Noise pollution in hospital impact quality and safety of healthcare

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 19 2018In an editorial published today in the BMJ, researchers from King’s College London and the University of the Arts London (UAL) argue that it is a worsening problem, with levels regularly exceeding international recommendations.”Even in intensive care units, which cater for the most vulnerable patients, noise levels over 100dB have been measured, the equivalent of loud music through headphones,” said lead author Dr Andreas Xyrichis.Noise in hospitals is known to hinder communication among staff, causing annoyance, irritation and fatigue, and detrimentally impact the quality and safety of healthcare. High noise levels and noise-induced stress impact negatively on staff performance and wellbeing, compromising caring behavior and contributing to burnout.The team highlight that it can also impact a patients’ ability to rest, heal and recover, since it has been linked to the development of ICU psychosis, hospitalization-induced stress, increased pain sensitivity, high blood pressure and poor mental health.”We know hospital noise has disruptive consequences for sleep – machine sounds in particular have a greater negative effect on arousal than human voices. Post-hospitalization recovery is also compromised. For example, coronary care patients treated during noisy periods were found to have a higher incidence of rehospitalization compared to those treated during quieter periods,” explained Andreas.Patients report that hospital noise can have a cumulative effect on their hospital experience. Patients who are in hospital for several nights are left feeling trapped and stressed, leading to requests for premature discharge from hospital and heightened risk of trauma and readmission.The team from King’s and UAL believes that the following areas urgently need to be addressed to ensure significant progress in this slow-moving field: Source:https://www.kcl.ac.uk/ Noise is often incorrectly associated with high sound pressure levels (SPLs). Dripping taps for example, may register low SPLs yet still be considered noisy. Prioritizing SPL reduction does not ensure improved noise perception. Therefore, a new approach is needed, one that views the hospital soundscape as a positive and malleable component of the environment. There are a number of potential sources of noise in hospitals. Alarms, televisions, rattling trolleys, and ringing phones, as well as staff, visitor, and patient conversations. However, not all of them are perceived as noise by patients – for example, some find the sound of the tea trolley pleasing, associating it with receiving a warm drink. Research has also shown that some ICU patients welcome ringing telephones as a sign that they are not alone. So far ways to measure patients’ perceptions of noise are limited, and more research investment is needed in this area. Patients and families need clear information about likely noise levels during admissions, so they are better prepared in advance, and can consider simple solutions such as headphones with their own choice of audio content. Education for staff is also needed, to encourage a culture that considers noise reduction an integral part of safe high quality healthcare.center_img Related StoriesResearch finds link between air pollution and coronary heart disease in ChinaLiving environment, air pollution may be linked to increased risk of hypertensionInternational tourists are more susceptible to harmful effects of air pollution”Measures to tackle this problem have included ear plugs, noise warning systems, acoustic treatment panels, educational initiatives and noise reduction protocols, which have provided some benefit,” said Andreas.”However, so far, patients have been seen as passive recipients of hospital noise rather than active participants in its creation. It is essential that future solutions should have greater patient participation as a key feature.”Guides about potential ward sounds could also enhance patients’ understanding of their surroundings and increase relaxation. Sound masking – the addition of background, broadband sound optimized for particular environments to reduce noise-induced disturbance – has also been used widely in open-plan offices for many years and has recently shown promise for improving sleep in hospitals.”last_img read more

