Smart Speakers Can Aid in Heart Attack Detection

Contactless communication saves lives.

Alexa and other smart speakers have certainly come a long way. They’re no longer just for entertainment and shopping. They can be trained to aid in heart attack detection. From one’s home or other locale with such a smart speaker!

As Sarah McQuate-Washington observes for Futurity.org:

“A new tool for a smart speaker — like Google Home or Alexa — or even a smartphone can detect the gasping sound of agonal breathing associated with cardiac arrest, research shows. Almost 500,000 Americans die each year from cardiac arrest, when the heart suddenly stops beating.”

“People experiencing cardiac arrest suddenly become unresponsive and either stop breathing or gasp for air. Immediate CPR can double or triple someone’s chance of survival, but that requires a bystander to be present. Cardiac arrests often occur outside of the hospital and in the privacy of someone’s home. Recent research suggests that one of the most common locations for an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest is in a patient’s bedroom, where no one is likely around or awake to respond and provide care.”

“‘A proof-of-concept tool,’ which monitors people for cardiac arrest while they’re asleep without touching them and was developed using real agonal breathing instances captured from 911 calls, detected agonal breathing events 97 percent of the time from up to 20 feet (or 6 meters) away, according to a study in Digital Medicine.

“‘A lot of people have smart speakers in their homes, and these devices have amazing capabilities that we can take advantage of,’ says co-corresponding author Shyam Gollakota, an associate professor in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington.”

Click the image to access the full study.

Smart Speakers Can Aid in Heart Attack Detection
 

Knowing YOUR Bone Density

Free testing with Medicare coverage.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Bone density is 

“A measure of the amount of minerals (mostly calcium and phosphorous) contained in a certain volume of bone. Bone density measurements are used to diagnose osteoporosis (a condition marked by decreased bone mass), to see how well osteoporosis treatments are working, and to predict how likely the bones are to break. Low bone density can occur in patients treated for cancer. Also called BMD, bone mass, and bone mineral density.”

Do YOU know your own bone density? And your proneness to osteoporosis?

Do you know that Medicare covers bone density testing every two years? Or more frequently if needed? Click on the image to visit the Medicare bone density measurement Web site. And then access the resources.

Knowing YOUR Bone Density
 

How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health?

More versus less info. Which is better?

Interesting topic, right: How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health? Especially regarding our future life expectancy. 

Recently, B.J. Miller and Shoshana Berger wrote a valuable op ed piece for the New York Times on “Don’t Tell Me When I’m Going to Die. Prognoses are more of an art than a science. Maybe it’s better not to know.”

Here are a few of their observations:

“Prognoses are based on the average experiences and life spans of patients who came before you. But any physician will tell you that coming up with one is more of an art than a science, and doctors are often wrong. Studies have long shown that physicians are particularly prone to overestimating life expectancy — especially when they like their patient.”

“Still, choosing not to know your prospects is surprising in this golden age of data. But the choice not to know can also be liberating. You can say, ‘No thanks, I opt out.’”

According to Miller and Berger:

“Steve Scheier, an expert in organizational decision making, devised a Prognosis Declaration. And it allows patients to choose among a few options. WHERE DO YOU FIT?

        • Tell me everything.
        • I’ve not decided what I want to know about my prognosis, so ask me over the course of my treatment.
        • I want to participate in my treatment, but I don’t want to receive any information on my prognosis.
        • I don’t wish to know any information about my prognosis but I authorize you to speak with [blank] about my case and for you to answer any questions that this person may have about my likely prognosis and treatment.
    • Click  the image to read more.
How Much Do YOU Want to Know About YOUR Health?
Photo by Lucy Jones

 

Profits and Cancer Drugs

Drug prices expected to keep rising.

How do YOU feel about this: profits and cancer drugs? We know that many related drugs are quite expensive — and often required by us!! And in many cases, the situation is getting worse. 😦

As Katharina Buchholz reports for Statista:

Worldwide cancer drug sales are way ahead of those of other drugs. And the revenue generated by them will grow even larger by 2024. This is according to a report recently released by consultancy Evaluate, which analyses trends in the pharmaceutical sector. As per Evaluate’s calculations, oncology drugs reached US$123.8 billion in sales in 2018, more than double that of the next item on the list, drugs treating diabetes with US$48.5 billion dollars in sales. By 2024, cancer drug sales are expected to almost double to US$236.6 billion dollars.”

“Cancer drugs are extremely pricey. Therefore, they generate high revenues, with costs of a cancer treatment at above US$100,000 per patient. Cancer rates themselves are also rising with humans increasing their lifespans. Money funneled into cancer research means new medications coming out, which improves cancer treatment but might also increase its price as pharmaceutical companies charge a premium for the newly researched and released drugs.”

Take a look at the following chart.

Profits and Cancer Drugs
 

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care

Fresh research to help us live longer.

Earlier this month, we posted about Be Careful with Supplements. Nonetheless, some supplements may be valuable in cancer care. One of them seems to be Vitamin D.

A recent study by researchers at Michigan State found that:

“Vitamin D, if taken for at least three years, could help cancer patients live longer, say researchers. New findings suggest that the vitamin carries significant benefits other than just contributing to healthy bones. A paper on the work was presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting.”

“‘Vitamin D had a significant effect on lowering the risk of death among those with cancer, but unfortunately it didn’t show any proof that it could protect against getting cancer,’ says Tarek Haykal, a lead author of the study and an internal medicine resident physician at Michigan State University and Hurley Medical Center in Flint, Michigan.”

“Researchers looked at data related to disease prevention from more than 79,000 patients in multiple studies that randomly compared the use of vitamin D to a placebo over at least a three-year period. Haykal and his team zeroed in on any information that involved cancer incidence and mortality. ‘The difference in the mortality rate between the vitamin D and placebo groups was statistically significant enough that it showed just how important it might be among the cancer population,’ Haykal says. While these findings show promise, Haykal cautions that the exact amount of the vitamin to take and what levels are needed in the blood are still unknown. He also says that it’s unclear how much longer vitamin D extends lifespan and why it has this result.”

Click on the image to read the full paper.

The Value of Vitamin D in Cancer Care