Demystifying deep learning: An accessible introduction to neural networks in health research and epidemiology

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As machine learning and deep learning technologies advance thanks to advances in computation, algorithms and data availability, the possibilities of the technology continue to expand in medicine. While these AI-driven approaches have real potential, such systems demand large volumes of representative data, careful privacy and security scrutiny and thoughtful long-term strategic planning. In this Q&A, Kathryn Rough, associate director of the Center for Advanced Evidence Generation at IQVIA, discusses the impact of deep learning on healthcare delivery and recommends steps to take during the design, training, evaluation and deployment phases to increase the likelihood that these models will be safe, effective and ethical when trained on real-world health data. Rough also explores the role of epidemiologists in evaluating these technologies as part of multidisciplinary teams and provides advice for health…
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Moderna debuts fellowship program for young researchers focusing on mRNA therapies

Messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines may offer significant promise, but few scientists specialize in the technology.

Moderna (NSDQ: MRNA) is looking to inspire a new generation of scientists and clinicians to focus on mRNA research with a new fellowship program. The program will support a range of applications within domains such as medicine, basic research, epidemiology, pharmacology and nursing.

For the first year of the program, which will launch in 2022, the company is aiming to select roughly 50 fellows from around the world to focus on mRNA-based treatments of infectious diseases.

Individuals selected for the program will receive guidance from a supervisor and fellow.

The term of fellowship will range from one to three years. The program also will provide a salary of up to $75,000 and annual expenses of up to $100,000.

“We’re at a critical moment for mRNA vaccine development,” said Dr. Greg Poland, director of Mayo Clinic’s …

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COVID-19 vaccine adverse events: Separating the signal from the noise

Image by Spencer Davis from Pixabay

In the U.S., more than 125 million people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. While most vaccine recipients tend to have relatively minor and fleeting adverse events from the shots, many people continue to worry about side effects.

According to a recent survey from the physician social network Sermo found that 72% of physicians reported that their patients continue to be concerned about vaccine side effects. Almost 30% of physicians surveyed have encountered patients who have skipped their second dose over adverse event concerns.

Scientific rigor and solid epidemiology are needed to improve our understanding of vaccine safety, according to Dr. Jan Bonhoeffer, a Switzerland-based expert on infectious diseases and vaccine safety who is the founder of the non-profit foundation Heart Based Medicine.

“We need to formulate the right questions to provide th…

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