This High School Student Has Created a Device to Help Parkinson's Patients

When Utkarsh Tandon was 10 years old, he saw a YouTube video of Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic torch. The tremors of the former heavyweight champion sparked his curiosity, and soon, Tandon was reading about Parkinson’s disease. The wheels in his head were already turning on how he could help those who suffered from it.

Fast forward to a few years later when Tandon was in a computer science class, studying machine learning. While researching, he stumbled upon a study in which a phone was secured to the hands of Parkinson’s patients and used to assess their tremors. With that, Tandon was on his way to creating OneRing—a 3-D printed wearable device that was just funded (twice over) on Kickstarter.

Named for the prized ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, OneRing goes on a patient’s finger and monitors their movements throughout the day. It categorizes those movements based on severity into three categories: dyskinesia, bradykinesia, and tremor. The time-stamped data then appears on an iOS app in the form of a daily report, helping patients and doctors best determine a course of treatment.

The plastic ring contains a box on top that holds a Bluetooth microchip, not unlike other wearable devices like the Fitbit. And like other wearable devices, Tandon is still working on making the design a little more fashion-friendly. He told FastCoDesign: "It has to be something people want to wear. I want to make it look good while it's doing the diagnosis in the background."

OneRing actually started as a 2014 science fair project when Tandon was a high school freshman. He created a machine learning model that did essentially what the product does today—gathers and classifies information on Parkinson’s patients. He won, and received a grant from the UCLA Brain Research Institute, which propelled the development.

Check out OneRing and hear Tandon explain the device in the video above.

[h/t FastCoDesign]

Images via Kickstarter.

Yoga and Meditation May Lead to an Inflated Ego

If you’ve been exasperated for years by that one self-righteous, yoga-obsessed friend, take note: Regular yoga practitioners experience inflated egos after a session of yoga or meditation, according to a forthcoming study in the journal Psychological Science.

Researchers found that yoga and meditation both increase "self-enhancement," or the tendency for people to attach importance to their own actions. In the first phase of the two-part study, researchers in Germany and England measured self-enhancement by recruiting 93 yoga students and having them respond to questionnaires over the course of 15 weeks, Quartz reports. Each assessment was designed to measure three outcomes: superiority, communal narcissism, and self-esteem. In the second phase, the researchers asked 162 meditation students to answer the same questionnaires over four weeks.

Participants showed significantly higher self-enhancement in the hour just after their practices. After yoga or meditation, participants were more likely to say that statements like "I am the most helpful person I know" and "I have a very positive influence on others" describe them.

At its Hindu and Buddhist roots, yoga is focused on quieting the ego and conquering the self. The findings seem to support what some critics of Western-style yoga suspect—that the practice is no longer true to its South Asian heritage.

It might not be all bad, though. Self-enhancement tends to correlate with higher levels of subjective well-being, at least in the short term. People prone to self-enhancement report feeling happier than the average person. However, they’re also more likely to exhibit social behaviors (like bragging or condescending) that are detrimental in the long term.

So if you think your yoga-loving friends are a little holier than thou, you may be right. But it might be because their yoga class isn’t deflating their egos like yogis say it should.

[h/t Quartz]

Doc_Brown, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Cropped.
This Just In
The Honey Smacks In Your Pantry May Be Contaminated With Salmonella
Doc_Brown, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Cropped.
Doc_Brown, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. Cropped.

Salmonella, a bacterial food-borne illness often associated with raw eggs and undercooked chicken, has been linked recently to a popular children's cereal. According to Snopes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging consumers to avoid Kellogg’s Honey Smacks, citing the brand as the likely cause of the Salmonella outbreak spreading across the U.S.

Since early March, 73 people in 31 states have contracted the virus. Salmonella clears up in most people on its own, but in some cases it can lead to hospitalization or even death. Twenty-four victims have been admitted to hospitals so far, with no reported deaths. Of the 39 patients who were questioned, 30 of them remembered eating cold cereal and 14 of them specifically cited Honey Smacks.

In response to the outbreak, the Kellogg Company has recalled its 15.3-ounce and 23-ounce boxes of Honey Smacks printed with any "best if used by" date between June 14, 2018 and June 14, 2019 (recalled boxes are labeled on the bottom with the UPC codes 3800039103 or 3800014810). The CDC recommends that you take even greater precautions by throwing out or returning any Honey Smacks you have at home, regardless of package size, "best by" date, or whether your family has eaten from the box previously without getting sick.

Symptoms of Salmonella include diarrhea, fever, headache, and abdominal pain, and usually appear 12 hours to three days after the contaminated food is ingested. If you or someone in your household is showing signs of the infection, ask a doctor about how to best treat it.

[h/t Snopes]


More from mental floss studios