Entries in Mobile (3)


A Text a Day to Keep the Doctor Away

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Using wireless technology to improve health outcomes was the focus for the annual mHealth summit, which took place last week at National Harbor in Washington, D.C. With more than 12,000 health-related apps in the iTunes store, it can be hard to know which ones to download, and which ones to pass on. Not to mention there are many other ways to use your phone -- smart or not -- to help you in your quest for good health.

As health management moves from files and folders, to electronic medical records and into the memories of smart phones, here are some of the (free) smart phone apps and mobile services that can help you manage your health.

  • iTriage: With more than 11,000 ratings and an average rating of four stars (4.5 on newest version), it is easy to see why iTriage is a one-stop health app. Created by two ER doctors in 2008, this app can tell you not only what’s wrong with you but where to go for treatment. The application uses a national listing of ERs and medical providers to provide the closest location, as well as ER wait times. And in the unlikely event that you don’t have your phone, you can log in to the app from your computer, too.
  • Text4baby: It may be hard to believe, but not everyone has a smart phone (even if smart phones accounted for 50 percent of all phone sales last year). That is why Text4Baby uses free text messaging to educate and inform moms to be and new moms about how to give babies the “best possible start in life.”
  • What is really cool about this service is that it times the messages to your due date or your baby’s birthday. All you need to do is to text the word “Baby” (or “Bebe” for Spanish) to the number 511411 from your cell phone.
  • Smokefree TXT: This is another app that uses free 24/7 text messages to help smokers quit the habit. Although the program was designed for teenagers (according to Pew, 72 percent  of all teens are text-messagers), anyone can use it. The service sends encouraging messages about quitting. You can also text back with keywords like “crave” or “slip” to let the app know what kind of day you are having.
  • Also, good news for the smart phone users, an app called QuitStart is currently in development and is set to launch in early January.
  • LoseIt: Losing weight and keeping tabs on your caloric intake can be not only hard but discouraging. Enter LoseIt, whose website touts that “86 percent of their users have lost weight.” LoseIt lets you track what you have had to eat each day, as well as how many calories the food counted toward your “daily calorie budget.” Not only can you track your progress from your smart phone but also your computer.
  • Rxmind Me: Ever had trouble remembering which pill to take when? With so many medications out there, all with different dosages and time intervals, it’s no wonder many people are not in compliance with their doctors advice. Well, now with apps like Rxmind Me that faulty memory is no excuse. Simply download the free app, insert your medications, dosages and other important information and Rxmind Me will alert you when it is time to pop that pill. You can even add pills you take randomly so you can check on drug interactions with your physician or pharmacist.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Do Cellphones Cause Cancer? It's Possible, WHO Says

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LYON, France) -- Cellphones possibly cause cancer, a panel of experts from the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer reported Tuesday.

The panel's decision, which is based on a review of published studies on the topic, lands cellphones on a list of possible carcinogens that includes the pesticide DDT and gasoline engine exhaust. But it has surprised experts outside the panel, who say the data on cellphone use and brain cancer is still inconclusive.

"In general, rating agencies such as this tend to be conservative by nature. They have to be," said Dr. Henry Friedman, deputy director of the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "The reality is that all of the epidemiological studies that have been done to date have basically been negative."

An estimated 5 billion cellphone users represent nearly three-quarters of the world's population.

The cellphone-cancer conundrum has been a hot topic since shoe-sized phones hit the scene in the late 1970s. Roughly 30 studies have failed to link the devices to cancer. But a large study last year showed a slight, statistically insignificant increase in risk in a rare form of brain cancer called glioma among cellphone users. Another study out of the National Institutes of Health Research linked cellphone use to increased brain activity.

Working as a hairdresser is considered riskier than using a cellphone, according to the IARC's classification system, achieving "probable carcinogen" status. Other possible carcinogens include working as a dry cleaner or a firefighter.

Nevertheless, some experts think the evidence, inconclusive as it is, warrants caution. ABC News reached out to 76 physicians, 55 of whom said they will continue to hold their cellphones up to their ear, but 21 said they will use hands-free devices to minimize their risk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Your Cell Phone Affecting Your Brain?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) -- We all know about the studies that say cell phone use could cause brain cancer. But a new study poses a different question: Does the use of mobile phones increase brain activity?

A randomized trial of 47 healthy participants measured brain activity by assessing the glucose metabolism using positron emission tomography (PET) scans – imaging that helps doctors assess how organs and tissues are functioning. The scans were performed under two conditions: when the cell phone was on and actively transmitting electromagnetic waves, and when the phone was off and not transmitting the electromagnetic waves.

The images were then used to analyze the association between brain activity and electromagnetic waves emitted from the cell phone. Activity in the brain closest to the antenna was approximately seven percent higher compared to the rest of the brain.

The authors of the study – conducted by the National Institute of Health and published in the medical journal JAMA – concluded that the human brain is sensitive to electromagnetic waves from cell phone exposure. Their conclusion, however, does not indicate what the increase in brain activity could mean in the short or long term.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio