Tag Archives: technology

“Baby Einstein” is Actually “Baby Falls Behind”

As a new parent and a medical student, I’m always on the lookout for the latest in pediatric research. Now, although the research I’m presenting here is several years old, I still think it is important to make it more well-known. Many people, parents in particular, are completely unaware that the latest technology claiming to increases the baby’s IQ is just another scam. So, without further ado, here we go!

Everyone has seen the DVDs lining the shelves of Babies R Us, Buy Buy Baby, and the like that are supposed to make your baby the next Albert Einstein. The problem with these DVDs isn’t just the fact that they don’t work. In actuality, they cause more harm than good! I won’t go into the details, and will leave that to the links I’ve included below. However, the main point is that children exposed to more technology are less likely to excel in language development and social relationships. Many studies have even determined a link between watching television and the diagnosis of ADHD later in life.

Babies develop intelligence through social interactions and imagination. The greatest asset to developing superior cognitive abilities in your growing little one is to promote their having a variety of social experiences. Thus, parking them in front of a television (or iPhone, iPad, computer, etc.) is not going to help them learn! Furthermore, one of the greatest predictors of happiness for any age, is the strength of a person’s relationships with others. If you have a wonderful parents, amazing friends, or a loving spouse, you are much more likely to live a happy life.

It is generally accepted amongst child development specialists that a child shouldn’t be exposed to television until 2 years of age. However, for some parents, T.V. provides their only opportunity for relief from the challenges of parenting. Obviously, this poses a problem for those parents. I am by no means calling anyone a “bad parent” for letting their kid watch T.V. Just limit the amount of time they watch to the best of your abilities. It’s not going to be the end of the world if you let them watch an episode of Dora the Explorer so you can get the laundry done.

As a side not, you don’t have to look far to see the detriment of technology for the younger generations. Go out to dinner and you’ll see kids texting or playing games rather than have face-to-face conversations with their peers or family. Studies have shown time and time again that children spending more time using technology (e.g. more television) are far less adept at social interactions. You can’t develop the ability to read body language if you spend your life talking via typing. If the impact of technology on the adolescent population is this substantial, it should come as no surprise that the impact on the rapidly developing mind of an infant is detrimental as well… perhaps even greater!

I love technology as much as the next person, and enjoy playing with all of the latest gadgets. However, I also know that it can be abused. Just limit your kid’s time with television, computers, etc. and you’re one step closer to giving your child the tools to developing into the person you always dream they’ll become!

For more information, I’ve included some links to various articles regarding the topic.

Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All – TIME

No, your iPhone won’t turn your baby into Einstein

Mayo Clinic Article

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Alive & Alert With No Pulse – FLATLINE

Imagine someone without a heartbeat, completely flatlined, yet still alert, oriented and living. Continuous flow, artificial hearts may sound like something of the future, but not anymore!

The artificial heart was constructed in a physician’s garage from materials purchased at home depot. Subsequently, experiments were conducted on animals using the homemade device. After surgically implanting the heart into these ainmals, they’d simply wake up the next day and resume their normal lifestyle. Minus one glaring difference of course… no pulse. They are flatlined.

The artificial heart works using turbines, creating a constant bloodflow throughout the body, similar to water moving through a garden hose. A patients heart would be completely removed and in its place, this artificial heart would keep their body alive. Ultimately, this could save the lives of the 300 to 400 thousand people that die from heart failure each year in the US alone.

The procedure was even performed on a man named Craig Lewis who was diagnosed with amyloidosis. The disease led to heart failure and after being examined by physicians, they determined he would die in 12 – 24 hours. This innovative device was his only chance at survival so the surgical team went to work. The next day, the patient was alert & oriented, despite his complete lack of a pulse. As stated in the video, “No heartbeat, no pulse, flatline pressure”.

Video discovered one http://www.upworthy.com

Innovative Healthcare – Real-Time Patient Monitoring After Discharge

A company known as Health Recovery Solutions (HRS) is on the rise and in my opinion, it should benefit everyone. The primary goal of HRS is simple: to reduce patient readmission to hospitals. How will it do this?

Tablets.

