If the world is looking for a go-to expert on links between Twitter and heart health, the University of Pennsylvania might just be the place. Earlier this year, The Telegraph reported on a study entitled "Psychological Language on Twitter Predicts County-Level Heart Disease Mortality" conducted at the university and written up in the journal Psychological Science. Now a study is underway at the University of Pennsylvania, funded by a three-year, $668,114 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), called "Twitter and Cardiovascular Health."
According to a description of the grant proposal, the study aims to not only gather data about heart problems by evaluating tweets, but ultimately validate Twitter users with heart disease and use the medium to deliver "high impact" heart disease-related information "to improve patient activation and disease management."
While this present study seeks to use Twitter to help improve health, the previous study was more focused on the relationship between "emotional language" in tweets and the heart health of the users. The Telegrapharticle, entitled "Angry tweeting 'could increase your risk of heart disease,'" explains:
Drawing on a set of public tweets made between 2009 and 2010, the researchers found that communities where words like 'hate' or expletives were tweeted frequently were found to have higher rates of heart disease mortality.
Positive emotional language showed the opposite correlation, suggesting that optimism and positive experiences – words like 'wonderful' or 'friend' – may be protective against heart disease.
The National Institutes of Health was not entirely happy with The Telegraph's report on the study, or at least not with the way the story was headlined. Shortly after the story ran, the NIH published a lengthy explanation of the study on its website. The NIH suggested a more accurate headline would have been "Stress and other negative psychological emotions increase risk of heart disease, and these people are more likely to send angry tweets," (effectively demonstrating the tension between accuracy and brevity in headline writing in the process.)
The researcher who wrote the program description is Raina M. Merchant, an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. According to the university's website, Dr. Merchant "runs a Twitter lab which analyzes tweets related to resuscitation, critical care, and public health/policy." Merchant also "conducted several projects evaluating health communication on social/mobile media sites like Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, Gigwalk, and others."
An email to Dr. Merchant seeking more details on the program was answered by an out-of-office automated reply, and a followup email to Penn's Social Media Lab of which Merchant is the director was not returned.
It’s been said that the terminally ill can hear music just before slipping away. I’ve always imagined these souls listening to angels strumming their harps. I never thought it might be “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms. But that’s what I heard as I lay in my hospital bed last month while battling a serious strep infection.
The White House will host a "Summit on Climate Change and Health" tomorrow, according to a press release. The event is supposed to "stimulate a national dialogue on climate change and public health," the White House says.
Thanks to Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan, salad may soon be added to the list of government-enshrined responsibilities.
The Salad Bars in Schools Expansion Act, which was introduced by the Ohio congressman last week, aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption by school-age children. It would create a grant program to install salad bars in public schools across the nation.
In at least one respect, visiting China is a little bit like traveling back in time to America in, say, 1957. (Or so I gather.) That is, people routinely smoke cigarettes in shopping malls, elevators, lines, apartment building hallways, schools, and yes, even hospitals. (Oh, and of course bars and restaurants.) Thus, the news that Beijing has just imposed a strict smoking ban in indoor public spaces in the city is a little bit surprising.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett was asked this morning in an interview whether he'd still bet money on Hillary Clinton being the next president of the United States. Yes, he said, he still think it's "very likely" she'll be the next president. But he warned in the CNBC interview: "things could always happen in politics, including illnesses or something of the sort."
Along with the primary goal of expanding the availability of health insurance, the Affordable Care Act aims to make the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) universal. This plan actually began with the 2009 stimulus (the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), which included the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
Dr. Mary T. Bassett, commissioner of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, claimed in a press conference last night that the latest Ebola patient had self-isolated since returning from Africa. Later, she admitted that in fact the patient had spent a lot of time in public and with other people: