Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being

Some recent studies suggest that experiencing nostalgia about our past can make us happier and more resilient during times of stress.

I often find myself nostalgic for days gone by—especially my young adulthood. Thinking about days when I could go backpacking with a friend on a moment’s notice or dance the night away at my wedding, without the constraints of child care or a limited energy supply, gives me a bittersweet feeling—a mixture of joy, sadness, and longing.

While I find nostalgia pleasant overall and even inspiring, doctors and psychologists did not always consider it a good thing. Staying “stuck in the past” was often associated with being unable to adjust to new realities, like when soldiers were nostalgic for their faraway homes and experienced loneliness and dread. Not that long ago, some considered nostalgia to be a mental illness, akin to melancholy, which could lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

But more recent findings on nostalgia suggest it can be good for us, increasing our well-being, making us feel connected to other people, and giving us a sense of continuity in our lives. And it seems to come on naturally when we need to weather life’s difficulties. Rather than being a problem, nostalgia can help bring happiness and meaning to our lives.

Here are some of the ways nostalgia can benefit us, according to science.

Nostalgia makes us feel socially connected

Nostalgia about our past often includes recalling important people in our lives—people who cared about us and made us feel like we belonged. Certainly, my own nostalgic musings are centered around times when I was with the people and places I love. So, it’s not too surprising that recalling these special times would make us feel more connected to others, in general.

In one study, researchers found that people who were asked to write about an event from their past that made them feel “sentimental longing for the past” felt loved and supported, and this, in turn, helped buffer them against loneliness. Another study found that when people felt nostalgic about times in their lives when they interacted with members of an “out-group”—for example, teenagers recalling fun times with older adults—they felt less prejudice toward that group.

Nostalgia also seems to help us maintain our relationships. For example, one study found that inducing nostalgia helped people feel more optimistic about relationships in general and more willing to connect with friends. Another study found that when induced to feel nostalgia, people (especially those who find connecting with others easier) felt more able to offer emotional support to the people in their lives.

Nostalgia helps us find meaning in life

A sense of meaning in life involves knowing that your existence matters and that your life has coherence or purpose. It’s something we all strive for in one way or another.

Fortunately, research suggests nostalgia can be an important resource for increasing meaning, by highlighting central moments in our lives and giving us a sense of continuity.

In one study, researchers compared nostalgia to two seemingly related forms of thinking about one’s life: recalling a positive past event or imagining a desired future. Focusing on an event that made them nostalgic led people to feel their lives had more meaning compared to imagining a desirable future. And, compared to both other reflections, feeling nostalgic reduced people’s need to search for meaning in their lives—they already felt life had meaning.

In another study, people either listened to music that brought them back to a particular time or read lyrics to old songs. These nostalgic activities not only made them feel loved and socially connected but also increased their sense of meaning in life. And, when people read an essay that encouraged them to think that life had no meaning—which said, “There are approximately 7 billion people living on this planet. So take a moment to ponder the following question: In the grand scheme of things, how significant are you?”—they naturally turned to feelings of nostalgia for relief from that sense of meaninglessness.

These findings and others suggest that nostalgia not only heightens your sense of meaning in life, but can act as a buffer when you experience a loss of meaning. And it may help you move forward in life, too. As one study found, nostalgia can increase your motivation to pursue important life goals, because it increases meaning—not just because it puts you in a better mood.

Nostalgia can make us happier

Though it does seem to do just that—to boost our mood. Even though nostalgia is by definition a blend of positive and negative emotion, the positive tends to outweigh the negative, meaning we feel happier overall.

In one very recent study, 176 university students were randomly assigned to a six-week nostalgia program where they were asked weekly to write about a past event that brought on “a sentimental longing for the past” (while a control group wrote about past events that were ordinary). Afterward, they reported on their levels of positive and negative emotions and how much the writing provided a sense of social connection, meaning, or connection to their past self. At different points in time, they also reported on their life satisfaction, feelings of vitality, and well-being.

The researchers found that nostalgia was generally beneficial, leading people to experience more positive emotions, life satisfaction, and well-being, as well as fewer negative emotions—at least three weeks into the program. These benefits mostly disappeared after that—except for people who started the experiment already engaging in nostalgia regularly. For them, going through the nostalgia program brought them greater life satisfaction and fewer negative emotions up to a month later, possibly because the program was a better fit for them.

