Archives for the category: Health Issues and SMS Alerts

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April 16, 2012

The Wireless Revolution Hits Medicine

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quotemarksright.jpgThe 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

The Wall Street Journal's Ron Winslow discussed the implications with Dr. Topol. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation.

emily | 8:03 PM | permalink

April 14, 2012

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity in limelight in Norway - brought by an unlikely adversary

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.

emily | 7:29 PM | permalink

April 12, 2012

PhoneSoap Lets You Clean Your Phone While You Charge

photo-full.jpeg 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]

quotemarksright.jpgPhoneSoap 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. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

Other phone cleaning devices blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 8:00 AM | permalink

April 11, 2012

Text messages can soothe stressed souls

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.

quotemarksright.jpgAdrian 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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 3:25 PM | permalink

April 7, 2012

Digital AustinMan Exposes Himself to Cell Phones to Study Radiation

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.

quotemarksright.jpg"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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 8:38 PM | permalink

March 30, 2012

Study: Texting enhances HIV therapy compliance

1messagereceived.jpg 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.

quotemarksright.jpgHigh-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.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:15 AM | permalink

March 29, 2012

Opening the Discussion of Data Privacy in mHealth

Mobile-Security2.jpeg During New America’s Mobile Disconnect talk on February 9th, Katrin Verclas, Co-Founder and Editor of MobileActive.org, brought up an interesting question about data privacy in mhealth – what is being done to protect patient data in mhealth projects in developing countries? Global Broadband reports.

quotemarksright.jpgIf 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. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article. Image from Technorati.

emily | 5:10 PM | permalink

February 22, 2012

Mobile phone smoking cessation interventions recommended by US Government Task Force

Recently, the Community Preventive Services Task Force made a positive recommendation for using mobile phone-based tobacco cessation interventions. iMedicalApps reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpgThe committee indicated that there was sufficient evidence for effectiveness of these interventions in increasing tobacco abstinence among people interested in quitting smoking. It made its determination based on findings from “six studies in which mobile phone-based interventions were implemented alone or in combination with Internet-based interventions.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 4:40 PM | permalink

Mobile phone SMS could be used for malaria control in Africa

3420714787_cfea103cd8.jpeg Scientists have suggested that text messaging can be used to control malaria in Africa. ZeeNews reports.

quotemarksright.jpgDejan Zurovac and colleagues from the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Program, Nairobi, Kenya described six areas where text messaging could improve the delivery of health services and health outcomes in malaria in Africa.

These include three areas transmitting information from the periphery of the health system to malaria control managers and three areas transmitting information to support management of malaria patients.

... The study, Mobile Phone Text Messaging: Tool for Malaria Control in Africa appeared in this week`s PLoS Medicine.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

Related articles on how cell phones are helping to fight malaria, blogged by textually over the years.

emily | 8:49 AM | permalink

February 7, 2012

Few SMS health applications have been evaluated

freedomfromaidsgameapp.jpg The Journal of Medical Internet Research recently published a research paper called, SMS Applications for Disease Prevention in Developing Countries, that found while there have been many text message-powered health initiatives, very few of them have been sufficiently evaluated. Mobilehealthnews reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpg... The study reviewed 34 SMS applications (excluding those not launched in developing markets or that focused on disease prevention) but only five had made available evaluation study findings.

The researchers stated that most of the applications they reviewed were pilot projects “in various levels of sophistication” with “modes of intervention varying between one-way or two-way communication, with or without incentives, and with educative games.”

Of those five SMS applications that did have evaluation findings available, the researchers said that the “primary barriers identified were language, timing of messages, mobile network fluctuations, lack of financial incentives, data privacy, and mobile phone turnover.”

Efficacy studies for all mobile health services — not just those for developing markets — is shaping up to be one of the big trends of 2012.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 7:14 PM | permalink

February 2, 2012

Telecom Italia Launches Medical Monitoring Service Via Mobile Phone

52859.png The "Nuvola It Home Doctor" system developed by Telecom Italia is enabling chronic patients who are being treated at the Molinette Hospital in Turin to monitor their physiological parameters via mobile phone from their own homes. Cellular News reports.

quotemarksright.jpgFollowing a joint trial, the service is now available to chronic patients under treatment in the Molinette Hospital Geriatric Unit and the Molinette Home Hospital Unit and will be gradually rolled out to the cardiology, pneumology, neurology, haematology units and some areas of internal medicine.

