Health scan: Always-accessible medical information for Israeli travelers

A new free smartphone application lists comprehensive vital information about the best health services around the world.

By
February 14, 2016 01:11
smartphone charger

A mobeego disposable charger installed on a smartphone. (photo credit: PR)

 
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A new free smartphone application lists comprehensive vital information about the best health services, including 3,000 hospitals, around the world.

Just press a button to reach the medical database – and you don’t even need an Internet connection.

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Tal Erez, a 24-year-old law student from Petah Tikva, spent a year conceptualizing and organizing the service and has signed cooperation agreements with travel agents, sports facilities and large companies that organize trips abroad. He invested more than NIS 500,000 in the service meant for travelers.

Called SAFE4YOU, the app updates the database on an ongoing basis and filters out those medical services that are no longer active or have changed their operating times. Thus, if a hiker is in distress or a tourist has a particular medical need, he will be able to get a variety of services in an emergency.

A GPS system identifies where the user is located and finds medical services, opening hours, the address, phone number, services provided and reviews of the quality of services.

SAFE4YOU has an emergency button that enables calling the hotline of Israeli insurance companies automatically for getting an immediate response without Internet access. If a customer feels well, he can send his exact position, even predefining in advance whom he wants to contact. One can also speak with a representative regarding non-emergency medical services abroad.

One’s overseas medical insurance can be extended through the application within two minutes without sending a fax or scanned email. The app also contacts the nearest Israel embassy, police or an ambulance service and exists in both Hebrew and English.



The application can be accessed at https://itunes.apple.com/il/app/ safe4you/id1033014178?mt=8.

EXERCISE FOR BETTER COORDINATION CUTS LOWER BACK PAIN A new Cochrane Review article shows that targeting exercises to muscles that support and control the spine offers another strategy to reduce pain and disability caused by lower back pain.

This is one of the most common health conditions around the world, and can have substantial health and economic costs as people experience disability and general ill health, causing absences at work.

Motor control exercise is a popular form of exercise that aims to improve coordination of the muscles that control and support the spine. Patients are initially guided by a therapist to practice normal use of the muscles with simple tasks. As the patient’s skill increases, the exercises become more complex, and include the functional tasks that the person needs to perform during work and/or leisure activities.

The meta-analysis collected data from 29 randomized trials involving a total of 2,431 men and women between the ages of 22 and 55. The trials investigated the impact of using motor control exercises as a treatment for lower back pain compared with other forms of exercise or doing nothing.

The authors found that people who used motor control exercises experienced improvements, especially in pain and disability compared with minimal intervention.

When compared with other types of exercise at intervals between three and 12 months, motor control exercise provided similar results for pain and disability.

The lead author, physiotherapist Bruno Saragiotto from the University of Sydney in Australia, said, “Targeting the strength and coordination of muscles that support the spine through motor control exercise offers an alternative approach to treating lower back pain.

We can be confident that they are as effective as other types of exercise, so the choice of exercise should take into account factors such as patient or therapist preferences, cost and availability.

“At present, we don’t really know how motor control exercise compares with other forms of exercise in the long term. It’s important we see more research in this field so that patients can make more informed choices about persisting with treatment.”

BETTER TO READ BOOKS TO BABIES THAN USE TABLETS Parents who buy electronic toys for their babies up to the age of 16 months are liable to cause a decrease in the amount and quality of their language, compared to those who supply them with more books and more traditional toys such as shape sorters, blocks and puzzles.

So say researchers from Northern Arizona University, who published their findings online in JAMA Pediatrics.

Toys that exercise the brain and motor skills are more beneficial to babies than tablets and other electronic devices that produce lights, words and songs, according to researcher Dr. Anna Sosa. But with so many parents having limited time to interact with their children due to financial, work and other factors, many resort to toys that “babysit.”

She and colleagues conducted a controlled experiment involving 26 parent-infant pairs with children who were 10 to 16 months old. Researchers did not directly observe parent-infant play time, because it was conducted in participants’ homes. Audio recording equipment was used to pick up sound. Participants were given three sets of toys: electronic toys (a baby laptop, a talking farm and a baby cell phone); traditional toys (chunky wooden puzzle, shape-sorter and rubber blocks with pictures); and five board books with farm animal, shape or color themes.

When babies played with electronic toys, it was clear that fewer adult words and conversational turns with verbal back-and-forth were used, and there were fewer parental responses and less production of content-specific words than when playing with traditional toys or books. Children also vocalized less while playing with electronic toys than with books.

In a comparison between old-fashioned toys and book reading, parents produced fewer words and used less content-specific words during play with traditional toys than while reading books to infants.

The study has limitations, including its small sample size and the similarity of the participants by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. However, the researchers said the results provided a basis for discouraging the purchase of only relatively expensive electronic toys promoted as “educational.”

The study adds to the large body of evidence supporting the potential benefits of book reading with very young children. They also expand on this by demonstrating that play with traditional toys may result in communicative interactions that are as rich as those that occur during book reading.

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