How big data is solving future health challenges

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A big data project spearheaded by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne to bring together multiple data sources could enable doctors to intervene earlier in childhood conditions.

Called Generation Victoria (GenV), the project is looking into several conditions, such as asthma, autism, allergies and obesity, to understand how those affected people as they became older.
But part of the challenge in projects such as GenV is the way research is typically done. According to Melissa Wake, GenV’s scientific director, researchers usually conduct their own research and collect their own data, which slows down the research process.
She likened it to taking a long train journey but having to build a new station and trains for each trip rather than leveraging an existing network. “We know that healthy children create healthy adults,” she said. “By 2035, we’re aiming to solve complex problems facing children and the adults they will become.”
GenV securely links data from a variety of national and Victorian data sources and will, with consent, use data from about 160,000 newborn children. This includes clinical information, data from wearables, and other sources from before birth through to old age. This data was never designed to be …

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