Health and Science

Respect brings home care to the 21st century

By Rachel Newman

Ross Kimbarovsky’s elderly grandfather was living independently in his Chicago home when he developed a rare form of cancer. Kimbarovsky and his mother were his grandfather’s primary caretakers, but as his condition worsened, it was clear that they couldn’t do it alone.

Their hope quickly turned to frustration when they turned to local home care agencies and were met with inconsistent pricing, unreliable scheduling and under-qualified staff.

Shortly before his grandfather’s passing in 2015, Kimbarovsky reached out to his friend, Bruce Masterson, who had a similar experience caring for his mother-in-law. Together, they founded Respect, a home care agency for the 21st century.

Users can manage their loved one’s care through Respect’s mobile app. The app sends clients a notification when the caregiver arrives and departs at their loved one’s home. It allows them to communicate with caregivers via messages and photos and schedule activities in advance.

Users can even use the app to split payments among family members, who may be dispersed across the country.

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Fukushima: Six Years Later Is It Safe to Go Back?

By Urvashi Verma

Nearly six years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, environmental activists are raising alarms that radiation levels are still dangerously high, despite the Abe government’s reassurances that thousands of residents can return home.

Last week the Japanese government lifted the evacuation orders in the Fukushima prefecture citing radiation measurement levels under 100 mSv per year and pronouncing that safe for residents to return. mSv means 1 one-thousandth of a sievert, which is a measure of the health effect of low levels of ionizing radiation on the human body, according to a Wikipedia entry. But activists say 100 mSv is far from a safe level.

The primary contention of environmentalists regards the acceptable level of radiation for resettlement. “The notion that doses below 100 mSv are safe is not supported by science and contradicts internationally accepted standards,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner at Greenpeace in Tokyo.

Radiation levels of 530 sieverts per hour, considered by some as alarmingly high, were measured in Fukushima’s Daiichi reactor number two in a test conducted by Tokyo Power and Electric Co., known as TEPC0, just last month.
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Tiny horses assist in crucial therapy

By Manasi Kaushik

Jodie Diegel, a 50-year-old nurse at Rush Medical Center, talks about the power of animal therapy, which surpasses the healing effect of her nursing. Diegel is the founder and president of Mane in Heaven, a non-profit organization that provides therapeutic benefits to disabled and able-bodied children and adults through therapy with miniature horses.

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Smartphones are revolutionizing diagnostics and disease management

By Teresa Manring 

The cell phone in your pocket may soon help you diagnose and monitor diseases.

As mobile phones become more advanced and ubiquitous, researchers are exploring technologies embedded within them to screen for, diagnose and manage health issues between office visits, said researchers at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Boston last weekend.

Mobile phones and other personal devices allow for “more continuous measurements, measurements at home, measurements when you actually have a symptom,” said Shwetak Patel, a professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Washington, at an AAAS press briefing.

Tools such as the camera, flash and microphone on mobile phones keep getting better and better, Patel said.

“Those sensors that are already on the mobile phone can actually be repurposed in interesting new ways, where you can actually use those for diagnosing certain kinds of diseases,” he added.
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Bio machines hold promise for efficient organs and implants

By Mariah Quintanilla

Exceptionally talented athletes and hard working people are often described as “machines” because of their seemingly super-human abilities. To many scientists who study biological processes, however, the “human machine” metaphor is not a metaphor at all, but a scientific truth.

The emerging field of biological engineering research utilizes our own cells as potential building blocks for machine-like capabilities, said researchers from the University of Illinois and the Georgia Institute of Technology. These future biological machines may be “hyper organs” that are more efficient than our own organs, or insulin-releasing implants made entirely of cells, they said at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) conference in Boston.
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Naomi Oreskes urges scientists to take a stand against attempts to ‘silence facts’

By Janice Cantieri

Harvard historian Naomi Oreskes urged hundreds of scientists to step beyond the objectivity of their data and embrace the riskier role as “sentinels” for scientific facts.

“We do need to speak for the facts because the facts don’t speak for themselves,” Oreskes said to an overflowing auditorium at the Boston conference of he American Association for the Advancement of Science. “We live in a world where many people are trying to silence facts,” said the author of “Merchants of Doubt.”

The book and documentary based on it show how the tobacco and sugar industries and climate change deniers cast doubt on scientific facts without ever needing to refute them.
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Solving world hunger for 830 million via satellite data

By Mariah Quintanilla

What do data and satellite imaging have to do with solving world hunger? Everything, it seems. New surveying techniques and open source imaging of diminishing, available and potential cropland are the first steps in assessing problems and solutions for global food security.

To prevent further hunger, researchers must identify factors that may lead to food instability, such as areas prone to frequent drought, floods, erosion or sea level rise. Researchers stressed the need for accurate data and efficient satellite imaging of small family farms and large agricultural systems in a seminar on monitoring food security at this year’s American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference in Boston.

The World Food Programme of the United Nations estimates that about one in nine people – about 830 million of us – go to bed hungry every night. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that approximately 870 million people around the world do not have access to nutritious food. With advanced technology and modern open source databases, it’s hard to understand how even more data and better satellite imaging will help the problem of hunger.
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Climate extremes can ignite violence and more intolerant societies

By Janice Cantieri

Rising extremes of droughts, floods or food shortages can reduce a country’s political stability and cultural tolerance, warned scientists at the American Association for the Advancements of Science conference in Boston this weekend.

As global temperatures continue to rise, these and other environmental threats are expected to increase.

“What you have here is a model where different forms of ecological threat are producing stronger cultural institutions,” but stronger in the sense of more regimented, said Joshua Conrad Jackson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. “That could carry over into intergenerational changes in cultural institutions.”

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‘More rigs, less regs:’ AAAS experts predict Trump policies

By Teresa Manring

The Trump administration’s stance on reversing environmental regulations, key climate policies such as the Paris Accord and the Affordable Care Act is alarming many scientists and policymakers gathered in Boston for an international science conference.

A panel of analysts predicted “Science Policy in Transition: What to Expect in 2017 and Beyond” at the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences 2017 Annual Meeting. Panelists focused on challenges but also opportunities in climate and energy policy, health programs and technology and innovation.

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Former NFL player hopes his technology will decrease concussion rates

By Allie Burger
Reporting from Houston

The Super Bowl has come and gone. Fans have left Houston and Twitter has trended toward in-season sports. But for players, the physical effects of that game along with the cumulative contact leading up to it, will continue to be felt by the Patriots and Falcons who took over NRG Stadium that day.

Shawn Springs is determined to change that.

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