BBC World Service

Science & Medicine

Technological and digital news from around the world.


Activity Tracker Stops Hospital Admission

May 3rd, 2016

Episode 86 of 152 episodes

Doctors in an ER in New Jersey in the US have used a patient’s Fitbit activity tracker to decide on treatment. The patient had Atrial Fibrillation, the condition where you have an irregular and often racing heartbeat. Emergency physician Alfred Sacchetti and his team needed to know when the problem had come on. But the patient had no idea, which was tricky because knowing when the heartbeat went awry determines whether or not the team administers an electric shock to reset the heart or if the patient needs weeks of treatment and hospital admission. Fortunately one of the nurses found the patient was wearing a Fitbit tracker and the data on his phone allowed doctors to reset his heart rhythm and send him home. Drones and Mountain Goats A team of Spanish vets and environmentalists are using drones to try and treat ibex – the Spanish mountain goat – from spreading a disease. The animals, which live in remote mountains, are suffering from mange. This is a potentially fatal skin disease which causes the coat of the animal to fall off. Up to three airborne cameras are used to track the animals down over large distances and even look for the invisible early signs of disease. Click reporter Sylvia Smith has been finding out more. Nasa Hackathon Nasa’s Annual Space Apps Challenge drew together hackers, coders and enthusiasts in 161 locations across the world. Using real Nasa data sets they designed apps and tools for the agency including an app that monitors sea level rise and a website that raises awareness of damage to coral reefs. Deborah Diaz, Nasa’s Chief Technology Officer for IT, tells Click more about this annual event. Grand Theft Auto Self-Portraits Young gamers have been invited to cast themselves as avatars in scenes from the game Grand Theft Auto 5 for an exhibition that opens this week at the Tyneside Cinema in north east England. The show is called FF Gaiden: Alternative and is part of a wider work called the ‘Finding Fanon’ series where ‘Fanon’ references the celebrated Martinique born intellectual Frantz Fanon. Artists Larry Achiampong and David Blandy explain more about their work. (Photo caption: A man uses a fitness wristband and its smartphone application Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images) Producer: Ania Lichtarowicz

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