A lot of the benefits on happiness may be connected to nostalgia’s effects on social connection and meaning. But it could also be that nostalgia helps us see ourselves in a truer, more authentic light.

Nostalgia puts us in touch with our authentic selves

When thinking nostalgically about our past, we are the prime protagonists in our own life stories. Perhaps because of this, nostalgia helps us to see our lives as continuous and coherent, providing us with a sense of authenticity.

In one study, when primed to feel nostalgic by writing about a time in their past, people saw their past self as an authentic representation of themselves. This, in turn, reduced their focus on meeting the expectations of others versus following their own, intrinsic expectations of themselves. In other words, it helped them be their authentic selves.

The researchers also studied how threats to one’s sense of self might make people engage in more nostalgia. Half of the participants read this text: “Many people feel that they have two sides to themselves. One side is the person that they show to other people; the other side is their true self—that is, the person who they truly are deep down.” Then, they wrote about times in their lives when they’d found it hard to reveal their real selves to others.

The other half of the participants wrote about their daily routines and when those routines were disrupted. Then, both groups reported on their positive and negative emotions, as well as feelings of nostalgia.

Findings showed that people who focused on threats to their self-concept experienced more negative emotions, and in turn felt more nostalgic. This suggests that nostalgia helps put us in touch with our “real selves” and protects us against threats to our authenticity.

Perhaps for this reason, engaging in nostalgia can lead to personal growth. At least one study found that feeling nostalgia made people feel more positively about themselves, which, in turn, made them more open to experiencing new things, expanding their horizons, and being curious—all signs of psychological health.

Nostalgia may help people who feel disillusioned or depressed

Perhaps because of these potential benefits, people tend to engage in nostalgia when they are feeling down, lonely, or disillusioned. Many studies have found that nostalgia seems to protect people from negative mind states, bringing about a kind of emotional homeostasis.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that nostalgia is always good or can’t have a downside. If nostalgia makes us spend too much time thinking about our past, it may prevent us from recognizing the joy in our lives right here and now. And, since we tend to engage in nostalgia when negative things occur, it could become an avoidance strategy that keeps us from dealing with present problems in more effective ways.

Encouraging groups of people to feel nostalgic could also have negative consequences. For example, one study found that nostalgia made people more likely to believe political claims, regardless of their veracity. Inducing nostalgia could be an advertising ploy used to affect consumer behavior, which could lead to poor choices, too.

Still, chances are that nostalgia is more a blessing than a curse, and a winning strategy for feeling better about ourselves. It can increase our connection to others, our sense of meaning in our lives, our authenticity, and our happiness. So, why not tune into nostalgia now and then? It may just help you meet the challenges of the moment.

Source: Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being

.

More Contents:

Securing Your Digital Life The Finale Debunking Worthless Security Practices

Information security and privacy suffer from the same phenomenon we see in fighting COVID-19: “I’ve done my own research” syndrome. Many security and privacy practices are things learned second- or third-hand, based on ancient tomes or stuff we’ve seen on TV—or they are the result of learning the wrong lessons from a personal experience.

I call these things “cyber folk medicine.” And over the past few years, I’ve found myself trying to undo these habits in friends, family, and random members of the public. Some cyber folkways are harmless or may even provide a small amount of incidental protection. Others give you a false sense of protection while actively weakening your privacy and security. Yet some of these beliefs have become so widespread that they’ve actually become company policy.

I brought this question to some friends on InfoSec Twitter: “What’s the dumbest security advice you’ve ever heard?” Many of the replies were already on my substantial list of mythological countermeasures, but there were others that I had forgotten or not even considered. And apparently, some people (or companies… or even vendors!) have decided these bad ideas are canon.

If I’m repeating myself from previous articles, it’s only because I keep hearing these bad pieces of advice. This article won’t eradicate these practices, sadly—they’re so embedded in culture that they will continue to be passed down and practiced religiously until the technological weaknesses that allow them to exist have faded into antiquity. But together we can at least try to end the madness for those in our circles of influence.

Myth: Thou shalt change thy password every 30 days

Passwords have been part of computer security since 1960, when Fernando Corbató added passwords for personal files to MIT’s Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS). And almost immediately, they became, as Corbató himself admitted, “a nightmare.” Since then, all sorts of bad advice (and bad corporate policy) has been disseminated about how to use, manage, and change passwords.

