Dr. Eric Topol is the editor in chief of Medscape. He is a Cardiologist and a Geneticist with an interest in how technology affects health. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.
AI has become the buzz word in medicine, computer science, and engineering. Machine learning, in artificial intelligence the discipline concerned with the implementation of computer software that can learn autonomously.
In his latest book, ‘Deep Medicine’ Dr. Topol describes how medicine is broken today and how artificial intelligence can help make healthcare human again. Listen to this 5-minute video clip by Dr. Topol that describes what Deep Medicine is, LINK.
In an interview with The Guardian, Dr Topol was asked about the review report he did for the NHS-UK. LINK
You were commissioned by Jeremy Hunt in 2018 to carry out a review of how the NHS workforce will need to change “to deliver a digital future”. What was the biggest change you recommended?
I think the biggest change was to try and accelerate the incorporation of AI to give the gift of time – to get back the patient-doctor relationship that we all were a part of 30, 40-plus years ago. There is a new, unprecedented opportunity to seize this and restore the care in healthcare that has been largely lost.
Eric Topol is an American cardiologist and geneticist – among his many roles he is founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in California. He has previously published two books on the potential for big data and tech to transform medicine, with his third, Deep Medicine, looking at the role that artificial intelligence might play. He has served on the advisory boards of many healthcare companies, and last year published a report into how the NHS needs to change if it is to embrace digital advances. (The Guardian)
How AI will liberate doctors from keyboards and basements | Eric Topol
But what is a Neural Network? | Deep learning, chapter 1 LINK
Watch this 3-minute video of how a colony of small ‘insect-robots’ learn to look for cheese LINK.
It can be difficult to approach a colleague if you have concerns about their wellbeing because of a change in their behaviour. Abi Rimmer asks experts how best to handle this situation.
a) small gestures make a BIG difference
b) Take your doctor hat off
c) Don’t be embarrassed to ask
Small gestures make a big difference
Lucy Warner, chief executive of the NHS Practitioner Health Programme, says, “If you’ve noticed a change, then this situation has probably been around for some time and may already have become a fairly serious problem. Doctors are very good at focusing on the patient in front of them and neglecting their own health. There are lots of reasons why doctors don’t seek help, both personal and logistical.
“The best thing you can do is speak up. Ask, ‘Are you ok?’ or ‘You don’t seem yourself. Do you want to talk?’ The smallest gesture can make the greatest difference. If you don’t want to speak to them directly, write a note and slip it to them. Let them know they’re not alone—we all have days when the world gets to us. You might be surprised how people open up when given the chance. Your small suggestion of help might be just what they need to take the steps towards seeking support.”
“Doctors are often concerned about the impact that seeking help could have on their career and registration. Importantly, the GMC is unlikely to want to get involved if someone is seeking treatment for a health condition. There are so many great confidential places to go —their GP, the NHS Practitioner Health Programme, NHS GP Health, and BMA Counselling (you don’t need to be a member), or peer support like Doctors Support Network and Sick Doctors Trust. We all want to help and no one needs to feel alone—please let your colleague know that.”
Take your doctor hat off
Karen Stacey, wellbeing lead for the trainee committee of the Association of Anaesthetists, says, “Everyone is entitled to a bad day but if you notice a change in your colleague’s behaviour you should keep an eye on them. If you see a more sustained change, consider how you can help. The first step should be to speak to them in person with a genuine expression of concern. As doctors, we are problem solvers, meaning we may forget to listen. Be patient, non-accusatory, and take your doctor hat off; you’re asking as a friend.
“If the opportunity arises, suggest how they might seek help. Listen first, suggest second. One chat is unlikely to solve the problem, but being a supportive and understanding listener is invaluable when someone is facing a challenging time.
“Not everyone will want to discuss their problems, but it’s important that they speak to someone. If you’re unsuccessful with your approach, but remain concerned, speak in confidence with a senior colleague. This could be anonymous initially, if you wish to confirm whether to take this matter further.
“Hopefully, your colleague’s educational supervisor will have an existing relationship with them, and may already know of current circumstances. They can approach them directly, and, depending on the circumstance, seek advice from the training programme director. There are many sources of help available for a variety of problems, and many are now tailored to medical professionals.
“As workaholic superheroes we can be our own worst enemies. Seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Look out for your colleagues—they are your work family and you never know when you might need them.”
