TRC #357: Mobile Medical Apps + Sesame Street vs Preschool + Viral Nonsense: Confederate Flag Edition

bert-and-ernie-tomtom-commercialWelcome, bienvenida, bienvenue TRC’ers! Pat kicks off this week’s show addressing a listener’s email regarding whether there’s any real science behind health applications for mobile phones. Cristina takes a walk down Sesame Street to explore whether exposure to the show leads to improved early educational outcomes in preschoolers. Finally, Adam raises an eyebrow at the Confederate flag.

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Mobile Medical Apps

FDA: Regulation Of Mobile Medical Apps

Stats On Mobile Medical App Use

Industry Value: Mobile Medical Apps

Wired: Mobile Medical Apps

Health Canada: Medical Device Regulations

The Mobile Health App Market

MobiHealthNews Podcast

FDA Confirms It Will Not Regulate Apps Which Store Patient Data

FDA Blog Entry On Mobile App Regulation

Live Science: Do Cancer Apps Work?

New England Journal Of Medicine: Mobile App Regulation

Forbes: Security Risks of Fitness Trackers

iMedicalApps: Top Downloaded Health Apps Can Cause Significant Harm

DigiDoc Product Page

Sesame Street Vs Preschool

New Study Finds Sesame Street Improves School Readiness

Washington Post: Kids Can Learn As Much From Sesame St. As Preschool

Early Child Education By MOOC

MOOC Lessons From Sesame St. (Video)

Wikipedia: Sesame St.

Wikipedia: Sesame St. Research

Viral Nonsense: Confederate Flag Edition

Cosby vs. Dukes of Hazzard photo

Cosby Show vs. Dukes of Hazzard

South Carolina banning the sale of Tylenol

Bayer Decided They Don’t Need Cotton Anymore, Despite Ritual

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air 60071 Episode Script

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4 Responses to TRC #357: Mobile Medical Apps + Sesame Street vs Preschool + Viral Nonsense: Confederate Flag Edition

  1. Yves Dubois says:

    It is, in fact, theoretically possible to measure blood oxygen level using a cellphone camera by using a method called “Pulse oximetry” ( But I have serious doubts about the level of precision.

    On the other hand, it’s definitively *possible* to measure heartbeat precisely using the same setup. The biggest problem I’ve found by trying it out is that the pressure of your finder on the camera has a huge impact on the measurement. If you don’t put enough pressure, your heartbeat becomes hard to detect. Put too much pressure, and apps detects both components of your heartbeat cycle (the “lub” and the “dub”) as two separate heartbeats. Doubling your heart rate! But *as long as you can apply the right pressure*, the measurement should be fairly accurate.

    • Pat says:

      Thanks for the post, Yves. Interesting stuff.

      I’ve read up on this a bit… mostly because I recently purchased an apple watch and there is discussion that blood oxygen readings are possible via the device using pulse oximetry but that it is disabled because of concerns around accuracy (as you pointed out).

      My take away is that the tech, at least in terms of cell phones, has some promise but is certainly not ready for prime time.

  2. SmaMan says:

    I’ve never been to South Carolina, but I have lived all my life in the South, Louisiana and Texas specifically. I’ve seen the Confederate battle flag flown many times there, mostly on people’s pickup trucks at tailgate parties and Mardi Gras parades. But I’ve never seen it flown in an official capacity, like on the grounds of a government building.

    While I’ve never personally asked these revelers why they fly the flag, I do think it’s more of a Southern pride, or “rebel” kind of thing. The prospect of it being racially insensitive or offensive to certain groups never really occurred to me until recent events, but I can see why someone would take offense to it.

  3. -DeeT says:

    Cristina mentioned VHF vs. UHF and I just had to butt in! Today, UHF is more highly coveted than VHF, and companies like Google are paying billions for the right to use UHF spectrum for mobile devices. UHF propagates better through buildings and atmosphere, and can use smaller antennas (or can get higher performance from same-sized antennas) than VHF.

    The reason UHF was the television ghetto back in the 60s was that it used to be expensive to make a sensitive receiver for those frequencies, and a lot of TV manufacturers treated UHF as something of an afterthought, because, frankly, it *was* an afterthought. The VHF channels had been around longer, and no one wanted to broadcast on UHF because there would be fewer sets out there that could pick it up. See Weird Al’s movie, UHF, for authoritative information on this phenomenon ;^)

    Oh and just because I’m pedantic, I’ll mention that, in the lifetime of a Sesame Street kid, there was no channel 1 on VHF. There had been a channel 1 originally, but I personally never saw a TV set that could pick it up.

    Today’s comment has been brought to you by the letter U and the number 2.

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