CHICAGO - Researchers have found an imbalance in the brain chemistry of young people addicted to smartphones and the internet, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). According to a recent Pew Research Center study, 46 percent of Americans say they could not live without their smartphones. While this sentiment is clearly hyperbole, more and more people are becoming increasingly dependent on smartphones and other portable electronic devices for news, information, games, and even the occasional phone call. Along with a growing concern that young people, in particular, may be spending too much time staring into their phones instead of interacting with others, come questions as to the immediate effects on the brain and the possible long-term consequences of such habits. Hyung Suk Seo, M.D., professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, and colleagues used magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) … [Read more...] about Smartphone addiction creates imbalance in brain
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If you had asked me this morning how many times I woke up last night, I would have guessed four or five. But according to the Zeo, a new gadget that monitors a person’s sleep, it was a disturbing 15 times. I’m also getting considerably less sleep than I thought, averaging about six to seven hours rather than the seven to eight hours I had always estimated. The Zeo Personal Sleep Coach, developed by a startup headquartered in Newton, MA, is the first at-home device that allows people to track their sleep cycles over time. With a simple headband recording system, the device represents a neat feat of engineering. And it certainly seems to tap into an interest–everyone I told about the Zeo wanted to test it out, a testament to our obsession with sleep, or lack thereof. It’s not yet clear that it will truly help users improve their sleep, but it may present a new opportunity in sleep research, allowing scientists to track normal variability in sleep much more … [Read more...] about Device Tracks How You’re Sleeping
What if an app could replace a pill? That’s the big question behind an emerging trend known as “digital therapeutics.” The idea: software that can improve a person’s health as much as a drug can, but without the same cost and side-effects. Digital therapeutics, or “digiceuticals,” as some call them, have become a Holy Grail in some quarters of Silicon Valley, where investors see the chance to deliver medicine through your smartphone. Andreessen Horowitz, the venture firm, even predicts digital drugs will become “the third phase” of medicine, meaning the successor to the chemical and protein drugs we have now, but without the billion-dollar cost of bringing one to market. “It’s going to seem backwards and even barbaric that our solution to everything was just giving out pills,” partner Vijay Pande wrote on the investment company’s blog. But defining exactly what a digital therapeutic actually is can be as … [Read more...] about Can “Digital Therapeutics” Be as Good as Drugs?
Life Sciences WASHINGTON (AP) — Did you know that Lunesta will help you fall asleep just 15 minutes faster? Or that a higher dose of the osteoporosis drug Zometa could damage a cancer patient's kidneys and raise their risk of death?Chances are you didn't, and neither did your doctor. Much of what the Food and Drug Administration knows about a drug's safety and effectiveness is not included on the label, say two drug safety experts who are calling on the agency to make that information more accessible.In this week's issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Dartmouth College argue that drug labels don't reflect the nuanced decisions the FDA makes when deciding to approve a drug. The editorial from Drs. Lisa Schwartz and Steven Woloshin recommends easy-to-read fact boxes to help patients weigh the benefits and risks of medications.If drug labels sometimes exaggerate benefits and play down drug risks, the authors say there's a very good reason: they are written … [Read more...] about Key Facts Not On Drug Labels