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Cell Phone Addiction is Putting People at Risk

Phone addiction depicted in a cartoon where people are all focused on their phones.
Cell phone addiction is not something that people always discuss although it is hurting them in many ways, even putting their lives at risk.

Mitochondrial Transplant: Using Dying Organs to Restore Life

Success often results from being at the right place at the right time. Such was the case for two health scientists in Boston not long ago. One had been studying mitochondrial transplants in pigs while the other struggled to treat newborns who had heart attacks. Through a stroke of luck and genius, however, both partnered to offer new hope to patients through mitochondrial transplant treatments. But mitochondrial transplants may be only the beginning when it comes to preserving human life. These tiny “powerhouses” inside all our cells might hold the key not only in managing heart attacks but also in preserving youth and much more. This is a great example of how precision medicine is impacting our health in positive ways.

The Boston Mitochondrial Transplant Experience

Suffering a heart attack is bad, but it's not the end.
One of the newer weapons in the fight against heart attacks: Mitochondrial transplant.

According to a New York Times article, Dr. James McCully, a medical researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, had been studying heart attacks in pigs. After noticing that pigs’ mitochondria in oxygen-deprived heart cells appeared different after a heart attack, he had an idea. McCully took a small piece of the pigs’ muscle tissue and isolated mitochondria from its cells. He then transplanted the mitochondria into the damaged area of the pigs’ hearts. Remarkably, the transplanted mitochondria moved right into place and allowed the pigs’ heart to recover from the heart attacks.

Dr. Sitaram Emani, a pediatric heart surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital, heard about McCully’s mitochondrial transplant findings. In dealing with small infants who have heart attacks, Emani wondered if mitochondrial transplants might improve the infants’ outcomes. The two got together and decided to see if mitochondrial transplants might work for these neonates. After suffering a heart attack, the infants received a mitochondrial transplant infusion containing 1 billion of their own healthy mitochondria.

Emani and McCully have since treated eleven infants with heart attacks in total. Before, two thirds of these infants eventually died after suffering a heart attack. Of those treated by Emani and McCully, two thirds are now surviving.

Other Research Evidence Regarding Mitochondrial Treatments

Mitochondrial research is not limited to pigs. UCLA’s Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology recently published a report regarding fruit flies and mitochondrial damage. The researchers noticed that as the fruit flies got older, their cells’ mitochondria would deteriorate. Rather than giving mitochondrial transplants to fruit flies, however, these scientists injected intracellular materials to remove the damaged mitochondria. As a result, the fruit flies receiving the treatments lived as much as 20 percent longer.

Rather than exploring mitochondrial transplants, other companies are investigating chemicals to improve mitochondrial function and cell metabolism. In an article previously reporting bold moves to combat aging, Elysium Health described its NAD-precursor vitamins. Mitochondria use NAD to produce energy and boost metabolism, but NAD slowly declines with aging. Vitamins, as well as treatments like mitochondrial transplants, may not only reduce heart attack damage but might also prolong youthfulness.

The Future of Mitochondrial Transplants for Heart Attacks

Mitochondrial transplants might help those who suffer heart attacks.
There are many treatments for heart attacks, but the newest one – mitochondrial transplant – shows definite promise.

The mitochondrial transplant experience in treating neonatal heart attacks is certainly promising. Getting enough participants for an actual study would be challenging since few infants would qualify. However, recruiting adult patients with heart attacks for a mitochondrial research study would be more feasible. In fact, medical centers are already planning controlled trials using mitochondrial transplants in coronary artery bypass grafting and/or valve surgery patients. Such patients, who are at high risk for heart attacks, would be ideal for a mitochondrial transplant study. If the evidence shows benefit, this could radically change heart attack treatment for many others.

Heart attacks are not the only area where mitochondrial transplants might be beneficial. Animal studies have also shown that lung and kidney cells deprived of oxygen also recover after mitochondrial transplants. Brain tissue similarly depends on a high number of mitochondria to fuel cognitive metabolism.

Therefore, mitochondrial transplants might also be useful for acute stroke patients. Mitochondrial transplants might provide future treatment options not only for heart attacks but brain attacks as well.

Mitochondrial Research—Interfaces with Precision Medicine

In addition to being the energy boosters for our bodies’ cells, mitochondria also contain their own set of DNA. Mitochondrial DNA differs from the DNA in the nucleus of our bodies’ cells, however. Little is currently known about mitochondrial DNA, but it has been linked to a number of inherited diseases. Given advances in genome sequencing and the rise of precision medicine, mitochondrial DNA sequencing might one day be possible as well. This could offer new directions in medical research and insights. The benefits of mitochondrial transplants today for heart attacks may be a stepping stone to other bold new discoveries.

