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Social Media and Health Innovation Lab Blog

Posted:
Jan 13, 2017

Author:
Emily S

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Hospitals Try Giving Patients a Dose of VR

When Deona Duke woke up from a medically-induced coma to begin recovering from burns that covered almost a third of her body, one of her treatments was hurling snowballs at penguins. The 13-year-old was set on fire when a bonfire exploded on her and her friend. To prevent infection, burn victims need their bandages changed and dead skin scraped away. Sometimes, even morphine isn’t enough to make that tolerable.

At the Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston, Duke’s doctors gave her a virtual reality headset. Slipping it on, she was immersed in “SnowWorld,” an icy landscape where she got to lob snow at snowmen and igloos. The Texas hospital is one of the few trying out virtual reality to relieve pain.

Link to full article

Posted:
Nov 18, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Treating PTSD With Virtual Reality Therapy: A Way to Heal Trauma

When U.S. Marine Chris Merkle returned from his last tour of duty in Afghanistan, his family was thrilled to have him back.  But for Merkle, the welcome home was also accompanied by some dark problems. He couldn’t sleep. He was irritable and had anger issues. He would avoid certain stressful situations, like driving in traffic. And he would stay on high alert in the classroom.

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Posted:
Nov 16, 2016

Author:
Christina

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HeartMob’s Volunteers Crack the Trollish Eggs of Twitter

JULIE LALONDE KNOWS all too well what it’s like to be harassed on social media.Lalonde is an Ottawa-based women’s rights activist intimately familiar with the deluge of abuse a single tweet can trigger.

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Posted:
Nov 15, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Women’s Health Apps Are Big Business

The startup world can be a boys’ club. Not only are women underrepresented as employees at technology companies and startups, but the tech itself seem to ignore the needs of women, too. But a new crop of companies are focusing on women’s health, which as it turns out is big business. The global market for women’s health therapeutics is expected to grow from nearly $33.0 billion in 2015 to nearly $40.6 billion by 2020. And the global assisted reproductive technology market is expected to reach $31.4 billion by 2023.

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Posted:
Nov 11, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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“Smart” thread could pluck diagnostic data from your stitches

Scientists have woven microscopic sensors into thread to gather diagnostic data from the tiniest of sutures.  The smart threads can sense pH, glucose levels, and temperature. They can even ferry tiny amounts of bodily fluids from one point to another for analysis by microsensor. And they can transmit data wirelessly — so they can alert doctors when a patient’s blood sugar is off or an infection is starting to form in a wound.

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Posted:
Nov 9, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Why you believe everything your Facebook friends tell you

This funny Facebook post has been making the rounds:

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Posted:
Nov 4, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Patients Attempt to ‘Walk Off’ Pain With Wearable Therapy

Typically, when people suffer from back or knee pain, they reach for the anti-inflammatories or the pain meds. But one company has come up with a shoe it thinks can be just as effective. AposTherapy’s space-age-looking footwear is designed to reduce knee, hip and back pain by realigning the way patients walk. The shoes get good reviews from one location in the U.S. currently prescribing them, Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. But the $5,000 out-of-pocket price tag and only minimal evidence that the shoe works has raised concerns among some doctors.

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Posted:
Nov 2, 2016

Author:
Christina

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Fitness Trackers Might Help Us Live Longer (if Only We Used Them)

Activity monitors could improve our health and extend our lives — if only we could be motivated to use them. Those are the conclusions of two new studies about the promise and perils of relying on fitness trackers to measure and guide how we move.

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Posted:
Nov 2, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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Facebook Could Be Associated With a Longer Life, Study Finds

As our social lives have moved onto social media sites like Facebook over the past decade, there’s been a lot of hand-wringing over what all that screen time might be doing to our health. But according to a new paper, time spent on social media could be associated with a longer life.

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Posted:
Oct 31, 2016

Author:
Emily S

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IBM wants to stop E. coli outbreaks before people die

Five years ago in Germany, a bland vegetable caused one of the more devastating outbreaks of food-born illness in recent years.  Fifty three people died and nearly 4,000 were hospitalized due to a particularly gnarly strain of E.coli. It caused bloody diarrhea and kidney failure in many people.  It took officials weeks to 60 days to officially identify the culprit: German grown bean sprouts sold through grocery stores.

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The Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation engages interdisciplinary teams to reimagine health care delivery for dramatically better value and patient outcomes.

The Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI) is Penn's center for research, policy analysis, and education in health systems. Its 200 Senior Fellows analyze the medical, economic, and social issues that influence how health care is organized, financed, managed, and delivered across the U.S.

We are passionate about pursuing impactful research and eager to explore opportunities that will enable a culture of social media and health innovation at Penn, Penn Medicine, and beyond.  Have an idea for a project?  Interested in collaboration?  Click here to learn more about how to contact us.