ATLANTA – Travis Good’s 65-year old father downloaded an mHealth app, took it to his doctor and, in so doing, walked straight into a dead end — no joke.
“The sad part about it is that [Dad] was really excited to use it, went to his endocrinologist who said, ‘I don't know what to do with this … I don’t think this is really going to change my care for you,’” said Good, who is an MD and CEO of catalyze.io.
As Good and his story suggest, patients are ready to make the shift to mHealth digital additives, but it's a major change for providers. Well, except for Iverson Bell, MD, who professes to be a digital omnivore and happens to be of the same generation as Good’s father.
Bell, in fact, uses a range of technologies: FaceTime, Epocrates, Dropbox, Calengoo, skyscape, Genius Scan, Lookout and WebEx comprise a virtual telemedicine toolbox for his work as a psychiatrist at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
Whereas that role most often involves consulting colleagues and patients around the state, Bell spent 8 months working with patients in Ethiopa and, though federal regulations prohibit doctors from charging for treatments that span state borders, the whole project cost Bell about $4.
“The $4,” he said, “was because I had to make a couple calls to the psychiatrist on the other end and he was not on Skype.”
Perhaps the best advice Bell gave attendees at the AHIMA Convention and Exhibit, where both he and Good spoke, was that technology is merely an enabler.
“Focus on the patient,” Bell said, “not the device.”
Indeed, as the industry shifts its concentration toward engaging patients, the accountable care model, presuming it gains widespread purchase, is poised to fuel the practice of medicine via telehealth and mobile technologies.
“In the regs for ACOs it says there has to be some sort of in-home health monitoring in place,” explained Andrew Schoonover, president of VRI Medical Alert Systems, in a different session.
Which means we can expect telemedicine and related technologies to increase if not proliferate, and it’s also about more than federal regulations. There is a business case, too. By monitoring patients at home doctors can gauge something as simple as a 3-4 weight gain to alert them that a patient may have stopped taking medication, Schoonover noted. And particularly with pressure mounting to reduce readmissions, wouldn't it be nice to know which member of your community are likely to be coming into the hospital in the next, say, 24-48 hours?
“You’re going to be forced to keep people in their homes,” Schoonover said.
Which ideally promises to be a boon for both patients and providers, be they among the younger generation or that of Good’s father and Bell.
“Everyone knows healthcare is very, very expensive, the outcomes aren't fantastic, and one of the bigger things is that it’s not a very pleasant experience as a general rule, it’s just not,” Good said.
The healthcare of the future, Good added, will be about value, avoiding catastrophic events, and connected patients — people connected to information about healthcare, connected to providers, connected to other people with information about their disease state or condition.
Older people's champion and TV presenter Angela Rippon has called on architects to put the needs of people with dementia at the heart of new hospital designs.
With a quarter of acute hospital beds occupied by people with dementia, she said it is vital that hospital design promotes patient safety rather than put people at risk.
The former BBC News presenter was speaking at the launch of the world's first dementia-friendly Virtual Hospital at the Design Council in central London.
Faster growing group of hospital admissions "Patients living with dementia are the fastest growing group of new admissions in our hospitals, but even some of the most modern are wholly unsuitable environments for people affected by this condition," she said.
"This new virtual resource demonstrates how acute design can be practically applied to meet the needs of this group of patients more effectively."
The Virtual Hospital has been developed by the Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), which is part of the University of Stirling.
"We know that traditional acute hospitals are very dangerous places for people with dementia," added DSDC director, Professor June Andrews.
"But we also know from the evidence how to make them safer environments, and we have developed this resource to share our knowledge widely.
"As our populations age, dementia rates are set to soar around the world. Many older people experiencing cognitive decline will still need to access acute care, and they deserve to have their needs met safely."
Intel-GE Care Innovation’s QuietCare resident monitoring system has received FDA 510(k) clearance as a Class I device. The QuietCare system is a network of infrared motion sensors placed in a senior living facility, which sends data to a Care Innovations server. An algorithm on the server analyzes motion data for potentially urgent situations such as falls and for significant changes in the user’s daily routine, alerting a caregiver if necessary.
QuietCare was developed and originally manufactured by the Living Independently Group, a company that was acquired in late 2009 by GE Healthcare. The product was later moved under Care Innovation’s umbrella when the joint venture launched in 2010.
