Research is being performed to see if children can learn to identify emotions and interact with people by using technology. Other advances like Alexa could also help, researchers claim, adding that rigorous testing needs to take place. Public health news also looks at: simple ways to avoid heat wave deaths; Elon Musk’s experiments for paralyzed patients; the link behind fewer children’s deaths and universal background checks; a new way to manage menstrual cycles; Latin America’s TV ad redo to fight obesity in children; paying people to stop smoking; links between early puberty and migraines in girls; benefits of going barefoot; and more.
The New York Times: Google Glass Has An Afterlife As A Device To Teach Autistic Children
When Esaïe Prickett sat down in the living room with his mother, father and four older brothers, he was the only one wearing Google Glass. As Esaïe, who was 10 at the time and is 12 now, gazed through the computerized glasses, his family made faces — happy, sad, surprised, angry, bored — and he tried to identify each emotion. In an instant, the glasses told him whether he was right or wrong, flashing tiny digital icons that only he could see. Esaïe was 6 when he and his family learned he had autism. The technology he was using while sitting in the living room was meant to help him learn how to recognize emotions and make eye contact with those around him. The glasses would verify his choices only if he looked directly at a face. (Metz, 7/17)
The New York Times: Red Cross To World’s Cities: Here’s How To Prevent Heat Wave Deaths
One of the largest disaster relief agencies on Tuesday had a message for the world’s mayors: Heat waves are getting more intense on a hotter planet, but they don’t have to be deadly if city officials take simple and often inexpensive steps. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies put out a 96-page guidebook designed to help city officials prepare for heat waves. It repeatedly points out that heat waves are predictable, sometimes days and weeks in advance, and that city officials, and, sometimes private employers, can take steps to save lives. (Sengupta, 7/16)
Stat: Elon Musk’s Neuralink Unveils Its Brain-Machine Interface Technology
In front of a crowd of techies packed into a planetarium, Elon Musk strode out on stage, waxed philosophical about achieving symbiosis with artificial intelligence, and made his latest ambitious pronouncement in a career that’s been full of them: His startup Neuralink has developed technology meant to be implanted into the brain that’s designed to allow people to operate computers and smartphones with their thoughts. With some early animal testing under its belt, Neuralink wants to start human testing of its so-called “brain-machine interface” in paralyzed patients by the end of next year. (Robbins, 7/17)
PBS NewsHour: Do Gun Safety Laws Decrease Child Deaths?
A new study says states with universal background checks report fewer children’s deaths due to gun incidents. However, more data is needed to understand the relationship, the study maintains. (Santhanam, 7/16)
The New York Times: A Better Way To Manage Your Period? Try The Menstrual Cup, Scientists Say
Menstrual cups, little-known devices used by women to manage their periods, are safe and as effective as sanitary pads and tampons, as well as less expensive, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the products. Many women have never heard of menstrual cups; some may know them only by brand names like Diva Cups or Moon Cups. They are flexible, bell-shaped devices made of silicone, rubber or latex that are inserted into the vagina to capture menstrual blood. The cups can be left in place for four to 12 hours before being emptied, rinsed and reinserted. (Rabin, 7/16)
The New York Times: High Blood Pressure And High Cholesterol May Pose Special Risks In Young Adults
High blood pressure and high cholesterol in young adults may be particularly dangerous, new research suggests. It increases the risk for cardiovascular disease in later life, whatever risk factors develop in later years. Scientists pooled the results of six studies with data on blood pressure and cholesterol in 36,030 people ages 18 to 84, followed for an average of 17 years. (Bakalar, 7/16)
The Washington Post: Latin America’s War On Obesity Could Be A Model For U.S.
There is something Chilean kids won’t see anymore. As of June 27, cinemas and televisions no longer screen advertisements for foods high in calories, added sugar, sodium and saturated fat between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., under new laws aimed at reducing childhood obesity in Chile. It is one of the most recent efforts in the campaign against obesity that Latin American countries have been fully engaged with — and winning — for some time. (Reiley, 7/16)
The New York Times: To Help Smokers Quit, Pay Them
Paying people to stop smoking is a very effective method of getting them to quit, a large review of studies has found. The meta-analysis, in the Cochrane Reviews, covered 33 trials and included more than 21,000 people. The studies were carried out in various settings — primary care clinics, universities, cancer treatment centers and others. All followed the participants for at least six months, checking breath or body fluids for evidence of smoking. (Bakalar, 7/16)
Cincinnati Enquirer: Early Puberty Appears To Bring On Migraines In Girls, UC Study Finds
Pinney and the researchers found that girls with migraine headaches started developing breasts and having menstrual periods earlier than those who did not have migraines. On average, breast development occurred four months earlier in those with migraine, and menstruation started five months earlier. (Saker, 7/16)
The New York Times: Born To Walk Barefoot
Wearing shoes when we walk changes how our feet interact with the ground below us, according to a novel new study in the journal Nature of shod and unshod walkers, the state of their feet and the extent of the forces they generate with every step. The study, which echoes some of the research that first popularized barefoot running, finds that walkers move differently when they are barefoot or shod and have differing sensitivity to the ground, potentially affecting balance and joint loading. The results intimate that there could be advantages to perambulating with naked feet, not the least of which, surprisingly, involves developing calluses. (Reynolds, 7/17)
Seattle Times: King County’s 2-Day Summit Examines Gun Violence Through A Public-Health Lens
Doctors and nurses have learned to identify patients at risk of violence — are they depressed? Suffering from dementia? Dealing with substance abuse or in a potential domestic violence situation? But too often, said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County, they fail to then ask one crucial question of their at-risk patients: Do you have access to a firearm? And, if they do ask that question, Duchin said, clinicians are often ill-equipped to know what to do with patients who are at high risk of gun violence. (Gutman, 7/16)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
Source : Kaiser Health