The Act, which is sponsored by Rep Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, provides for cell phone radiation warnings on mobile phones. It would also create a new national research program to study cell phones and health and require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to update the outdated Specific Absorption Rate (SAR).
In a letter to Rep. Kucinich informing him of the group’s endorsement, the AAP expressed concerns that exposure to cell phone radiation might be especially dangerous for pregnant woman and children.
Behavioral addictions such as compulsive cell phone use or pathological gambling are not currently diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the primary diagnostic reference manual of mental illness used by psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health workers. A new version of the DSM is expected in 2013, and many observers expect that one or more behavioral addictions may be added.
Researchers from the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) released study results showing that cell phones can cause allergies. Specifically Blackberry and flip phones. The Examiner reports.
Research studies have indicated that these cell phones contain nickel and cobalt which are known to cause allergies.
"Both metals can cause an allergic reaction, including dry, itchy patches along the cheek bones, jaw line, and ears," said allergist Tania Mucci, M.D., lead study author and an ACAAI member.
The good news is that testing showed both the Droid and iPhone do not contain nickel or cobalt.
We take them everywhere, which one reason mobile phones get so ... germy. People set them on public bathroom sinks, on mats at the gym and drop them on floors and hand them to friends to show off photos. The Wall Street Journal reports.
When you combine a cellphone's proximity to your ears, nose and mouth with its bacteria-loving warmth, the result can be harmful to your health. This hazard, says Jeffrey Cain, the president of the American Academy of Family Physicians and chief of family medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado, often goes unnoticed. "Some things we think are personal are actually more public than we imagine." Bacteria from a phone can cause flu, pinkeye or diarrhea, says Dr. Cain. People are just as likely to get sick from their phones as from handles of the bathroom," says Dr. Cain.
For people who want to keep a clean touch screen, there is a disconnect between what doctors and medical researchers advise and what device makers suggest for phone sanitizing.
While products are marketed specifically for mobile-phone cleaning, they can sometimes damage the phone's screen coating or fail to remove 100% of the germs.
The Daily Mail reports that Italy's Supreme Court has ruled that mobile phones can give you cancer in a landmark case that could open the gates for other victims to take legal action.
Businessman Innocente Marcolini, 60, was diagnosed with a brain tumour after using his mobile phone at work for up to six hours a day for 12 years.
Italy's Supreme Court found that there was a 'causal link' between his phone use and his illness.
Experts now predict a barrage of legal claims by victims who believe their own illness was caused by their use of mobile phones.
Oncologist and professor of environmental mutagenesis Angelo Gino Levis and neurosurgeon Dr Giuseppe Grasso gave evidence supporting Mr Marcolini's claim.
They argued that mobile and cordless phones emit electromagnetic radiation causing damage to cells and increasing the risk of tumours. But they added that many tumours don't appear for 15 years making short-term studies on mobile phone use redundant.
The jury is still out, however, for many scientists who claim it is still unknown what, if any, link there is between mobiles and brain tumours.
Researchers have mapped precisely how human travel affects the spread of malaria in Kenya by using cell-phone location data. The effort is the largest-ever to use cell-phone data as an epidemiological tool. MIT Technology Review reports.
The study captured the anonymized travel habits of nearly 15 million Kenyans between June 2008 and June 2009. Their movements were gleaned from 11,920 cell towers. The data was then mapped against the incidence of malaria as recorded by health officials.
The results made clear that malaria outbreaks during that period began in Kenya's Lake Victoria region and spread east toward the capital of Nairobi. This suggests that health officials could avert transmissions by focusing their efforts in the lake region, says Caroline Buckee, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of the study, which is being published today in the journal Science.
... Mosquitoes spread the malaria parasite. But infected people—particularly those who are immune and travel without feeling symptoms—can spread the disease widely if they're later bitten by mosquitoes that go on to bite other people. Malaria kills about a million people each year, most of them children under age five in sub-Saharan Africa.