And I’m not talking about any medication tablets either. HRS provides hospitals with electronic tablets, which are given to patients at risk for readmission upon discharge from the hospital. The benefits of using the devices include:

  1. The devices contain educational videos, as well as quizzes following each video. Patient performance allows hospital staff to determine quantitatively determine that patient’s educational needs. 
  2. Patients use the tablet at home to record medications, weight, activities, etc. This information is then transmitted back to the healthcare facility so the patient’s healthcare providers can monitor their progress. 

Thus far, out of all the patients to receive the tablet upon discharge, not one has been readmitted to the hospital. According to the HRS website, the tablets use “a research based platform (PatientConnect) that constructively guides patents’ behaviors” and will help hospitals to “improve patient satisfaction, increase efficiency of their workflow, and generate additional revenue”.

What could make this software even more beneficial in the future?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, hopes to reduce hospital readmission as well. According to an article on CNN Money, HRS is one of several companies that should benefit from the institution of Obamacare. To reduce patient readmission rates, Obamacare institutes a penalty for hospitals that fail to meet criteria:

  • Any Medicare patient treated for pneumonia, heart failure, or a heart attack that requires readmission to the hospital within 30 days of original discharge will result in a 1% reduction in Medicare reimbursements for that hospital.

Obviously, if HRS can continue to prove their worth, the tablet concept would prove paramount in avoiding patient readmission penalties. As stated previously, HRS claims that healthcare facilities can actually increase their revenue by using the tablet platform. Only time will tell. Regardless of the effects on Health Recovery Solutions due to Obamacare, the company has employed an innovative idea that should benefits patients and healthcare professionals.

What might be a problem? 

Despite my fascination with this concept, I just don’t see how it can work in a facility that serves the underprivileged population. The main reason that comes to mind is cost. This wouldn’t be as large of an issue if the hospital can truly make money by implementing this system. If it does cost the hospital money, institutions that are already hard-pressed to obtain adequate funding will be unable to use it. Furthermore, many of the patients treated in these facilities are living below the national poverty level, oftentimes homeless or unemployed. Giving out tablets to everyone and expecting to get them all back is simply unrealistic. You can charge fees to prevent the wealthy from breaking, losing or stealing, but the undeserved population wouldn’t be able to pay the fee anyway. Would the hospital or insurance company cover it then? Someone has to pay the bill, because you know HRS isn’t going to turn into a company that gives away free tablets. 

Conclusion

As long as hospitals are able to meet the financial obligations, HRS could have extremely beneficial effects on the healthcare system. I think real-time patient monitoring after discharge is one of the next innovative steps in healthcare. A foundational component of Obamacare being successful is preventative medicine. Preventing readmission through post-discharge monitoring systems is an excellent method for preventing post-treatment complications and increasing positive patient outcomes.

Foreign Language Website/App Review: Duolingo = EXCELLENT!

Alright, so I feel like I have to post about a foreign language app you can download, which has an interactive website as well. It’s called Duolingo and I was first introduced to this gem in the iTunes stores. I’ve always had an interest in Spanish so I created an account and decided to give this app a shot. If I had to describe my feelings towards it in a single word, I think I’d keep it simple and go with “excellent”!

  1. First and most importantly, the app works. Obviously this is the most important aspect of any foreign language software. According to the Duolingo website, they have evidence that 32 hours of their program is equivalent to an entire semester of taking a Spanish class. Although I can’t validate this and it could obviously be statistical propaganda, it definitely is a worthwhile program.
  2. A major selling point for me and I’m sure many other users is that this application is completely FREE! Even better news is you shouldn’t expect that to change. The website explicitly discusses how it’s currently free and will always be free… forever!
  3. A third huge selling point for this application is the social aspect. You can invite friends from Facebook and/or Twitter and compete with each other in learning a language. Each lesson you complete gives points based on how well you did. Anyone you’re friends with through the Duolingo program can follow your progress and vice versa. There is even a leaderboard where you can see who amongst you is #1. Who doesn’t love some friendly competition to make things a little more intriguing? One of the hardest parts of learning a foreign language in my opinion is persistence, and the social aspect of this program will make you more determined to keep up the hard work.

