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London: Midwifery Students Learning to Bring New Life with the Help of Augmented Reality Technology

Using AR headsets and lifelike models of full-term mothers, trainee midwives at Middlesex University

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London, Midwifery, Students
Midwifery educator at Middlesex University Sarah Chitongo instructs a trainee midwife wearing an augmented reality (AR) headset in London, Britain, June 17, 2019. VOA

Midwifery students in London are learning to bring new life into the world in a radically new way with the help of augmented reality (AR) technology.

Using AR headsets and lifelike models of full-term mothers, trainee midwives at Middlesex University can take part in fully simulated births, which the university’s clinical staff hope will both hone their clinical skills and leave them better prepared to face challenges rarely seen in day-to-day practice.

AR technology offers users an interactive experience in which objects in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated information.

Midwifery educator Sarah Chitongo said the AR system allowed students to understand better the birthing process by displaying an interactive representation of a patient’s anatomy.

London, Midwifery, Students
Midwifery students in London are learning to bring new life into the world in a radically new way. Pixabay

“It allows you to see a visual picture of the actual anatomy itself, which is raised out of the normal body, and you can step in, walk around and have an internal view,” Chitongo told Reuters.

Chitongo cited high-risk problems such as shoulder dystocia – when a baby’s shoulders get stuck in the mother’s body – and breech births – when a baby is born bottom first – as particular rarities for midwives where AR could help prepare students to cope better and ultimately to save lives.

Chitongo believes that younger trainees will embrace the technology positively as they are of a generation that has largely grown up with computers and interactive environments.

However, her overarching aim is for midwives to become better prepared to reduce mortality rates, which are disproportionately high among ethnic minority pregnancies.

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“Currently, here in the U.K., it sits at 60% combined, compared to 9.8% in white women,” Chitongo said, adding that the issue had not been meaningfully addressed despite the trend having risen since 2011. “When you get it right, with a population where it’s actually on the worst side (of the statistics), it means you’ve got a better and safer maternity service across the U.K.” (VOA)

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Petting Dogs, Cats Can Improve Students’ Mood: Study

These results were found even while considering that some students may have had very high or low levels to begin with

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The results showed that the pups' attractiveness was lowest at birth and increased to a maximum before 10 weeks of age before declining and then levelling off.
Representational Image. pixabay

College is stressful. Students have classes, exams and so many other pressures common in modern life and now researchers have found that petting dogs and cats can improve students’ mood with stress-relieving physiological benefits, a study shows.

According to the study published in the journal AERA Open, many universities have instituted “Pet Your Stress Away” programmes, where students can come in and interact with cats and dogs.

“Just 10 minutes can have a significant impact,” students in our study that interacted with cats and dogs had a significant reduction in cortisol, a major stress hormone,” said Patricia Pendry, Associate Professor at Washington State University.

The study involved 249 college students randomly divided into four groups. The first group received hands-on interaction in small groups with cats and dogs for 10 minutes. They could pet, play with and generally hang out with the animals as they wanted.

To compare effects of different exposures to animals, the second group observed other people petting animals while they waited in line for their turn. The third group watched a slideshow of the same animals available during the intervention, while the fourth group was “waitlisted”.

“Relations with pets tend to be less complicated than those with humans, and pets are often a source of great enjoyment. They also provide older people with a sense of being needed and loved,” said Mary Janevic, researcher at the University of Michigan in the US.  Pixabay

According to the researchers, those students waited for their turn quietly for 10 minutes without their phones, reading materials or other stimuli, but were told they would experience animal interaction soon.

For the findings, several salivary cortisol samples were collected from each participant, starting in the morning when they woke up.

Once all the data was crunched from the various samples, the students who interacted directly with the pets showed significantly less cortisol in their saliva after the interaction.

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These results were found even while considering that some students may have had very high or low levels to begin with.

“What we wanted to learn was whether this exposure would help students reduce their stress in a less subjective way. And it did, which is exciting because the reduction of stress hormones may, over time, have significant benefits for physical and mental health,” Pendry said. (IANS)