The system has been deployed for some time in assisted living facilities, but the device was classified as a 510(k)-exempt Class II device. On the QuietCare website, Care Innovations states “[t]he QuietCare system is not an emergency response or alarm system and is not intended for providing medical care. Data from the QuietCare system should not be relied on as medical advice or clinical diagnosis.”
Bonnie Norman, director of quality and regulatory affairs for Care Innovations, told MobiHealthNews that the FDA contacted Care Innovations saying they wanted to change QuietCare’s classification from Class II to Class I. Although normally Class II devices require 510(k) clearance (while Class I devices need to be registered) QuietCare was a special case, Norman said. The FDA requested they file a one-time 510(k) because of a little-known regulation governing new technologies. She said future iterations of the device would most likely not require additional FDA filings.
“So putting a 510(k) package was a matter of going through existing files and putting a package together for them,” said Norman. “…It was no big deal. We were happy to do it.”
GE Healthcare competitor Philips has a PERS system called LifeLine, which is registered as a Class I device with the FDA, something that Philips notes on its website. Philip’s device has a different form factor — a pendant worn around the neck.
Norman said Care Innovations will mention the clearance in product descriptions, but has no intention of publicizing it beyond that.
“Using 510(k) clearance to market your device is inappropriate,” she said. “I always raise my eyes at companies that trumpet that clearance as if it makes their product better than anyone else’s. It’s a data point. We will certainly mention it, but it’s not a differentiator.”
QuietCare has had its share of problems over the years. According to FDA documents, Care Innovations had to address product problems on at least two occasions. In June 2012, theFDA published a report about an August 2011 service outage which caused some alerts not to be sent. In May 2013, a problem caused users to receive duplicate alerts. Additionally, Laurie Orlov of Aging in Place Technology Watch wrote in 2010 about a botched rollout of the system in Fort Pierce, Florida which included a mandatory $200 extra charge per resident.
GE Care Innovations also received 510(k) clearance in September for their Connect RCM (Remote Care Management) software offering and subsequently rolled it out in the United States. Connect RCM is a cloud-based patient portal for Care Innovations’ Guide platform, which previously required special hardware to access. By moving to a cloud-based software system, GE estimates the cost of deploying the system could be reduced by 50 percent. Just last week the company rolled Connect RCM out in Canada as well.
The neurocam is the world's first wearable camera system that automatically records what interests you.
It consists of a headset with a brain-wave sensor and connects to an iPhone. The system estimates whether you're interested in something from the brain-waves captured by the sensor, and uses the iPhone's camera to record the scenes that appear to interest you.
Just buy wearing the neurocam, the scenes you have shown an interest in are recorded automatically, and are added to an album which you can look through later.
"Right now, the iPhone's camera is ready to record what's in my line of sight through a prism. The iPhone shows what the camera has captured, so it feels as if it's reading my mind. My brain-waves are analyzed by an iPhone app, which quantifies my level of interest on a scale from 0 to 100. If the level exceeds 60, the number turns red, and the camera starts to record automatically, producing a 5-second GIF animation."
"We're using the iPhone so that analysis and capture can be done with one device. But this is still a concept model. So, we think there are lots of possibilities, such as turning this into a wearable camera."
The neurocam arose from the neurowear project, which is involved with items that use brain-waves and bio-sensors, like necomimi, which works using brain-waves. The algorithm for quantifying brain-waves was co-developed with Associate Professor Mitsukura at Keio University.
In the future, the project team aims to create an emotional interface, which could link a range of devices and services to people's individual thoughts and feelings.
"Because this system is hands-free, we think it could capture a life log, which would be different from deliberately pressing a shutter to capture things you like. As an application in a B2B environment, neurocam could determine what goods in stores interest people. And because the information includes position data, you can do mapping, so it could also show what places people are interested in as an aid for urban development planning. We think it could be used in lots of ways like that."
Bipolar disorder and other psychiatric problems are 2-3 times more common in those who suffer from migraine headaches and migraines are 2-3 times more common in patients with mental illness. Those who suffer from migraines are very familiar with the attitude of doctors, family members and employers who consider migraine to be just another headache, meaning that it is not something that should stop you from doing any activities. Some doctors still blame migraine sufferers for their condition and think that this is a problem of neurotic women. People with mental illness face even more severe discrimination from doctors and everyone else. A very good article on this topic, “When Doctors Discriminate” has appeared in the New York Times this Sunday.
