Tracking Typing Patterns On Smartphones May Give Professionals Insight Into Patients’ Mental Health
For example, a manic episode may be preceded by rising numbers of typos and faster typing. But a host of privacy issues comes along with the technology. In other public health news: air pollution, stem cells, older patients, vision loss, dementia, anxiety and more.
The Wall Street Journal:
Can Typos Give Insight Into Your Mental Health?
The latest wearable technology can reliably track heart beats and notify users of any irregularities. Up next? Reliably tracking your brain and mental health. A team of researchers at the Center on Depression and Resilience at the University of Illinois at Chicago is working on technology that could monitor users’ mood and cognition—important indicators of mental-health stress—by tracking their typing patterns with an iPhone app called BiAffect. Initial research has found it is possible to predict episodes of mania and depression among users with bipolar and major depressive disorder based on changes in their typing habits. (Higgins, 10/11)
The New York Times:
E.P.A. To Disband A Key Scientific Review Panel On Air Pollution
An Environmental Protection Agency panel that advises the agency’s leadership on the latest scientific information about soot in the atmosphere is not listed as continuing its work next year, an E.P.A. official said. The 20-person Particulate Matter Review Panel, made up of experts in microscopic airborne pollutants known to cause respiratory disease, is responsible for helping the agency decide what levels of pollutants are safe to breathe. Agency officials declined to say why the E.P.A. intends to stop convening the panel next year, particularly as the agency considers whether to revise air quality standards. (Friedman, 10/11)
With Stem Cells And CRISPR, Scientists Breed Mice With Same-Sex Parents
For the first time, scientists said Thursday that they had bred mice with two genetic fathers, steering around biological hurdles that would otherwise prevent same-sex parents from having offspring. The researchers also bred mouse pups with two genetic mothers. Those pups matured into adults and had pups of their own, outpacing previous efforts to create so-called bimaternal mice. (Joseph, 10/11)
The New York Times:
Every Older Patient Has A Story. Medical Students Need To Hear It.
Whatever the cluster of second-year students at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York expected to hear from an 82-year-old woman — this probably wasn’t it. At first, Elizabeth Shepherd, one of several seniors invited to meet with future doctors in an anti-ageism program called “Introduction to the Geriatric Patient,” largely followed the script. (Span, 10/12)
The Washington Post:
Scientists Grow Tiny Human Retinas In A Dish
Kiara Eldred sometimes compares her nine-month-long scientific experiments, growing tiny human retinas in a laboratory dish, to raising children. Eldred, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, starts by growing thousands of stem cells and feeding them nutrients and chemicals that will steer them to develop into the retina, the part of the eye that translates light into the signals that lead to vision. After two weeks of painstaking cultivation, those cells typically generate 20 to 60 tiny balls of cells, called retinal organoids. As they mature, these nascent retinas get dirty and slough off lots of cells, so they also need to be washed off when they’re fed every other day — at least for the first month and a half. (Johnson, 10/11)
Secrets Of Color Vision Emerge From Lab-Grown Human Retinas
The discovery, published Thursday in the journal Science, could help accelerate current efforts to cure colorblindness. It could also lead to new treatments for diseases including macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss. "It's important that we understand how nature controls the development of the retina so we can understand better why things go wrong in disease and how we can treat them," says Steven Becker, a scientist at the National Eye Institute. The newly published findings are a step in that direction, says Becker, who has no connection to the research. (Hamilton, 10/11)
Kaiser Health News:
Dementia And Guns: When Should Doctors Broach The Topic?
Some patients refuse to answer. Many doctors don’t ask. As the number of Americans with dementia rises, health professionals are grappling with when and how to pose the question: “Do you have guns at home?” While gun violence data is scarce, a Kaiser Health News investigation with PBS NewsHour published in June uncovered over 100 cases across the U.S. since 2012 in which people with dementia used guns to kill themselves or others. The shooters often acted during bouts of confusion, paranoia, delusion or aggression — common symptoms of dementia. Tragically they shot spouses, children and caregivers. (Bailey, 10/12)
The New York Times:
Omega-3 Supplements May Ease Anxiety
Omega-3 supplements may help reduce anxiety symptoms, a review of studies has concluded. The analysis, in JAMA Network Open, concluded that people with clinically diagnosed anxiety disorders who took large doses of the supplement — up to 2,000 milligrams a day — benefited most. (Bakalar, 10/11)
Can We Beat Cervical Cancer?
Cervical cancer is at a crossroads: If no action is taken, the number of women dying from the disease is expected to increase substantially by 2030. But the cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus and highly treatable if the warning signs are caught early. (Wheaton, 10/11)