Location of study:Rwanda
Study subjects:96 patients
Results: Testing yourself for STDs via your smartphone may sound futuristic, but Columbia University researchers say the idea isn’t so out of reach. In fact, they’ve already seen encouraging results testing a device that does just that. The device, which is designed as a dongle that connects directly into Android and iOS phones through the headphone jack, specifically looks for markers for HIV and syphilis. All that’s required is a blood sample that the dongle extracts by way of a quick finger prick. From there, the device delivers the results in just 15 minutes.
Significance: Nearly all of the participants (97 percent) said they’d recommend the test to others. Quick results and simplicity of use was among the top reasons why. “Our work shows that a full laboratory-quality immunoassay can be run on a smartphone accessory,” Samuel K. Sia, associate professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia Engineering, says in a statement. “Coupling microfluidics with recent advances in consumer electronics can make certain lab-based diagnostics accessible to almost any population with access to smartphones. This kind of capability can transform how health care services are delivered around the world.”
Location of study:U.S.
Study subjects: Nearly 3,000 Americans
Results: Finances got you feeling stressed? According to a new American Psychological Association survey, you’re not alone. The survey, which was conducted in August 2014, found that nearly three-quarters of Americans felt stressed about money during the past month. For 64 percent of participants, money was “a somewhat or very significant source of stress.” Stress levels were found to be particularly high among parents, younger folks, and low-income households.
Significance: Perhaps the most troubling finding was that, for some, financial concerns directly impact overall health. For example, 12 percent of survey participants said they’d skipped going to the doctor for medical care because of money worries. These effects reach far past health. According to the survey, over 30 percent of respondents who were in a relationship recognized money as a serious source of conflict with their partner.
Study subjects: Mice and humans
Results: A commonly used pesticide called deltamethrin appears to increase ADHD risk for kids. According to researchers, about 80 percent of people are exposed to this type of insecticide on a fairly regular basis. For the study, mice that were exposed to deltamethrin in utero and via lactation showed many of the classic symptoms for which ADHD is best known. This includes hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and impaired dopamine signaling in the brain. What’s more is that these symptoms were much more prevalent among male mice. They also persisted into adulthood; long after the pesticide was out of their systems.
Significance: In addition to the mice, researchers also examined the connection between deltamethrin and humans. After studying questionnaires and urine samples from over 2,000 children and adolescents, they found that kids with elevated pyrethroid pesticide metabolite levels in their urine were over two times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD. The findings suggest that these types of pesticides may represent an environmental factor for ADHD susceptibility that should be more closely examined.
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