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In the News: National News

The Healing Power of Your Own Medical Records

Tuesday, March 31, 2015  
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Steven Keating’s doctors and medical experts view him as a citizen of the future.


A scan of his brain eight years ago revealed a slight abnormality — nothing to worry about, he was told, but worth monitoring. And monitor he did, reading and studying about brain structure, function and wayward cells, and obtaining a follow-up scan in 2010, which showed no trouble.


But he knew from his research that his abnormality was near the brain’s olfactory center. So when he started smelling whiffs of vinegar last summer, he suspected they might be “smell seizures.”


He pushed doctors to conduct an M.R.I., and three weeks later, surgeons in Boston removed a cancerous tumor the size of a tennis ball from his brain.


At every stage, Mr. Keating, a 26-year-old doctoral student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, has pushed and prodded to get his medical information, collecting an estimated 70 gigabytes of his own patient data by now. His case points to what medical experts say could be gained if patients had full and easier access to their medical information. Better-informed patients, they say, are more likely to take better care of themselves, comply with prescription drug regimens and even detect early-warning signals of illness, as Mr. Keating did. READ MORE

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