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Healthcare Key Findings August 2013

Posted in Healthcare, Key Findings

“Reality Mining” App Alerts Docs of Illness

reality mining appA novel new smartphone app can alert healthcare providers when the behavior of patients with diabetes or mental illness indicates a potential medical problem.

The early warning system relies on technology that is increasingly standard on smartphones — global positioning systems and accelerometers that track user location and movement. The app can look for signs that something in the user’s normal routine has changed. For a depressive, the app can tell if the user is not taking phone calls or is staying at home. If a diabetic shows signs of lethargy, a nurse can contact the patient to remind him or her to take medication.

Spun out of MIT’s Media Lab in 2011, inventors of the app hope it will save lives and help patients’ control medical costs that can occur when patients stop taking medication and must be treated by a physician or hospital.

The app is currently available for the Android and the iPhone, but must be activated by a hospital or healthcare company. It is being tested by about 14 medical centers in the U.S. So far, patients like the app because they have quicker access to caregivers. Doctors are looking to expand tests of the app to patients with heart problems, chronic back pain and gastrointestinal tract disorders.

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/514756/smartphone-tracker-gives-doctors-remote-viewing-powers/

Bullets

  • Extensive research suggest that foods containing antioxidants, like fish, broccoli and green tea, neutralize free radicals that may play a role in causing cancer and can also prevent the spread of melanoma. (deerfieldpatch.com)
  • Today the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, nearly 6 cups a week (about 150 pounds a year) mostly in the form of processed foods and beverages whereas 200 years ago Americans only at 2 pounds of sugar a year. (experiencelife.com)
  • Fiber may help slow the progression of prostate cancer. Phytic acid, a nondigestible carbohydrate found in fiber-rich foods, slowed the growth of prostate cancer tumors in mice in a study out of the University of Colorado Cancer Center, published in Cancer Prevention Research in January 2013. Though phytic acid didn’t stop the tumors from developing in the first place, it significantly slowed their progression and prevented them from advancing to an aggressive stage. (eatingwell.com)
  • A new study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal reveals 43-plus drugs are risky when taken within 72 hours of eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice causing reactions ranging from fainting to sudden death. (eatingwell.com)
  • Obesity is a bigger health crisis globally than hunger, and the leading cause of disabilities around the world, according the British medical journal The Lancet. Nearly 500 researchers from 50 countries compared health data from 1990 through 2010 for the Global Burden of Disease report, revealing what they call a massive shift in global health trends. The report revealed that every country, with the exception of those in sub-Saharan Africa, faces alarming obesity rates — an increase of 82% globally in the past two decades. Middle Eastern countries are more obese than ever, seeing a 100% increase since 1990. (cnn.com)

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