GIS Health News Weekly: Cardiac App, Obesity, Cancer Deaths

Where's the Cath Lab? Who's got it?

CathMaps+, per Kickstart LLC, is the first HIPAA-compliant mobile application for cardiac patients and those at risk for a cardiac incident. It includes the patient's cardiac history and an interactive map of Cath Labs throughout most of the world. It launched for the U.S. market for most iOS and Android devices. it's free. Creator Danny Oberman had an incident before developing the free app.

A new app promises to make the dating world 'less awkward' with a profile feature that displays which STDs you've been tested for.

Hula not only helps you find local test centers, but it also has healthcare providers send your results directly to the app, where you can share them with others on the social network.

The app also has a tool to find local testing centers. My fear is that the "sharing" feature, which is touted as authoritative since the results come directly from the testing organization, will put off use of the location-based features.

How well do GIS-modeled Routes to School Match Reality (and Predict Student Exercise)?

The length of routes and the food options along the way are important research topics for those exploring children's health with respect to obesity. How well do the estimated routes created by GIS match with the path students actually travel? Not too well, per a study in the International Journal of Health Geographics: 

GIS modelled routes between home and school were not truly representative of accurate GPS measured exposure to obesogenic environments, particularly for pedestrians. While route length may be fairly well described, especially for urban populations, those living close to school, and those travelling by foot, the additional expense of acquiring GPS data seems important when assessing exposure to route environments.

NJ: Lots of Cesareans

Among the reason New Jersey may have such a high rate of c-sections: malpractice insurance rates, the convenience of the mother or of the doctor.

Nearly 4 of every 10 births in New Jersey occurs by cesarean section, a rate that remains stubbornly higher than the national average, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics.

New Jersey's C-section percentage of 38.7 percent of all births in 2011 was the second-highest in the nation, trailing only Louisiana, where 39.9 percent of all babies were delivered by cesarean section. The state has consistently had one of the highest rates in the nation despite efforts to encourage more vaginal births whenever appropriate.
Cancer: Those in Developing World More Likely to Die
A new report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an arm of the World Health Organization, provides the basis for a series of maps by The Globe and Mail. The gist is that there's a lot of cancer in the developed world. However, those in the developing world are more likely to die from it.
Mapping Neglected Diseases
Nigerian health officials and international experts are at work on a program to map Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) with data from 14 of the country’s 36 states. Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Tanzania contribute to more than 50 per cent of the NTDs burden in Africa, due in part to their unique climates. The mapping will help target treatment and manage drug and resource requirements. The diseases in question include schistosomiasis, soil-transmitted helminth infections, trachoma, onchocerciasis and lymphatic filariasis.
Opting of Vaccines in the U.S.: Oregon is Tops
Mother Jones offers a series of maps related to vaccine exemptions, that is, how easy it is and how many families take advantage of "opting out" of routine child vaccinations in the U.S.. Oregon leads the nation with the highest non-medical exemption rate. Worth a look.

No Maps in Food Desert Study

A 30 page report titled Food Deserts in Virginia (pdf) has not one single map. It's from the Virginia Cooperative Extension and was commissioned by the Virginia General Assembly.

Academics Tackle Health GIS

Ram Raghavan, assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology at Kansas State, and a team that includes geographers, have found that a certain combination of climate, physical environment and socio-ecologic conditions are behind tularemia infections among cats in the region. More than 50 percent of all tularemia cases in the U.S. occur in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas. The disease can spread to people and can cause illness in those who go where cats go, like the backyard, and in soldiers serving all over the world.

Dr, Mark Skinner, a health geographer from Trent University geography professor, has been named the founding director of the Trent Centre for Aging and Society. It will focus on research and awareness of aging and old age in areas including nursing, psychology, geography and culture. Trent University is in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

Published Friday, February 21st, 2014

Written by Adena Schutzberg

Published in



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