Technology limits have in the past been the main thing dictating password policy—limits on the number and type of characters, for example. The low security of short passwords led to policies that required that passwords be frequently changed. But modern operating systems and security systems have made the whole short-password-versus-frequent-password-change dance obsolete, right?

Apparently not. Not only have these folkways continued to be used to log in to personal computers at work, but they’ve been integrated into consumer services on the web—some banking and e-commerce sites have hard maximum sizes for passwords. And—likely because of poor software design and fear of cross-site scripting or SQL injection attacks—some services also limit the types of characters that can be used in passwords. I guess that’s just in case someone wants to use the password “password’); DROP TABLE users;–” or something.

Regardless of whether we’re talking about a password or a PIN, policies that limit length or characters weaken complexity and security. Long passwords with characters such as spaces and punctuation marks are more memorable than arbitrary numbers or leetspeak morphs of words. Microsoft’s definition of a PIN is, essentially, a hardware-specific password that controls device access and login credentials based on Trusted Platform Module black magic; a four-digit PIN for device access is not more secure than one based on letters and numbers if someone has stolen your computer and is banging away on it at their leisure.

Pick a sufficiently long and complex password for a personal or work computer, and you should only have to change it if it’s been shared with or stolen by someone else. Changing passwords every 30 days only makes passwords harder to remember and can cause people to develop bad password-creation workarounds that result in weaker passwords—for example, by incrementing numbers at the end of them:

  • Pa55w0rd1
  • Pa55w0rd2
  • Pa55w0rd3
  • …you can see where this madness leads

So pick one complex but memorable password for your computer login or your phone, like XKCD suggests (though don’t use the one in the comic—maybe generate one with Diceware!). Don’t reuse it anywhere else. And don’t change it unless you have to.

Myth: Don’t write it down!

Many of us have seen the worst-case scenario in password management: passwords on Post-it notes stuck to monitors in cubicle-land, just waiting to be abused. This habit has led many a would-be security mentor to cry out, “Don’t write down your passwords!”

Except you probably should write them down—just not on a Post-it in your cubicle. Many two-factor authentication services actually promote printing and saving recovery codes in the event you lose access to your second-factor app or device, for example. And you can’t save device passwords in a password manager, can you?

Some people insist on writing passwords in a notebook (Hi, Mom!). Never tell these people they’re wrong, but do encourage them to do this only for passwords that can’t be stored in a password manager or might be needed to recover backups and services if a device is damaged or lost—for example, if you have an Apple ID. You want these high-value passwords to be complex and memorable, but they’re used infrequently, so they may be more easily forgotten. Go ahead, write them down. And then put the written passwords (and your 2FA recovery codes!) in a nonpublic, safe place you can access when things go awry.

There is something you should not do with passwords, however, and that is keeping them in a text file or other unencrypted format. In a recent intrusion incident I was reviewing, one of the first things the criminals managed to do was find a file called Password List.xlsx. You can imagine how things went from there. And apparently this happens on the regular at some companies:

Now, if these files were password-protected Office documents, there’d at least be some hope—since Office uses AES encryption and does some serious SHA-1 shuffling of passwords to generate the keys in more recent versions. In instances when you can’t keep passwords in a password manager but need to keep track of them, this is an acceptable level of security in most cases.

Myth: 2FA is 2 scary 4 me

I’m a major proponent of two-factor authentication (“2FA”) as a way to protect login credentials; it has saved me a few times from having accounts hacked after provider breaches revealed my passwords. (There was also the one time when I lost access to an email account because a domain-name provider decided not to auto-renew my personal domain and instead sold it to a scam blog operator. I’ll leave it to you to guess which registrar did me dirty that way.) But I frequently see people deciding not to use 2FA because they saw somewhere that 2FA via text message is less secure, but they didn’t see the other part about using an authenticator app or other method instead if possible. And then they erroneously reached the conclusion that foregoing 2FA is more secure than 2FA with SMS.

Let me be clear: any 2FA is better than no 2FA. And with the usual types of brute-force attempts attackers make against common cloud services, any 2FA will render about 90 percent of these attempts totally unsuccessful (and the other 10 percent of the time will just result in a potentially recoverable denial of service). You definitely want some form of 2FA on an Amazon account or anything that has any ties to your purchasing information, no matter what kind of 2FA it is.

