Using Robotics to Help Those with Severe Disabilities

Advances in robotics are quite helpful.

For those with severe physical disabilities, even simple tasks may be difficult. And that can be depressing. But, companies are making great strides with robotics. These advances have the potential to increase the quality of life. Read below and then view the video.

Here is one example, as discussed by John Toon of Georgia Tech:

“An interface system with augmented reality technology could help people with profound motor impairments operate a humanoid robot to feed themselves and perform routine personal care tasks. Those tasks might include feeding and performing routine personal care tasks such as scratching an itch and applying skin lotion. The web-based interface displays a ‘robot’s eye view’ of surroundings to help users interact with the world through the machine.”

“Described in PLOS ONE, the system could help make sophisticated robots more useful to people who don’t have experience operating complex robotic systems. Study participants interacted with the robot interface using standard assistive computer access technologies—such as eye trackers and head trackers—that they already used to control their personal computers.”

“The paper reports on two studies showing how such ‘robotic body surrogates’ — which can perform tasks similar to those of humans —could improve the quality of life for users. The work could provide a foundation for developing faster and more capable assistive robots.”


 

Still More Tips for Living Well

Lots of advice on relaxation, controlling anger, and being energetic.

In this post, we offer additional tips for living well. Previously, we posted about: More Tips for Living Well and Living Better and Being Happier.

Still More Tips for Living Well

Relax

Still More Tips for Living Well

Control Anger

Still More Tips for Living Well

Be More Energetic

Still More Tips for Living Well

 

Help Others Understand OUR Anxiety

What others need to know about stages of anxiety. With an infographic.

As we wrote before, We Are NOT Alone: Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It’s normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day. And the way they relate to you.  So, let’s now look at how we can help others understand our anxiety.

As B.L. Acker writes for the Mighty:

“Whenever I start to explain the part of my mental illness diagnosis that includes severe anxiety, I always receive confused looks. They are usually followed by judgmental comments about how ‘everyone has problems and stress in their lives,’ telling me that I need to ‘learn to cope and work through it all.’ I get told that I ‘shouldn’t let every little thing get to me” and that I’d be so much happier if I ‘stopped stressing over everything and just mellowed out.’”

“I don’t have social anxiety. People and crowds are not my issue. My anxiety is situational and builds upon itself, making it harder to function in some situations than others. I’ve tried to explain my anxiety again and again until I was blue in the face, yet I’ve been met with blank stares or judgments more often than not. I finally sat down and made an overly simplified chart, similar to the pain level chart used in doctor’s offices, in the hope that it might be more relatable and help others understand.”

“I know the chart I made is extremely simplified – anyone struggling with anxiety can testify that it is often so much worse. But I wanted to give examples that anyone could relate to, as well as providing a build up they might be able to imagine in their own lives.”

Help Others Understand OUR Anxiety

 

Understand How Colors Affect YOU

The effects of color on YOUR body.

Do you understand how colors affect YOU? They can greatly influence both our psychological and physiological state of well-being.

Take a look at the following infographic to learn more about how colors affect our well-being.

Understand How Colors Affect YOU
 

Eating Better During Chemotherapy

Eight tips to help you.

For many of us who have undergone chemo, as well as those now undergoing chemo, eating may be quite challenging. The side effects can be sometimes be overwhelming. So, what can we do to eat better during chemotherapy?

Rose Hayes, via Sharecare, presents some good advice and a slideshow of 8 tips:

“During chemotherapy, meals should be your time-out from everything medical—a chance to rest, build your strength and enjoy the company of loved ones. Eating healthy, satisfying foods every day also can help you:

        • Stay strong, both mentally and physically
        • Tolerate your treatments
        • Protect your good cells against damage from chemo
        • Fight cancer by boosting your immune system and building your energy stores
        • However, side effects like mouth sores and nausea can create stress and pain, and keep you from getting the nutrients you need.
        • Here are eight expert-approved tips to help you beat the discomfort and enjoy your food once again.”

Click the image to access the slideshow and eight tips.

Eating Better During Chemotherapy
Cancer treatment can make mealtime tough, but these expert-approved tips can help.

 

Improving Your Memory

How can we have a better memory?