Don’t be embarrassed to ask
Peter Ilves, retired GP and associate and master trainer at 4 Mental Health, says, “We all like to believe that we’d be alert to colleagues who are struggling or becoming unwell. Certainly, I’d hope that colleagues would notice if I were that person. But the signs can be subtle so we must be attentive and ready to respond in a compassionate and appropriate way.
“It’s important to ask if there is something we can do to help and be ready to ask a second time if they seem hesitant. Many of us shy away from that first encounter, but reaching out sooner rather than later could save a life. When doing this, always approach with compassion and kindness. Doctors find it difficult to ask for help and steer away from sharing problems and their emotional distress. This culture needs to change across healthcare.
“Once a connection is made, explore whether your colleague is already being supported. If not, persuade them to talk to people they trust, occupational health, or their GP. If they seem in crisis or you think they may be at risk of suicide, ask. Please don’t let embarrassment stop you exploring that potentially life saving question. Remember, your colleague may need urgent assessment. See the newly launched BMJ Best Practice module on suicide risk management if you are unsure what or how to ask.1
“Your colleague will also benefit from a safety plan—pre-planned lists of strategies, ways to make a situation safer, and people to contact for support. This is the mental health equivalent of a seatbelt. See stayingsafe.net.”
Every day, there are more than 1 million new cases of curable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among people aged 15-49 years, according to data released today by WHO. This amounts to more than 376 million new cases annually of four infections – chlamydia, gonorrhoea, trichomoniasis, and syphilis.
On average, approximately 1 in 25 people globally have at least one of these STIs, according to the latest figures, with some experiencing multiple infections at the same time. STIs are preventable through safe sexual practices, including correct and consistent condom use and sexual health education.
From 2017 National STD/AIDS Control Programme (NSACP) Report – LINK
The estimated number of people living with HIV (PLHIV) as of end 2017 is 3500 (3000-4200). This is a slight reduction from the 2016 estimation figure of 4000. Total PLHIV diagnosed and alive are 2391.
“Digital health, or the use of digital technologies for health, has become a salient field of practice for employing routine and innovative forms of information and communications technology (ICT) to address health needs.
The term digital health is rooted in eHealth, which is defined as “the use of information and communications technology in support of health and health-related fields”. Mobile health (mHealth) is a subset of eHealth and is defined as “the use of mobile wireless technologies for health”.
Mesko et al defines digital health as “the cultural transformation of how disruptive technologies that provide digital and objective data accessible to both caregivers and patients leads to an equal level doctor–patient relationship with shared decision–making and the democratization of care” [Ref] As technological innovations become inseparable from healthcare and as healthcare systems worldwide are becoming financially unsustainable, a paradigm shift is imminent.
In an era that that ‘evidence-based medicine’ is facing challenges from many fronts, the benefits of blood pressure control have been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality and increase lifespan. The evidence is strong and there is no disagreement among clinicians and researchers.
However, there is considerable uncertainty and debate as to how much reduction is needed in systolic blood pressure among the leading guidelines that look at the same evidence. The JNC 2018, AHA/ACC and now NICE guidelines vary with the recommendations.
The page below gives the summary of guidelines available from JNC 8 (2014), ACC/AHA (2107) and ESC/ESH (2018)
Guidelines for Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults
In 2014, panel members of the Eighth Joint National Committee published the results of their evidence review and deliberations about the prevention, detection, evaluation, and treatment of high blood pressure.
The 2014 guideline offers recommendations for the management of hypertension in:
People older or younger than age 60 years
People aged ≥18 years with chronic kidney disease
People aged ≥18 years with diabetes
Black and nonblack populations
2017 ACC/AHA Hypertension Guideline
In 2017 the ACC/AHA and 9 other specialty organizations published an updated hypertension guideline which, among many changes, redefined elevated blood pressure to lower BP levels, enlarging the population considered potential candidates for monitoring and treatment. Learn more here.
2018 ESC/ESH Guideline
In 2018 the ESC/ESH published a guideline which retains the 140/90 threshold definition of hypertension, including for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), and emphasizes lifestyle interventions as primary treatment, with consideration of antihypertensive drug therapy only in adults at very high risk, eg with established CVD. In many other respects, the 2018 guideline is similar to the 2017 ACC/AHA guideline.