... Telecom Italian expects that the service will be taken up by other hospitals in the region to monitor as many as 5,000 patients from their own homes.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

January 31, 2012

"Of Mice and Men" & cell phones

Cellphone_Mouse_640_427_s640x427.jpeg An interesting take on the health studies surrounding cell phones. By The Washington Times.

quotemarksright.jpgTo evaluate the possible health effects of cell phone radiation, as with any other environmental hazard, scientists must consider different types of scientific evidence, including animal toxicology studies.

n sensu stricto animal toxicology studies, animals are exposed to a large overdose of tested chemical or radiation, beyond the levels normally encountered by human beings in real situations, and examined for any detrimental health effects. In another type of toxicology studies, animals are exposed to the potential hazard for their life-time and examined for the impact of the hazard on their health and on the health and development of the offspring.

However, in case of the studies of cell phone radiation, there is a limitation that precludes the use of toxicology to the fullest.

It is impossible to perform toxicology studies exposing animals to large overdoses of cell phone radiation. Large overdoses of cell phone radiation (microwaves) will heat animals, impacting animal health. Moreover, it is impossible to transfer this information to humans, because current cell phone safety standards are set at levels that do not cause heating.

What is the value of animal studies showing no effect for the human health risk analysis? It is very minimal, at the best. Certainly it is not proof of human safety.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 3:11 PM | permalink

January 18, 2012

No increase in brain tumours in the Nordic countries

Rooney-Mara-Daniel-Craig-actores-Millenium.jpeg The incidence of glioma - the most common form of brain tumour - is not increasing in the Nordic countries, contradicting the claim that mobile phone use is a cause of the disease. This according to a new study from Karolinska Institutet published in the scientific journal Epidemiology. Press release via Medical Express reports.

quotemarksright.jpgThe analyses presented by the researchers also show that the increased risks previously reported to be associated with mobile telephony in a few individual studies should have been observable in the general cancer statistics if mobile phone use had indeed been associated with a true risk increase.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full press release. Image from Dragon Tatoo Trilogy

emily | 10:46 PM | permalink

January 10, 2012

Kenyans Going Mobile to Stay Healthy

beta.png In Kenya, the ratio of patients to doctors is 6,000 to 1, and the dearth of health professionals isn't the only challenge to accessing decent health care. Unlicensed impostors hand out expired medicines to people who don't know any better, and a shortage of public information on health services makes it easier for quacks to lure victims. Good.is reports via @mobileactive

quotemarksright.jpg... More than 25 million Kenyans have mobile phones, making apps a logical way to disseminate essential information about health. MedAfrica, a new smartphone app, has positioned itself as the go-to service for wired Kenyans in search of reputable health care. The app operates like a mobile yellow pages for medical services, providing basic listings of professionals in the area. Additional features include a symptom checker for patients to compare their ailments with different diseases and make decisions about seeking medical attention. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:20 PM | permalink

As Smartphones Get Smarter, You May Get Healthier: How mHealth Can Bring Cheaper Health Care To All

smartphone-health.jpeg Smartphones and tablets are transforming the future of health care. Can we really trust them to save lives? FastCompany reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpg ... "mHealth," the rapidly growing business of using mobile technology in health care. Leveraging the wonders of a device that's fast becoming ubiquitous--two in three people worldwide own a cell phone--a new generation of startups is building apps and add-ons that make your handheld work like high-end medical equipment. Except it's cheaper, sleeker, and a lot more versatile.

"It's like the human body has developed a new organ," says Raja Rajamannar, chief innovation officer at Humana. Smartphones can already track calories burned and miles run, and measure sleep patterns. By 2013, they'll be detecting erratic heartbeats, monitoring tremors from Parkinson's disease, and even alerting you when it's prime time to make a baby.

At stake is the future of health care--and a share of the $273 billion medical-device industry, which is dominated by the likes of GE and Philips. Although today's mHealth market barely tops $2 billion, experts predict that number will skyrocket over the next decade as smartphones get smarter and patients lose, well, patience with the high costs and hassles of health care.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:12 PM | permalink

The Nurse in Your Pocket

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In 2009, researchers at MIT gave a dorm full of students smartphones and tracked where they went, who they called and texted, and at what times they communicated. The researchers found that the data pouring out of the phones could reliably tell when a student was ill: Those stricken with the flu moved around much less, and those who were depressed had fewer calls and interactions with others. Business Week reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpgAnmol Madan, the PhD student who led the study, concluded that the findings might be useful outside of dorms. There are now more than 60 million smartphones in the U.S., and they’re “incredibly powerful diaries of a person’s life,” he says. So in November 2010, Madan and his classmate Karan Singh, both 29, started Ginger.io to mine those diaries and provide the kind of detailed, persistent health monitoring that doctors and researchers have only dreamed of. “There hasn’t been large-scale, real-world data about how people behave” before now, he says.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 2:07 PM | permalink

December 28, 2011

Cellphones a new tool for helping homeless teens, study says

A cellphone can provide a crucial safety net for teenagers who are homeless, according to a new study published in the Journal of Urban Health.

quotemarksright.jpg"Cell Phone Use Among Homeless Youth: Potential for New Health Interventions and Research," was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.

