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A Visual Medical Dictionary and the CureHunter Engine

Curehunter.com offers a free "visual medical dictionary" at https://www.curehunter.com/public/dictionary.do. The idea is similar to Healthlines' HealthMaps -- an interrelated web of complex terms is displayed as a simple map or diagram to enhance understanding. But unlike HealthMaps, which are (I believe) created by an actual human being, Curehunter's visual medical dictionary displays terms that are chosen by their importance to the primary search term in medical databases such as MEDLINE. For example, this is the map created when you search for "focal segmental glomerulosclerosis" (a kidney disease):

Hovering over each term with the cursor gives you a detailed definition. For example, "prednisone" is described as a steroid hormone and "nephrotic syndrome" is described as a large amount of protein in the urine. It's interesting and visually appealing, but I'm not certain how useful it's likely to be for either physicians and patients compared to, say, a Healthline or Google search.

The products offered by Curehunter are far more ambitious than a simple medical dictionary:
The CureHunter Discovery Engine is the world's only fully unified and integrated numeric index of all known drugs, biologically active agents, diseases and empirical statements of all effective clinical outcomes published in the United States National Library of Medicine.

The engine you are accessing online right now computes: 121,000 drug and biological agent data points X 11,600 diseases X 15,000,000 peer-reviewed research articles X several hundred thousand additional variables of Gene, Protein, Enzyme, Hormone, Growth Factor, Ligand, Kinase, Receptor, Inhibitor and other important small biologically active molecules.

The CureHunter Engine essentially defines the Clinical Outcome in cross-comparable numerical weights for all successful agents and allows discovery clustering and pattern finding that illuminate both pathogeneses and cures.
The idea is that the Engine can create an automatic analysis of all published data from provide a snapshot view of the best available treatments for any condition. The key word is "automatic" -- my understanding is that the analysis is created by a computer with no direct human intervention. Here's another screenshot:

I haven't seen any of the CureHunter reports myself, but my initial reaction is skepticism. While visual representations of the medical literature are aesthetically interesting, I'm not sure how helpful they would be in actual practice.
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About the Author


Dr. Schwimmer's blog explores the intersection of medicine, new technologies, and the Internet.