Keep Falling Sick? Try the Health-PIE App

Keep Falling Sick? Try the Health-PIE App

For someone who falls sick often, keeping track of your new medicines and making sure you have them on time can be a problem. A chronic illness where you need to have the same medicines daily is bad enough, but when you’re on a new schedule of pills once a month, it can be very hard to keep track. Keeping track of all your prescriptions for doctor visits can be another problem, at least for some of us.

That’s where the Health-PIE (the PIE stands for Patient Information and Empowerment) by mTatva comes in. The app, which launched late last year, was highly recommended by an acquaintance so we decided to try it out as well, and see whether it would make a difference. The answer, it turns out, is both yes and no – this app is actually pretty useful in some scenarios, but there are definitely some areas where it can get better.

The app itself is pretty straightforward – when you start using it, Health-PIE asks you to set up your reminders, and you can do this either by uploading a scanned image of your prescription, or snapping a picture of it. You can then set up reminders based on the prescription, so that you get a notification every time you need to have a pill. In the app, you can look at the different records – that is to say, the prescriptions you’ve scanned, or written and uploaded yourself – and the different reminders you have set up.

The records are useful to keep track of the different medicines you need to have, but also if you’re going to a doctor for any treatment that requires multiple visits and you need to carry records of all the different prescriptions you’ve been given. With the app you get everything in one place for easy reference. It could also be useful if you’re falling sick frequently, and want to be able to easily pull out a two or three month old prescription for reference.

Of course, you could just do this by keeping a folder with all your documents (which is probably the best idea since no doctor is going to enjoy peering at a small phone screen to look at old prescriptions) or even manually set up a notebook in an app like Evernote with all the notes of different illnesses if you wanted to, but unless you’re already making use of Evernote for multiple uses, it’s easier to just use a specialised app like this one to get things done.

healthpie_screen2.jpgThe app also a couple of additional records that could be useful – a vaccination chart that parents might find handy, and a health-info section, where you can input details such as your height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and so on, to create a user profile and charts over time. There’s also a Health Info section where you can see things like advice on de-stressing, quitting alcohol, or managing diabetes. We didn’t personally find that section too engaging, but of course, that depends on what you are interested in.

However, there are some definite areas where the app could improve. For one thing, if you’re typing in the names of medicines yourself, it makes the record less useful as an archive of your medication, as there is no guarantee that you’ll type the right names in. Some kind of drop down list or database would perhaps make this less of an issue. For reminders, it of course doesn’t matter if you make a small typo when writing down the names of your medicines, so that part of the app will work fine anyway.

And the app itself is pretty useful if you’re the type of person who gets confused and has to re-read the prescription every time you’re about to have your medicines. The app will remind you which pill to have and when; this basically means that you just need to follow the guide you’ve saved on your phone instead of trying to remember whether you had to have a particular pill twice, or three times in a day.

One small problem is that you can’t set a lifetime reminder for medicines like Thyronorm of Gemcal, which you’re supposed to have as a daily supplement. We set up a 999 day reminder, which is a good enough workaround.

Where it falls a little short is in making sure you’ve actually had the pill or not. There’s a reminder, and you may have the pill then, or if you’re busy, you might just swipe it to “taken” just to stop the notification, and think that you’ll have it in five minutes once you’re done working. And then of course, later in the day, you’re counting your tablets trying to figure out if you had your medicine or not.

Classic case of PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Computer, or user error) we know, but a common enough one amongst the people we spoke to. It’s hard to think of a good technical solution to this problem either, though a very low-tech solution works well for this problem – the pill organiser.

Spend just about Rs. 100 and you’ll get a pill box with 28 containers – so you can put in the pills you’re supposed to have in the morning, afternoon, evening, and one spare, for all seven days of the week. You can get smaller and bigger organisers depending on your needs, and then you don’t need to remember anything else, just set a recurring reminder on your phone to check your pillbox and you’re set. One glance tells you what pills you need to have when, and it also makes it easy to track if you’ve had your last dose or not.

Overall, we think that the Health-PIE app is a fairly simple and easy to use app that could be replaced by other alternatives as mentioned above, but if you’re the kind of person who keeps falling sick and has trouble staying on top of prescriptions, then you should certainly check this out.

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Tags: Android, Healthcare, HealthPIE, Mobile Health, mTatva, Reviews

How Yoga Can Keep You From Joint Pain

Do your knee joint or wrists or shoulders ache when doing trivial things? Is the pain in your joints limiting you from enjoying life the way you wish to? Are you tired of popping painkillers multiple times a day?