Dr. Robert Shapiro of the University of Vermont recently presented a study which looked at attitudes toward patients with migraine, epilepsy and other conditions. It was an internet-based survey of 705 individuals that examined the levels of stigma by asking following questions: How comfortable would you be with Jane as a colleague at work? How likely do you think it is that this would damage Jane’s career? How comfortable would you be with the idea of inviting Jane to a dinner party? How likely to you think it would be for Jane’s husband to leave her? How likely do you think it would be for Jane to get in trouble with the law?
Scoring ranged from 0 to 100. The mean scores were very similar for migraine, panic disorder, and epilepsy and were all significantly greater than for asthma. He concluded that migraine carries as much stigma as epilepsy or panic disorder, although he noted limitations.
Another group of researchers from Philadelphia led by Dr. William Young interviewed 123 patients with episodic migraine, 123 with chronic migraine, and 62 with epilepsy for levels of stigma as perceived by these patients.
Chronic migraine patients had much higher scores on the Stigma Scale for Chronic Illness (SSCI) than the other two groups, but that seemed to be due to chronic migraine patients’ reduced ability to work.
Dr. Young reported that migraine patients reported more “internalized” stigma, that is negative attitudes in themselves or anticipation that others would think negatively of them, and less actual discrimination on the basis of their illness, compared with the epilepsy patients.
These studies and the New York Times article indicate a great need for educating both doctors and the general public about the nature of chronic migraines and mental diseases and for combating the stigma associated with these conditions.
Even as many countries already lack quality healthcare services, healthcare is become even less affordable. Unequal health access is an issue in even some high-income countries, believes Dr. William Haseltine, Chairman and President of ACCESS Health International.
A not-for-profit think tank and consulting group,ACCESS looks around the world for best practices in healthcare and financial services to transmit the knowledge to others. Speaking to FutureGov, Dr. Haseltine shares some success stories of healthcare system reform in India.
He says, “Until 2007, many families in the Indian state ofAndhra Pradesh were falling into bankruptcy due to catastrophic healthcare expenditures, leading to many suicides. The State Government developed an integrated healthcare system to avoid such medical bankruptcy”.
“The state provides anyone who needs it with access to hospital care to avoid catastrophic health bankruptcies”. The service became available to everyone in the state within six months of implementation, he informed.
Dr. Haseltine highlighted two major elements of Andhra Pradesh’s integrated health system – an ambulance service and a statewide call centre service.
These services are linked to a network of 400 public and private hospitals structured around a cashless system. “If you have experienced any of a list of events which were likely to bankrupt you, you get treated for free”, says Dr. Haseltine.
The ambulance service provided by Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI) responds to emergency calls anywhere within the state and transports the patient to a hospital within 15 minutes. The healthcare delivery model is based on a combination of existing systems and in-house developed technology.
The ambulances are equipped to provide quality pre-hospital care. They are also linked to a control centre through a communication system. The control centre receives and relays real-time traffic information to the ambulance, predicting the intersections where accidents are likely to happen, and thus, allowing to strategically plan the fastest route to a hospital.
Any information related to an emergency is stored in a large database of electronic patient records. At the time of the patient’s arrival, the information is shared with the hospital. This information also contributes to the research being conducted to facilitate evidence-based and tailored interventions to identify high-risk areas and times. This allows the ambulances to be pre-positioned at the strategic locations, thus, improving service delivery.
The Health Management and Research Institute (HMRI) provides an information system which allows people to call in for medical advice, receive electronic prescriptions or even subscribe to advice by voice or email.
The system consists of several layers of triage to identify the severity of the condition and then transfer to the relevant health information providers. According to Dr. Haseltine, it has been seen in Andhra Pradesh that 80 per cent of all maladies can be correctly treated over the phone.
Similar to EMRI’s system, the call centre service also serves as a source of real-time data which is stored and analysed to detect trends, for example, any new infections. The systems are also integrated with the police and other civil authorities.
Along with the application of technology, Dr. Haseltine highlights the importance of good governance for reform. “Technology is a tool to get something done and change things. Before it can be used, the will to use it has to exist and the decision to use it has to be in place”.