A new survey finds that patients' expectations for healthcare providers have evolved. A majority expect their doctors to communicate with them proactively - even when they're well - via texts, emails and proactive smartphone alerts. Healthcare IT News reports via @jranck.
Sponsored by Seattle-based communications firm Varolii, the survey polled 1,001 adults across the U.S.
Its findings may come as a surprise to some busy physicians. Nearly 80 percent of respondents say it's their doctor's job to keep them healthy - not just to treat them when they're sick. And they wish there was more communication when they're feeling OK: 70 percent of respondents say their doc has never checked on them when they weren’t sick in order to help them stay healthy.
... According to the survey, 50 percent of respondents said they believed texts, emails or smartphone apps with tips, reminders and encouragement could have helped them avoid a past health problem.
But this eagerness for more interaction notwithstanding, healthcare providers are lacking, they say. Just 25 percent of those polled said they felt their healthcare provider was accessible to them when they have questions or concerns. And 68 percent said their doctor has never sent them a text message or email regarding upcoming appointment reminders, discharge information or electronic health resources.
The India Times reports on a new study that reveals that increasing electromagnetic wave energy (EMWE) pollution is adversely impacting plants.
EMWE pollution is caused due to mobile towers, power plants, high voltage towers and diagnostic tools which use electromagnetic waves of different frequencies in radio wave spectrum.
A group of scientists of Gujarat after studying the impact of EMWE on tulsi and spinach have concluded that the electromagnetic waves leave behind harmful effect even on plants.
The scientists selected the two types of plants and raised them by providing nutrients, water and temperature under laboratory conditions. These plants were exposed by EMWE of frequency 900 Mega hertz and field strength 1.9 milli tesla for 72 hours.
The scientists carried out both physiological and biochemical analysis of these plants.
They noticed that morphological changes like decrease in growth rate in terms of height, number of branches and leaves is seen in such plants. Their leaf size gets decreased, leaves become more brittle and they fell off early.
They have 230 volunteers in four proviences that send text messages to regional malaria workers so they can help the patient get intervention and treatment quickly. In addition, the system maps cases in Google Earth so they can map trends and respond appropriately.
Watch their video on YouTube, which explains the entire process.
What is the mobile network operator’s role in mobile health? That is a question that has been asked over and over again during the past few years. The answer is often as varied as the number of mobile operators supporting digital health initiatives today. MobiHealthNews teamed up with noted analyst Jody Ranck to develop this report: Mobile Operators and Digital Health, a comprehensive snapshot of mobile network operators’ healthcare activities in the United States and abroad.
In this 31-page report Ranck outlines dozens of partnerships, services and products offered by MNOs across the globe. The report includes write-ups of healthcare initiatives supported by notable MNOs in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Australia.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, a democrat from Ohio, introduced a federal law today that would put warning labels on cell phones and create a national research program to study cell phone radiation levels. C/Net reports.
H.R. 6358, named the Cell Phone Right to Know Act, would also require the Environmental Protection Agency to update the standards for specific absorption rate, or SAR, the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the body when using a cell phone.
It took decades for scientists to be able to say for sure that smoking caused cancer. During those decades, the false impression created by industry supporters was that there was no connection between smoking and cancer, a deception which cost many lives. While we wait for scientists to sort out the health effects of cell phone radiation, we must allow consumers to have enough information to choose a phone with less radiation," Kucinich said in a statement. "As long as cell phone users may be at increased risk of cancer or reproductive problems, Americans must have the right to know the radiation levels of cell phones.
Using SMS and mobile mapping technology, the SMS for Life initiative simplifies the process of monitoring the availability of drugs in remote health centres. The Guardian reports.
Malaria continues to be a significant health problem, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 216 million people are infected every year and approximately 655,000 die from malaria, mostly children under five and pregnant women.
