Isnin, 23 September 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

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The Star Online: Lifestyle: Health

E-readers may make reading easier for people with dyslexia


Smithsonian researchers have found that e-readers may improve reading comprehension in people with dyslexia.

US researchers have found a surprising new benefit to e-readers: when they are set up to display only a few words per line, some people with dyslexia can read more easily, more quickly, and with greater comprehension.

Scientists from the Laboratory for Visual Learning at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory enlisted 103 students with dyslexia in a study on how e-readers might benefit their reading skills and comprehension. Findings were published Thursday in the journal PLOS One.

An element in many cases of dyslexia is called a visual attention deficit, which is marked by an inability to concentrate on letters within words or words within lines of text, the researchers explained.

Another element is known as visual crowding – the failure to recognise letters when they are cluttered within the word.

Using short lines on an e-reader can alleviate these issues and promote reading by reducing visual distractions within the text.

"At least a third of those with dyslexia we tested have these issues with visual attention and are helped by reading on the e-reader," said lead author of the study Matthew H. Schneps. "For those who don't have these issues, the study showed that the traditional ways of displaying text are better."

An earlier study by Schneps tracked eye movements of dyslexic students while they read, and it showed the use of short lines helped subjects read better by improving the efficiency of their eye movements, the researchers said. – AFP Relaxnews

‘Smart teeth’ track eating and smoking habits


A new smart tooth sensor could track your dental-related health habits, researchers say.

A NEW smart sensor attached to your teeth can track how much you eat and how much you talk as well as let your doctor know just exactly how much you may be smoking, researchers in Taiwan say.

Researchers from National Taiwan University in Taipei recruited eight volunteers who were willing to glue prototype sensors using dental cement to their back teeth. The sensors were accelerometers that could differentiate between chewing, speaking, coughing, and smoking 94% of the time, reported LiveScience this week.

Head researchers Hao-hua Chu and Polly Huang, along with their team, presented their work on Sept 11 at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Switzerland.

"Our mouth is an opening into our health – our drinking and eating behaviours shed light on our diet," Chu told LiveScience. "How frequently we cough also tells us about our health, and how frequently we talk is related to social activity that can be related to health."

"Your future dentist can offer two options for artificial teeth – the first one is a traditional artificial tooth, and the second option is a smart tooth that you can use to record your activity," Chu said. "We might also be able to put in a small energy harvester to provide enough power to run the device for a day at least, instead of taking the tooth out and recharging it." – AFP Relaxnews


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