According to a 100,000 person survey conducted by ACCESS, the healthcare reform programme has achieved its primary goal to avoid severe financial hardship for the poor caused by catastrophic health incidents. A measurable difference in household spending and borrowing for health expenditure has been detected, informs Dr. Haseltine.
Variations of this system have been implemented in other Indian states, including Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat. ACCESS is currently studying and evaluating the Andhra Pradesh system to see how other states and countries can learn from it.
A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) argues that humanitarian emergencies offer opportunities for improving peoples’ lives through improving mental health services. The report is being released on World Humanitarian Day, August 19, in hopes of ensuring that those faced with emergencies can recover and rebuild their lives even better than before.
WHO feature story on mental health in Libya: a new mental health programme led by the Ministry of Health and WHO, based within the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC/MOH), is set to transform Libya’s institution-based approach to a...
CLEVELAND, Ohio-- The Cleveland Clinic is expanding the use of its iPad app that can help detect the symptoms of concussion in athletes to a rural school community in Iowa. Rock Valley High School in Rock City, Iowa-- the home school district of Clinic biomechanical engineer Jay Alberts-- recently started using the app for all its athletes and will be a test case to see if schools can use the app without the Clinic’s support.
The app, called the Cleveland Clinic Concussion System (C3), is designed to record data on reaction time, memory, vision, information processing, and by strapping the iPad to a player’s waist, also records changes in "postural stability" on both soft and hard surfaces. Combined with the traditional SCAT2 (Sports Concussion Assessment Tool), the data provide doctors with a baseline for comparison if a player is subsequently injured.
Clumsiness, confusion, memory loss, slower reaction times and dizziness are a few of the symptoms that alert coaching staff that an athlete may be suffering from a concussion, which occurs when a forceful blow to the head or violent shaking causes the brain to hit the inner wall of the skull.
While most concussed athletes make a full recovery from their sensory impairment, serious complications include brain swelling, epilepsy and the cumulative cognitive effects of multiple hits over time. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least 1.8 million U.S. athletes suffer a concussion every year. About 135,000 of those occur among children age 5 to 18.
The Clinic began using the iPads to compile baseline data for about 100 athletes at John Carroll University and Solon and Brecksville high schools in the summer of 2011. More than 50 schools in Northeast Ohio are now using the app for more than 6,000 athletes playing football, soccer, hockey and volleyball, among other sports, Alberts said.
Alberts, director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center, said he wanted to expand the use of the iPads to a rural school district where there are fewer athletic trainers and often only one general practitioner for the population.
“We in Northeast Ohio do not really live in reality,” Alberts said. “Most schools here have a certified athletic trainer. We have the Cleveland Clinic and other world-class healthcare organizations with doctors who specialize in these conditions…They have one physician who treats everything from little old ladies with bunions to concussions, to Parkinson’s. They have a great breadth of knowledge—what we’re doing is providing them a little more depth in the assessment of concussion.”
Alberts said he wanted the app to be usable anywhere, and he hopes that it will help “level the playing field” in terms of diagnosing and evaluating concussion for all schools.
At John Carroll University, Athletic Trainer Michelle Fowler said trainers use the apps primarily to keep track of players' balance pre- and post-injury.
"We don't always have the exact same person who is doing [balance] testing, so what I may see on baseline, someone else testing the kid post-injury may see something else that looks bad, but it could be just a visual difference between the testers," she said."This helps keep it more standardized."
Fowler said the visual aspects of the app, which show where a player's current scores in each of five areas compare to baseline levels, help explain to coaches why a player often can't return to play as swiftly as they'd like.
"The coaches always want to know why, and you can actually show them visually why" a player isn't ready to play and how that player progresses over time to return to normal.
Alberts said his group will soon submit their initial findings on the results of using the iPads in Northeast Ohio for publication.
Before using the app, the number of concussed athletes referred to physical therapy was “astoundingly low,” he said. Physical therapy is important after a concussion because one of the symptoms is a loss of balance.
“What we were finding is that they weren’t being sent to physical therapy,” and if they were, they’d had symptoms for three to six months when they got there.
Now, he said, more than 120 patients were referred for therapy from Aug. 2012 to Dec. 2012 and the duration of time before these athletes were seen for their symptoms dropped from an average of 62 days to an average of about two weeks.