Because cellphones are nearly ubiquitous among American adolescents, the study said, this technology can give family, friends and providers new ways to keep connected to homeless youth, a population that is highly transient.

Unlike adults who are homeless, teenagers have fewer mental-health and substance-abuse problems that can stop them from getting off the streets.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 10:14 AM | permalink

December 20, 2011

Are digital technologies really making health care more effective?

ref=dp_image_0.jpeg A leading researcher says digital technologies are about to make health care more effective. But is so much data really beneficial? MIT Technology Review via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpgNanosensors patrolling your bloodstream for the first sign of an imminent stroke or heart attack, releasing anticlotting or anti-inflammatory drugs to stop it in its tracks. Cell phones that display your vital signs and take ultrasound images of your heart or abdomen. Genetic scans of malignant cells that match your cancer to the most effective treatment.

In cardiologist Eric Topol's vision, medicine is on the verge of an overhaul akin to the one that digital technology has brought to everything from how we communicate to how we locate a pizza parlor. Until now, he writes in his upcoming book The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care, the "ossified" and "sclerotic" nature of medicine has left health "largely unaffected, insulated, and almost compartmentalized from [the] digital revolution." But that, he argues, is about to change.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:54 PM | permalink

December 16, 2011

Kenya Has Mobile Health App Fever

Snapz Pro XScreenSnapz001.jpg Mobile health platforms are fast emerging in Kenya, where one startup's newly launched mobile health platform is attracting nearly 1,000 downloads daily, and the dominant telecom, Safaricom, has forged a partnership that will give its 18 million subscribers access to doctors. MIT Technology Review reports via @jranck.

quotemarksright.jpg.. Many Kenyans have serious health problems; for example, according to the World Health Organization, more than 30 percent of children under age five show stunted growth. At present, only 7,000 doctors serve a nation of 40 million people. But Kenya is rich in mobile phones, with 25 million subscribers (Africa has more than 600 million of them).

The new app, called MedAfrica—available for smart phones and less powerful feature phones—is the product of Shimba Technologies, a Nairobi-based company founded by two locally educated entrepreneurs, Stephen Kyalo and Kezia Muoki, with $100,000 in seed money from a European VC.

MedAfrica is platform that provides a suite of health services (health widgets) such as symptom checkers, first-aid information, doctor & hospital directories as well as relevant alert services.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 4:31 PM | permalink

Text-Messaging to Emergency Patients Might Reduce Their Alcohol Consumption

Text-messaging might be an effective way for health care providers to help young adults reduce heavy drinking, according to a study funded by a research grant by the Emergency Medicine Foundation. The findings will be published in the March 2012 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research and are now available online.

quotemarksright.jpgWhen we used text-messaging to collect drinking data and to offer immediate feedback and support to young adults discharged from the emergency department, they drank less," said lead study author Brian Suffoletto, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Pittsburgh in Pa.

"Each day in the U.S., more than 50,000 adults ages 18 to 24 visit hospital emergency departments and more than a third of them report current alcohol abuse or dependence. If not addressed, hazardous or binge drinking can lead to high rates of avoidable injuries and death.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full press release.

emily | 1:58 PM | permalink

December 5, 2011

Cell phone radiation: why more research is needed

Dariusz Leszczynski for Communities @Washington Times reports on how safe are cell phones, what we know and what we don't know.

quotemarksright.jpgA total of only 831 studies (as of Dec. 3, 2011) has been performed using cell phone radiation. This is a very small number, considering that different research groups used different experimental models and a broad variety of exposure hardware and exposure conditions. This in turn makes the comparison of the results very difficult or nearly impossible to draw any reliable health risk conclusions.

... We hear disputes about human health risk and the claims of its absence where we do not have studies examining effects of cell phone radiation on humans at the molecular level where any effects would start. That is a big reason for doing more research.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:09 AM | permalink

November 29, 2011

To self-diagnose, spit on an iPhone

Handheld gadgets could one day diagnose infections at the push of a button by using the supersensitive touchscreens in today's smartphones. New Scientist reports.

quotemarksright.jpgMany believe that in the future collecting samples of saliva, urine or blood could be performed using a cheap, USB-stick-sized throwaway device called a lab-on-a-chip. The user would inject a droplet of the fluid in the chip, and micropumps inside it would send the fluid to internal vessels containing reagents that extract target disease biomarker molecules. The whole device would then be sent to a lab for analysis.

