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Biotech Medicine Technology

DIY Lab Tests Getting More Capable 85

the_newsbeagle writes "People who are into the quantified health trend can already measure and chart a wide variety of metrics — steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, blood pressure, sleep patterns, etc can all be tracked using new gadgets. Now a new device called Cue lets people track their biochemical stats, too. Cue offers five DIY lab tests, automates the testing procedure, and sends the results to the user's smartphone. It lets guys check their testosterone levels, ladies check their fertility status, and also offers tests for the flu virus, vitamin D levels, and an inflammation-marker protein. Apparently more tests are expected down the line."
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DIY Lab Tests Getting More Capable

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  • who gets the data? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by alen ( 225700 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @04:36PM (#46993393)

    except me

    i can imagine the banner ads i'll start seeing once i take a few of these

  • The website states that the pre-order price ($149) includes five cartridges. Subsequent cartridges cost $4, or $10 for the flu test, so this is likely to be the main business model.
    • That's actually pretty inexpensive for solid phase chemistry tests. I would wonder what the accuracy / repeatability of these things are. Still and all, how many times are you going to actually use this? Does it come with a free trial subscription to Hypochondriacs Anonymous?

      • I have two kids, my family tends to come down with crap starting friday nights, and only the emergency room is available over the weekend in our area. The ability to do simple tests like flu or strep at home would be a godsend.

        • I'm curious. After you get your test results, what do you do next?

          There is no "cure" for the flu. Antibiotics have major downsides.

          Isn't this just a rest & fluids & patience situation? Does that really need tests?
          • If we know it's the flu we can care for her normally without the looming fear it's something worse. Gives you the chance to wait till the clinic is open instead of wasting a trip to an ER that has the motto "If it ain't broken bones, don't fix it."

            That's half our doctors trips, finding out it's something we just have to let run its course. But we still need to get those tests done to know that.

            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              I thought the ER's motto was make 'em wait 8 hours, then do an MRI, CT, ultrasound, and complete blood workup, then tell 'em they just have to let it run it's course (and that'll be $5000 please).

  • by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @04:51PM (#46993531) Homepage

    No, it's 'not diagnostic' - it's 'only investigational' so they aren't trying to get FDA approval. Right. That ought to be amusing.

    It's just the same solid phase chemistry that is used in our clinic analyzers. We have a bunch of little hand held units (which in the case of the Cue is replaced by the phone and app). The chemistry is well tested, if a bit spendy - we don't use these for most tests, usually as backup in case the big analyzer has a hissy fit or if we have to take it in the field or if you are doing really rapid testing.

    So, it's really just a marketing campaign to see if they can get people to buy the cartridges and a legal campaign to see if they can outrun the FDA.

    • by Kohath ( 38547 )

      If 23andme can't sell a tiny vial for you to spit into [], there's no way the FDA will allow this Cue device to be sold. Unless they spend the next 5 years and a couple hundred million dollars testing it.

      That's the government protecting you from knowing your vitamin-D levels or whether you're at risk for hereditary diseases.

      • Well, 23andme was actually still allowed to do their analysis, so long as they limited themselves to non-medical factors. That is, they were still allowed to accept your spit in a vial and do a genetic analysis on it to determine your heritage, then share that information with you. The FDA took issue with them offering medical advice, such as advising customers that they were at risk for breast cancer or whatnot, since the tests hadn't been vetted and the FDA was apparently concerned at what customers might

        • by mysidia ( 191772 )

          Mind you, I'm explaining what happened, not defending it, and the reason I'm explaining it is to point out that it's entirely possible a vitamin-D test may be perfectly acceptable. Or it may not be. It could likely go either way.

          If the test claims to be able to identify if you have a Vitamin-D deficiency problem, then the FDA will say that it is a diagnostic test requiring certification of the device and test methodology.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @05:26PM (#46993811)

      Sell it for "animal use only". :)

      The internet will take care of educating everyone that humans are animals.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      I hope they win since even though the materials are 'spendy' compared to the big machine, the end user gets the results much cheaper and faster.

  • So, for fertility they talk about being able to know when it's "time to try". What happened to the patented "early and often" method? This is not an improvement.
  • by koan ( 80826 )

    What else does it test for?

  • by Chemical Serenity ( 1324 ) on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @05:44PM (#46993939) Homepage Journal

    A triglyceride test would go over big. A whole lipoprotein panel, in fact.

    Hell, I'd use it myself.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 13, 2014 @07:10PM (#46994555)

    This is old news to me as a type 1 diabetic who has chosen to divorce themselves from the ultra commercialized American medical system. I've been using Walmart's over-the-counter A1C test for several years. It was the only service of any value that my endocrinologist had provided in years. Before that, most of my quarterly checkups consisted entirely of him trying to come up with additional excuses to bill me and my insurance through ridiculous nutritional boot camps while threatening to not give me prescriptions for insulin pump supplies (a luxury rather than a necessity) if I didn't attend. His threats had no basis on the actual state of my health as I have always been highly in control of my diabetes. It was just about money. I finally got sick of being forced to beg for what amounts to a permission slip to continue living and was shocked by how many supplies and medications could be bought over-the-counter for less than what I'd been paying with insurance for prescriptions. My diabetes remains in control and I still get regular lab work. A year later after I left him, my doctor called and begged for me to come back (hopefully because too many of his patients were leaving him). I explained why I left and said to never call me again.

    I'm thrilled to hear DIY medicine is continuing to expand in the hopes that someday no one will ever have to feel like their doctor's cash cow.

  • Most medical tests can be boiled down to something simple enough for the patient to self diagnose with proper equipment.

    If the US Navy can get 18 year old high school students to manage nuclear reactors aboard submarines then I think we can get the average American able to self diagnose most tests.

    Cut that out of the hospital bill and you've already gone a long way to make healthcare more affordable.

    This was the mistake with the healthcare reform push. They keep doing this... they just throw money at proble

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  • Wrong tense (Score:4, Informative)

    by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Wednesday May 14, 2014 @12:32AM (#46996357)

    Now a new device called Cue

    According to the device's website: shipping expected in spring 2015

    So, essentially, right now, they have nothing except a website and some 3D graphics. Please re-run the story in a year or so if/when this thing gets off the ground and there is some actionable information to back it up.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.