This topic certainly interests me. Why? Just last week, I forgot something and had to drive back. And there are many times I walk upstairs to my home office and forgot why I’m there. As we age, our memory usually becomes more challenging.

While not a cure all, tips from Adam Grant, writing for the NY Times, may be helpful:

“’Everybody has a great memory for something, Joshua Foer explained on my WorkLife podcast. “Incredible memory capacities are latent inside of all of us — if we use the right techniques to awaken them. So ditch the bad study habits you learned in school, and start with these three steps.”

“First: Say goodbye to the all-nighters of cramming. In a series of experiments, students listened to stories and then took a test of how much information they remembered an hour later. Recall spiked by 10 to 30 percent if they had been randomly assigned to sit and do nothing in a dark, quiet room for a few minutes right after hearing the story. Your mind needs rest and space to consolidate and store information. That’s especially true for people who have memory difficulties. When the same experiment was done with patients who had suffered strokes and other neurological injuries, resting improved their recall to 79 percent from 7 percent.”

“Second: Don’t bother with rereading or highlighting. Research reveals that they don’t help much; they’re too passive. Instead, try something active: quiz yourself. Evidence shows that practice tests lead to better retention than any other technique. When you retrieve knowledge from your mind over and over again, you know where to find it the next time, and you quickly discover where the gaps in your memory are.”

“Third: Tell someone. In a recent experiment, people learned about sound waves and the Doppler effect. (You know, the phenomenon that causes the siren on a police car to be high-pitched as it approaches you and drop as it passes you). At the end of studying, the participants were randomly assigned to deliver a lesson on the material with or without notes. A week later, they came back and had to take a surprise test on their recall. The ones who had taught the lesson without notes did better.”

Click the image to read more.

Improving Your Memory
 

Grief and Your Immune System

We have all experienced some form of grief.

First, we look at grief in general. Then we consider grief and your immune system.

An Overview of Grief

Consider these observations from the Mayo Clinic:

“Grief is a strong, sometimes overwhelming emotion for people, regardless of whether their sadness stems from the loss of a loved one or from a terminal diagnosis they or someone they love have received. They might find themselves feeling numb and removed from daily life, unable to carry on with regular duties while saddled with their sense of loss.”

“Grief is the natural reaction to loss. Grief is both a universal and a personal experience. Individual experiences of grief vary and are influenced by the nature of the loss. Some examples of loss include the death of a loved one, the ending of an important relationship, job loss, loss through theft, or the loss of independence through disability.”

“Experts advise those grieving to realize they can’t control the process and to prepare for varying stages of grief. Understanding why they’re suffering can help, as can talking to others and trying to resolve issues that cause significant emotional pain, such as feeling guilty for a loved one’s death.”

“Mourning can last for months or years. Generally, pain is tempered as time passes and as the bereaved adapts to life without a loved one, to the news of a terminal diagnosis or to the realization that someone they love may die.”

“If you’re uncertain about whether your grieving process is normal, consult your health care professional. Outside help is sometimes beneficial to people trying to recover and adjust to a death or diagnosis of a terminal illness.”

Grief and Your Immune System

From our own health perspective, grief can have a dramatic effect on our immune systems. Understanding this is vital.

According to new research as reported by Futurity:

“Losing a loved one is one of the most stressful life experiences a person will endure. And its toll can be physical as well as emotional. Science has shown, for example, that widows and widowers have a 41 percent higher risk of early death, compared to their still-married peers.”

“The relationship between grief and the immune system may explain bereavement’s association with increased risk for disease and early mortality, at least in part. Since researchers began studying it in 1977, evidence has shown that people may experience negative changes in their immune function following the loss of a loved one.”

In a new research review article in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, Lindsey Knowles, a psychology doctoral student at University of Arizona, and associate professors of psychology Mary-Frances O’Connor and John Ruiz examined 41 years of existing research on bereavement and the immune system. They focused specifically on 13 studies deemed to be of high scientific quality.”

Click the image to read Knowles and O’Connor discussion of their findings, as well possible directions for future research.

Grief and Your Immune System
(Credit: LoboStudio Hamburg/Unsplash)