But Hyun Gyu Park and Byoung Yeon Won at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology in Daejeon think touchscreens could improve the process by letting your phone replace the lab work. Park suggests the lab-on-a-chip could present a tiny droplet of the sample to be pressed against a phone's touchscreen for analysis, where an app would work out whether you have food poisoning, strep throat or flu, for example.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:15 PM | permalink

November 25, 2011

'Electro-oversensitive' man in mobile phone blackout threat

A Swedish man who sometimes wears a silver-coloured suit to protect himself from mobile phone mast radiation had demanded that local officials in Dalarna in central Sweden create a “radiation-free zone” to protect his health that may leave half the county without mobile phone coverage.

[via The Local]

emily | 7:36 PM | permalink

November 24, 2011

Psychiatrists are integrating texting in their practices

Forbes reports on how psychiatrists are integrated texting in their practices.

quotemarksright.jpgSome psychiatrists, like Dr. Alan Manevitz, at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, encourages his patients to text message what’s happening in their lives in real time.

Once upon a time, Manevitz says, people came to their psychiatrists to lie on the couch and free-associate, ratting off whatever was on their mind. Now, texts let us do this from the field. “Texts allow us to capture people’s voices in the situations they’re in, right when they’re in them. Then when they come in to the office, we talk about what’s happened, but I’m already aware of it through their texts in the preceding week. The events are captured instantaneously. This is not from memory (which can pose accuracy problems), it’s in real time.”

Texts also allow patients to be more comfortable opening up about their experiences than they tend to be in person. They’re more willing to reveal the thoughts they’ve had, says Manevitz, or the choices they’ve made, which is particularly true for teens who are experimenting with new activities and substances that they might be ashamed to reveal on the couch.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article .

emily | 8:46 AM | permalink

November 23, 2011

Safaricom unveils mobile health service

Safaricom has teamed up with 'Call-a-Doc' to launch a service that will enable people to access medical services over the phone, according to the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation website. [via Telecom Paper]

quotemarksright.jpgThe service is called 'Daktari1525' and will enable Safaricom's subscriber base of over 18 million to call doctors at any time of the day and receive expert advice on health issues.

Dialling 1525 will connect the user to the Safaricom call centre, and a doctor will be on hand to assist. The service will be charged at KES 20 a minute and is expected drastically to reduce hospital visits and medical expenditure.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 5:28 PM | permalink

November 17, 2011

An App That Senses When You’re Feeling Down

Ginger.io just won the $100,000 Data Design Diabetes challenge, because it silently analyzes your phone usage data to figure out if you’re upset. For diabetes patients, that could be a lifesaver. FastCompany reports via @JodyRanck.

quotemarksright.jpgYour smartphone is an incredibly powerful tool—one that we mostly waste by just using to make phone calls and check email. But it’s really an advanced bundle of sensors that is with us nearly 24 hours a day, collecting massive amounts of data. Doctors and health professionals are only now starting to understand the opportunity this data can provide. Take a new app that helps silently identify diabetes patients who might be slipping with their treatments.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 2:55 PM | permalink

November 2, 2011

Medical ID bracelet uses texting to relay emergency info

6a00d8341c630a53ef015392bd1df7970b-800wi.gif The Los Angeles Times on a new medical identification bracelet that came on the market Tuesday, that uses text messaging to convey detailed medical information to first responders.

quotemarksright.jpgWith the TextID bracelets, information can be accessed within seconds of an emergency responder sending a text to the five-digit number on the ID. That information is texted back in two parts – a first message that reveals the patient’s name, gender, age, condition and contact phone number, and a second message with a URL providing an entire medical profile. In a personal test of the system, both texts were received within 10 seconds. quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read full article.

emily | 8:41 AM | permalink

October 29, 2011

SF cell phone radiation warning goes too far

SFCFRadiation.jpg San Francisco may have gone too far in mandating warnings about the radiation coming out of cell phones, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, reports CNet.

quotemarksright.jpgThe ruling, reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, called for San Francisco to tone down its message and to remove the requirement for retailers to post warnings on their walls.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup said the warnings created an "untrue and misleading" perception that cell phones are dangerous and "somehow escaped the regulatory process." He added that the rule overstates the risks posed by cell phones.quotesmarksleft.jpg

Read more.

emily | 10:05 AM | permalink

October 25, 2011

Combating Cholera with Cell Phones

In early September, 29 community health workers began using Nokia cell phones as the latest tool in the fight against cholera. The specially programmed phones help track information about cholera patients in isolated communities throughout Haiti’s Central Plateau – an important step in gathering the up-to-date infection data that could prevent more deaths.

[Partners in Health via @JodyRanck]

emily | 7:53 PM | permalink

October 22, 2011

Physicians' Use of Text Messages Sparks Privacy Concerns

Most physicians use text messaging to exchange patient information with other health care providers, but such communication could be a violation of federal privacy and security rules, experts said during a webinar this week.

BNA reports via iHealthBeat.

emily | 8:32 AM | permalink

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