Austin's NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Take Two Aspirin and Call... Yourself: The Technology and Ethics of Self Diagnosis

Dr. Andrew Ellington UT-Austin photo.jpg
University of Texas at Austin

Imagine this scenario: your throat aches; you're sneezing; and you feel chilly and fatigued. A cold? Maybe. The flu? Possibly. You sneeze into a specially formulated tissue, and the resulting color transformation in the tissue gives you your answer.

UT-Austin Biochemistry Professor Dr. Andrew Ellington says we're not too far away from that scenario. That and other technology either already exist (think home pregnancy test) or are in development (think chewable diagnostic - chew on a piece of gum, plug it into your cell phone, and viola- test results). But just because we can self-diagnose illness, does that mean we should?

KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Dr. Ellington about the technology and ethics of self diagnosis.

Dr. Ellington is speaking Thursday, April 4, as part of the "Hot Science - Cool Talks"  lecture series at UT-Austin.  A science fair begins at 5:45. the talk is at 7:00 p.m.