Weekly Health Watch with a new study on using smartphones in the medical field, a health tip from Life Fitness, kids and stair-related injuries and more.

Smartphones are showing promise in disease surveillance in the developing world.


The Kenya Ministry of Health, along with researchers in Kenya for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that smartphone use was cheaper than traditional paper survey methods to gather disease information, after the initial set–up cost. Data from smartphones also had fewer errors and were more quickly available for analyses than data collected on paper.


Researchers compared survey data collection methods at four influenza surveillance sites in Kenya. At each site, patients with respiratory illness was given a brief questionnaire, some collected using traditional paper methods and others collected using HTC Touch Pro2 smartphones.


For two years, the cost of establishing and running a paper–based data collection system was approximately $61,830 compared to approximately $45,546 for a smartphone data collection system. The fixed costs incurred when the systems were first set up were $12,990 for paper and $16,480 for smartphone.


Seven paper–based questionnaires had duplicated patient identification numbers, while no duplication was seen in smartphone data. Smartphone data were uploaded into the database within 8 hours of collection, compared to an average of 24 days for paper-based data to be uploaded.


New Research: Preventing lung cancer deaths


Twentieth-century tobacco control programs and policies were responsible for preventing more than 795,000 lung cancer deaths in the United States from 1975 through 2000, according to an analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Did You Know?


So far this year, 27 people in six states have been confirmed to have measles. Most were not vaccinated or had unknown vaccination status. – CDC.org


Health Tip: Elliptical is a low-impact workout


You can achieve a full-body workout on an elliptical cross-trainer by moving the handlebars and legs simultaneously, which will tone your legs and arms while training your heart. Plus, your feet never leave the surface of the foot pads, so there is less impact on your knees, hips, ankles and back than running on the ground. Try the "hill" workout for a good mix of low and high intensity.


-- Life Fitness


Number to Know


2.5 million: If all cigarette smoking in this country had ceased following the release of the first Surgeon General's report on smoking and health in 1964, a total of 2.5 million people would have been spared from death due to lung cancer.


-- National Institutes of Health


Children’s Health: Make the stairs safer


Falling down the stairs continues to be a common source of injury in children. From 1999 to 2008, 931,886 children younger than 5 were treated in the emergency department for a stair-related injury. Approximately one-quarter of the injuries among children less than 1 occurred while they were being carried on the stairs by a parent or caretaker. Suggestions for making stairs safer include installing stair gates at the top and bottom of stairs, keeping stairs clutter-free and in good repair, and installing and using stair railings.


Senior Health: Regrets can hurt you physically


According to research at Concordia University in Montreal, the emotional distress of regrets can disrupt your hormonal and immune systems, particularly if you are 65 or older, which can lead to colds, headaches, difficulty sleeping or depression. As we age, however, most people become more adept at letting go of regrets.


-- AARP.org


GateHouse News Service