A key challenge in the fight against malaria is to ensure medicines reach those who most need them: patients living in remote rural areas with poor access to health services. Yet, stock-outs of medicines at the health facility level are a big and persistent problem in many sub-Saharan countries. Once drugs reach the country and enter the supply chain, there is little or no visibility on what happens. This makes it extremely difficult to manage the supply chain and to anticipate stock-outs of life-saving drugs.
SMS for Life pilot in rural Tanzania yields positive results.
Using short messaging service (SMS) and mobile mapping technology, a public private partnership called SMS for Life between Novartis, IBM, Vodafone, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of Tanzania developed and piloted a solution to this problem. The program has now been rolled out countrywide in Tanzania to all 5,097 health facilities with support from Medicines for Malaria Venture and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
21-week pilot study was undertaken during 2009-2010 in three districts of rural Tanzania, involving 129 health facilities and covering a population of 1.2 million people. It confirmed the effectiveness of the approach in reducing stock-outs for ACTs. Stock data was provided in 95% of cases, and data was very accurate, with an error rate of 7.5%, most of which were corrected.
At the start of the pilot, 25% of all health facilities had no ACT in stock, but by the end, 95% had at least one ACT dosage form in stock. Furthermore, at the end of the pilot, 300,000 more people than at the beginning had access to ACTs.
Philippine government officials joined their counterparts in 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asia (ASEAN) in a campaign to fight the spread of mosquitoes that cause dengue or hemmorhagic fever, to stop the disease from spreading to the entire region, sources said, reports Gulf News.
Health and social workers began a campaign urging residents to send text messages through their mobile phones to alert health centres nationwide about people suspected of having dengue. This will help government agencies extend early assistance to suspected dengue victims.
According to The Washington Post, the U.S. FCC plans to ask whether its standards protect people from mobile-phone radiation, a question it hasn’t posed in 15 years, as people use smartphones for longer, more frequent calls.
The FCC last updated its guidelines setting maximum radiation-exposure levels, which are based on the amount of heat emitted by mobile phones, in 1996.
“Any changes in the rules will have an impact on handset vendors,” said CW Cheung, the Asia-Pacific head of consulting for telecoms at Ovum, which advises companies in the telecom industry. “As most vendors are based outside the U.S., it could also become a trade issue.”
One of the most interesting people I follow on Twitter is a gentleman called Jody Ranck, who's career in health, development and innovation spans over 20 years. His credentials are so impressive - trust me - it's worth looking them up here. Ranck has just published a book for Kindle available on Amazon called Connected Health: How Mobile Phones, Cloud and Big Data Will Reinvent Healthcare.
In his own words:
Our current healthcare system is in need of a radical reinvention. Traditional approaches have not brought the rapid change required by aging populations and the rising costs of healthcare, and government efforts too often get bogged down in partisan politics and fail to address systemic issues.
Thankfully, there is hope on the horizon. New approaches that embrace game-changing technology — mobile networks, big data, social media, and the Internet of things — could completely disrupt the status quo and transform the healthcare system. For this change to occur, we must create new institutions and collaborative markets and promote a cultural shift in how we think about medicine, health, and the body. Only then will the path to disruptive innovation be able to overcome its many obstacles and reach a future where health strategists are conversant in the tools and technologies of cooperation.
A study of over 9,000 urban minority children shows that sending text messages to their parents can increase the number of children who receive flu vaccinations. The Atlantic reports.
The increase was modest, with the flu vaccination rate rising from 39.9 percent to 43.6 percent. Among parents who actually received the text messages, the vaccination rate rose to 46.3 percent.
Some people even described the text messages as an angel on their shoulder.
Text messaging is becoming more and more valuable as a health tool. In a 2010 study, personalized text messages more than doubled the success of cigarette smokers who were trying to break the habit. Some people even described the text messages as an angel on their shoulder. And while the results from the flu study aren't as striking, they show more success than traditional mail and phone reminders have at increasing the vaccination rate.