San Francisco set to ban sales of ecigarettes

first_img This article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jun 25 2019 San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is slated to vote Tuesday to ban the sale and distribution of e-cigarettes in the city. The city is the corporate home of Juul Labs, the biggest producer of e-cigarettes in the country.The ordinances would make the sale of e-cigarettes illegal in brick-and-mortar stores and online when shipping to San Francisco addresses.San Francisco Mayor London Breed has 10 days to sign the legislation, which she has said she will do. The law will be enforced seven months from that date, in early 2020.San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton, who co-authored the legislation, sees it as part of a long-term battle against the effects of smoking.”We spent a few decades fighting big tobacco in the form of cigarettes,” Walton said. “Now we have to do it again in the form of e-cigarettes.”Under federal law, the minimum age to buy tobacco products is 18.  California and 15 other states, however, have raised that age to 21 or passed measures that will set it to 21 by 2021. Despite this, use of e-cigarettes, or vaping, has skyrocketed among teenagers nationally.Last year, 1 in 5 high school seniors reported vaping in the past month. That’s almost double the number from the year before. Even eighth graders are vaping in record numbers.These increases come after years of declines in teenagers smoking traditional cigarettes.Public health officials are concerned about the rising number of teenagers using e-cigarettes, as nicotine can harm a young person’s developing brain. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that young people who vape may be more likely to start smoking traditional cigarettes.Walton said he’s disgusted with the actions of Juul and similar companies, who he said are “putting profits before the health of young people, and people in general.”Despite the tobacco age limit, Walton noted that vaping devices are commonly confiscated from students in the city’s middle and high schools.The ordinance is accompanied by another that prevents the manufacture, distribution and sale of e-cigarettes on San Francisco property. The ordinance takes direct aim at Juul Labs, which leases space from the city on San Francisco’s Pier 70. The ordinance is not retroactive, so it would not remove Juul from the company’s current space, but it would prevent other e-cigarette makers from renting city property in the future. In a statement, Juul spokesman Ted Kwong wrote that, regardless, the company does not “manufacture, distribute or sell our product from this space.”Juul’s vaping device was introduced in 2015. It’s small, sleek and discreet, looking similar to a flash drive. The company now controls 70% of the vaping market.In a statement, Juul Labs said it shares the city’s goal of keeping e-cigarettes away from young people. The company said it has made it harder for underage buyers to purchase Juul off its website and has shut down Juul accounts on Facebook and Instagram.Related StoriesStudies show no evidence of fall in cigarette consumption due to WHO’s FCTCStudy finds increase in cigarette smoking among minority teens after college affirmative action bansCollege affirmative action bans may increase smoking rates among minority high school studentsBut, the company argues that “the prohibition of vapor products for all adults in San Francisco will not effectively address underage use and will leave cigarettes on shelves as the only choice for adult smokers, even though they kill 40,000 Californians every year.”Walton doesn’t buy that argument, however. He said that’s simply “trading one nicotine addiction for another.” What’s more, he’s concerned that for every adult that might benefit, dozens of young people could become addicted.San Francisco resident Jay Friedman said the complete e-cigarette ban goes too far. The software engineer smoked a pack of cigarettes a day for 20 years, and smoking e-cigarettes has reduced his regular cigarette habit to two to three a day. He said he feels better physically.Friedman supported a ban on flavored tobacco that city voters passed last year. “I feel like it was good to get rid of the fruit flavors for kids,” he said, “but this feels like maybe a step too far.”If e-cigarettes are banned, he said, he would try to quit nicotine altogether. But, “there would be a point in a moment of weakness where I’d just end up buying a pack of smokes again and then it’s just a slippery slope from there.”Small businesses in San Francisco are concerned the ban will hurt their bottom line.Miriam Zouzounis and her family own Ted’s Market, a convenience store near downtown San Francisco. She said e-cigarettes are an “anchor” product: They draw people into the store.”When people come and want to purchase something at the store and we don’t have that exact item that they want, they’re not going to buy the rest of the items that they might on that trip: a drink or a sandwich,” Zouzounis said.She said sales from e-cigarettes account for at least $200 to $300 a day in sales. As a board member of the Arab American Grocers Association, she said she believes laws like this mostly affect businesses owned by immigrants.Abbey Chaitin is a 15-year-old lifelong San Francisco resident. She isn’t drawn to using e-cigarettes, she said, because she has seen peers become addicted to them.”I’ll see them in class fidgeting,” Chaitin said. “They need it to focus, to function.”And Chaitin predicted that, regardless of a ban, young people will still get their hands on e-cigarettes: “People my age can find a way around that if they really need to,” she said.Meanwhile, Juul is collecting signatures for a November ballot initiative to override the ban.This story is part of a partnership that includes KQED, NPR and Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.last_img read more