Fowler said using the iPad app definitely helps identify the players who in the past may not have been diagnosed with a concussion because their symptoms were relatively mild.
The app is being commercialized by Clinic spinoff company iComet Technologiesand is available on the business-to-business app market. Because the app is designed to be used by athletic trainers and doctors, it won’t likely be available on the general app market, however.
“We want parents to be involved, but what we don’t want to happen is for parents to pick this up and test their kids without really knowing how it works,” Alberts said. “Then they show up at the athletic trainer’s office and the doctor or trainer doesn’t know what to do with the data.”
Rock Valley High School in Iowa began gathering data on its students last week and plans to use the app for winter sports as well.
Patients who use an interactive computer program about depression before a doctor visit are significantly more likely to ask for information about the condition and receive treatment, according to a new study by the University of California-Davis, Medical News Today reports.
Details of the Study
The study -- which was published online in the Journal of the American Medical Association -- included nearly 900 patients and 135 primary care clinicians at seven Northern California health care facilities.
Participants were screened for depression and then viewed one of three interventions:
A tailored, interactive computer program;A targeted information video; orA video on healthy sleep that was unrelated to depression.Results
Numerous patients received a prescription or referral for depression after the intervention, including:
26% of patients who viewed the interactive computer program;17.5% of patients who viewed the targeted video; and16.3% of patients who viewed the sleep video.
In addition, the study found that patients who viewed the interactive program or targeted video were nearly twice as likely to ask their doctor for information on depression as patients who viewed the sleep video.
Richard Kravitz -- lead author of the study and a professor of internal medicine at UC-Davis -- said that the program "increased help for those who needed it the most without increasing treatment for those who didn't."
Researchers plan to conduct further studies on the interactive computer model to determine patients who need more extensive depression treatment, according to Medical News Today (Medical News Today, 11/7).
A pilot project that saw people with experience of mental ill health deliver training sessions as well as a social marketing campaign has helped to improve young people’s attitudes towards mental ill health.
The pilot, which was run by anti-stigma campaigning group Time to Change, was aimed at 14- to 18-year-olds in the West Midlands. It resulted in a 1.3% improvement in attitudes and a 6% reduction in discrimination over an 18-month period, according to Time to Change’s evaluation of it.
Time to Change’s research also found that the confidence and empowerment of young people with experience of mental health problems to challenge stigma for themselves increased by nearly 7%. Furthermore, half of all young people surveyed regardless of whether they had experienced mental ill health, agreed that attitudes have changed around mental illness in Birmingham.
The pilot was launched in April 2012 to find out what impact a focused programme of work to reach 14 to 18-year-olds could have. These results and learning from this pilot are being taken forward in the next pilot area, which focuses on Kent and Medway.
As part of the West Midlands pilot project, 60 young people with experience of mental ill health were involved at every level. They were trained and supported to co-deliver education sessions, speak to the media, help evaluate the project and volunteer at events. Other work included:
•A social marketing campaign including the three minute film Stand Up Kid
•An education programme aimed at youth professionals and volunteers, co-delivered by young people with experience of mental ill health
•Community events including ‘pop up villages’ in schools that encourage conversations to happen about mental health in typical village settings.
Further work also saw qualitative and quantitative research being conducted with more than 500 parents and guardians to look at how they view themselves as influencers in their children’s lives.
The results found that parents recognised their responsibility in shaping attitudes but felt unsure how to do this as they believed their children and other young people knew more about mental health problems than they did. The research also found that parents are unsure about how or where to have these conversations with time being limited in hectic family life. Using the results from this study a range of information and advice for parents was developed as part of the project.
Jo Loughran, head of Time to Change’s children and young people’s programme, said: “These evaluation results have shown us that it is possible to transform the attitudes of young people in relation to mental health, in order to shape the next generation. One in 10 young people will experience a mental health problem, that’s three people in every classroom, and it’s crucial that support is available when they need it, without fear of stigma and discrimination.
“In general, young people seem to engage well with the idea of challenging unfairness so we are looking forward to delivering more anti-stigma work over the next 18 months with our army of young people by our side.”
