Fitbit Announces Plans For New Health Care Approach
Oct08

Fitbit Announces Plans For New Health Care Approach

The average adult takes approximately 4,000 to 6,000 steps a day, closer to 10,000 for active individuals. Since Fitbit products and other wearable devices have become so popular in recent years, people are not only taking more steps, but keeping track of them, as well. Now, Fitbit wants to expand beyond the wearable technology market and toward the lucrative health care industry. According to ZD Net, Fitbit has recently launched its new health care platform — Fitbit Care. Fitbit Care will connect health plans, employers, health and systems coaching, and more all to the company’s fitness watches and wearable devices. The new health platform will be available through Fitbit’s business-to-business unit called Fitbit Health Solutions. Humana, a popular health care organization with more than 5 million members, has selected Fitbit Care as its coaching platform. Fitbit Care includes: Wearable devices — Wearables and devices for self tracking of sleep, heart rate, and other activities. This data serves as the basis for personalized care. Digital interventions — These digital interventions can offer support tools, address various challenges, hold private groups, and guided workouts. Fitbit Plus — Fitbit Plus is an app that serves as a health coaching program. This tool connects Fitbit metrics with health care data, mediations, and activity trends. Health coaching and virtual health assistance — Coaches will be able to connect with users via app, phone, and even in-person meetings. Core topics include smoking, weight management, and dealing with depression, diabetes, and heart disease. Fitbit Plus will also feature a much more personalized and human touch to its fitness tracking. The app promises to step beyond algorithmic data by accessing real-life social groups, health coaches, counselors, and other health care professionals. According to Market Watch, as Fitbit announced its new health care plans, the company’s stocks have jumped 4% in early trade. “The fact that we’re able to pull all that together is incredibly valuable,” said John Moore, Fitbit’s medical...

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In a Nation of Stressed Kids, Doctors Prescribe Playtime
Oct08

In a Nation of Stressed Kids, Doctors Prescribe Playtime

Studies show that stress during childhood can have negative physical and emotional consequences throughout life. As school and extracurricular activities return full-swing this fall, doctors are prescribing playtime to help relax stressed kids. The consequences of too much stress in childhood are well documented. According to Medical News Bulletin, one study from Scientific Reports showed that childhood stress can alter the way genes are expressed in adulthood. Children who experienced things like abuse, neglect, and other difficulties were more likely to have behavioral problems, mood disorders in adulthood, and different DNA methylation patterns in genes related to adulthood stress responses. Another study looked at how specific, large-scale stressful events impact children. As the Quartz reports, the study focused on the 2008 financial crisis, finding that the sudden economic downturn created stress and associated negative effects in children during their formative years. Kids who faced neglect or other hardship when parents could no longer afford to provide basic needs were then more likely to experience mental health problems, low rates of employment, and higher rates of substance abuse as they became adults. Yet, over the course of the last ten years, many families’ economic situations have improved. So why are parents bringing their children to doctors for stress-related treatments now? In a recent article, the Quartz points to overscheduling and lack of playtime. Due to ever-increasing pressures for high academic performance, 30% of kindergarteners in the United States no longer have recess. Fewer parents give young children time for free play, with a 25% decrease in the average playtime between 1977 and 1997. Instead of playtime, many parents are choosing to enroll children in activities designed to teach them skills and develop talents early that may help their life chances in later years. From music lessons to science tutoring to sports, kids have schedules that sometimes resemble an adult’s. In fact, 36 million kids in the U.S. play organized sports each year, and according to the US Census Bureau, in 2014 nearly six in ten kids were involved in extracurricular activities. Doctors are pushing back. Randomized trials showed that physical play in 7-9 year-olds enhanced “attentional inhibition, cognitive flexibility, and brain functioning that suggested better executive control.” Quartz also reported that pretend play helped kids build self-regulation skills. Because of this data, doctors say that sometimes, parents don’t know best. Letting children explore their own environment, away from adult social pressures, is best for their health, intelligence, and their happiness. After all, the effects of stress in children are long-lasting and toxic. Letting kids play freely can help them become happier...

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These Eco-Friendly Shipping Container Homes Cost More Than Yours
Oct08

These Eco-Friendly Shipping Container Homes Cost More Than Yours

Shipping container homes, known to be eco-friendly, money-saving options for new homeowners, have started hitting the real estate market. In Phoenix, AZ a custom shipping container house with 2,969 square feet and three bedrooms has recently been placed on the market for a whopping $610,000. How does a tiny home made from a recycled shipping container sell for so much? For one, at nearly 3,000 square feet, this home proves that not all shipping container homes are tiny. On top of that, these modern, sustainable homes are very much on trend. The home, located at 2753 East South Mountain Avenue, was constructed from more than nine recycled shipping containers — a popular building material for the eco-conscious homeowner. To date, there are nearly 17 million shipping containers in the world. Enough to circle the world twice. Of that 17 million, though, only six million are currently in use. Recently, shipping container construction has sparked the creation of pop-up restaurants and tiny homes for enthusiasts across the country. Phoenix, AZ is a hotspot for such restaurants. At the shopping park The Churchill you can find restaurants and more made from steel containers. Shipping Containers Are Popping Up All Over The Place In addition to the Phoenix area home for sale, a former shipping container Airbnb rental property has been put on the market in the Twin Cities area. Compared to the numerous upgrades and $610,000 price tag, The LightHotel was created to accentuate the beauty of shipping container homes as modern eco-solutions. Started as an art project in his backyard, The LightHotel was built in an eight- by 20-foot shipping container by Geoff Warner and students from the local University of Minnesota School of Architecture. The project was designed to explore both sustainability concerns and space concerns. Giving students the opportunity to transform the 120 square foot living space into something the felt spacious and inviting. In Seattle, the country’s 18th largest city, you’ll find shipping containers used in homes, office spaces, pop-up stores, and more. Architect and Seattle native Joel Egan founded Cargotecture, which specializes in turning shipping containers into residential and commercial properties. According to his website, the company has built shipping container structures in Seattle, but they have also built structures in Texas, California, Vermont, Utah, and Florida. Why Are Shipping Container Homes Eco-Friendly? Most shipping container homes feature solar panels and the recycled shipping containers themselves reduce the overall environmental impact of home building. Most of the time the metal material can help to reflect the heat of the outdoors, saving a lot in cooling costs during the heat of summer. On top of that, because they are made from recycled materials,...

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New Research Says Wearable Device Could Promote Hair Growth

According to new research published in ACS Nano, a wearable photostimulator could regrow hair for those who are balding. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea used a device with 900 micro lasers to stimulate hair growth in mice. Previous studies have found that lasers can stimulate hair follicles because they cause the cells to divide. Laser therapy does currently exist with no apparent side effects, but the expense of the therapy and the large size of the equipment make it an impractical solution to hair loss. The newly-studied patches generate 1,000 times less power per unit area than traditional phototherapeutic laser treatments, making it more affordable and safer. Due to this low power grade, the lasers do not heat up enough to hurt or burn skin. The small and powerful LED lights shine vertically on the targeted areas with red light, which is believed to be effective at penetrating skin. Researchers tested the durability of the flexible patches by flexing them about 10,000 times in a row. The patches remained intact throughout this test for robustness. According to the scientists in the study, this factor is important if the device is to be used on humans. The wearable patches tested on the mice were each about the size of a small postage stamp and sat on the shaved backs of the mice. By wearing the patch for 15 minutes a day for 20 days, mice had noticeably faster hair growth, longer hairs, and a more widespread regrowth area. In comparison, the control group of mice that received minoxidil injections and no treatments at all had significantly less successful results. Researchers used minoxidil because it is believed to widen blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach hair follicles. This increased nutrient flow promotes thicker hair growth. Minoxidil is currently approved for use in humans with hair loss. This hair-stimulating patch has not been tested on humans yet. Scientists believe that the patch will be very beneficial for anyone who experiences hair loss, including the 35 million men in the United States who suffer from baldness and hair loss. In addition to helping with hair growth, scientists believe that the technology in the patch has the potential to speed up wound healing and treat...

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Hit The Trails: A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking
Oct08

Hit The Trails: A Beginner’s Guide To Hiking

Getting into the great outdoors can be a challenge for city dwellers, and even for those who live well outside of urban sprawl. Hiking is a fantastic way to explore nature while getting in a great workout. On average, one mile of hiking burns over 500 calories. With all of the possible hiking destinations and gear that seems to accompany hiking, getting your foot out of the door and onto the trail can be daunting. If you’re a hiking beginner, use these tips before you start scaling mountains. Pick The Right Path The biggest mistake a new hiker could make is overestimating the length or difficulty of hike that they can handle. There’s no need to prove yourself with a miles-long hike over rocky terrain. Start with short, easy walks and work your way up. As you do shorter hikes, you’ll be able to gauge what you are physically capable of and build up to lengthy hikes. Key factors to consider are the type of terrain, distance, and elevation changes. You’ll want to do plenty of research about your hiking destination ahead of time and map out a route to follow your first time through. Wear Comfortable Layers As you hike throughout the day, temperatures will change and so will the amount of heat your body is generating. Your clothes should protect you from the elements while regulating your body temperature. They should be durable and comfortable, as you’re going to be moving in them for an extended period of time. By layering undergarments, a comfortable shirt and pants, and a waterproof jacket, you can shed layers as you need while being prepared for any weather conditions. Hike With A Partner When you’re apprehensive about doing anything new to you, having someone beside you makes it a bit easier. If you have friends who already hike, ask them to take you on an easier trek. They’ll probably be very eager to share their expertise and passion with you, while also introducing you to their favorite trails and gear. Going with a friend or family member who is also a beginner is another great way to hike, allowing you both to discover the joys of hiking together. If you can’t find anyone who is interested in hiking with you, many cities and towns have hiking clubs that regularly plan outings. There is so much to explore in nature, and with autumn just beginning many hiking trails have incredible views of the changing foliage. Choose your perfect trail, get some comfy clothing, find some friends to go with you, and you’ll be ready to hike in no...

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