UK lawmaker Facebook misled Parliament over data leak risk

Citation: UK lawmaker: Facebook misled Parliament over data leak risk (2018, March 18) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-uk-lawmaker-facebook-misled-parliament.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Facebook accused of inaction over Russian ads in Brexit vote A British lawmaker accused Facebook on Sunday of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users’ data being shared without their consent, after a former employee of data firm Cambridge Analytica says his company harvested information from 50 million Facebook users. Conservative legislator Damian Collins, who heads the British Parliament’s media committee, said he would ask Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg or another Facebook executive to appear before his panel, which is investigating disinformation and “fake news.”Collins said Facebook has “consistently understated” the risk of data leaks and gave misleading answers to the committee.”Someone has to take responsibility for this,” he said. “It’s time for Mark Zuckerberg to stop hiding behind his Facebook page.”Collins also accused the head of the U.K.-based data firm Cambridge Analytica, Alexander Nix, of lying. Nix told the committee last month that his firm had not received data from a researcher accused of obtaining millions of Facebook users’ personal information.Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica, which is best known for working on President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, on Friday over allegations it retained improperly obtained user data after claiming it had deleted the information.Former Cambridge Analytica employee Chris Wylie said that the company obtained information from 50 million Facebook users, using it to build psychological profiles so voters could be targeted with ads and stories.Wylie told Britain’s Channel 4 news that the company was able to amass a huge database very quickly from an app developed by an academic that vacuumed up data from Facebook users who agreed to fill out a survey, as well as their friends and contacts—a process of which most were unaware.”Imagine I go and ask you: I say, ‘Hey, if I give you a dollar, two dollars, could you fill up this survey for me, just do it on this app’, and you say, ‘Fine,'” He said. “I don’t just capture what your responses are, I capture all of the information about you from Facebook. But also this app then crawls through your social network and captures all of that data also.”Wylie said that allowed the company to get roughly “50 million plus” Facebook records in several months and he criticized Facebook for facilitating the process.”Why Facebook didn’t make more inquiries when they started seeing that, you know, tens of millions of records were being pulled this way, I don’t know,” he said.Lawmaker Collins said he would summon Nix to reappear before the Parliament committee.”It seems clear that he has deliberately misled the committee and Parliament by giving false statements,” Collins said. read more

Pedal power the rise of cargo bikes in Germany

Florists, chimneysweepsBut the “workhorse of the 21st century”, as the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper dubbed it, has yet to win over the masses.Just one percent of Germans own a cargo bike, a study released by the transport ministry in March found—although seven percent said they considered buying one.Becker believes this will change “in the next few years”. “First people need to be able to try it out” without spending 1,300 to 5,000 euros ($1,500-$6000) depending on the model, she said.Keen to promote the climate-friendly cargo bikes, several initiatives have emerged to lend them to companies and individuals for free trials. Last year, German firm Velogut began loaning them out to 150 companies in Berlin.Among the sign-ups have been photographers, coffee and pastry vendors, florists, chimneysweeps, beekeepers, Christmas tree deliverers and even a travelling anaesthetist.The federal government has also got in on the act by introducing a rebate of up to 2,500 euros for the purchase of an e-cargo bike with a load of more than 150 kilos, while Berlin authorities offer subsidies of 500 to 1,000 euros. Explore further Today Germany is Europe’s largest market for cargo bikes in terms of volume—with industry data showing sales for electrically assisted cargo bikes alone surged to 21,000 in 2017, 42 percent over the previous year ‘Protect us’But experts say the biggest roadblock to cargo bikes going mainstream is the lack of adapted infrastructure: safe cycle lanes, secure parking and easy-to-find repair shops.”If they want clean air, they have to protect us,” said Antje Merschel, co-initiator of a recent Berlin referendum on cycling policies.”We’re not going to risk our lives on a bike.”Online retailer Amazon has started using cargo bikes for deliveries, while shipping giant UPS has been running battery-powered freight bikes in German cities since 2012.But the big players in delivery are still waiting for bike manufacturers to catch up and mass-produce reliable low-maintainance models, which are so far mostly made by small, independent companies.There is also the complication of needing “micro-hubs” in often high-rent urban areas from where couriers can collect trucked-in goods for the final kilometres to the client’s front door.”For families, the bikes are here and they’re reliable,” said urban planner Francisco Luciano of the French cargo bike manufacturer Douze Cycles. “When it comes to cycle logistics, we’re still learning.” Bike-share companies are transforming US cities – and they’re just getting started Today Germany is Europe’s largest market for cargo bikes in terms of volume—with industry data showing sales for electrically assisted cargo bikes alone surged to 21,000 in 2017, 42 percent over the previous year.No sweatOver the years, cargo bikes have evolved from bulky two-wheelers that required serious leg muscle. Modern upgrades offer lighter frames and more spacious carriers, while e-cargo bikes have allowed the less physically active or those living in hilly areas to also jump in the saddle.Cargo bikes “now reach a wider audience, people who don’t want to arrive at work sweaty or aren’t especially sporty,” said Sophia Becker, a researcher at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam near Berlin.According to the European CycleLogistics project, a staggering 174 models of cargo bikes are now available, while some 50 brands vied for attention at Berlin’s International Cargo Bike Festival in April. Citation: Pedal power: the rise of cargo bikes in Germany (2018, May 2) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-power-cargo-bikes-germany.html © 2018 AFP A desire to go green has been key to the rise of cargo bikes in a country where dozens of smog-choked cities are considering diesel driving bans to combat air pollution.”The diesel scandal is a major incentive,” said Arne Behrensen, one of the top promotors of cargo bikes in Germany, a mode of transport as old as the bicycle itself which refers to a two- or three-wheeled bike with a fixed load carrier, usually at the front.Financial incentives, more choice in models and the promise of zipping past rush-hour traffic in the bike lane have added to the appeal.”In the ’90s, we were happy to sell one a year,” said Gaya Schuetze of Berlin’s Mehringhof bicycle shop, one of the capital’s leading cargo bike centres.”Then we noticed more and more interest, first from families and then companies.”Commonplace in northern Europe until the mid-20th century, freight bikes were used to deliver everyday essentials such as milk, bread and newspapers.But these heavy, unwieldy bikes quickly fell out of favour and into oblivion as motorised vehicles gained ground.The cargo bike’s revival began some two decades ago in cycling-mad Denmark and the Netherlands, blessed with flat landscapes and comfortable bike lanes, before reaching Germany. Modern cargo bikes offer lighter frames and more spacious carriers, while electrically assisted ones allow the less physically active or those living in hilly areas to also jump in the saddle Whether they’re hauling parcels or children, cargo bikes are becoming a familiar sight in German cities as the nippy, clean alternative to cars and delivery vans—and shaking up urban transport in the process. Industry observers say the cargo bike craze has yet to run its course because “they can handle situations where a car previously seemed indispensable”, says Becker.”In an average European city, half of all motorised trips related to goods transport could be shifted to bicycle or cargo bikes,” Karl Reiter of the CycleLogistics project calculated in a 2014 study, based on journeys of a maximum of seven kilometres (4.3 miles) with loads of less than 200 kilos (440 pounds). Experts say the biggest roadblock to cargo bikes going mainstream is the lack of adapted infrastructure: safe cycle lanes, secure parking and easy-to-find repair shops The cargo bike craze has yet to run its course because “they can handle situations where a car previously seemed indispensable,” says green researcher Sophia Becker This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

