SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Nikita Ivanov, Sean Houghton

Article

How Technology Improves Children's Health

Fighting Childhood Obesity

There seems to be a growing concern among researchers as to what effects continuous exposure to the gamut of today's technology has on the developing brains of children. According to a recent article written by Dr. Jim Taylor, a professor at the University of San Francisco, these effects are complex and may present benefits and hazards. Studies indicate that technology affects the ability to pay attention and process material. Reading conventional books enhances the ability to focus while improving comprehension, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, along with increasing vocabulary. Conversely, obtaining information from the Internet interferes with the development of comprehension and memory. However, video games and other visual media have been shown to enhance attention, reaction times and visual-spatial capability. Nonetheless, there are many different ways that technology is currently being used to benefit the health of children.

Fighting Childhood Obesity

According to a recent article published by CNN, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 17 percent of the country's children suffer from obesity. With the need for increasing physical activity in mind, UnitedHealthcare developed a school-friendly program based on the popular "Dance Dance Revolution" video game. The program allows up to 48 students to participate at the same time. The kids recreate the steps viewed on a large screen display while dancing on wireless sensor-filled mats. The platforms monitor and record each student's performance and saves the data so teachers, parents and students may view the progress. So far, the corporation introduced the technology to three different U.S. schools.

Managing Diabetes

The blog Withings reports that in an effort to alleviate some of the discomfort and stress that children experience when living with diabetes, Bayer Didget developed a variety of programs for children of varied ages. One blood glucose monitoring device plugs into an existing Nintendo DS and allows users to unlock new game levels every time a child tests their blood. Finn the Glucose Fish was designed for younger children. Strips are contained within the child-sized, fish-shaped monitoring device. Lancets attach directly to the body. The meter features a large display and buttons that accommodate small patients. Teen girls have access to an app entitled "DiaPETic," which combines the technology of a virtual pet and gaming with glucose testing and general health tips based on blood sugar readings.

Primary Bedwetting

Primary bedwetting occurs when the reflex that alerts someone that their bladder is full does not fully develop. In this instance, when the bladder becomes full, the organ automatically begins emptying. Some children also lack sufficient levels of ADH hormone, which normally slows urine production at night. When either scenario occurs, a child wets the bed. Research indicates that genetics plays a major role. If one parent had the same problem during childhood, a child has a 40 percent chance of experiencing nocturnal enuresis. If both parents have a history, the likelihood increases to 70 percent. The easiest solution to the problem remains using specially designed alarm systems. Compared to behavioral therapy or medication, bedwetting alarms offer between a 70 and 90 percent success rate in curing the problem.

More Stories By Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a writer, as well as a tech, social media and environmental enthusiast, living in San Francisco. He is a contributing writer at Forbes, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

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