Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

We Can’t App Our Way Into Better Health or Healthcare – Health Is Social

We Can’t App Our Way Into Better Health or Healthcare

From the 9 March 2012 post at Health is Social

It’s cool and all that we can track our every step, our every weight, our every heartbeat, our every glucose reading.

Cooler still is to receive relevant feedback based on all the tracks.

Cooler yet is to gain proper interpretation of what the feedback means.

Even cooler is for us to get healthier and to deliver better care with all this tracking.

That last sentence – it’s not *just* cooler: it’s crux.

We can build all kinds of mobile applications. We can track all sorts of things.

But if we track the wrong things, we’ll simply railroad ourselves – or at least hop on the wrong train.

It’s not enough to track all those pushups and all those marathons.

In fact, how do you know that all those sweaty visits to the gym aren’t slowly making invisible tears in your muscles – how do you know that all those tears aren’t inducing a chronic state of tiny inflammatory processes that one day will lead to a myocardial infarction?

You see, the problems in front of you aren’t the problems in front of you: for an app that tracks your gym activity *might* be blinding you to some other problems.

Building and using more and more apps won’t convey us into better health or healthcare. Yes, they can help nudge and guide us – and that’s important as long as the contexts and processes into which those nudges and guides are the right ones.

An app is a module.

Health is a whole.

 

April 11, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , | Leave a comment

Understanding How Stress Affects Humans Through The Study Of Social Stress That Molds The Monkey Immune System

Rhesus macaques on Qianling Shan in the outski...

Rhesus macaques on Qianling Shan in the outskirts of Guiyang. ‪Norsk (bokmål)‬: Rhesusmakaker på Qianling Shan i utkanten av Guiyang. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 11 April Medical News Today article

If a monkey’s social status changes, her immune system changes along with it say researchers who conducted the study with rhesus macaques at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. This finding may have implications for how the stress of low socioeconomic status affects human health and how individuals’ bodies adapt after a shift in their social environment. The results are published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition…

The full text of this article is free at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/04/03/1202734109.full.pdf+html

 

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Medical and Health Research News, Psychology | , , , | Leave a comment

The Impact Of Socioeconomic Factors On The Racial Gap In Life Expectancy

While I believe there that there is no simple cause-effect explanation for life expectancy, there are striking correlations (as income levels) that need to be addressed to promote justice for all of us…

From the 11 April 2011 article at Medical News Today

Differences in factors such as income, education and marital status could contribute overwhelmingly to the gap in life expectancy between blacks and whites in the United States, according to one of the first studies to put a number on how much of the divide can be attributed to disparities in socioeconomic characteristics.

A Princeton University study recently published in the journal Demography reveals that socioeconomic differences can account for 80 percent of the life-expectancy divide between black and white men, and for 70 percent of the imbalance between black and white women.

Numerous existing studies on the topic have found that mortality differences are associated with certain socioeconomic disparities, but have not determined to what extent the life expectancy gap can be explained by such contrasts, noted author Michael Geruso, a doctoral student in Princeton’s Department of Economics. …

 

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Public Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The conundrum between maturity and ADHD

Symptoms of ADHD described by the literature

Symptoms of ADHD described by the literature (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve often wondered if populations and sub-populations can be over-diagnosed or misdiagnosed.
At times this can happen with good intentions, sometimes I fear for the sake of profit….

From the 10 April posting by MATTHEW TOOHEY, MD at KevinMD.com

A recent Canadian study showed that the youngest children in each grade (born in the earliest month of the Canadian grade cutoff: December) were 30% more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than the oldest children (born in January). For girls, who overall have a lower incidence of ADHD, the difference was even more pronounced: 70%.

Interestingly, the overall rate of ADHD diagnosis in the sampling of children from this Canadian study (900,000 children) was 6.9% for boys and 2.2% for girls. Rates of diagnosis here in the United States are much higher, creeping up on 10% of all children.

What does all of this mean? Well, you can look at this data many different ways, depending on your point of view and feelings about ADHD, but it stresses to me what seems to be common sense: many factors play into our expectations of what normal behavior should be.  It is often the school which prompts parents to have their child evaluated for attention problems and this comes from a comparison to other children in the class. A six year old may be significantly less mature or able to stay on task than a seven year old. Likewise, boys tend to have more trouble with the expectations of the school environment than girls in the younger grades….

April 11, 2012 Posted by | health care | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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