JAMA have produced two Podcasts: Battle of the Heart Societies: Who Is Right–the US or Europe–Regarding How to Manage Hypertension? Part I & Parts II. There can be downloaded free of charge from Appstore or Google Playstore.
Grief is the response to bereavement, which is the situation in which a loved one has died . Natural acute grief reactions are often painful and impairing with emotional and somatic distress, but should not be diagnosed as a mental disorder. However, bereavement is a stressor that can precipitate or worsen mental disorders (eg, unipolar major depression). In addition, complications (maladaptive thoughts, feelings, or behaviors) may occur, such that acute grief becomes intense, prolonged, and debilitating. This condition is called complicated grief, which is viewed as a unique and recognizable disorder that requires specific treatment. Ref -[UpToDate
The terms bereavement, grief (acute and integrated), complicated grief, and mourning describe different aspects of experiencing the death of a loved one [1-4]:
●Bereavement – The situation in which someone who is close dies (rather than the reaction to that loss). (See ‘Bereavement’ below.)
●Grief – Grief is the natural response (including thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and physiologic reactions) to bereavement. Although grief can occur in response to other meaningful (non-bereavement) losses, this topic focuses primarily upon grief in response to the death of a loved one.
The pattern and intensity of grief varies over time as bereaved individuals adapt to the loss. The experience of grief is influenced by cultural and religious rituals that vary widely, and is unique to each person and each loss. Acute grief can be intense and disruptive but is eventually integrated. Progress from acute to integrated grief is often erratic and hard to discern as it is happening. (See ‘Typical acute grief’ below.)
●Complicated grief – Complicated grief is a form of acute grief that is unusually prolonged, intense, and disabling; troubling thoughts, dysfunctional behaviors, dysregulated emotions, and/or serious psychosocial problems impede adaptation to the loss. The syndrome of complicated grief is a unique and recognizable condition that can be differentiated from other mental disorders. Other terms that have been used to describe complicated grief include chronic grief, complex grief, pathological grief, persistent complex bereavement disorder, prolonged grief disorder, traumatic grief, and unresolved grief. (See “Complicated grief in adults: Epidemiology, clinical features, assessment, and diagnosis”.)
●Mourning – Mourning is the process of adapting to a loss and integrating grief. Adaptation entails accepting the finality and consequences of the loss, revising the internalized relationship with deceased, and re-envisioning the future such that there is a possibility for happiness in a world without the deceased. When mourning is successful, the painful and disruptive experience of acute grief is transformed into an experience of integrated grief that is bittersweet and in the background. Like grief, mourning is influenced by cultural and religious rituals that vary widely.
TYPICAL ACUTE GRIEF
The hallmark of acute grief is the intense focus on thoughts and memories of the deceased person, accompanied by sadness and yearning.
This topic focuses upon grief in response to the death of a loved one. Nevertheless, grief can occur in response to other meaningful (non-bereavement) losses, including an interpersonal loss (eg, separation from a loved one through divorce) or loss of a pet, job, property, or community. In a study of survivors of a natural disaster who showed signs of unusually prolonged, intense, and disabling grief (ie, complicated grief), the large majority of survivors suffered non-bereavement losses .
Presentation — Mourners focus their attention, emotions, thoughts, and behavior upon the deceased person and what has been lost. However, the painful feelings and memories are commonly intermingled with periods of respite and positive feelings, thoughts, and reminiscing [3,116]. These positive experiences during bereavement reflect resilience and foretell better outcomes [13,117].
Acute grief symptoms vary across individuals and differ in the same person after different losses. Symptoms also vary over time and are influenced by social, religious, and cultural norms [3,4,14]. The features, intensity, and duration of grief are also influenced by age, health, religious and ethnic identity, coping style, attachment style, available social support and material resources, situation and circumstances of the death (see ‘Type of loss’ above), and the experience of prior losses .
General approach — If possible, clinicians should summon families prior to an expected death. If this is not possible and the patient dies, the clinician should promptly call immediate family members who are not present at the bedside in order to inform them, express condolences, answer questions, and offer them the option of viewing the body.
