How Light effects Melatonin and Sleep

cartoon image depicting restful sleepYou heard me mention color temperature before, and the effect of watching TV or reading on the iPad before bed  (See Sleepy Yet? — How Light from Electronics Effects Sleep), but here’s why it’s important.

This WebMD article examines the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate sleep & wake cycles (the circadian clock). Melatonin production in the body is triggered by darkness and inhibited by light, and that explains why we have trouble with jet lag, shift work, and winter months with fewer daylight hours.

This Wikipedia article describes light therapy and melatonin supplements as treatment for sleep disorders like insomnia. It also describes the light color temperature, from the warm yellow of incandescent light bulbs, to blue light of the new fluorescent and LED bulbs, or the bluish tint of the iPad and TV screens.

One way to fool the body into producing melatonin earlier so you can go to sleep earlier is to select warm-color light bulbs and have them dimmed in the evening. Another way is to wear DARK AMBER or ORANGE sunglasses in the evening to block blue light (short light wavelengths). And of course, that’s why sleep experts advise against using a computer or watching TV shortly before bed.

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The Economic Value of a Good Night’s Sleep

Bruce Meleski, PhD, explains how technology that lets you get restful sleep improves your energy and health.We live such busy lives that we’re stressed out and try to fit too much into each day, ignoring our sleep in hopes of getting more accomplished, but that’s effecting our health, work productivity, and sports performance.

What if I told you that not getting great sleep could easily cost you — an extra $300,000 in medical bills and more than $700,000 in net worth? Not getting great sleep could even cheat you out of some $8 million in lifetime earning capacity? Do I have your attention yet? Read More …

What makes you sick? Ask Dr. Watson

Watson's avatar, inspired by the IBM Watson is IBM’s natural language artificial intelligence supercomputer that last year competed on the quiz show Jeopardy and consistently outperformed two record holding humans, one with the longest winning streak (74 wins), and one winning the most money. Watson can process 200 million times more instructions per second than all of the computers on the recently retired Space Shuttle.

In just 3 seconds, Watson was able to parse and analyze the equivalent of 300 million books to find relevant information. For perspective, if those books were placed on a long bookshelf, the shelf would be longer than 7 football fields.

Watson in Healthcare

WellPoint is pioneering the use of Watson in healthcare, giving physicians better insight to help improve patient outcomes. (See infographic below.)

Related articles on Watson in Healthcare

Watson in Other Industries

The Infographic

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Is Your Midlife Just “A Long Slide Home?”

Feeling BlueBy Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. (from Huffington Post)

Is Your Midlife Just “A Long Slide Home?”

That’s how a man in his 50s described his life to me not long ago: “It’s my long slide home.” He was feeling morose, anticipating the long holiday period from Thanksgiving through the New Year and what he knew it would arouse in him. I often see the holiday blues strike people during this time of multiple holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas; as well as Ashurah, Bodhi Day, and Kwanzaa). The tendency to reflect and take stock of one’s life often triggers sadness, regret, or depression — especially during midlife.

For example, this time of year can intensify feelings of losses you’ve experienced as well as fears about change, in general. In a previous post I described how you can become frozen into a mindset and perspective that your life is fixed and will spiral downward from your middle years onward. Such a mentality restricts your vision. You can’t see that it’s possible — and necessary — to continue evolving your life, while reframing your emotional attitudes about the life changes that will continue to occur. I’ve always liked a line from one of Norman Mailer’s novels, “It is a law of life… that one must grow, or else pay more for remaining the same.”

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Brain Entrainment for Better Sleep and Health

restful sleepBy Bruce Meleski, PhD, Intelligent Sleep Consultant (part 2 of 2)

The human body has many pulses, rhythms, and frequencies that can be measured and recorded.  Heart rate is one of the best known, represented by beats per minute.  Depending upon the efficiency of the heart, there can be wide variations in one’s heart rate.  Certain conditions also impact heart rate such as exercise, stress, or anxiety.

The brain has electrical frequencies that can be measured and changes during the day are normal.  Sleeping slows the brain frequency to a very slow rate allowing the body to rest.  Sleep brain waves are known as delta brain waves.  Read More …

Sleep Balance – Your Path to Better Sleep

Restful SleepBy Bruce Meleski, PhD, Intelligent Sleep Consultant (part 1 of 2)

In the modern world, sleep is the ultimate human balancing act, providing rest and recovery while living in a 24 hour stimulated environment with lights, noise, smells, toxins, and stressful events continuously.  As a result, many people suffer from sleep loss and sleep related issues.

