January 20, 2022

App Smart: Nursing the Flu With Help From Apps

During this bout I was much better behaved because my smartphone, jammed with entertaining apps and Internet access, was a great sickbed companion. Apps can do more than keep you company; they can give you medical advice. And as the season of coughs and sneezes settles in, an app may even help you determine what’s wrong.

For a medical app that covers a plethora of icky illnesses, WebMD is probably your best bet (free for iPhone, iPad and Android). It’s jammed with data, and can present it to you in a number of ways. A hypochondriac’s dream, the app’s Symptom Checker first asks that you tap on the corresponding part of an image of the body and then, choosing from detailed lists, specify which symptom you have. Once you select a symptom, the app leads you through a short question-and-answer session to refine your input, like exactly what kind of cough you have. You can input a number of symptoms, perhaps adding sneezes, for example, and then press the “view possible conditions” button.

The app lists all the conditions your symptoms may match, so you need to read each one earnestly to see if it describes your situation. It’s written in plain language, and links help you find treatment or more information online. A tab takes you to pages describing symptoms in more detail, and another takes you to detailed articles about the condition.

This app also works well if you already know, or suspect, what’s wrong with you: you can simply consult its alphabetical index of illnesses. A section with drugs and treatments even has a “Pill ID” feature to help you identify a medication by its shape and color or the letters printed on it. Finally there’s a quick-access First Aid section for emergencies.

The WebMD app is powerful and full of detail. This is obviously handy, but you can get a little lost navigating its sub-menus. You also need to be online so it can acquire data to meet your requests.

An alternative app on iOS, also free, is iTriage. It too has a comprehensive list of illnesses, and a symptom-checker section where you tap on a body image to input each symptom you’re experiencing. But iTriage also provides information on a list of medical procedures. And you can record in a “my iTriage” section details of your insurance, health record, previous ailments and so on. The app is more graphical than WebMD, and is thus a little easier to use. A page on influenza, for example, has data carefully organized under a long list of headings. Some sections even have video links to help you, but again, you need an Internet connection to get the most benefit.

One way to avoid seasonal illnesses like the flu is to avoid being exposed. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official Influenza app (free on iOS or Android) is jam-packed with data, including graphs, maps and medical terminology. It is mainly intended for professionals, but ordinary users can use it to find out where the flu is prevalent in the United States. It also has useful information about vaccination and flu prevention. But its interface is old-fashioned, it’s easy to get lost in the various sections and data presentation is sometimes not the most accessible.

A much simpler and possibly more useful app, is called FluDefender (free on iOS). This app’s main attractions are detailed information about influenza, a built-in link to the CDC’s Twitter feed about flu and a map that shows how common flu infections are state by state.

While the apps have their uses, if you’re really sick, seek professional help. Doctors can recognize symptoms you can’t. And apps can’t write prescriptions.

Quick Calls

Robot fanatics young and old will love the new Robots for iPad app, $5 on iOS. It has information on 126 of the most advanced robots around the world and interactive 360-degree graphical views of them, alongside articles and video content. … Microsoft has brought its free Bing Translator app to the new Windows Phone 8 smartphone platform. The app provides speech-to-text translation and translates foreign text scanned by the phone’s camera.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/06/technology/personaltech/nursing-the-flu-with-help-from-apps.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

MTV Drops ‘Choose or Lose’ Campaign Season Slogan

The youth cable channel’s coverage will be labeled “Power of 12,” a nod to both the election year and the notion that 18- to 29-year-olds have a lot of political power if they choose to wield it.

The name change is, in part, a statement about the cynical mood of the youth voting bloc. While young people turned out in unusually high numbers to support Barack Obama in 2008, MTV’s research into “Choose or Lose” found that many felt they had lost anyway.

“They were so passionate,” said Stephen K. Friedman, the president of MTV. “And then they hit this wall of the economy.”

The “Power” campaign, to be announced on Monday, implies that choosing is not all that matters. “Voting is one step in the process — just one step,” Mr. Friedman said. “The question for this generation is, they’ve got this power, will they exert it?”

For MTV, a unit of Viacom, presidential election cycles provide opportunities to show off the channel’s relevance to its youthful demographic and motivate young people to take action.

The “Choose or Lose” campaign started in 1992. That year, at a town hall symposium sponsored by the channel, then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton was asked whether he had ever tried marijuana and he famously replied, “I didn’t inhale.” The campaign has used the “Choose or Lose” label ever since.

There have been interviews, voter registration drives, news reports, online chats and parties. On the eve of election day in 2008, for instance, MTV showed a 30-minute question-and-answer session with Mr. Obama.

But this year, staff members at MTV’s initial meeting about the coming elections agreed that a name change was required.

“We felt like it no longer truly represented the complexity and the issues that face our audience,” Mr. Friedman said.

Young people, he said, are generally disillusioned about the present and about politics, yet still hopeful about the future. “It is almost a topic they’d rather not think about,” he said.

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 18- to 29-year-olds were backing Mr. Obama more than any other demographic group, yet they were also paying less attention to the campaign than any other.

The first televised piece of “Power of 12” will be a short MTV News documentary starring Andrew Jenks, a 25-year-old filmmaker, meeting the Republican candidates. Mr. Jenks will be back out on the trail in January for the Iowa caucuses.

“For the candidates, one of my big questions is, ‘How are you really understanding what young people are going through?’ ” Mr. Jenks said in an interview by phone on Sunday.

Mr. Jenks and Sway Calloway, an MTV News correspondent, will be the main reporters for the channel for this election cycle.

Early next year, the channel plans to show a documentary, “When I Was 22,” about the candidates at a younger age. But its campaign coverage will exist more robustly online, on a Web site that promotes voter registration and that will feature a fantasy election game.

Like fantasy football, it will reward and penalize participants for the performance of their candidates for the presidency and for Congressional seats.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=c974482656c176e025901eda08f26e89