The Kent and Medway pilot will be officially launched on November 5 at The Oval in London. Much like the work in the West Midlands, activity will include: a social marketing campaign; Time to Change Village events; ‘Train the Trainer’ sessions with stakeholders and parents; and work to encourage organisations to sign the Time to Change pledge, committing to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination in the workplace.
In addition, Time to Change has received extra funding from Big Lottery Fund to offer a programme of activities, based on elements of the pilot, to five secondary schools per term across five new regions. Schools will be asked to develop an action plan to provide a year-long anti-stigma programme that will reach all students.
The year 2013 is an exciting time to have a brain. Over the past two decades, our understanding of the human brain has grown exponentially. Fueled by this new information, the number and variety of brain applications available commercially is exploding, potentially transforming the way we care for our brains across our entire lifespan.
Having a brain is not a medical condition, yet in practice that seems to be our unspoken assumption. The truly revolutionary and often untold story these days is about the tools becoming available to consumers to take better care of their own brain health and performance, thanks to new digital platforms that can access large quantities of data. This trend can take brain health (and health overall) to a whole new level, away from its traditional overemphasis on a constellation of medical conditions, pharmacological interventions and small clinical trials.
While neurological and psychological conditions take a terrible toll on society, from ADHD to depression and Alzheimer's disease, it is time for a new paradigm that doesn't address each of them in isolation. True brain health requires preserving and enhancing a variety of cognitive, emotional and executive functionality, going far beyond the absence of disease. A holistic brain health approach, additionally, would serve as the best way to delay, if not prevent, the neurological and psychological conditions mentioned above.
This opportunity is becoming true thanks to a nascent cultural shift. Previously a passive party in the health care process, consumers are assuming a more active role. According to SharpBrains' 2013 market report, consumers have surpassed health care and insurance providers to become the driving force behind brain health innovation. We are seeing an increased awareness making brain health and fitness a priority for society at large, not just those affected by particular disorders. For example, adults of all ages are taking proactive care of their "brain fitness," and employers are investing in corporate wellness initiatives that target both body and brain, in an effort to increase the resilience and performance of their leaders and whole workforce.
And consider the broader trends highlighting the importance of physical fitness and empowering consumers and patients to take care of their own health. What can be more important in taking care of one's body than taking care of one's brain? Since we don't see this crucial organ in the mirror, it's all too easy to forget those billions of neurons and connections. But the research picture is increasingly clear... what we do, every single day, has an impact on our brain health. For better or worse, our choices and behaviors impact our life-long brain development, and the way we treat our brain today will affect our overall health and quality of life years from now.
Empowering everyone with a brain to optimize that brain will require widespread access to validated assessments and interventions as well as a well-informed understanding of how to navigate and use them. We are still early in this process, but we should be aware that accelerating innovation is poised to enable systematic brain health self-monitoring and self-care, in turn transforming what it means to live healthy and fulfilling lives. The proliferation of inexpensive, data-rich technologies means more individuals will start to measure and track mental functions over time, gaining insights into brain changes, and better guiding self-care efforts. This also means that health providers will face new opportunities, and challenges.
It is exciting to imagine the possibilities at the intersection of brain health, digital gealth and big data, but getting there requires addressing immediate questions confronting us today:
How can we harness large new brain research initiatives to maximize their future health and well-being benefits?How can organizations maximize the resilience and productivity of their human resources?What is the future of personal brain health, and how can big data help upgrade brain care?How can practitioners integrate emerging neuroplasticity-based interventions with existing standards of care?What are future consumer applications of bio-sensing neurotechnology?
These are precisely the type of questions that over 100 pioneers at the frontier of brain health and digital innovation will be discussing later this week at the 2013 SharpBrains Virtual Summit (Sept. 19-20), chaired by eight trailblazers named Young Global Leaders by the World Economic Forum, bringing together diverse perspectives from the worlds of science, medicine, technology, and business to pool efforts across traditional silos.
While there is much we still do not know about our brains, we do know that the status quo is not an option. It is leaving us woefully unprepared to meet current and future demands. We also know that whatever unfolds will inevitably impact each and every one of us on a very intimate level. You can't get any more personal than your own brain. Thus, it really is up to all of us to participate in this growing transformation as individuals and professionals. After all, what better way to improve our brains than to understand and apply the latest science and technology to enhance our organizations and ourselves?
