Seven Apps for Wellness

According to Dictionary.com, wellness is “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” To build on this definition, aside from being a deliberate practice of healthy behaviors, I like to think of wellness as a holistic concept, made up of achieving fulfillment in many areas including financial wellness, social wellness, physical wellness, emotional wellness, etc. Achieving optimal wellness can feel like a precarious balancing act. Drinking enough water, getting exercise, saving money, attending to your emotional state, spending time with friends and family, managing stress… it’s easy to get stressed about all the ways you want to stay well! To make maintaining your wellness a little easier, we’ve rounded up a series of smart phone apps that can contribute to the various domains of your health.

Physical wellness – Plant Nanny

This cute app helps remind you to drink enough water. To record drinking water, you water your virtual plant and it grows over time. If you don’t drink enough water the plant can start to shrivel and shrink.

iOS, Android

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Spotlight on Health: Stand up before you read this

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on January 22, 2015. 

Did you make a New Year’s resolution on January 1st? Was it to exercise more? New research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that instead of just exercising more, we may actually need to sit less. The systematic review and meta-analysis synthesizes the results of 47 studies and comes to the conclusion that sitting for long periods of time can lead to an increased risk of early death, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.

Ever felt like this? Get up and walk around for a bit!

Ever felt like this? Get up and walk around for a bit!

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Summer Reading to Satisfy your Travel Bug

I love to travel during the summer- to go to places I’ve never been and to collect new and exciting experiences! Unfortunately, with my schedule I can’t always up and head to another country or continent for a couple of weeks. As much as I love taking short day trips to local sites, it doesn’t quite scratch the travel itch. Enter: books involving traveling and exotic locales. Reading is the perfect summertime activity because nothing can take you on a mental vacation quite like a good book. As the days get longer and the weather gets hotter, it’s the perfect time of year to relax and curl up in a sunny spot with a good book. To populate your summer reading list, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite summer reads to help you relax and take a mental vacation.

The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

I absolutely love this book and I read it every year around the beginning of summertime. Set in the 1920’s, this book follows four unacquainted English women who are dissatisfied with their everyday lives, and who decide to rent an Italian castle for the month of April, away from their husbands, families, and anyone who knows them. Lottie Wilkins has been married only a few years, but she and her husband are rubbing each other the wrong way. Rose Arbuthnot is a highly religious lady who does extensive charity work, but is married to an author of racy popular novels who neglects her. Lady Caroline Dester is a beautiful socialite who is tired of the burden of London society and is beginning to regard her life as shallow and empty, after a man she loved died in WWI. Mrs. Fisher is a pompous, snobbish, highly proper lady who prefers to live in her memories of times past rather than embracing the present. Each experiences their own personal metamorphosis while on the trip, and along the way we get to enjoy lots of descriptions of the Italian seaside.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #9

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

NIH to limit the amount of grant money a scientist can receive via Nature

For the first time, the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) will restrict the amount of funding that an individual scientist can hold at any one time, on the basis of a point system. The move, announced on 2 May, is part of an ongoing effort to make obtaining grants easier for early- and mid-career scientists, who face much tougher odds than their more-experienced colleagues.

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Tech Talk Thursday: Whatever happened to Google Glass?

Oh hey, remember this thing?

Perhaps not, the device didn’t have a long life in the consumer world. This is the Google Glass. A few years back as wearable technology was enjoying massive popularity, Google developed this headset that would allow users to access the internet and do things like check email and make phone calls all with a simple voice command: “Ok Glass”.  Released originally as a beta product, a buzzing community of “Glass Explorers” was created to play with and test the device, developing apps and exploring ways in which the Glass could be useful. For various reasons (including the limited way in which one could get their hands on a pair), the device didn’t exactly take off, and the program fizzled out (fun fact – our very first Tech Talk Thursday blog post discussed the end of the Glass Explorers program if you’d like to read a little more).  But what’s become of the Glass since then?

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MedlinePlus: The Best Database You’re Probably Not Using

An oldie but a goodie: this post was originally published on February 12th, 2015.

MedlinePlus: It's like you have a medical professional right in your computer

MedlinePlus: It’s like you have a medical professional right in your computer

Did you know you can access up to date, authoritative information on nearly 1,000 health topics in easy to read (i.e., non-medical jargon) language for FREE? The U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine have a terrific resource called MedlinePlus geared toward the general public, and not health professionals.

