About the Author

Kirstin Hendrickson is a science journalist and faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Arizona State University. She has a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

App Helps Users Turn Good Intentions Into Good Habits

Healthy Habits, an app for the iPhone, helps users make good on good intentions. A winner of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge, the Healthy Habits app was developed by 2Morrow Mobile, a company that specializes in behavioral change technology.

Healthy Habits app

Fooducate App Helps Consumers Eat Healthy

Fooducate is an app for the iPhone and Android that allows consumers to get easy-to-understand information about the quality of a product by scanning the bar code with their smart phone. A first-place winner of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge, Fooducate was developed by dieticians and parents to help consumers see through some of the “tricks” product manufacturers use to conceal unhealthy ingredients, including artificial food colorings (which are controversial among nutritionists and scientists), high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats (which can legally “hide” in foods in small amounts), and various additives.

Fooducate

Lose It! App Wins Surgeon General’s Healthy Apps Challenge

The U.S. Surgeon General recently challenged mobile device application developers to come up with apps that would “provide tailored health information and empower users to engage in and enjoy healthy behavior.” The first place winner in the Fitness/Physical Activity category was Lose It!, an app designed to help users lose weight. According to the Lose It! website, the average user loses 12.3 pounds with the help of the app, with a 99% success rate (defined as losing any amount of weight) over 4 weeks.

Lose It! app

FDA Works Toward Regulating Medical Apps

In recent years, people are turning more and more to the Internet for health information and to “self-diagnose.” With an increasing variety of medical apps available for the iPhone, iPad, Android, and other mobile platforms, self-diagnosis has become even more accessible. Unfortunately, however, checking the boxes next to a variety of symptoms and waiting for a mobile device to spew forth a litany of potential ailments lacks the sensitivity and accuracy of a human diagnostician. Further, those who are not trained in medicine may misinterpret symptoms as erroneously relevant or erroneously irrelevant, leading to misdiagnosis.

Medical apps

New Brain Implant Fuel Cell Runs On Sugar

MIT researchers have developed a new fuel cell that could be used to power brain implants in coming years [1]. Just like human cells, the fuel cells run on glucose, which is the most common sugar in nature and in the human body. Human cells derive energy from glucose through a process called oxidation — a part of metabolism — that takes electrons from the glucose and passes those electrons from enzyme to enzyme in the cell, generating the energy molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Fuel cell