September Research Picks

Group cycling

Group recreational cycling is an increasingly popularly tourist activity where a guide escorts a number of cyclists on a site-seeing trip or other tour. The guide is usually responsible for the comfort and safety of the cyclists and so a position-tracking system that also incorporates a health-monitoring system for the riders would be beneficial in this regard. Researchers in Taiwan have now developed an event-based wireless navigation and healthcare system group recreational cycling using an ad hoc network using a multi-hop protocol for the transmission of data from individual cycle monitors to the guide. The data inputs can thus keep track of all the cyclists in the group as well as providing a warning signal for heart health problems that arise during the activity.

Yu, K-M., Lee, C-C., Hsieh, H-N., Chang, H-W., Zhou, J.Y., Yu, C-Y., Liu, J-Y. and Lee, M-G. (2014) ‘A wireless navigation and healthcare system for group recreational cycling’, Int. J. Ad Hoc and Ubiquitous Computing, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.81–92.


Two-tier diagnostics for neuromuscular disease

The early diagnosis of neuromuscular disease, such as ALS (amyotropic lateral sclerosis), muscular dystrophy, polymyositis, endocrine myopathy, metabolic myopathy, neuropathy, poliomyelitis and myasthenia gravis is important for patient wellbeing, treatment and to allow family to cope with an emerging disability in terms of domestic arrangements and finances. Electromyography (EMG) is commonly used in detection and diagnosis. However, researchers in India point out that there are limitations to the use of this technique alone and they have developed a two-level system that can make a positive diagnosis sooner rather than later. Their intelligent diagnostic model uses the EMG parameters on one level and on a second performs an analysis of muscular, cognitive and psychological factors.

Pandey, B. and Mishra, R.B. (2014) ‘An intelligent model for two level diagnoses of neuromuscular diseases’, Int. J. Knowledge Engineering and Soft Data Paradigms, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp.199–226.


Smoothing nursing workflow

A new approach to healthcare and nursing workflow has been developed by researchers in Saudi Arabia. Their approach utilizes a computerized provider order entry system to reduce medication errors at the frontline and so improve patient safety. Their survey of nurses using the system in a Saudi Arabian hospital demonstrates efficacy and improved efficiency of workflow and was perceived by the nurses as helping them give improved healthcare. Provision of suitable training improved the perception among nurses of such a computerized system, the team reports.

Alsweed, F., Alshaikh, A., Ahmed, A., Yunus, F. and Househ, M. (2014) ‘Impact of computerized provider order entry system on nursing workflow, patient safety, and medication errors: perspectives from the front line’, Int. J. Electronic Healthcare, Vol. 7, No. 4, pp.287–300


Learning with Facebook

The advent of online social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter represents something of a paradigm shift in how we communicate and potentially how we educate and learn, especially given that hundreds of millions of people use such services every day. Now, researchers from Hong Kong have tested the potential for personal, social, academic and career development for higher education students. Their findings suggest that exploiting such sites, and Facebook in particular, could benefit both students and their educators in different ways as a rapid and engaging means of communicating and sharing information. Moreover, given the development of Facebook video conferencing, this site might steal a march on others in the educational arena for remote learning and distributed discussion.

Wong, K., Kwan, R., Leung, K. and Wang, F.L. (2014) ‘Facebook’s potential for personal, social, academic and career development for higher education students’, Int. J. Innovation and Learning, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp.203–220.

Author: David Bradley

Award-winning, freelance science writer based in Cambridge, England.