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

 

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
 

Understanding Cognitive Aging

Further research on how we age.

Last week, we had a post on How Old Do YOU feel? “The study considered 92 diseases and conditions in 195 countries and territories.”

Let’s continue with that topic. In new research by Lee Ryan, et al., the authors discussed “Applying Precision Medicine to the Field of Cognitive Aging” in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience:

“The current ‘one size fits all’ approach to our cognitive aging population is not adequate to close the gap between cognitive health span and lifespan. In this review article, we present a novel model for understanding, preventing, and treating age-related cognitive impairment (ARCI) based on concepts borrowed from precision medicine. We will discuss how multiple risk factors can be classified into risk categories because of their interrelatedness in real life, the genetic variants that increase sensitivity to, or ameliorate, risk for ARCI, and the brain drivers or common mechanisms mediating brain aging. Rather than providing a definitive model of risk for ARCI and cognitive decline, the Precision Aging model is meant as a starting point to guide future research. To that end, after briefly discussing key risk categories, genetic risks, and brain drivers, we conclude with a discussion of steps that must be taken to move the field forward.”

Click the image to access the full article.

Understanding Cognitive Aging
 

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

How healthy are Americans?

How healthy are those living in the United States? We know that our rank worldwide is not great. But, we must further measure our health to learn more. Hence, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It is conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS, which) is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

First, look at these relevant posts:

 

NCHS’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

On a regular basis, the NCHS conducts a national survey on our health. Click here to access the program Web site. And click the image to read about the longitudinal nature of survey results.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

This brief video shows an overview of the program.

Finally, click on the image below to access data relating to the health issues shown. 

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
 

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?

Does your appointment time matter?

Although doctors are human, like other service providers, we hope that they are always on top of their game. Especially when they see us!!! But new research offers some scary insights. Do YOU believe these insights?

As reported in an article in the JAMA Network Open, authored by Esther Y. HsiangShivan J. MehtaDylan S. Small; et al.:

Question: “Are breast and colorectal cancer screening rates associated with the time of day a patient visits the primary care clinician?”

Findings:  “In this quality improvement study analysis of 33 primary care practices including 19,254 patients eligible for breast cancer screening and 33, 468 patients eligible for colorectal cancer screening, both clinician ordering and patient completion of cancer screening tests decreased as the time of day progressed.”

Meaning:  Patients with primary care clinic appointment times later in the day were less likely to be ordered for and receive guideline recommended cancer screening.”

As summed up in a Futurity.org article on this study:

“Examining data from 2014 through 2016 across 33 Pennsylvania and New Jersey primary care practices, the researchers found that ordering rates had far-reaching effects.”

“Among eligible patients, primary care doctors ordered breast cancer screening more often for patients seen in the 8 A.M (64 percent) as compared to those with appointments at 5 P.M. (48 percent). Similarly, doctors ordered colon cancer screening tests more frequently for 8 A.M patients (37 percent) compared to those coming in later in the day (23 percent).

“When looking at the entire sample eligible for screenings at these practices, the researchers tracked whether the patients completed a screening within a year of their appointment. The data showed that the downward trend associated with the timing of the appointments carried over. Breast cancer screening — which included mammograms—stood at a 33 percent one-year completion rate for the entire eligible population who had their appointment in the 8 A.M. hour. But for those who had clinic visits at 5 P.M. or later, just 18 percent completed screenings. For colorectal cancer, 28 percent of the patients with appointments in the 8 A.M. hour completed screenings such as colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, and fecal occult blood tests. That number dropped to 18 percent for patients who saw the doctor at 5 P.M. or later”.

Click the image to read the full research article.

Do YOU Agree with This Scary Finding?