Health topics in MedlinePlus are available in many different languages, from Japanese to Samoan, even Swahili and Polish. Topics are categorized by body location/system, disorders and conditions, diagnosis and therapy, demographic groups, and health and wellness. You can also find information on drugs and supplements, and watch videos and tutorials.

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The Best Apps for Managing Stress

Stress isn’t always a bad thing. In the short-term, low level stress can help us focus and improve our performance. It can give us the boost we need to finish a big project or make an important decision. However, I think we can all agree when we say that an overabundance of stress is the absolute worst.

First, a quick primer on stress: Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the demands of life.  When your brain perceives a threat (anything from a fast approaching deadline to a fast-approaching wild animal), it signals your body to release a burst of hormones that increase your heart rate and raise your blood pressure. This “fight-or-flight” response fuels you to deal with the stressful situation at hand. Once the threat (or stress-inducing trigger) is gone, your body is meant to return to a normal, relaxed state. However, given the nonstop complications of modern life,  many of us rarely return to that relaxed state, merely hopping from one stressor to another.

It’s easy to get stressed out from day-to-day demands. Luckily, there are healthy ways to manage your stress.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #8

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

Stanford and UC Berkeley researchers develop wearable sweat sensor as diagnostic tool via Mobi Health News 

In the form of a wrist-worn band embedded with flexibile sensors and microprocessers, researchers at Stanford and the University of California Berkeley are unlocking the molecular insights from sweat that could diagnose cystic fibrosis, diabetes and other diseases.

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Get the Most Out of Your iPhone with These Tips You Didn’t Know Existed

For many of us our iPhone is not just a phone, it’s an appendage. I don’t know what I would do without mine. When you realize all the things your iPhone can do that you didn’t even know about, you will love your phone even more! If you will be at COM today stop by room 211 at noon to learn a host of ways to get the most out of your iPhone at our monthly BYOL Lunch & Learn. If you can’t make it, here are three bonus tips you can start using today.

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Monday Morning Round-Up #7

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Welcome to Monday Morning Round-Up, featuring what’s new in health and medicine from around the web!

American Heart Association survey finds patients uncertain about how to best manage their cholesterol via the American Heart Association

According to a new survey from the American Heart Association, nearly 90 percent of the patients with high cholesterol surveyed said they understood it was important to manage their cholesterol levels. But 45 percent said they weren’t confident in their ability to do so, and another 40 percent said they were confused about how to go about it.

How Apple, Google, and other tech titans aim to shake up the way we treat disease via Stat News

Silicon Valley has audacious plans for shaking up the way we diagnose — and cure — disease. But the life sciences are far more challenging than the tech titans of this world might realize: There are countless regulatory hurdles, health care delivery obstacles, and — most of all — the challenge of untangling the extraordinarily complex biology of the human body.

From physician to felon: A doctor warns how easy it is to be bribed via The Washington Post

On Tuesday, internist Michele Martinho spoke to a small audience at the Georgetown University School of Medicine as both a physician and a felon, her world upended by an aspect of medical practice for which she received no training despite all those years of education. She accepted monthly payments of $5,000 to refer patients to a New Jersey facility, Biodiagnostic Laboratory Services, for blood tests and other screenings. Such referrals are illegal in medicine because of the potential that doctors will put their financial interests ahead of the needs of their patients.

Incidence Trends of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes among Youths, 2002–2012 via The New England Journal of Medicine

More children are being diagnosed with diabetes every year — but the extent of those increases differs dramatically across ethnic groups. A new paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the incidence of type 1 diabetes in kids rose by 1.8 percent annually between 2002 and 2012. But in Hispanic children the rise was 4.2 percent. A similar trend was seen with type 2 diabetes: The annual rise was .6 percent for white children, compared to 3.1 percent for Hispanics, 6.3 percent for blacks, 8.5 percent for Asians and Pacific Islanders, and 8.9 percent for Native Americans.

Asbestos Deaths Remain A Public Health Concern, CDC Finds via NPR

A recent CDC analysis found that thousands of people are still dying each year from a type of cancer called malignant mesothelioma that is associated with inhaling asbestos fibers, even briefly or in small amounts. Even after decades of regulation, between 1999 and 2015 there were 45,221 mesothelioma deaths in the U.S. The majority of those who died were men.