Mobile phones are transforming the way HIV test results are being transmitted to AIDS patients in Africa, a study has shown. AIDS is one of the biggest diseases affecting the continent due to limited access to antiretroviral treatment and heath care. All News reports.
AIDS related deaths account for close to 60% of all total deaths annually and mobile phone penetration has doubled over the last 10 years.
It is for these reasons that the World Health Organisation (WHO) embarked on an investigation to determine whether mobile phone technology could be used to transform the delivery of health care services to AIDS patients in Africa.
A WHO backed study published in the agency’s Bulletin, said the time it took to relay HIV test results to patients’ health facilities could be “dramatically” reduced by using mobile phone text messaging.
Scientists who carried out the study in Zambia found that the turnaround times for delivering a diagnosis by SMS were almost twice as fast compared to traditional postal methods.
The average time for a result notification from a testing lab to a health facility fell from 44.2 days to 26.7 days.
... In addition to decreasing turnaround time for HIV testing, these technologies can also improve treatment by getting people onto ART earlier, researchers said in a news statement.
Cell phones with sensors capable of detecting deadly chemicals in the enviornment, or silicon chips that can be embedded in cell phones to detect and map gas leaks are all in development, and have been written up before, but this is the first time someone has come up with the idea of detecting cell phone radiation - with an app. TheNextWeb reports.
tawkon app for Android which launched yesterday at TNW conference in Amsterdam, provides alerts when radiation levels spike and simply suggests you make a quick change — as you begin a call or while you’re in the middle of one. Once you make that change, tawkon confirms that you are once again in low exposure and ready to ‘talk on’.
According to mobile app developer Gil Friedlander, radiation can be affected by such variables as usage minutes, handset placement, distance to the cell phone towers, weather conditions, number of users in a specific cell area and intensity of the cellular signal.
The two key and most straight forward suggestions tawkon provides are changing your location (just a few feet away and the phone radiation can drop) and distancing the phone from head/body — using a speaker phone headset or Bluetooth.
A scientific conference starting in London today will urge governments across the world to support independent research into the possibility that using mobile phones encourages the growth of head cancers. The Daily Mail reports.
The ONS figures show that the incident rate has risen from two to three per 100,000 people since 1999, while figures from Bordeaux Segalen University show a one to two per cent annual increase in brain cancers in children.
Scientists and academics have long argued over the suggestion that radiation from mobile phones causes cancers. Those who believe there is a link say that - with five billion mobile phones being used worldwide - urgent research must be carried out to establish the risk.
But not everyone agrees. While governments, phone companies, and health agencies give precautionary advice about minimising mobile phone use, the Health Protection Agency is likely to conclude in a report due on Thursday that the only established risk when using a mobile is crashing a car due to being distracted by a call or text.
Professor Denis Henshaw, emeritus professor of human radiation effects at Bristol University, is opening the three-day conference in Westminster today.
He has previously advocated cigarette-style warnings on mobile phone packets and urges more independent research.
Times of India reports on a vaccine box that sends you an SMS everytime the temperature in it rises, threatening the quality of vaccines in it. Indian scientists are calling it "a thermometer with a SIMCARD in it"
In what will greatly reduce vaccines going bad due to temperature fluctuations - a phenomenon that could endanger the life of a child injected with the vaccine, the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is just four weeks away from field testing a unique temperature measurement system which will sense the temperature in the vaccine box and on an hourly basis send an SMS to a server in charge of temperature reading.
... "We have tested the technology before and recorded results with close to 100% accuracy," said Kanav who has worked with Nobel laureate Dr Lee Hartwell at the Arizona State University's Biodesign Institute on creating persuasive technology.
The convergence of two fields—genomics, marked by the rapidly plummeting cost of sequencing a person's entire genetic code, and wireless, with its flurry of innovative health-care apps—led Dr. Topol to write "The Creative Destruction of Medicine," a book that offers an illuminating perspective on the coming digitization of health care. It's also a reminder that while medicine is one of the globe's premier drivers of innovation, it is also a conservative culture that now finds itself buffeted by transformational change.
