norwich/GB. Ultimately, the Deutsche Telekom-sponsored project is supposed to help diagnose dementia earlier and more specifically.

[video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xMW80fWT9Q width:640 height:360 align:center]

Another approach that Dr. Brigitte Strahwald introduced in her session “Citizen Pharma” also addressed the power of the crowd in healthcare. In her opinion, crowdfunding can be a solution for the dramatic rise in drug prices. In her talk, the doctor and graphic designer presented various ideas on how medical compounds could be developed and produced independently of major pharmaceutical companies in future.

By the way: The World Health Summit, a forum for addressing global health issues, is taking place in Berlin from October 9th-11th. The event is interdisciplinary, international and independent. Here experts from science, politics, business and civil society will debate developments and challenges in global health research and healthcare. More information can be found here.

All sessions from the re:health track can be found here, including video and audio recording

Image credits: re:publica/ Gregor Fischer & Jan Zappner (CC BY 2.0cover-Image, photo 2