But just having 2FA is not a guarantee that someone won’t succeed in getting what they want. Some phishing attacks are now managing to get around two-factor authentication by using 2FA “passthrough” attacks:

If you receive an email with a link that takes you to a website requesting your credentials, and you then get a 2FA alert for your login, that does not necessarily mean that the link was legitimate and that you should give the code or tap the “approve” button. This could be an attempt to simply have you assist the attacker. Take a hard look at that link. Then call your security team, maybe. (My current employer’s security team attempts to 2FA phish me two or three times a month these days.)

So use 2FA. But be mindful of your login requests, and don’t approve weird ones.

Myth: My VPN protects me!

A few weeks ago I mentioned that, for most normal Internet usage, virtual private networks are kind of pointless now. All they really do (when properly configured) is hide the Domain Name Service requests you make and the resulting IP addresses you visit from your Internet Service Provider. This (mostly) prevents your ISP from collecting data about your Internet habits—and instead passes that privilege on to the VPN provider you’re using.

VPNs are good for some situations:

  • If you’re working from home and you need to access resources on the corporate LAN, you probably need to use the corporate VPN
  • If you’re stealing BBC content from Great Britain by watching it in the US without paying TV tax—assuming the Beeb has not yet blocked your VPN provider
  • If you’re pretending to be in another country to fool Google or other sites into giving you localized results for that geographic location, or otherwise working around some form of geoblocking

That’s about it. Otherwise, VPNs aren’t much more effective in protecting your privacy than what you already get from visiting sites that use modern Secure HTTP (HTTPS).

This doesn’t prevent VPN providers from using scare-tactic advertising (or in some cases, actually using fake alerts and other sorts of manipulative and illegal “advertising”) to drive you toward downloading VPNs for your computer or phone. If a friend or relative tells you they got a notification saying they had 1,000 viruses on their iPhone and that they needed to install a VPN right away, make sure you walk them through how to remove that app immediately (and also how to report a fraudulent application to Apple, Google, and the Federal Trade Commission).

Now, if your goal in life is to make sure that Comcast, AT&T, Verizon, Spectrum, T-Mobile, and all the rest know as little about your Internetting as possible and you’ve done due diligence on your VPN provider’s privacy disclosure, then go right ahead and VPN. Just don’t freak out too much when you have to go through a thousand CAPTCHAs to visit a site because some denial of service bro has been using the same VPN exit point as you. (It’s also important to understand that, unless you can actually audit your VPN provider’s privacy policy yourself, you can’t do effective due diligence.)

Myth: You don’t need antivirus on that

Just like fear of 2FA, some people swear that antivirus software is unnecessary, because:

  • “I have a firewall that blocks all that stuff”
  • “I don’t visit porn sites”
  • “We don’t need antivirus on the servers, just the desktops”

… and variations of these.

Microsoft Defender, up to date on a properly configured Windows 10 or Windows 11 system, is pretty good for blocking known threats. Microsoft’s security team has done a lot to raise the bar of its malware protection. But the number of improperly configured, half-disabled, non-updated systems I have had the privilege to examine forensically does not indicate to me that the majority of computers connected to Internet-adjacent networks are “properly configured Windows” for any number of reasons.

If a piece of software tells you that you need to disable the antivirus software for a folder in order for it to work, my advice is to just not use that software. There have been plenty of examples of how bad not following this advice can turn out—I lost most of my Independence Day weekend thanks to one in particular.

Stopping the madness

If there’s one cyber folkway that drives me the most nuts, it’s the widely held belief that people can achieve security through obscurity. “Why would they hack me? I’m not anyone special” are famous last words before a ransomware attack.

True fact: I’m proud of my parents for remembering all the things I’ve told them about identifying digital scams, and I lose much less sleep since my parents started doing most of their Internetting on iPads. The less time they spend reading email or browsing the web on their desktops, the better, because using up-to-date iOS devices significantly reduces their attack surface (at least from malware). But all cell phones have some security risk associated with them, and it’s not just smartphones.

It may not be possible through your own singular efforts to get your company to change its password policy. But if enough people gently persuade others to stop following flawed advice (advice they’ve received from people who probably haven’t exactly done themselves any privacy or security favors), then maybe we can avoid a few million dollars’ worth of cybercrime. (And if you’re an IT decision-maker or you sit on your company’s IT steering committee, then it’s time to weigh in and do your part!)

