MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The days of Trivial Pursuit may be behind us, according to researchers at Colombia University. Thanks to the ease with which data can be stored and accessed online, people may be opting to clear their memory banks of information that they know can be found in "the cloud."
One experiment found that people were more likely to remember trivia statements they typed into a computer if they were told the computer’s memory would be wiped of the information. If participants were told that the data would be stored they were less likely to recall it later.
Another experiment found "preliminary evidence" that people were more likely to remember how to find information than the information itself if they expected the information to be readily available later, the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog reported.
Instructing participants to remember the information made no difference in actual recall, researchers found.
This doesn’t mean that the brain’s ability has changed, Colombia University psychologist Betsy Sparrow emphasized, only that the individual’s tendency to exercise their memory has changed. The team plans to conduct further experiments to determine whether the outsourced memory has any benefits for the individual.
Old docs pick up new tricks
Older physicians who have been in practice 31 years or more are just as likely to own a tablet computer or plan to purchase one as a younger physician just out of school, according to a survey by QuantiaMD.
Tablet computer adoption is less age-dependent than other technologies, such as smartphones, the American Medical Assn.’s American Medical News reported.
In a survey of nearly 3,800 physicians 19 percent of those who had been in the field for 31 years or more said they owned a tablet computer and another 25 percent said they were extremely likely to get one in the future. Among doctors with less than 10 years in practice about 20 percent used tablets and 38 percent planned on getting one eventually.
Head injuries linked to doubled dementia risk
Traumatic brain injury, regardless of the severity, was linked to a doubled increase of dementia later in life, according to research presented at the 2011 conference of the Alzheimer’s Assn.
Older veterans who had experienced head injuries were twice as likely to develop dementia within seven years, according to one study looked at the medical records of about 280,000 military veterans aged 55 or older.
A second study compared 500 former professional football players with probably cognitive impairment against an older age-group of individuals with no professional sports background, finding that the athletes had similar cognitive ability as people significantly older than them, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Minnesota lawmakers tackle FDA device review process
The entire Congressional body of Minnesota teamed up to put pressure on the FDA’s investigational device exemption process with a formal letter to the agency’s commissioner Margaret Hamburg, MedCity News reported.
The letter criticized the the agency for a decrease in devices that won IDE consideration, citing a report that found that only 32 percent of devices were successful in their first IDE bid in 2010, compared to 56 percent in 2009 and 76 percent in 2000, according to the North Star State delegation’s letter.
"Specifically, we are very concerned that delays in this process are hindering innovation, delaying patient access to new therapies, and undermining the US medical industry’s global leadership," the lawmakers wrote.
GOP advisor backs Obamacare
States need to move forward with development of insurance exchanges or risk losing control to the federal government, said former Bush administration head of Health & Human Services Mike Leavitt, a top supporter and advisor for GOP White House hopeful Mitt Romney.
Leavitt called President Barack Obama’s insurance exchange initiative "a very practical solution to a problem that needs to be solved," speaking to an audience at the National Governor’s Assn.
The insurance exchange law gives states until January 2014 to implement their own system or state citizens will get access to a federal exchange, the Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog reported