Individuals with acute grief may present seeking relief from symptoms such as intense sadness or disrupted sleep; assessment should rule out conditions that may be triggered or exacerbated by bereavement:
●Suicidal ideation and behavior
●Other mental disorders, such as major depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia disorder, and anxiety disorders
Primary care clinicians who are not comfortable diagnosing and treating mental disorders should refer patients to mental health clinicians.
Interventions — Acute grief typically does not require treatment . Most bereaved individuals are resilient and acute grief is transformed and integrated during a natural adaptive process that typically unfolds with the support and encouragement of close family and friends, as well as clergy . Grief work (confronting painful emotions) on its own does not appear to facilitate adjustment to bereavement [6,7], and bereaved individuals who experience little distress, even when they suppress their emotions, have been shown to have a benign course . In addition, embarking on an uncovering or personality-targeted psychotherapy may derail the natural healing process and is potentially harmful [1,4,5,9-12]. Guidelines from the World Health Organization for bereaved individuals who do not have mental disorders recommend that structured psychological interventions should not be routinely offered [13,14].
Bereavement is the situation in which a loved one has died, and grief is the distress that occurs in response to bereavement. Acute grief can be intense and disruptive, but usually is integrated over time. Complicated grief is a form of acute grief that is abnormally prolonged, intense, and disabling; as such, complicated grief is a unique and recognizable mental disorder. (See ‘Terminology’ above.)
●Reactions to bereavement can vary depending upon the type of lost relationship. The intensity of acute grief is generally greater in parents who lose a child than it is for bereaved spouses, which in turn is greater than the grief of adult children who lose a parent. The intensity and course of acute grief is also influenced by the circumstances of the death, including the age of the deceased, and whether the loss is sudden or violent, or the result of a chronic or terminal illness. (See ‘Type of loss’ above.)
●Bereavement is associated with an increased risk of mortality, general medical illnesses (eg, cardiovascular disease), and mental disorders (eg, unipolar or bipolar major depression, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder [PTSD]), as well as suicidal ideation and behavior that is independent of psychopathology. Some bereaved individuals develop complicated grief, which may account for most of the increased risk for each of these negative health outcomes. (See ‘Adverse general medical outcomes’ above and ‘Associated psychopathology’ above.)
●Although diagnosing major depression in the context of bereavement is controversial, bereavement does not preclude the diagnosis. The rationale for diagnosing major depression in bereaved individuals is based upon the best available evidence, which indicates that bereavement-related major depression and major depression not related to bereavement are comparable with regard to risk factors, symptoms, impaired functioning, comorbidities, course of illness, and response to treatment. (See ‘Major depression’ above.)
●There is no single way to grieve and adapt to a loss. The specific pattern of grief symptoms as well as the process of adaptation is unique to each specific loss situation, influenced by individual factors as well as social, religious, and cultural norms. Nevertheless, the symptoms of typical acute grief are usually related to either separation from the deceased (eg, yearning for and seeking proximity to the deceased, loneliness, and crying) or to stress and trauma (disbelief, shock and numbness). (See ‘Presentation’ above.)
●The course of typical acute grief does not follow a specific series of stages that occur in a fixed order; rather, the trajectory of adaptation is erratic and specific to each loss. However, grief is time-limited and integrated such that painful emotions and insistent thoughts diminish in frequency, intensity and duration. Adaptation to the loss is usually well underway within 6 to 12 months. Grief becomes more subdued but generally does not resolve completely; the deceased person is not forgotten and is still missed, and the intensity of grief may flare during anniversaries of the death, holidays, or periods of heightened stress. (See ‘Course’ above.)
●Typical acute grief is not a mental disorder and should not be diagnosed or treated as such. Nevertheless, grief includes symptoms that overlap with those of common mental disorders. The differential diagnosis of acute grief includes complicated grief, major depression, and PTSD. (See ‘Differential diagnosis’ above.)
Gene editing or genome editing is the technique used to replace or cutting pieces of DNA [Ref]. Using a component known as CRISPR to precisely pinpoint the sequence of DNA in the gene, an enzyme called Cas9 is used to cut through the part identified. It can also replace a removed part by another sequence of DNA. This technique can be used to replace a faculty gene or change a gene to make it behave differently. Gene editing can have very good effects like altering a disease gene or modifying a diseased gene to behave normally. However gene editing can also produce some questionable effects such as altering a physical function or a characteristic – e.g. eye colour gene can be altered to produce blue eyes and this can make the way for designer babies.