From chronic disease to athletic performance and mental acuity, if you lose sleep it impacts your life in some way.  It is not just the amount of sleep but also need the right type of sleep.  Slow wave sleep allows the body to restore at the cellular level.  Without this cellular repair, the risk of disease increases for obesity, diabetes, depression, and hypertension.  Loss of sleep also affects our day to day performance.  Sleep loss impacts athletic performance, memory recall, focus acuity, and reaction time.

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Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

World Future Society's special report on 20 Forecasts for 2011-2025FORESIGHT may be the single most critical skill for the 21st Century.

Knowledge quickly goes out of date, but foresight enables you to anticipate and navigate change, make good decisions, and take action to create a better future. It’s why I’ve been a member of the Central Texas chapter of the World Future Society for years, where I meet interesting people with widely varied perspectives of the future. It’s also why I participate in so many Linkedin discussion groups on emerging healthcare issues.

9 Forecasts for the Future of Healthcare

The following nine forecasts came from the World Future Society’s special report, 20 Forecasts for 2011-2025. It’s a promotional piece to attract new members who then get a subscription to The Futurist magazine.

Forecast #1: The Race for Genetic Enhancements Will Be What the Space Race Was in the 20th Century. Genetic therapies and biomedical enhancements will be a multibillion-dollar industry. New techniques will enable doctors to change your DNA to revitalize old or diseased organs, enhance your appearance, increase your athletic ability, or boost your intelligence.

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Technology may hinder job growth (and change medicine)

IBM extends its Jeopardy-winning Watson supercomputer into Medicine and other industries

I talk to lots of jobseekers who can’t find jobs with benefits, especially if they’re seniors over age 55, so I found this Reuters article, Rise in machines may hinder job growth, especially interesting and added the following comment.

Extend Moore’s Law out 50 years and consider the labor implications of futurist predictions that could all happen in our lifetime. By 2013, a supercomputer (e.g. IBM’s Watson) will have the reasoning and processing capacity of the Human Brain. By 2023, a $1,000 home computer will have that power; and by 2037, a $0.01 embedded computer will. By 2049, a $1,000 computer will have the power of the human Race; and by 2059, a $0.01 computer will. Imagine the labor (and healthcare) implications. Google today only searches and finds information. It doesn’t interpret it or turn it into insight. It’s not self-aware, yet. And other nations are advancing broadband Internet faster than here, which enables offshore outsourcing. Since there are already much faster connections to India than Indiana, all US knowledge-based jobs are at risk, including lawyers and radiologists, but maybe not politician jobs, since they arguably aren’t knowledge based.   🙂

In Lessons from Healthcare Innovation in India, this nation has found ways to serve a large, poor and rural population with limited resources (doctors are scarce: 1 per 100,000 people versus 1/160 in the U.S.). But India’s innovation was mostly due to process engineering, rather than technology per say. I can only imagine the results when both are combined and then reflect on the labor force questions posed by the Reuters article (and the future of healthcare).

How do you think tech innovation will affect healthcare and jobs? Weigh in with a comment below.

IBM ‘Synapse’ Chips Mimic Human Brain

image of a human brainIBM researchers this week announced a key step in blending technology & physiology, with a new computer chip designed to function like the human brain and learn, rather than rely only on programmed instructions.

You might think computers already learn, because Google fills in your search box after only a few keystrokes, and your iPhone predicts words as you type a text message. But these computers were programmed to predict certain behavior based on past events. IBM says its new “synapse” chips actually learn on their own and can adapt to unexpected events. (watch the video below)

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15 Home Safety Tips for Care Givers of Dementia Sufferer

original article on Alesha's blogGuest article by A.E.Churba, A.E.Churba Design, LLC

Dementia is a brain disorder that causes behavioral changes and changes in mental cognition for those living with the disease. Those living with dementia, a debilitating disease that includes the more readily recognized term Alzheimer’s disease, tend to lose the ability to remember names, arrange thoughts coherently and forget their current surroundings. As the disease progresses, communication becomes more difficult for the sufferer and agitation can occur.

Creating a home that is safe and comfortable for both the care giver and individual is very important. Following are 15 simple tips that can help care givers keep those afflicted with the disease safer in their home or living space.

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Thought Control of Surroundings & Communication

Thought Control of Surroundings & Communication

A new study by G.Tec allows participants to translate thoughts into smart-home commands.

This Future Watch topic was inspired by Can the Mind Control the Home?, an article by Rachel Cericola published in Electronic House, 7/8/2011. The general idea of brain-machine interface research is to give disabled people more control over their surroundings, but market ready products still seem years away. Watch the videos below and let us know what you think in a Reply below.

Think about how helpful would it be if air conditioning came on automatically when you felt warm, without having to use a remote control? Or how valuable it might be if doors could open themselves when you approach with hands full? Participants in new research can also control lights and thermostats, and even publish Twitter posts, but with today’s technology they have to wear special head gear with EEG sensors.

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