In this edition of EmpowHER's "HER Week In Health" for the week of September 2, 2011, Bailey Mosier talks about a study on how Facebook may be able to help prevent real world virus outbreak, how less is more when it comes to Medicare options, and how smoking can have twice as much of a negative affect on women than men.
Hi, I’m Bailey Mosier and this is EmpowHER’s HER Week in Health.
We’re used to logging onto Facebook to see the latest happenings in all of our friends’ lives, but in this week’s edition, we’ll learn how the network’s already in-place infrastructure of 750 million users may help prevent real world virus outbreaks. We’ll also learn that less is more when it comes to Medicare options and that smoking has twice as much negative affect on women than men.
A new Facebook application called PiggyDemic developed by scientists at Tel Aviv University allows users to “infect” their friends with a simulated virus.
Facebook’s digital sphere simulates in-person interactions and because viral infections like the flu are a social phenomena, the scientists say this application will help researchers at large better understand how real world viruses mutate, spread and infect people.
Both a game and a research tool, the scientists behind PiggyDemic say that accurate modeling of viral dynamics is critical for developing public health policy and that once we can better understand and predict the habits of viruses, we can better prescribe vaccinations and medications.
Older Americans have more Medicare options than ever before, yet according to Harvard Medical School, this excess is more cumbersome and confusing than accommodating and accessible.
Researchers examined 22,000 enrollment decisions made by more than 6,600 participants over the course of four years, and found that elderly people with impaired brain function were much less likely to understand and take advantage of the wide array of benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans and instead were more likely to choose the traditional Medicare program by default, ultimately leaving money on the table and not having the best plan to fit their needs.
Researchers hope that given the increasing numbers of older Americans with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, the findings should prompt policymakers to establish better ways to assist seniors in making the right choice for them, which could include offering fewer choices or helping them make better decisions based on those options.
While smoking isn’t healthy for anyone, the European Society of Cardiology found smoking causes more arterial damage in women than in men.
Researchers studied 1,900 women and 1,700 men in Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, France and Italy and found thickening of the arterial walls in women was more than double that seen in men.
They also found that the effect that the number of cigarettes smoked per day had on progression of atherosclerosis was more than fivefold greater in women than in men.
The reasons for the stronger effect of tobacco smoke on women's arteries remains unknown, but the researchers hope that this preliminary work on the subject will carve the path for further investigation.
That wraps up your EmpowHER HER Week in Health. Join me here, at EmpowHER.com every Friday as we recap the latest in women’s health.