Do you have trouble sleeping? Beddit will tell you why and give you information to improve your sleep and wellness.
The Beddit Sleep Tracker is a new device that measures sleep patterns, keeps track of them and gives you actionable ideas on how to improve them for your comfort and health.
The sensor in Beddit is in a ribbon and measures heartbeat, respiration and movement and then analyzes sleep stage and stress level. The Beddit ribbon sensor is placed in your bed, under the sheets; no wearable sensors are required. The ribbon plugs into the wall and is connected to your phone via bluetooth.
Beddit is based on ballistocardiography (BCG), a scientific method for measuring cardiorespiratory function. This sensor is incredibly sensitive and sophisticated but sturdy and durable as well. It accurately measures when you fall asleep, how long it takes you to fall asleep, the different stages of your sleep, your resting heart rate, your snoring and breathing, light and noise in the environment, and when you leave the bed to get up. There is also an alarm clock, a wellness diary, a mood and tiredness diary and a full database for trends and sleep history.
The data is analyzed and Beddit then provides coaching on how to improve your sleep.
Watch this video for more details:
Beddit from Mikko on Vimeo.
Beddit has launched an Indiegogo campaign that so far, has been wildly popular. They have now extended their campaign and are asking for additional dollars to finalize the design, order the first batch of sensors and complete the mobile application. Their idea is to make Beddit available to consumers at a reasonable price.
Picking up signals: A custom earpiece with three electrodes records from within the hearing canal.
Neuroscientists often use electroencephalography (EEG) as an inexpensive way to record electrical signals in the brain. Though it would be useful to run these recordings for long periods of time, that usually isn’t practical: EEG recording traditionally involves attaching many electrodes and cables to a patient’s scalp.
Now engineers at Imperial College in London have developed an EEG device that can be worn inside the ear, like a hearing aid. They say the device will allow scientists to record EEGs for several days at a time; this would allow doctors to monitor patients who have regularly recurring problems like seizures or microsleep.
“The ideal is to have a very stable recording system, and recordings which are repeatable,” explains co-creator Danilo Mandic. “It’s not interfering with your normal life, because there are acoustic vents so people can hear. After a while, they forget they’re having an EEG.”
By nestling the EEG inside the ear, the engineers avoid a lot of signal noise usually introduced by body movement. They can also ensure that the electrodes are always placed in exactly the same spot, which, they say, will make repeated readings more reliable.
Since the device attaches to just one area, it can record only from the temporal region. This limits its potential applications to events that involve local activity. Tzzy-Ping Jung, co-director of the University of California, San Diego’s Center for Advanced Neurological Engineering, says that this does not mean the device will not be valuable.
“Different modalities will have different applications. I would not rule out the usefulness of any modalities,” says Jung. “I think it’s a very good idea with very promising results.”
The Social Media Innovations Fund (SMIF) has launched the Phobic Trust’s mobile phone mood diary app which aims to help citizens keep track of their mental health
The SMIF, a key part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Mental Health Project, provides $2 million over four years to develop projects that use technology to help combat mental health issues.
The purpose of the Fund is to improve the mental health and emotional well being of young people aged 12–19 years with mild to moderate mental health needs, through innovative use of social media technology.
Phobic Trust, one of SMIF’s five youth mental health-related social media projects, aims to develop mobile apps which allow young people track and monitor their mood, anxiety, record sleep and exercise patterns, and provides one-touch access to key contacts in emergency situations. In addition, it features an immediate support function via free 0800 24hr support line with Facebook and YouTube integration.
“I’m pleased to see the Phobic Trust mood diary app is now available free of charge from the Apple Store, allowing young people easy access to an innovative tool to help manage their mental health,” said Paula Bennett Minister for Social Development in an official statement.
According to the Minister, SMIF’s other youth mental health-related social media projects are progressing well. To cite an example, Youthline’sINSPIRE Me text message counseling pilot started on 22 July, and “Zeal’s Live for Tomorrow” social media campaign launches this month.
“Like the mood diary app, these projects offer a chance for young people to talk about mental health and the things that affect them through relevant mediums like texting, Facebook, smart phones and blogs.”