Gene-edited humans would one day be born but the scientific world was not prepared as there was a number of issues to be fully investigated and ethical issues deliberated.
He Jiankui, a scientist from China, had secretly launched the first attempt to create children with edited genes. He edited human embryos using CRISPR to remove a single gene. He claimed that twin girls—named Lula and Lala—had been born and that they would be immune to HIV because of how he’d altered their genomes.
Changing the genes in an embryo means changing genes in every cell. If the method succeeds, the baby will have alterations that will be inherited by all of the child’s progeny. And that, scientists agree, is a serious undertaking that must be done with great deliberation and only to treat a serious disease for which there are no other options — if it is to be done at all [Ref]
What Jiankui did was to disable a perfectly normal gene, CCR₅. While people who are born with both copies of CCR₅ disabled are resistant to H.I.V., they are more susceptible to West Nile virus and Japanese encephalitis. More worrying, Crispr often inadvertently alters genes other than the one being targeted, and there are also circumstances, called mosaicism, where some cells contain the edited gene and others do not.
“Should such epic scientific misadventures proceed, a technology with enormous promise for prevention and treatment of disease will be overshadowed by justifiable public outrage, fear, and disgust,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.
Some worry that this is the first step toward using gene editing to create people with extreme intelligence, beauty or athletic ability. But that, for now, is not possible. Such traits are thought to be affected by possibly hundreds of genes acting in concert, and affected in turn by the environment. The biggest ethical concerns for now are with rogue scientists enticing couples who do not realize the risks to babies that might result from the experiments. And when those children grow up, the altered genes will be passed on to their children, and to their children’s children, for generations to come.
The promise and perils of synthetic biology – Economist (Unedited)
For the past four billion years or so the only way for life on Earth to produce a sequence of dna—a gene—was by copying a sequence it already had to hand. Sometimes the gene would be damaged or scrambled, the copying imperfect or undertaken repeatedly. From that raw material arose the glories of natural selection. But beneath it all, gene begat gene.
That is no longer true. Now genes can be written from scratch and edited repeatedly, like text in a word processor. The ability to engineer living things which this provides represents a fundamental change in the way humans interact with the planet’s life. It permits the manufacture of all manner of things which used to be hard, even impossible, to make: pharmaceuticals, fuels, fabrics, foods and fragrances can all be built molecule by molecule. What cells do and what they can become is engineerable, too. Immune cells can be told to follow doctors’ orders; stem cells better coaxed to turn into new tissues; fertilised eggs programmed to grow into creatures quite unlike their parents.
The earliest stages of such “synthetic biology” are already changing many industrial processes, transforming medicine and beginning to reach into the consumer world (see Technology Quarterly). Progress may be slow, but with the help of new tools and a big dollop of machine learning, biological manufacturing could eventually yield truly cornucopian technologies. Buildings may be grown from synthetic wood or coral. Mammoths produced from engineered elephant cells may yet stride across Siberia.
The scale of the potential changes seems hard to imagine. But look back through history, and humanity’s relations with the living world have seen three great transformations: the exploitation of fossil fuels, the globalisation of the world’s ecosystems after the European conquest of the Americas, and the domestication of crops and animals at the dawn of agriculture. All brought prosperity and progress, but with damaging side-effects. Synthetic biology promises similar transformation. To harness the promise and minimise the peril, it pays to learn the lessons of the past.
The new biology calls all in doubt
Start with the most recent of these previous shifts. Fossil fuels have enabled humans to drive remarkable economic expansion in the present using biological productivity from ages past, stored away in coal and oil. But much wilderness has been lost, and carbon atoms which last saw the atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago have strengthened the planet’s greenhouse effect to a degree that may prove catastrophic. Here, synthetic biology can do good. It is already being used to replace some products made from petrochemicals; in time it could replace some fuels, too. This week Burger King introduced into some of its restaurants a beefless Whopper that gets its meatiness from an engineered plant protein; such innovations could greatly ease a shift to less environmentally taxing diets. They could also be used to do more with less. Plants and their soil microbes could produce their own fertilisers and pesticides, ruminants less greenhouse gas—though to ensure that synthetic biology yields such laudable environmental goals will take public policy as well as the cues of the market.