Nilsson is an investigative reporter who in 2011 uncovered the industry connections of Swedish epidemiologist Anders Ahlbom, leading to his resignation from the IARC meeting classifying carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation. The Washington Times Communities reports.
A new project called PhoneSoap is attempting to “start a clean phone revolution” with a device that both charges and simultaneously sanitizes your phone. [via Mashable]
PhoneSoap a KickStarter project, does its cleaning using UV-C light. UV-C is a type of ultraviolet light that’s used in hospitals, and penetrates the cell walls of bacteria, disrupting its DNA and effectively killing it.
During the cleaning process a UV-C light shines on your phone from the bottom and top of the box, surrounding it in light and killing any present bacteria. The UV-C light is only on for 3-5 minutes, so you don’t run the risk of damaging your phone while you’re getting your clean on.
While you’re cleaning your phone, the box also charges your handsets via either an Apple connector or Micro USB cable.
Text messaging is often rapped for promoting reckless driving, but it could be good for people who feel stressed out, isolated or alone. IANSlive reports.
Adrian Aguilera, professor of social welfare, University of California, Berkeley, and clinical psychologist, said his patients report feeling more connected and cared for when they receive text messages asking them to track their moods, reflect on positive interactions, etc.
... The project began in 2010 when Aguilera developed a customized "Short Message Service (SMS)" intervention programme, with the help of his California colleague Ricardo Munoz, according to a California statement.
Aguilera's patients were sent automated text messages prompting them to think and reply about their moods and responses to positive and negative daily interactions.
To study the effects of cell phones on the human body, researchers have created a virtual body that is unmatched in its richness of detail. LiveScience reports.
"AustinMan" is a virtual receptacle for radiation, an ultra-high-resolution, three dimensional map of the human body; he is helping researchers understand more about the potential health-related effects of wireless devices.
He was born of a National Science Foundation grant, the hard work of University of Texas at Austin researchers and students, as well as a publicly available, extremely high-resolution scan of the human body made possible by a man on death row who donated his body to science.
Weekly mobile phone text messaging may help patients with HIV adhere to antiretroviral therapy (ART) that is often associated with difficult side effects, according to a study published online March 14 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Modern Medecine reports.
High-quality evidence suggests that weekly text messages may enhance ART adherence, so investigators reviewed 2 randomized controlled trials from Kenya including a total of 966 adult patients with HIV. One trial compared short weekly text messages against standard care. The other trial compared short-daily, long-daily, short-weekly, and long-weekly messages against standard care.
Patients receiving standard care in each study received a mobile phone but did not receive any study-related mobile communication.
Those assigned to intervention in the first study were sent brief text messages, such as, “How are you?”, and were expected to respond within 48 hours. In the second study, patients assigned to intervention received daily or weekly short text messages, such as, “This is your reminder,” or daily or weekly long text messages, such as, “This is your reminder. Be strong and courageous. We care about you.”
At 48-52 weeks, combined data from both trials demonstrated that any text messaging was associated with greater ART adherence, weekly texts of any length were associated with adherence, and short weekly text messages were associated with adherence. In the first trial, short weekly texts were also associated with viral load suppression at 52 weeks.
If you are gathering sensitive health data over completely clear text and insecure SMS, somebody’s HIV status, sensitive information protected by HIPAA standards in this country, completely unregulated by development organizations, they don’t self-regulate. Countries certainly don’t have any privacy or data protection stipulations…If we are talking about mobile telephony and mobile phones in development, we need to talk about how we protect the data that we are gathering, the information that we are distributing…”
Data privacy is an important, yet undiscussed topic. As Katrin mentioned, an individual’s health information is extremely personal, especially because it can be used against the person to make them a social outcast. But there is little talked about how patient information is being protected, especially the structure and framework of data protection on a large scale.