If you’ve seen or heard any particularly flawed information security or privacy advice, please share it in the comments here. The only way we can stop these sorts of bad security memes from propagating further and end cyber quackery is by pointing out instances every time we hear or see them.

Sean Gallagher is a former IT editor and national security editor at Ars Technica. A University of Wisconsin grad, he wrote his first program in high school on a DEC PDP-10, and his first database app on a dual-floppy Apple II.

Source: Securing your digital life, the finale: Debunking worthless “security” practices | Ars Technica

.

More Contents:

Does Having Kids Make You Happy?

1Research has found that having children is terrible for quality of life—but the truth about what parenthood means for happiness is a lot more complicated.

Few choices are more important than whether to have children, and psychologists and other social scientists have worked to figure out what having kids means for happiness. Some of the most prominent scholars in the field have argued that if you want to be happy, it’s best to be childless. Others have pushed back, pointing out that a lot depends on who you are and where you live. But a bigger question is also at play: What if the rewards of having children are different from, and deeper than, happiness?

The early research is decisive: Having kids is bad for quality of life. In one study, the psychologist Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues asked about 900 employed women to report, at the end of each day, every one of their activities and how happy they were when they did them. They recalled being with their children as less enjoyable than many other activities, such as watching TV, shopping, or preparing food.

Other studies find that when a child is born, parents experience a decrease in happiness that doesn’t go away for a long time, in addition to a drop in marital satisfaction that doesn’t usually recover until the children leave the house. As the Harvard professor Dan Gilbert puts it, “The only symptom of empty nest syndrome is nonstop smiling.”

After all, having children, particularly when they are young, involves financial struggle, sleep deprivation, and stress. For mothers, there is also in many cases the physical strain of pregnancy and breastfeeding. And children can turn a cheerful and loving romantic partnership into a zero-sum battle over who gets to sleep and work and who doesn’t.

As the Atlantic staff writer Jennifer Senior notes in her book, All Joy and No Fun, children provoke a couple’s most frequent arguments—“more than money, more than work, more than in-laws, more than annoying personal habits, communication styles, leisure activities, commitment issues, bothersome friends, sex.” Someone who doesn’t understand this is welcome to spend a full day with an angry 2-year-old (or a sullen 15-year-old); they’ll find out what she means soon enough.

Read: It isn’t the kids. It’s the cost of raising them.

Children make some happy and others miserable; the rest fall somewhere in between—it depends, among other factors, on how old you are, whether you are a mother or a father, and where you live. But a deep puzzle remains: Many people would have had happier lives and marriages had they chosen not to have kids—yet they still describe parenthood as the “best thing they’ve ever done.” Why don’t we regret having children more?

One possibility is a phenomenon called memory distortion. When we think about our past experiences, we tend to remember the peaks and forget the mundane awfulness in between. Senior frames it like this: “Our experiencing selves tell researchers that we prefer doing the dishes—or napping, or shopping, or answering emails—to spending time with our kids … But our remembering selves tell researchers that no one—and nothing—provides us with so much joy as our children.

It may not be the happiness we live day to day, but it’s the happiness we think about, the happiness we summon and remember, the stuff that makes up our life-tales.” These are plausible-enough ideas, and I don’t reject them. But other theories about why people don’t regret parenthood actually have nothing to do with happiness—at least not in a simple sense.

One involves attachment. Most parents love their children, and it would seem terrible to admit that you would be better off if someone you loved didn’t exist. More than that, you genuinely prefer a world with your kids in it. This can put parents in the interesting predicament of desiring a state that doesn’t make them as happy as the alternative. In his book Midlife, the MIT professor Kieran Setiya expands on this point.

Modifying an example from the philosopher Derek Parfit, he asks readers to imagine a situation in which, if you and your partner were to conceive a child before a certain time, the child would have a serious, though not fatal, medical problem, such as chronic joint pain. If you wait, the child will be healthy. For whatever reason, you choose not to wait. You love your child and, though he suffers, he is happy to be alive. Do you regret your decision?

Read: How adult children affect their mother’s happiness

That’s a complicated question. Of course it would have been easier to have a kid without this condition. But if you’d waited, you’d have a different child, and this baby (then boy, then man) whom you love wouldn’t exist. It was a mistake, yes, but perhaps a mistake that you don’t regret. The attachment we have to an individual can supersede an overall decrease in our quality of life, and so the love we usually have toward our children means that our choice to bring them into existence has value above and beyond whatever effect they have on our happiness.

