Cell phones put health tech in your pocket
Jump to: Featured stories from 2010
The average, healthy human brain is, to put it simply, awesome, with enough switches in the cerebral cortex alone to rival all the stars in 1,500 Milky Way galaxies.
And while one report after another came out this year demonstrating the negative effects of too much screen time--on the brains of pre-schoolers and schoolchildren in general, with evidence that college kids today actually experience withdrawal systems after going unplugged for just 24 hours--the average human brain belonging to someone with a few extra bucks now has greater access to mobile health technologies than ever before.
The most up-and-coming means of monitoring personal health today is via cell phone apps. Want to lose weight? Get into shape? Personalize your robot massage? How about keep a poop diary? Or stay on top of your STD status? Yep, there's an app for all of these.
And don't underestimate the power of texting, tweeting, and social networking in general when it comes to personal well-being. (In fact, some appear to prefer it to sex, although most humans still seem to prefer sex to any other activity, according to one study using an iPhone app.) This year, cell phones help us not only stay in touch, but also quit smoking, detect toxins, track flu outbreaks, and even follow the bowel movements of our electronically-undergarmented loved ones.
Texting has also revolutionized the way we help others. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, mobile donations in the form of $5 and $10 texts totaled more than $2 million in just three days, exceeding all mobile donations sent anywhere in the world throughout the entire calendar year of 2009.
Of course, the effects of cell phone radiation on human health remains a topic of great contention. While one study kicked into gear in April with plans to follow at least 250,000 people for 20 to 30 years, Pong wasted no time releasing an anti-radiation BlackBerry case, the Belly Band promised to shield pregnant bellies, and an app alerts consumers to how much radiation they are exposed to while using their phones.
Physicians have embraced the cell phone, too. (And by the way, chances are they've got an iPhone.) The cell phone can now be used as a microscope to detect disease, as a tool for remote eye exams, and as an EKG that also monitors blood pressure, glucose, and cholesterol. And the Fit-to-Flow connector, built to mirror the USB interface, could soon allow biomedical testing of fluid samples on cell phones.
Cell phones have clearly come a long way in just a few years, and in 2010 the app market alone exploded. With the cost of beefing phones up averaging a few dollars an app, and data plans improving thanks to stiff competition and increasing demand, the general trend has been to keep warnings of radiation and behavior problems at bay as we use cell phones, at least in part, as a key component in telemedicine and the monitoring of personal health and well-being.
Featured stories from 2010
Since the tweet "Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to @RedCross relief" went viral, more than $8 million in donations surpasses mobile giving throughout all of 2009.
A University of Missouri engineering professor is developing a liquid sensor smaller than a human hair to detect cancer instantly using acoustic resonance.
A new study by Retrevo finds that 40 percent of respondents don't mind being interrupted for a message, and almost 10 percent admit they'd check a message during sex.
A new, decades-long study launches to investigate possible links between cell phone use and a series of health problems, including cancer.
Researcher says smoking-cessation data collected via texting study subjects every two hours is far more accurate than data captured using other methods.
Biomedical engineers and university cancer researchers tweak an on-market camera that can distinguish between healthy cells and cancerous ones.
A patch comprising hundreds of microscopic needles could allow laypeople to self-administer vaccines and then simply watch the patch dissolve, according to researchers at Georgia Tech.
WellDoc's says its DiabetesManager System is different than the rest because provides real-time feedback in response to input they're submitting.
By studying a song's rhythm, melodic range, lyrics, and pitch, a team of scientists at Glasgow Caledonian University hopes to help regulate people's moods.
A team at MIT is using widely available low-res Webcam imaging to measure the human pulse, and is now working on expanding readings to respiration and blood pressure.
A professor at Manchester University invents a scanner based on radio frequency technology that can fit over a bra and whose screen flags tumors as red dots.
Researchers in Seattle find that, on average, children under 5 are exposed to four hours of screen time every weekday, twice the recommended daily limit.
Researchers at Stanford develop a new imaging method that enables visualization in unprecedented detail of the myriad connections between nerve cells in the brain.
The Insti HIV Rapid Antibody Test, which detects antibodies to the virus in just a minute, may now be sold in the States; it is already available in more than 50 countries.