Tag Archives: internet

New app provides health info straight from doctors

Being in the dark about your health can be very unsettling, so people often turn to the Internet for answers. But sometimes, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction on web sites. To help people get better answers to their biggest health questions, two physicians developed a free new app called iTriage. The app’s content is written by a team of doctors and health professionals, and the information available on the app has been reviewed by Harvard Medical School, according to iTriage’s web site. The app includes tools to check symptoms, explore possible causes, research medications and even find a doctor. Additionally, a section on the app called My iTriage allows users to store their personal health records and insurance information. The iTriage app is a useful tool, but if you’re sick, be sure to seek professional help. For more information go to iTriageHealth.comsource : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/05/new-app-provides-health-info-straight-from-doctors/

Prancercise: New eccentric fitness routine mimics dancing like a horse

Move over Richard Simmons.  Johanna Rohrback has arrived, and she has a unique workout routine that is taking the Internet by storm. Known as Prancercise, Rohrback’s workout is described as “a springy, rhythmic way of moving forward, similar to a horse's gait and is ideally induced by elation.” Various YouTube videos showcase Rohrback “prancing” at different speeds – including the Prancercise walk, trot and gallop.   According to her instruction, all you need are a couple of ankle weights and some music to get started.  For the more intense Prancercise box, individuals can strap the ankle weights to their wrists and punch into the air while they prance. Rohrback originally introduced her unconventional routine back in 1989, but the endeavor failed to take off.  Looking to revive Prancercise, Rohrback published a book about the routine in Dec. 2012 titled Prancercise: The Art of Physical and Spiritual Excellence, along with the series of YouTube videos currently circulating the web. The book is described as “a recipe for fitness, health, and self-fulfillment!”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/30/prancercise-new-eccentric-fitness-routine-mimics-dancing-like-horse/

Health literature is too complex for most patients to grasp, study shows

The importance of health literacy hit home for Lisa Gualtieri when a Cambodian refugee diagnosed with cancer asked her to act as a patient advocate. She played the role of a “salty tongue,” a Cambodian expression that paints outspokenness in a positive light. But even though the patient's family was in the room when doctors took the time to answer every last question about test results and treatment options, the refugee's family would call Gualtieri hours later to review what doctors had said. A new study, published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests one potential reason for the family's confusion: Despite good intentions, many experts may be creating educational materials that are too difficult for patients and their families to grasp. “Patients will often come to the office, and one of the first things they say to you, especially about technical information, they'll say that they've been on the Internet, and they'll quote one or two key phrases back to you,” said study author Dr. Charles Prestigiacomo. “Unfortunately, the little soundbites, while accurate, may not be complete.” Prestigiacomo and his colleagues at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark used a number of readability scales - including “simple measure of gobbledygook (SMOG) grading” - to test how challenging materials by 16 different medical specialty societies were to read. The average reading level of the online materials by groups ranging from the American Society of Anesthesiologists to the American Psychiatric Association, fell anywhere from ninth grade to the sophomore year of college. (See one example here:.) That's far above the fourth-to-sixth grade level recommended by the American Medical Association and by a number of U.S. government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services. Those guidelines are based on the fact that the average American reads at 7th or 8th grade level, said Nitin Agarwal, a medical student at UMDNJ and another author of the study. “We might not be cognizant of the population reading our articles, who might need something more simple,” Agarwal said. The current study's findings agree with those of previous work by some of the same researchers looking at patient education materials in individual specialties. “Organizations often end up using jargon,” said Gualtieri, who studies health communication at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, but was not involved in the new research. They end up “using the language they're accustomed to as opposed to (the language) the people they're trying to reach are accustomed to using,” she said. “You have to think about reaching people where they are,” she added. Sometimes, according to Prestigiacomo, that means using analogies. “There are only so many ways you can describe an aneurysm,” said the UMDNJ neurosurgeon, who tells patients such ballooning blood vessels are “like a blister on a tire.” “The problem is that it's not quite perfectly accurate,” he said. “But sometimes we have to realize that simplifying it to an analogy may be the best way for patients to understand it.” DROWNING IN CLICHES When it came to the quality of the writing, obstetrics and gynecology really failed to deliver. Materials in that specialty had nearly six cliches for every 50 pages, and also “contained the highest total number of indefinite article mismatches (the improper use of “a” or “an”).” “You go from region to region in the U.S., people aren't familiar with what each cliche refers to,” said Agarwal. And in a sentence that might have unintentionally demonstrated the authors' point, they report, “The proportion of passive voice sentences used throughout resources ranged from 4% in family medicine to 27% in neurological surgery.” “Concise and to the point is the way to go for this sort of stuff,” Agarwal said. Gualtieri recommended that those who produce such materials consider why people are coming to their sites, and what they're looking for. She echoed the authors' suggestion that such sites use pictures and videos. “The organizations represented should be happy that people are at their sites,” Gualtieri said. “It's high-quality, reliable information, there's a lot out there that isn't. If one of these organizations could read something like this, and say, ‘we're not doing everything we can for those who most read us,' that would be a lovely outcome from a study like this.” That's already happened. Prestigiacomo showed the results to one of the specialty groups whose patient materials were analyzed before publishing the paper, and the organization committed to rewriting them. And the Cambodian man with cancer is doing well, Gualtieri said. “The treatment was successful.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/21/health-literature-is-too-complex-for-most-patients-to-grasp-study-shows/

Babies who share bed with parents 5 times more likely to die of SIDS

Babies sharing beds with their parents face a five-fold risk of dying of cot death, even if their parents are not smokers, new research shows. The increased risk of death extends to babies previously thought to be at low risk because they are breastfed and the mother has not taken alcohol or drugs, according to a study published in the British Medical Journal Open. The findings come after 1472 Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) cases and 4679 control cases from Australasia, the U.K. and Europe were analyzed in the largest ever study of cot death. The SIDS rate would plummet if parents avoided bed sharing and public healthy messages were more forceful about the dangers for babies under three months, the authors, led by Professor Robert Carpenter, said. “Eighty-eight percent of the deaths that occurred while bed sharing would probably not have occurred had the baby been placed on its back in a cot by the parents' bed,’’ the authors concluded. The risk of SIDs while bed sharing decreased as the baby gets older. Bed sharing has increased “markedly’’ over the last decade, the study found. Parents who endorse the practice are active on the Internet and Facebook. Murdoch University associate professor Catherine Fetherson said research shows between 30 and 50 percent of parents share a bed with their babies at some time. She believes a blanket message against bed sharing is driving parents underground. “They are continuing to do it, even though people are being warned against it and so what is happening is they are shutting down all communication with health professionals,’’ she said. Click for more from news.com.au.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/21/babies-who-share-bed-with-parents-5-times-more-likely-to-die-cot-death/