 

The Growing Need to Curb Cell Phone Addiction!!!

The cell phone is one of the most used and productive tools in our daily lives. However, cell phone addiction is a major issue globally. It negatively affects work productivity, relationships, even our own health. We have this need to stay connected at all times. People are developing habits of checking news, friends, and memes on every social media platform. There’s even a term for the phenomenon—FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. Over time, this has evolved into an unforeseen cell phone addiction for a an entire generation.

Survey Says

Smartphone Addiction infographic

In 2018, Seventy-seven percent of Americans now own a mobile device, up from 35% in 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. And in a 2017 survey, Deloitte reported that US smart phone users check their phones as much as 47 times a day. Of these users, 47% said they have tried to limit their usage, but only 30% have succeeded. The lure of checking emails, and social media platforms like Facebook, is hard to resist. Of the respondents, 85% check their phones while talking to family and friends. Eighty percent also check their phones within an hour before sleeping, and upon waking.

The increasing use of the device can result in detrimental effects, including neck and spine problems, neurological issues, anxiety, insomnia, and even death from increasing cases of distracted driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said distracted driving

A Manhattan study on pedestrians found that 42% of those who entered traffic during a “Don’t Walk” signal were on their electronic devices. Injuries increased tenfold between 2005 and 2010.

The survey also asked respondents ways to restrict cell phone use. Thirty-eight percent of the respondents keep their smart phones in their bags or pockets when meeting people. Thirty-two percent mute notifications, while 27% keep their devices in their bags or pockets when they’re alone. Deleting apps is the solution for 26% of the respondents to reduce temptation to access apps. And finally, 26% of respondents turn off their devices at night.

Bad Effects of Smartphone Addiction
The Future of Smartphone Addiction and its Negative Effects

Realistic Tips to Kick Cell Phone Addiction

Kicking the habit doesn’t always have to go the cold-turkey route. Once you are aware of the effects of cell phone addiction on you, you can slowly build a routine that is doable for you.

  • Don’t use your smart phone as an alarm clock

Snoozing alarms conditions you to be lazy in the first place. Your phone is the first thing you use, trapping you in a black hole of emails and social media. By the time you get up, you are fatigued by information that somehow affect how your day proceeds.

  • Leave your phone outside your bedroom

Make your phone completely out of reach during sleeping time to reduce distractions. Also, the light from your phone messes with your circadian rhythm. The blue light mimics sunlight and causes your brain to stop producing melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. People can get insomnia, which can lead to other health risks like depression, obesity, and memory issues.

  • Turn your device on airplane mode

This is a great short-term technique, especially when driving, as it doesn’t distract you. It saves you on data as well.

  • Don’t bring your phone inside the bathroom

The bathroom is one of the worst places to use your smart phone. Leaving it at your desk outside the bathroom helps increase productivity and reduces spreading germs to your face, hands, and to other people.

  • Regulate app use

Apps like Moment, Space, and OFFTIME track your mobile usage and tells you which apps take most of your time. They also actively block you off from certain apps during specific times, and some even have mindfulness activities you can do in the meantime. You could also delete any excess apps that pull your attention away from more important things.

  • Leave your phone at home

This takes a lot of commitment and planning to execute. There was a time when we moved around all day untethered from our devices. Cell phone addiction can be avoided even in the modern digital age.

The Future of Cell Phone Addiction Feature Image
How Cell Phone Addiction is Impacting Society

Time for Reevaluation of Smart Phone Addiction

It is evident that our dependence on our smart phones has gotten out of hand. In Apple’s 2018 WWDC Keynote, one of their main highlights is their new feature, Screen Time. This app helps users to be more mindful of how they use their devices by providing reports on app usage and device pickups. It can also set limits on apps and put apps on off limits on specific times for better productivity and sleeping habits. It is important for every cell phone user to realize how their mobile activities affect them, and start with simple, doable steps that will positively impact their everyday lives. It is time to put a stop to cell phone addiction.

References:

https://www.statista.com/chart/12403/smartphone-addiction/

https://www.thrillist.com/tech/how-to-break-your-iphone-addiction-ways-to-stop-using-your-smartphone-so-much-am-i-addicted-to-my-smartphone

https://www.cnn.com/2017/11/30/health/smartphone-addiction-study/index.html

Addiction to Smartphones Infographic

Smartphone Addiction infographic