| Sunday, July 27, 2008
| THE GOOD AND EVIL OF CELL PHONES
|They can be a fatal distraction while driving but -- hey! -- they also can guilt you into skipping that Big Mac
Your cell phone has the power to kill you or save your life. Talk on it while you're driving and you're four times more likely to have a crash that will send you to the hospital.
But if you have a terrible wreck and need assistance, your phone's ICE (in case of emergency) contact or your own downloaded medical records -- can tell paramedics whether you're allergic to penicillin or help prevent medical errors.
More than 250 million Americans now subscribe to a cellular phone service, an 84 percent penetration of the U.S. population, according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, the leading industry trade group. So while they do pose some risks, they aren't going away. Here's hos this handy device affects your health, for better or for worse.
Health promotion videos can be streamed to personal devices, such as cell phones, according to Rutgers researchers who tested a soap opera video with a message designed to reduce HIV risk. A special phone being tested in England gives teens undergoing cancer treatment ready answers to their questions about treatment and side effects.
GPS-enabled cell phones are an ideal way to learn more about where teens spend time - and hot it relates to their health behaviors, say researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine. Poor health outcomes, such as obesity and sexually transmitted infections, tend to cluster in certain geographical areas.
The next time you're about to order a Big Mac, use your cell phone to text "dietI" with the name of the restaurant and menu item, suggests Joy Bauer, author of "Food Cures", "Within seconds, diet.com's 'Nutrition on the Go' service will send you a reply listing the calories, total fat, carbohydrate and protein in the requested food" Bauer said.
MIT students, challenged with the task of getting tuberculosis patients to take their medicine, devised a testing and reposting system that uses text messaging and offers incentives such as free cell-phone minutes.
Cell Phones and cell phone cameras have helped police solve crimes, particularly hit and run accidents. Visitors of switreport.net can report accidents they've seen and give descriptions and license plate number of cars that hit other vehicles and fled.
In an emergency, a cell phone could be used as a cardiac defibrillator, according to Ben Sketkhou of Boca Raton, Fla., who has filed a U.S. patent on a clamshell phone equipped with electrodes. "When flipped open and placed on the chest, it delivers a shock to the heart," New Scientists reported. "The phone also sends it GPS coordinates to the emergency services. Just don't hit the wrong button when you're chatting."
GAP IN SAFETY DATA:
Researtchers are fairly certain that the use of mobile phones for up to 10 years is nog associated with brain tumor risk, but there is some uncertainty with regard to longer use, said Joachim Schuz, head of the department of biostatistics and epidemiology at the Institute of Cancer Epidemiology in Denmark. Also, The Impact of cell phone use on children, whose brains are still developing, needs to be evaluated.
Nickel dermatitis, the most common cause of allergic, contact dermatitis in women, may be caused by frequent and prolonged use of cell phones, according to a study by Danish researchers.
Teenagers who use their cell phones excessively are more prone to disrupted sleep, restlessness, stress and fatigue, according to a study presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
CARPAL TUNNEL SYNDROME:
"Repeated, prolonged gripping of anything can contribute to carpal tunnel syndrome", says Jennifer Valle, an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. Valle recommends an ear piece headset.
BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN:
A study of more than 13,000 children found that pre-or post-natal exposure to cell phone readiation was associated with behavioral difficulties such as emotional and hyperactivity problems by the time they reached school age. The researchers warned that the association might be due to other factors - perhaps mothers who use the phones frequently pay less attention to their chldren - but if real, it would be of public health concern, given the widesperad use of the technology.
Simply listening to your cell phone is a little like driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Carnegie Mellon University scientists who found that "listening alone [to a cell phone] reduces by 37 percent the amount of brain activity associated with driving". That's enough to make you weave out of your lane. The Facebook group "I Text Message People While Driving and Haven't Killed Anyone Yet" says it promotes responsible texting.
FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY:
College students especially women - may take more risks when carrying a cell phone, according to a survey of 305 students. In the survey, 40 percent of cell phone users saud they walked somewhere after dar that they normally would'nt go.
(Source: Chicago Tribune: by Julie Deardorff/Tribune Reporter)
|posted by infraternam meam @ 6:10 PM