The two who stole the show at the swearingin ceremonyThe two who

first_imgA view of the illuminated Rashtrapati Bhavan during the swearing-in ceremony on Thursday   –  RV Moorthy BJP national politics SHARE Published on A little-known Odisha MP shares spotlight with Modi May 30, 2019center_img national elections Two persons stole the show during the nearly two-hour-long swearing-in ceremony. The first of them may have been easy to guess: Narendra Damodardas Modi. But the second one was quite a surprise. When Pratap Chandra Sarangi, first-time Member of Parliament from Balasore, Odisha, was called upon to take his oath as Minister of State, a section of the 5,000-plus crowd was on its feet, clapping. Sarangi had been called 56th (out of 58) on the list, at the fag end, but the invocation of his name set off a frisson of energy. Sarangi contested the election with very limited resources. He used a bicycle and public transport to campaign. Sarangi was a surprise inclusion in the Ministry. Another surprise induction was that of S Jaishankar, the former Foreign Secretary. He had been given a seat in the first row. There are six women in the Ministry, accounting for 10 per cent of the total. Three of them have Cabinet rank; the three others are Ministers of State. The Ministry has four bureaucrats and one Army General. And going against expectations, it has only a small representation from West Bengal and Odisha, where the BJP performed better than expected. Four allies became part of the Council, but one partner, the JD (U), did not join; it is believed to have sought more than one ministerial post, whereas the BJP was willing to include one Minister each from all its allies.The President interrupted five of the Ministers who stumbled over their oaths. One Minister, G Kishan Reddy, ended with a ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogan. Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, and other film stars were present; but it was Mary Kom and Gautam Gambhir who got the most number of requests for selfies. Strikingly, cell phones were allowed to be carried to the venue. SHARE SHARE EMAIL COMMENT COMMENTSlast_img read more