This relates to a second point, which is that there’s more to life than happiness. When I say that raising my sons is the best thing I’ve ever done, I’m not saying that they gave me pleasure in any simple day-to-day sense, and I’m not saying that they were good for my marriage. I’m talking about something deeper, having to do with satisfaction, purpose, and meaning. It’s not just me.

When you ask people about their life’s meaning and purpose, parents say that their lives have more meaning than those of nonparents. A study by the social psychologist Roy Baumeister and his colleagues found that the more time people spent taking care of children, the more meaningful they said their life was—even though they reported that their life was no happier.

Raising children, then, has an uncertain connection to pleasure but may connect to other aspects of a life well lived, satisfying our hunger for attachment, and for meaning and purpose. The writer Zadie Smith puts it better than I ever could, describing having a child as a “strange admixture of terror, pain, and delight.” Smith, echoing the thoughts of everyone else who has seriously considered these issues, points out the risk of close attachments:

“Isn’t it bad enough that the beloved, with whom you have experienced genuine joy, will eventually be lost to you? Why add to this nightmare the child, whose loss, if it ever happened, would mean nothing less than your total annihilation?” But this annihilation reflects the extraordinary value of such attachments; as the author Julian Barnes writes of grief, quoting a friend, “It hurts just as much as it is worth.”

By Paul Bloom

Source: Does Having Kids Make You Happy? – The Atlantic

.

More Contents:

. “A review of the relationship among parenting practices, parenting styles, and adolescent school achievement” (PDF). Educational Psychology Review. 17

 “Parenting Style as a Moderator of Associations Between Maternal Disciplinary Strategies and Child Well-Being”

“The Influence of Parenting Style on Academic Achievement and Career Path”Day, Nicholas (10 April 2013). “Parental ethnotheories and how parents in America differ from parents everywhere else”. Slate. Retrieved 19 April 2013.[verification needed]

“The Terrible Twos Explained – Safe Kids (UK)”Kenneth R. Ginsburg. “The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds” (PDF). American Academy of Pediatrics. Archived from the origina

How Connected Life Sciences Devices Lead To Continuous Care

With connected medical devices, apps and data, life sciences organizations can bridge long-standing gaps in healthcare and deliver a more continuous care experience, says Brian Williams, Cognizant’s Chief Digital Officer for Life Sciences.

Global health systems have traditionally delivered services episodically, by focusing on acute, critical care rather than individual health and well-being. It should come as no surprise, then, that life sciences companies often deliver their solutions following that same model of care.

Sadly, this leads to gaps in data and service alignment, not to mention significant disconnects with the broader healthcare ecosystem. Consumer devices and wellness apps, for example, often exist within their own individual siloes — causing organizations to miss out on valuable data that could inform patient diagnosis, management and treatment.

This lack of orchestration produces sub-optimal outcomes at significant expense to providers, payers and patients alike. It is also at direct odds with patients’ increasing digital expectations when using medical devices and when taking drugs and therapies. Whether they are participating in a clinical trial, living with a chronic condition or recovering from a procedure, patients expect to be informed and cared for with seamless digital experiences on par with what they receive when shopping or banking online.

However, the emergence of integrated, connected devices, apps and data has opened new possibilities for treatments and clinical trials. This new level of connectivity helps bridge a longstanding gap in wellness: the disconnect between an individual’s everyday health behavior and their episodic healthcare. These experiences generate valuable data insights, creating new commercial opportunities and the promise of better patient outcomes.

The impact of life sciences connectivity

Drawing from our recent series on healthcare IoT, here are three stakeholder groups within the healthcare and life sciences ecosystem that stand to benefit greatly from this new level of connectivity and the more continuous, predictive and preventive care it enables.

