Facebook and YouTube help the old stay young
A group of scientists in Italy have found that social networking sites and the internet can help pensioners keep their brains active and fight off memory loss.
A study found that people who use Facebook, YouTube and Skype have more flexible brains than those who don’t.
It was also discovered that general internet use can help the older generations to develop their social skills and reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.
As part of the study residents of two care homes in Northern Italy were given laptops along with a tutorial in how to use the internet.
They were also given help in setting up their own personal accounts on Skype, Twitter and Facebook.
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Researchers found that after the study the pensioners who got to grips with modern technology had a much better memory and were more alert than those who didn’t the use the internet at all.
Marco Trabucchi, chairman of the Italian Association of Psychogeriatrics, which carried out the study, said: “Social networks and IT technology keep the cultural curiosity of the elderly alive.”
“It improves their cognitive performance and keeps their brains young; it stimulates their attention span, memory and perception. It keeps them young at heart.”
Currently, more than one-and-a-half million elderly people frequently use Skype to stay in touch with family and friends and have a profile on Facebook.
Mr Trabucchi also commented “Facebook is a window to the world for our elderly residents. It allows them to keep contact with younger members of their family.”
“Over the past few years the number of pensioners going online and using social networks has increased by 80 per cent,” he added.
“About 8 per cent of people who have a profile on Facebook and MySpace are pensioners.”
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”