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Improving Tuberculosis Treatment with Technology

Written by Audrey Markoff for Microsoft, New England Research and Development center blog.

In Boston we don’t think aboutTuberculosis (TB) often, if at all. Like most Americans, you were probably vaccinated, but the scary truth is no one is exempt from this disease. New infections arise when a contaminated person coughs, sneezes or transmits saliva through the air. As you can imagine, TB is very contagious, especially in poverty stricken areas where people live in close quarters and lack access to medical help.

TB is extremely treatable so why are 9 million+ people infected worldwide? MIT alum and Microsoft researcher Bill Thies set out to answer this question and shared the results with us today at NERD. His team found the biggest obstacle in treating TB is following through with the treatment cycle. Patients often stop taking the medication when their symptoms subside or miss doses because they cannot travel to a clinic- all the while remaining contagious and spreading the disease.

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Microsoft Research India: The Faces Behind the Fight Against TB

Written by Bill Thies, Researcher, Microsoft Research India for their blog.

In India, I have seen first-hand the faces of those stricken by tuberculosis (TB), one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Every year, 9 million people contract TB and here in India alone, two people die every three minutes. As a researcher at Microsoft Research India, I’m interested in using technology to help solve some of the world’s most pressing societal and health challenges. In partnership with Operation ASHA, a leading provider of TB treatment in India, I’m excited to share with you today a mini-documentary that takes a personal and up-close look at a biometric system we invented and are deploying in India to amplify performance and accountability in patients and care providers.

Check out the youtube video: Battling Tuberculosis

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Tuberculosis (TB) is curable, but what about Social Stigma?

Also published on is a product of MMI Online Ltd which is a strategic online division from the house of Jagran Prakashan, India’s Leading Media conglomerate. 

‘India is moving towards urbanization’- this is one statement that I have heard, not once, but again and again in the past few days. I can’t stop myself from questioning this statement. Are we really moving towards scientific and rational thinking? Are we really changing our everyday outlook?

I work for Operation ASHA, a nonprofit dedicated to eradication of TB worldwide. Yesterday, as part of my job, I was roaming the slum-communities of south-delhi to understand the level of awareness of TB amongst the BoP population there. What I understood instead was the terrible impact of social stigma that still prevails in this stratum. It is like termite- slowly eating away all rationality from human minds.

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Pregnancy and Tuberculosis

Also published on is a product of MMI Online Ltd which is a strategic online division from the house of Jagran Prakashan, India’s Leading Media conglomerate. 

Tuberculosis is a disease that can present great challenges to the patient even before pregnancy can take

(c) Kieran Oudshoorn

place. TB is a matter of concern at all times in a woman’s obstetrics career- prior to conception, during pregnancy and in the nursing period.

Tuberculosis of the genital track is a known cause of infertility in women. Tuberculer salpingitis i.e. infection of the Fallopian tubes by the TB bacterium leads to inflammation and subsequent blockage of the passage through which the egg or ovum has to travel in the uterine cavity- so it is obvious that if the tubes are blocked, pregnancy will not take place. These cases do not always come from resource limited settings. Even the affluent and educated are prone to this disease. Unfortunately in our country there is so much social stigma, against TB itself and not only that, infertility is considered a curse. There are two reasons why such women face horrifying discrimination.

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TDR-TB: What’s all the hype?

Also published on Global Voices is an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world.
The Indian media and blogosphere have been locked in fierce battle over two words: “extensively,” and “totally.” If you’ve been following Indian news at all, you know that I’m talking about the global health community’s tuberculosis debate.
India’s media sphere exploded last week with reports from Mumbai of a tuberculosis strain completely resistant to all known treatment. The Indian newspapers coined it “totally drug-resistant tuberculosis” or TDR-TB. But just a few days later the World Health Organization released a statement refuting the term TDR-TB, saying that it has no clearly definition for TDR-TB, and that the TB emerging in Mumbai, India is merely another strain of extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB). They’re now calling it XXDR-TB, or “extensively drug-resistant TB.”

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