As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have never really spoken properly before with other survivors. I have felt and thought things that I assumed were disgusting and wrong, as well as holding the firm belief that I was the only person in the world to feel such things. However, introducing myself in to the world of social media has meant that I have been able to connect with other survivors. I’ve been able to see for myself that there are other people out there struggling with similar feelings as me. I have found support and understanding, as well as a wealth of useful information via various twitter accounts. For example, if it weren’t for creating an account on twitter, I would never have stumbled upon Kate Swift (@ThisTangledWeb) and the fantastic work she does on This Tangled Web (website). There is a whole host of useful information on the website and her tweets are also informative, motivational and supportive. If it weren’t for some of her specific tweets, I wouldn’t have felt able to dedicate a day for myself to “self nurture”. Remember my Harry Potter DVD marathon with Haribo sweets and cherryade? The motivation for that self nurture day came from @thistangledweb. This is just one twitter account out of many to provide useful support and information. Here is an example of smaller and more local charities using social media to reach out to the masses. That is where social media can really come in handy. It connects people that otherwise would never have crossed paths and encourages a supportive community. 0
Social media is also useful because you can essentially “go at your own pace”. You can pick and choose who you would like to connect with, and how much you would like to say or not say. You can be someone who just sits back and reads all of the information posted by the people you follow, or you can engage with people. I am an anxious person, and would definitely struggle to speak with other survivors of sexual abuse in person at this time, so twitter has really proved useful for me. I have been able to communicate with people in writing and have learnt so so much. Some of the people that I have spoken to have such amazing strength and are inspiring. It has really helped me to know that there ARE people out there who can relate to some of what I am feeling. 0
Another positive of social media, which I was not expecting, is that there are tweets from various people working in mental health. I have found it really interesting to discover how passionate some of them are about the work that they do, and how dedicated they are to supporting people who need it. To my surprise, there are also tweets from the mental health team who I receive support from, @LeedsandYorkPFT. They post useful information passed on to them, as well as regularly linking followers to their website, where they can find links of where to get support if required. It is only recently that I witnessed them helping a mutual follower by showing a genuine concern, whilst maintaining the professionalism required when using social media. It was lovely to see. 0
There are also a whole host of fortnightly chats on twitter surrounding different areas of mental health, predominantly for staff, but who also encourage service users to take part. One of these chats in particular is the Mental Health Nurse Chat, which can be found at @MHNurseChat. They run a fortnightly chat for mental health nurses and those with an interest in mental health, and cover a wide range of subjects. I have followed the tweets of some of these discussions and have found them to be incredibly insightful. It is good to see staff, service users and lots of other people come together in such a way to discuss important topics. 0
There are also discussions of a similar setting happening across twitter for various different mental health conditions. People have been inspired to set up their own “chats” and provide useful information and support. One such chat that I have found personally useful is based on Borderline Personality Disorder, and can be found at @OfficialBPDChat. It is a weekly chat covering a variety of subjects concerning Borderline Personality Disorder. It was suggested to me by a psychiatrist last year, that I probably have BPD, and I was given links to different websites to read up on it. When I came to twitter and discovered these weekly chats, I was able to see other people describe feelings and actions that I have felt and done. I could hear myself saying “Oh my god, I’m not the only person who does that!”. Irrespective of whether or not I agree with the diagnosis, the tweets from people who have also received a BPD diagnosis have been incredibly helpful for me personally. Had it not been for social media, I wouldn’t have been able to connect with other people in such a positive way. On Twitter, I have also been linked to some interesting and insightful blog posts from various people. Inspiring. 0
I have also found it helpful to follow twitter accounts of people who post motivational quotes, funny pictures and the like. It can definitely help put a smile on your face if you come across a hilarious tweet or two. My account itself has also been made for me to attempt to focus more on the positives and twitter has given me the platform to do just that. I try and think of at least one thing that I am grateful for each day, or something that has made me smile. It also motivates me to keep tackling social anxiety in the way that I am doing, because I can tweet regular updates and bore my followers with it all. But the key is motivation. 0
Focusing on the positives has really helped me and so it seems only natural for me to highlight the positives of social media too. I know that there are negatives, and that they cannot and should not be ignored, but look at all of the good that social media has done for me personally.
'Depressed' Cake Shop Will Cheer You Up TIME The Depressed Cake Shop is a series of pop-up bakeries that sell gray desserts created by volunteer bakers to raise awareness about depression, then donate the proceeds to lesser-known local charities...