I’ve only had this app for 2 days now, but I already am in love with it. Anyone with an interest in learning a foreign language should give it a shot. Honestly, you have no reason not to give it a try. It’s completely free so if you somehow don’t like it, a quick delete and you can act like it never existed. Try it out!

Girl Injected with HIV as a Cure – Fire with Fire Video

This is a phenomenal video that characterizes so many things:

  • the passion that physicians should strive to have towards their field and their patients.
  • the medical miracles that can occur through innovation.
  • the lengths that people can go when all hope seems lost.
  • the courage that even the most fragile-looking people in the world can possess.

And I’m sure you can come up with more as well.

Watch this short video for a mind-blowing story of a phenomenal little girl who beat the odds with the help of some inspirational people.

Avatar Therapy Helps Schizophrenia Sufferers Silence Their Demons

This is pretty fascinating and yet so simple conceptually. An innovative idea that’s simple to institute and shows promising results… you can’t ask for much more.

NewsFeed

For years therapists have used computer simulations to create a safe, virtual space where people can confront their real-world phobias of everything from planes to spiders. Now the treatment is being adapted for schizophrenia patients to help them talk back to the frightening voices inside their heads. “The idea was that if we give the invisible entity a human face then it can be much easier for the patient to converse with it,” Julian Leff, the University College London psychiatrist who developed the treatment, told the BBC.

Here’s how it works: The therapist presents a patient with a computer-generated avatar that represents a particularly distressing voice. The patient then customizes the avatar’s face, hair and pitch of its voice. Next the doctor, who is seated in a separate room, brings the avatar to life onscreen by saying frightening things through a voice-altering technology that emulates the pitch selected by…

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Motorola Is Working On a Password Pill for Once-Daily Authentication — Oh, and a Tattoo, Too

This is like those crazy, futuristic sci-fi movies you watch and imagine what’d be like to have the technology used by the characters…. except in this case, it’s real life!

Tech

Let’s get real: We have a password problem.

People generally don’t use unique passwords for each site they visit. Some people just use plain awful passwords. Even if you use strong passwords, as recommended, sites still get hacked (over and over and over again).

Getting rid of passwords altogether has been heralded as a possible solution, whether by fingerprint authentication, eyeball scanning, facial recognition or any number of tactics that use your body as a unique identifier.

Former DARPA head Regina Dugan is now in charge of advanced research at Motorola. In an interview at the D11 conference this week, Dugan showed off two things her team has been working on: a digital tattoo and a once-daily pill, both of which would be used to authenticate you in some manner or another.

tattoo
All Things D

She first showed off the tattoo, saying, “This is…

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mHealth App-of-the-Month: Sense.ly

This is a very interesting article! I definitely think medicine will continue to develop technological healthcare applications at an exponential rate. As mentioned in the article, with the increasing demands of healthcare, these type of innovations could be extremely beneficial to healthcare works, as well as increase patient compliance.

For the Health of IT

What is the big “a-ha” moment with your end users when you first demo your mHealth application for them?

Sense.lyprovides the patient with an easy-to-use interface that can deliverremote assessments, tailored rehabilitation exercises, and dailycheck-ins at their home or on a mobile phone or tablet using natural user interfaces including a virtual avatar, speech recognition, body recognition, and augmented reality. The big “a-ha” moment comes when people realize how easy Sense.ly is to interact with and how simple it  is to express themselves in a meaningful manner, similar to how they talk to their doctors in the office. They’re not confused by the interface and feel like the system is actually listening to them and responding with understanding and empathy. Sense.ly.jpg

What problems does your app solve in healthcare?

  • Lack of patient compliance in between office and therapy visits.
  • New demand for health services due to 50…

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Cheap Diagnostic Devices Using Paper

Paper could be basis for inexpensive diagnostic devices.

This is a great article about paper capable of repelling liquids and the future use of such material in biomedical diagnostics. 

NASA Invests in 3D Food Printer

NASA Invests in 3D Food Printer

Immediately after my previous post regarding 3D printing, I stumbled upon this article. Apparently NASA has decided to get in on the 3D printing bandwagon as well! 

Honestly, the number of revolutionary concepts that will continue to develop through 3D printing is astounding. 

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