  • Patients with chronic conditions. Chronic diseases are often accompanied by additional conditions, such as depression, that can impede effective treatment. Consequently, information about an individual’s behavioral health status has become increasingly important in treatment decisions, as has information about the individual’s relationships with the people around them.
  • Wearable IoT devices that monitor fitness and health conditions can pair with an ever-growing set of apps for health, wellness and nutrition monitoring. Over time, a baseline of physiological indicators such as an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure, as well as activity, diet and sleep patterns, will develop. When additional data from clinical encounters, including diagnostic imaging, lab tests, genomics, stress tests and physician notes, is integrated with that baseline, it increases the ability to predict how an individual may respond to any particular treatment.
  • Elderly patients. Quite often, the most effective tools for early detection of a developing condition in elderly patients are not implants or biometric monitors, but devices that monitor changes in activities of daily living (ADL).
  • For example, the onset of congestive heart failure can be detected through reduced use of the bed, as patients with trouble breathing when lying down switch to sleeping semi-upright in a recliner. Changes in toilet flushes, meanwhile, can detect a urinary tract infection or incipient dehydration. Moreover, while one in four Americans over 65 falls each year, only half tell their doctor.
  • Passive infrared motion detectors, pressure sensors in beds and chairs, sensors for CO2 concentration, sound (vibration) and video — anonymized as necessary for privacy — can all be used to first establish a baseline of normal variability, and then be applied to detect significant deviations from that baseline. This continuous and nearly invisible sensing can be surprisingly effective in assisting in care.
  • Hospital clinicians and support staff. Healthcare is increasingly a team enterprise — including not only physicians, nurses, allied health staff and technicians but also AI-enabled equipment. The point of care is also expanding, with shortened hospital stays and more care delivered in outpatient facilities and in-home settings.
  • Connected sensors enable every member of the team to access to real-time data relevant to their task. Smart hospitals with a real-time health system (RTHS) can leverage sensors to collect data widely, distill and analyze it — and then quickly distribute curated findings to users. When captured remotely, this eases the transition in care from the hospital to other settings, allowing a more continuous and participatory level of care that extends long past a patient’s physical stay in a healthcare facility.
  • An RTHS can improve operations, clinical tasks and patient experience. For example, providers that boost operational effectiveness typically rely on a wide range of IoT-enabled asset management solutions that locate mobile assets, monitor equipment operating conditions and track inventories of consumables, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. This optimizes equipment utilization, reduces waste, increases equipment uptime and ensures optimal inventories.
  • Once clinicians and support staff can view how long various steps take in their workflows, where delays occur and what patients experience as a result, they can then evolve solutions based on a combination of their intimate day-to-day knowledge and data on how that workflow interacts with or is used by other functions.

From episodic to continuous care

Too often, the life sciences industry has delivered a one-size-fits-all approach to clinical trials and patient care that may not represent real-life, individual situations — situations that require tailored engagement that wrap therapies and interventions in end-to-end, digital solutions.

This can and should change. Device connectivity and access to data are impacting every aspect of healthcare and life sciences, moving the industry away from acute, episodic care, to a system that is more participatory and predictive.

For example, a patient may be walking a mere 24 hours after a typical hip surgery and could be discharged from the hospital a day or two after the procedure. However, that episodic care experience belies a much longer recovery and rehabilitation period spanning weeks or months.While that care experience today takes place largely outside the purview of the orthopedic surgeon, better device connectivity can enable patient monitoring — and even patient services — to be extended well beyond the length of the initial hospital visit.

Rather than relying on spotty reporting from physical therapists or the patients themselves, an orthopedist can continuously and seamlessly track a patient’s progress, and then decide when and how to intervene if things aren’t going as expected. Zimmer’s mymobility application, which supports patient engagement and monitoring outside the hospital following surgery, is a good example of what this looks like in practice.

A fully orchestrated ecosystem

Sensors and instrumentation — and the hundreds of APIs that connect them — can provide accurate and timely data about many parameters of the human condition. When this is all properly orchestrated, we can better understand how diseases progress and how bodies respond to various interventions.

That’s the intent behind our alliance with Philips and its HealthSuite Digital Platform, which is built on AWS and designed to simplify and standardize device connectivity, data access, identity management, and structured and unstructured data management within a high-trust, HIPAA and GDPR-compliant environment.

We believe that life sciences companies can derive true value from this influx of new data. Not only can the resulting insights inform new services, drugs and therapies and inspire new models of continuous engagement; they can also improve adherence to treatment and patient health.

To learn more, visit the Life Sciences section of our website.

Brian is Cognizant’s Chief Digital Officer for Life Sciences and is responsible for designing digitally enabled solutions to facilitate care access and delivery. He is also the Global Life Sciences Consulting

Source: How Connected Life Sciences Devices Lead To Continuous Care

.

