Can an Algorithm Replace the Pill? - Dream Health

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Tuesday 11 October 2016

Can an Algorithm Replace the Pill?

Happy Cycles

Elina Berglund is a particle physicist from Sweden and assisted in the discovery of the Higgs boson particle. Then when the Large Hadron Collider completed its first test in the year 2012, she felt it was time for a change. She felt it was difficult to achieve and so she thought to try out something totally different. That is when she came up with the app Natural Cycles to check fertility. Berglund 32 years of age started putting effort in the app while she was still at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN). She wanted to stop letting her body be subjective to pills but was unaware of any natural forms of birth control. So she prepared an algorithm for herself.

How it works

The algorithm was centred on progressive statistical techniques from her duration at CERN and it made use of the temperature of her body to find out fertility. After the egg is discharged from the ovary, levels of female hormone progesterone increases which causes the bodily temperature in women to rise up to 0.45 degree Celsius warmer. By punching into her app your daily temperature and by comparing all the data fed in, you know when you would be able to have coitus unprotected which will be displayed in green on the calendar and when the use of contraception will be required which will be shown in red.

The app has led two trials clinically, in which the second one evaluated data entry of a crowd greater than four thousand women between the age of 20 and 35. While that happened to continue for one year, one hundred and forty three pregnancies took place unplanned, out of which ten occurred on the days marked in green thus rating the app a 99.5 % in effectiveness similar to the pill. It is the only app currently of its kind to be regarded as a medical instrument which has been approved giving it the same importance as condoms and IUDs even if it is of a different form.

What next? 

Her next aim was for the technique not to be categorized not just as fertility but as a contraceptive monitor. The app will stand as a form of natural means of contraception substituting the pill without having any side effects. Fault finders have questioned them regarding the app saying that it is not suggestible for those who are in their early years of life or those who want to keep pregnancy at bay, as there are other alternative methods which are much more effective.

From the Swedish Medical Institute Karolinska Institutet, the lead author Kristina Gemzell Danielsson says that the effectiveness is far less than that of IUD or intrauterine contraception or inserts, but alike to the pill when it is used for real. Bazian who are medical data analysts that wrote for NHS Choices mentioned that this sort of app can assist in keeping track as of when it would be advisable to keep away from unprotected coitus. However, they also observed that the data was not accumulated to particularly as an answer for the question and may possibly not be appropriate for the purpose.

The pros and cons

Elina further says that it is essential to see that the study is a study conducted in real life, which means that the routine of the app was considered as close to realism as promising. In organised clinical test, the act of presenting is always considered as a better way because there is a lot of scrutinizes from clinicians that bring to mind for instance women consume pills so on and so forth.

To which Danielson also agrees in response to the observation that the rate at which pregnancy was dropped out was more in the study than with the pill. She also said that the key is pure motivation. For a number of women this method might not be perfect but it can be a good alternative for women who are motivated. The app, Natural Cycles can be of aid to a lot of women who plan to have a baby as well as to prevent the chances of pregnancy.

Elina is currently aiming on the facts of this app, along with a study conducted clinically explored the issues that had an impact on pregnancy and a movement that inaugurates tomorrow in the UK called #HappyPregnancy. Being a part of the movement, this app is proposing a refund to any female who is unsuccessful to get pregnant within a period of 9 months as per usage.

Natural Cycles at present has hundred thousand users at the cost of £6.99 per month and in the month of June the firm had around six million (£4.5m). When Elina was asked what was next to come she said a lot of things. The main aim for her as well as the team of clinicians was to expand the team not only in the UK but also internationally.

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