The proliferation of mobile phones in low- and middle-income countries over the past decade has been rapid and remarkable. This boom in mobile technology offers an incredible opportunity to provide historically marginalized groups, such as girls and women, with increased access to information and education to improve their health and wellbeing. Forbes reports.
... The benefits of mobile technology reach far beyond the bounds of health in empowering women. For example, 41% of female mobile phone owners enjoy increased economic and professional opportunities due to owning a mobile, and 85% report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone.
The use of a smartphone application significantly improves patients' preparation for a colonoscopy, according to new research presented today at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
The preparation process, which begins days in advance of the procedure, includes dietary restrictions and requires specific bowel preparation medication to be taken at strict intervals. The better the preparation, the easier it is for doctors to see cancer and precancerous polyps in the colon. The study, which was conducted by the gastroenterologists of Arizona Digestive Health in Phoenix, featured the first doctor-designed app of its kind.
The debate surrounding the safety of using cell phones has raged for years, most recently coming to a head in San Francisco, where local leaders attempted to pass a law requiring retailers to display the amount of radiation emitted by each cell phone. DVICE reports.
In a case that has been closely monitored by mobile phone industry players across the U.S., San Francisco's Board of Supervisors has agreed to drop the warning requirement after a lengthy legal battle with the CTIA. The argument made by the CTIA claimed that such warnings could serve to mislead consumers regarding the risks associated with cell phone use, particularly in light of the fact that the FCC has deemed the devices safe to use.
By hooking a variety of gadgets onto a smartphone you could almost get a complete physical — without the paper gown or even a visit to the doctor's office. Wireless Week reports.
Blood pressure? Just plug the arm cuff into the phone for a quick reading.
Heart OK? Put your fingers in the right spot, and the squiggly rhythm of an EKG appears on the phone's screen.
Plug in a few more devices and you could have photos of your eardrum (Look, no infection!) and the back of your eye, listen to your heartbeat, chart your lung function, even get a sonogram.
... The University of California, San Francisco, hopes to enroll a staggering 1 million people in its Health eHeart Study to see whether using mobile technology, including smartphone tracking of people's heart rate and blood pressure, could help treat and prevent cardiovascular disease.
Community health workers receive new cell phones as incentives to continue their malaria rapid reporting. PBS reports.
With the use of mobile technology, health workers with Akros Research have been able to double the number of clinics and patients they visit per day - when previously they traveled upwards of 100 miles to reach community health volunteers in southern Zambia's heavily impacted areas.
... Several key interventions have been implemented since 2000, including distributing long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor residual spraying and antimalarial medicines to curb the disease. The introduction of rapid reporting systems, using mobile phones to provide real-time data and the detection of high-infection areas, has health workers and volunteers excited about ending malaria deaths for good.
A new study suggests a potential link between the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and cell phone use, reports Psych Central.
For the study, researcher Yoon Hwan Byun of the Department of Medicine at Dankook University College of Medicine in South Korea set out to discover whether radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) affect developing brains with prolonged exposure. Past research has suggested a link between prenatal cell phone exposure and the risk of conduct and behavior problems in children.
For the study, Byun evaluated more than 2,400 elementary school children for ADHD symptoms and cell phone exposure through the use of parental reports..
Two years later, Byun interviewed the participants again and found that children who used cell phones for voice calls were more likely to develop symptoms of ADHD than those who didn’t. However, this was only statistically significant in children who were also exposed to high levels of lead.
Mobile health (mHealth) applications such as text messages could save more than a million lives in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years. SciDevNet reports via @jranck.
The report, produced by consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers India, says that mobile phone interventions to ensure patients comply with treatment, medical stock is available and healthcare workers stick to treatment guidelines could save some of the three million lives lost each year across Africa to HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), malaria and pregnancy-related conditions.
Health communication systems designed for rural, developing countries -- where hospitals are often understaffed and transportation is inadequate -- are being adapted to improve care in U.S. cities. The Atlantic reports.
In the last decade, community health efforts have been made more effective by a simple insight: that time, money, and sometimes even lives can be saved through texting. At St. Gabriel's Hospital in Malawi, for example, 75 community health workers were trained to use text messages to communicate patient information, appointment reminders, and other health-related notifications to patients. Through this mobile health, or mHealth, initiative, the hospital saved approximately 2,048 hours of worker time and $3,000 in fuel, while doubling the capacity of the tuberculosis treatment program.
The case for this growing field in the developing world provokes some controversy, however. Tina Rosenberg, writing in The New York Times, argued recently that the field is in flux. "Roughly a decade after the start of mHealth ... these expectations are far from being met," she writes. "The delivery system is there. But we don't yet know what to deliver.
The Swiss team say the wireless prototype - half an inch (14mm) long - can simultaneously check for up to five different substances in the blood.
The readings are then beamed to the doctor, using Bluetooth technology.
The device's developers hope it will be available to patients within four years.
It is designed to be inserted, using a needle, into the interstitial tissue just beneath the skin of the abdomen, legs or arms. And it could remain there for months before needing to be replaced or removed.
A new video and surrounding research are raising awareness around light pollution — including those lovely, glowing screens we’re so fond of carrying around in our pockets. VentureBeat reports.
We take it for granted as a side effect of modern life, but researchers at the International Dark-Sky Association say it’s causing cancer, increasing insomnia, spurring on sexual dysfunction, and hurting the migratory patterns of animal species.
According to Haaretz, Partner Communications, which operates in Israel under the name Orange, will pay NIS 400,000 to a customer who contracted cancer in his ear.
The customer, who is in his 50s, sued Partner in May, claiming that intensive use of the device resulted in an aggressive lymphoma near his left ear.
The customer is an attorney who had converted the secure room – a reinforced room that doubles as a bomb shelter and is common in most new Israeli homes – into an office. He claimed that he conducted a great deal of phone calls and business from the room, where cellular reception was low. In places without good phone reception, such as elevators and secure rooms, the electromagnetic radiation from cellular phones is higher than usual.
Partner's settlement is a rare act. The company says they opted to pay the customer as a humanitarian gesture.
Today, a deep sigh at your smartphone thanks to SpiroSmart, could reveal a well-developed emotional connection with your gadget. But one day those sighs could tip off your doctor to a latent or worsening lung condition. MIT Technology Review reports.
For patients with conditions like asthma, chronic bronchitis, or cystic fibrosis doctors sound out their pipes using a spirometer, a device that measures volumes of air breathed in and out. The exhaled volume indicates if the patient’s air passages are clogged and leading to difficulty breathing.
A metal-free antenna may help scientists find out, once and for all, whether cell phones cause cancer. PopSci reports.
Researchers from Princeton have designed an antenna that emits radio frequencies in the same way as cell phones, but doesn’t include any of a phone’s pesky metal parts. They’ve already put the antenna next to a cow’s brain inside an MRI and tracked the resulting hot spots in the brain.
In the future, the antenna system should allow scientists to build an accurate 3-D map of cell phone radiation in the human brain--a crucial step in determining how much energy the organ is exposed to at a time, and whether those little doses might add up to a real threat.
Read full article. Image: Electro-Magnetic Model Electro-magnetic waves from the phone’s antenna penetrate the brain several centimeters deep. Paul Wootton
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.