Related Contents:

M. Birkholz; A. Mai; C. Wenger; C. Meliani; R. Scholz (2016). “Technology modules from micro- and nano-electronics for the life sciences”. WIREs Nanomed. Nanobiotech. 8 (3): 355–377. doi:10.1002/wnan.1367. PMID 26391194

“What is Biomonitoring?” (PDF). American Chemistry Council. Archived from the origin(2005-04-08). Natural Fibers, Biopolymers, and Biocomposites. CRC Press. ISBN 978-0-203-50820-6.

National Human Genome Research Institute (2010-11-08). “FAQ About Genetic and Genomic Science”

Young People Lying Flat Has Been A Long Time Coming

Millennials. They’re back at it again with their whining and laziness. This time, they’re daring to quit their jobs due to burnout. Don’t they understand the financial ramifications of quitting or “lying flat,” even for a brief stint? Aren’t they rather young to be burned out?

OK, Boomer.

Millennials, of which I am one, and Xennials, the cohort born from the late 1970s to early 1980s, are indeed leading the charge when it comes to the Great Resignation, or the recent increase in people quitting their jobs, according to an analysis by Visier into U.S. Bureau and Labor Statistics data. More than 6 million people quit their jobs between January and August 2021, according to the BLS’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. That was a quit rate of 2.9%, a series high.

But this shift can’t be entirely chalked up to generational stereotypes. Rather than laziness, it seems like part of what we’re seeing is a fundamental change in how people value work.

After 18 months of pandemic uncertainty altering how we work, it makes sense we’d return to the questions of why we work, and how our jobs affect our quality of life. Is there perhaps another way to earn an income that better aligns with our overall goals? Couldn’t we create a future of no longer using a career as the primary or sole basis of our identity and self-satisfaction? Shouldn’t this be a moment to consider how to work to live instead of live to work?

Granted, many recent resignations have stemmed from need as opposed to choice. For example, women are more likely to have to quit their jobs to be primary caregivers due to shuttered childcare and in-person schooling during COVID. There is also a great deal of stress around returning to work amidst an ongoing pandemic, especially if you don’t have health care. Long COVID is a growing concern. Although some have quit their jobs to hop to new positions, there are undoubtedly many who’ve quit without another job lined up.

But even before the pandemic, burnout was starting to catch up to us. A 2018 Gallup study found 7 in 10 Millennials felt some sort of burnout on the job, with 28% reporting it as frequent or constant. Whereas 21% of older generations reported feeling the same.

We can theorize that this burnout comes from the increasingly blurred boundaries between being on and off the clock. From being conditioned to believe that appearing “always available” is the hallmark of a promotable employee. From jobs that once required a high school diploma suddenly demanding a bachelor’s degree, forcing young people to get mired in never-before-seen levels of student loan debt. Perhaps too from how we were brought up — being over-scheduled as young students to pad our resumes and gain acceptance to colleges.

Millennials reportedly have higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide compared with our Gen X and Boomer counterparts. For example, 54% of Millennials perceive their mental health as excellent or good compared to 64% of Baby Boomers, according to a 2020 report from Blue Cross Blue Shield. The same study also found a 43% increase in major depression for millennials between the years of 2014 to 2018.

Quitting a job will never be a cure-all for underlying mental health issues, but taking a short-term hiatus from a large stressor and focusing on getting better can be helpful. There may well be financial repercussions of opting out of the workforce — forgoing income is a serious consideration, as is giving up employer-provided health insurance and pressing pause on investing for retirement.

Even so, it seems millions are willing to take the risk. Reducing future earnings potential to focus on mental health may sound ridiculous to some, but figuring out how to live a stable, balanced and healthy life at a young age could reap enormous rewards for the next generation — and for our workplaces.

It’s quite possible that after decades of wealth accumulation being heralded as the route to success, we can start shifting toward a better balanced life — one in which work is just a piece of who you are and ambition and career success needn’t define you nor be what gives your life meaning. This doesn’t mean we’re without ambition, only that our desire to achieve can encompass more than the traditional, work-centric milestones.

By:

Erin Lowry is the author of “Broke Millennial,” “Broke Millennial Takes On Investing” and “Broke Millennial Talks Money: Stories, Scripts and Advice to Navigate Awkward Financial Conversations.” She wrote this column for Bloomberg Opinion.

google news
Advertisement

Source: Erin Lowry: Young People ‘lying Flat’ Has Been A Long Time Coming

%d bloggers like this: