Friday March 23, 2018

New app for captuirng causes of deaths


Melbourne: A team of researchers has developed a revolutionary new app for tablets and mobile phones to accurately capture the causes of deaths at a time when two in three deaths – 35 million each year – are unregistered worldwide, including in India.

Around 180 countries that are home to 80 percent of the world’s population do not collect reliable cause of death statistics.

“Without the accurate cause of death information, we cannot monitor disease and injury trends, we can’t keep track of emerging health problems and we don’t have any markers to show us whether programs and policies are actually working,” said professor Alan Lopez from the University of Melbourne.

To develop the app, the research team redesigned a short “verbal autopsy” questionnaire and tested it in India, the Philippines, Mexico and Tanzania. The app was then field-tested in China, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea.

Family members of the deceased were given surveys in hand-held devices. A computer then analysed the data to make a diagnosis, bypassing the need to rely on doctors to do this work.

The method involves data collection by health workers, registrars and village officials who use the app to administer the surveys.

“The data is fed into a computer, which makes a diagnosis. It requires very minimal training. This way doctors are free to do what they do best, which is providing essential medical care to their communities,” the authors noted.

Computers can reliably provide a diagnosis by linking symptoms with a specific cause of death in real-time.

The instant provision of information overcomes what can be a 10-year lag between the death and the doctor’s report.

“So if you live in a country where no-one is dying from malaria, then why are you pouring money into malaria-prevention programmes? And conversely, if people are dying from lung cancer, why aren’t you investing in tobacco control?” professor Lopez asked.

Verbal autopsy research has shown that computer models are just as accurate as physicians in making diagnoses based on verbal autopsy data, at a fraction of the cost.

The app is the result of a decade-long global collaboration led by the University of Melbourne and researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington.

“In countries with scarce data on causes of death, policymakers need this information to better understand local disease burden and effectively allocate resources,” added IHME director Dr Christopher Murray.

Up-to-date, reliable information on what people are dying from and at what age, is really important for policies to prevent premature death.

“Our app provides a way to do this, quickly, simply, cheaply and effectively, in real time, with the power of technology, professor Lopez concluded in a new paper published in the journal BMC Medicine. (IANS)

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Facebook, YouTube dominate social media use in US

A majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook

Facebook one of the most popular apps in US. Pixabay
Facebook alleged to be leaking user's information to governement. Pixabay
  • Facebook and Youtube are most popular apps in the US
  • The apps are particularly very popular among youngsters
  • Other popular apps are LinkedIn, Snapchat, WhatsApp etc.

When it comes to social media penetration in daily life, a majority of Americans are hooked on Facebook and YouTube but millennials prefer photo-sharing platforms Snapchat and Instagram, a new survey has revealed.

mobile apps that all women should have
Youngsters use a lots of app these days. Wikimedia Commons

According to the Pew Research Centre, 68 percent of all Americans use Facebook and three-quarters of that access the social media platform on a daily basis.

Nearly 74 percent of adults use YouTube and 94 percent of young users visit YouTube on their computers or smartphones.

Also Read: Apple takes the op spot in global wearables market

With the exception of those 65 and older, a majority of Americans across a wide range of demographic groups now use Facebook.

“Younger Americans (especially those ages 18 to 24) stand out for embracing a variety of platforms and using them frequently. Some 78 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds use Snapchat, and a sizeable majority of these users (71 percent) visit the platform multiple times per day,” the findings showed.

YouTube is another most popular app in the US. Pixabay
YouTube is another most popular app in the US. Pixabay

Similarly, 71 percent of Americans in this age group now use Instagram and close to half (45 percent) are Twitter users, the survey noted.

“These findings also highlight the public’s sometimes conflicting attitudes toward social media. For example, the share of social media users who say these platforms would be hard to give up has increased by 12 percentage points compared with a survey conducted in early 2014, the Pew Research Centre said.

Also Read: Google launches three new apps for photography

By the same token, a majority of users (59 percent) say it would not be hard to stop using these sites, including 29 percent who say it would not be hard at all to give up social media.

Some 88 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds indicated that they use any form of social media. That share falls to 78 percent among those ages 30 to 49, to 64 percent among those ages 50 to 64 and to 37 percent among Americans 65 and older.

Pinterest remains substantially more popular with women — 41 percent — than men (16 percent). LinkedIn remains especially popular among college graduates and those in high-income households.

WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps in Latin America.
WhatsApp is one of the most popular apps in Latin America.

“Some 50 percent of Americans with a college degree use LinkedIn, compared with just 9 percent of those with a high school diploma or less,” the survey said.

The messaging service WhatsApp is popular in Latin America, and this popularity also extends to Latinos in the US – 49 percent of Hispanics report that they are WhatsApp users, compared with 14 percent of whites and 21 percent of blacks. IANS