The second example of biological change sweeping the world is the Columbian exchange, in which the 16th century’s newly global network of trade shuffled together the creatures of the New World and the Old. Horses, cattle and cotton were introduced to the Americas; maize, potatoes, chilli and tobacco to Europe, Africa and Asia. The ecosystems in which humans live became globalised as never before, providing more productive agriculture all round, richer diets for many. But there were also disastrous consequences. Measles, smallpox and other pathogens ran through the New World like a forest fire, claiming tens of millions of lives. The Europeans weaponised this catastrophe, conquering lands depleted and disordered by disease.
Synthetic biology could create such weapons by design: pathogens designed to weaken, to incapacitate or to kill, and perhaps also to limit themselves to particular types of target. There is real cause for concern here—but not for immediate alarm. For such weaponisation would, like the rest of cutting-edge synthetic biology, take highly skilled teams with significant resources. And armies already have lots of ways to flatten cities and kill people in large numbers. When it comes to mass destruction, a disease is a poor substitute for a nuke. What’s more, today’s synthetic-biology community lives up to ideals of openness and public service better than many older fields. Maintained and nurtured, that culture should serve as a powerful immune system against rogue elements.
The earliest biological transformation—domestication—produced what was hitherto the biggest change in how humans lived their lives. Haphazardly, then purposefully, humans bred cereals to be more bountiful, livestock to be more docile, dogs more obedient and cats more companionable (the last a partial success, at best). This allowed new densities of settlement and new forms of social organisation: the market, the city, the state. Humans domesticated themselves as well as their crops and animals, creating space for the drudgery of subsistence agriculture and oppressive political hierarchies.
Synthetic biology will have a similar cascading effect, transforming humans’ relationships with each other and, potentially, their own biological nature. The ability to reprogram the embryo is, rightly, the site of most of today’s ethical concerns. In future, they may extend further; what should one make of people with the upper-body strength of gorillas, or minds impervious to sorrow? How humans may choose to change themselves biologically is hard to say; that some choices will be controversial is not.
Which leads to the main way in which this transformation differs from the three that came before. Their significance was discovered only in retrospect. This time, there will be foresight. It will not be perfect: there will certainly be unanticipated effects. But synthetic biology will be driven by the pursuit of goals, both anticipated and desired. It will challenge the human capacity for wisdom and foresight. It might defeat it. But carefully nurtured, it might also help expand it.
People increasingly search the Internet regarding their health issues and a Google search may be the commonest in most instances. Even doctors ‘Google’ for a diagnosis [Ref].
Recently there has been a proliferation of more sophisticated programs called ‘symptom checkers‘ that attempt to more effectively provide a potential diagnosis for patients and direct them to the appropriate care setting. Many healthcare institutions provide symptom checkers such as WebMD, Mayo Clinic, HealthLine.
Isabel and Balylon are two different applications that use different programming techniques to provide people with their symptom evaluation.
Isabel uses the orthodox text-searching. Babylon uses a ‘Chatbot‘ – newer machine learning techniques that are part of AI. (You can even build a Chatbot to book a flight in under 7 minutes using IBM Watson!). However, you cannot build something like Isabel that easily. Its often debated what’s the best but the answer is it depends.
Isabel is also a tool that is used by medical experts when diagnoses are difficult and when one has to even think about rare diseases. Babylon does not offer this kind of professional facilities.
Technology has enabled bionics and artificial intelligence, each of which can have important applications in health care. As we continue to substitute body parts with machinery, however, we might wonder, “What makes us human?” This drawing interrogates the relationship between humanity and embodiment, specifically in neck and facial musculature and brain structures.
This image represents humankind’s union with technology. It shows the brain turning into a collection of integrated computer circuits and the neck muscles evolving into mechanization-ready cables, pumps, and wires. In artificial intelligence (AI), boundaries distinguishing life and technology are challenged. We wonder, “Is it possible for machines to think? Are our own brains just complex organizations of biological microchips?” Medical students are well positioned to appreciate how intimately technology is becoming part of human life. From wheelchairs and artificial limbs to new antibiotics and imaging, innovations are constantly growing in number and playing larger roles in our existence. If science unlocks the origins of thought, therapies for patients with neurocognitive or psychiatric problems could be enabled. Progress in AI will generate the need in medicine to explore ontological and ethical relationships among brains, minds, selves, and healing.