The Complex Links Between Social Media and Mental Health

Over the past decade, social media platforms have completely transformed how billions of people interact with each other.  Of the 7.7 billion people on the earth, approximately 3.3 billion have at least one social media account. The average person spends nearly two hours a day on social media apps or web sites. [Read more…]

What To Do About Cyberbullying

Today’s teenagers are growing up with a completely different set of social parameters compared to any other generation before them thanks to advances in technology. [Read more…]

How to avoid depression induced by social media

You check Facebook while in line at the grocery store.

You glance at Twitter while waiting at a stop light.

While working on your computer, social media alerts pop up in the corner of the screen.

Social media is a constant presence in the lives of billions of people across the globe. Facebook alone boasts of nearly 1.8 billion users. [Read more…]

Evidence gap: What we don’t know about health apps

smart phoneSmart phones have changed our society in a myriad of ways, making it faster and easier to communicate with each other, conduct research, access entertainment, and navigate the world.

The health care industry has also capitalized on this new technology. Today, there are dozens of apps designed to help people improve their fitness, lose weight and monitor medical conditions. But do they actually work? [Read more…]

Technology in the doctor’s office

health care computerThese days when I go to a doctor’s office, my health care provider is nearly always using an electronic device – a laptop or handheld computer – in the examination room. Personally, it makes me feel reassured when my doctor is using the latest technology as part of my medical care. But do electronics really make a difference in health care settings? [Read more…]

How to remind people to take their medicine

The intersection of medicine and technology is always interesting – with so many opportunities for improving health and wellness.  But it can be hard to know what really works.

A new systematic review is shedding some light on the subject. The Cochrane Collaboration reviewed two studies of nearly 1,000 HIV-positive adults in Kenya taking antiretroviral therapy, which requires daily doses of oral medicine.

They found that patients receiving text messages reminding them to take their medications were less likely to miss doses. One of the studies also demonstrated that patients receiving weekly text-messages were at lower risk of missing medicine doses compared with patients receiving daily messages.

Geri Gay, a Cornell communications professor focused on interactive communication technologies, says these type of messages are just a start.

“There is an enormous potential to use mobile technologies to help us change what we think and do,” she said. “These  mobile tools can not only tailor and deliver health messages for particular times and locations but can also provide feedback and social support.”

While the review found some positive results, it only included two trials with adult patients in Kenya. The authors concluded researchers needed to study whether texting helps adolescents remember to take their medicines, and whether this type of intervention works higher-income countries.

While the results are preliminary, this type of work paves the way for additional research that can tell us even more about using technology to improve health outcomes across the globe.

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