If you said yes for either of these questions, you’ve obviously have had enough and are willing to end your relationship with the pain. As one ages, the chances of joint pains increases. A weak bone structure, lack of adequate physical exercises and lack of essential nutrients in the diet can contribute to and aggravate the situation further. While medication helps alleviate the pain, alternative time-tested methods like yoga can accelerate the process of eliminating the pain altogether. Yoga is an ancient Indian technique that effectively uproots the pain, tones the body and calms the mind.

Basic Yoga Postures Like The Following Ones Will Heal Your Joints And Strengthen Them:

Veerbhadrasana (Warrior pose)

The Warrior pose is a knee strengthening yoga pose that also helps people suffering from frozen shoulders. It also releases stress from the shoulders and brings balance in the body.

Dhanurasana (Bow pose)

The Bow pose opens the shoulders and relieves them of ache. This yoga pose also adds flexibility to the back and relieves the body of stress and fatigue.

Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)

The Bridge pose helps strengthen muscles in the knee joint and is also helpful for those suffering from osteoporosis. It also calms the brain and reduces anxiety and stress in the body.

Trikonasana (Triangle pose)

The Triangle pose strengthens the legs, knees and ankles. It also stretches and opens the hamstrings, groin and hips. This yoga pose also relieves the body of sciatica and back pain.

Ustrasana (Camel pose)

An effective back pain exerciseand shoulder strengthening yoga pose, Ustrasana also improves flexibility of the spine, improves posture and relieves the body of lower back ache.

Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana (Dolphin Plank pose)

The Dolphin Plank pose helps stretches the shoulders and hamstrings. It also strengthen the wrists, arms and legs while relieving the body of fatigue and back ache. This yoga posture also helps prevent osteoporosis.

A Word Of Caution:

Make use of yoga blocks, cushions and support while practicing these poses to avoid aggravation of pain. Respect your body’s limit and do only as much as you comfortably can. In case the pain aggravates, discontinue the practice and seek medical consultation before resuming.

Pain-Free Tips For Being Pain-Free:

  1. Get up from your desk and stretch once every hour.
  2. Maintain a good posture while sitting and standing
  3. Don’t over-stress your joints
  4. Eat healthy food
  5. Gain more muscle

Eat Right!

Joints are technically junctions where bones meet and enable functions such as rotation, bending, rolling and gliding. Keeping these junctions healthy and functional is not as daunting a task as it may seem. The first step to healthier joints starts from making right food choices. Experts suggest reducing intake of inflammatory foods such as sugar and gluten rich eatables. Intake of anti-inflammatory foods such as green-leafy vegetables and fruits is encouraged.Incorporating Ayurveda in your current lifestyle will also help alleviate the pain.

Yoga is a natural and side-effect free approach to living a healthy life. Adopting yoga as a regular practice makes the body physically and mentally fit. It restores vigour and enhances the quality of life. The effects of yoga take time to manifest so don’t give up and be regular with your practice. Stretch on the yoga mat a little and relieve your body of pain, permanently!

Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Art of Living Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and an Art of Living Yoga teacher. Find an Art of Living Yoga course at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on courses or share feedback? Write to us at [email protected]


People Keep Going to This Home Looking for Their Lost Phones – and Nobody Knows Why

People Keep Going to This Home Looking for Their Lost Phones - and Nobody Knows Why

For months now, angry strangers have been showing up at Christina Lee and Michael Saba’s front door with a curious demand: “Give me back my stolen phone!”

Sometimes, families will show up; other times, it’s groups of friends or a random person with a police officer in tow, according to Fusion. Despite using different service providers, everyone who bangs on their door has been led to the suburban Atlanta home by a phone-tracking app.

The problem – as the couple desperately tries to explain visitors – is that the missing phones aren’t at the house and never have been.

They are not, in fact, thieves. Saba is an engineer; Lee is a journalist.

The pair doesn’t understand why exactly, but both Android and iPhone users on various networks are being directed to their house by phone-tracking apps.

Once the awkward situation is explained, most lost-phone-seekers are understanding. But the couple told Fusion that a smaller number of people who place absolute faith in their tracking technology are convinced that the couple is lying, provoking potentially volatile conflicts.

“My biggest fear is that someone dangerous or violent is going to visit our house because of this,” Saba told Fusion by email. “If or when that happens, I doubt our polite explanations are gonna go very far.”

“The majority of incidents happen later at night, after dinner,” Lee told the BBC, noting that neither she nor Saba have an idea why the problem persists.

On several occasions, Fusion reports, the problem has led to serious misunderstandings, such as an incident in which the couple briefly became suspects in a missing persons case:

In June, the police came looking for a teenage girl whose parents reported her missing. The police made Lee and Saba sit outside for more than an hour while the police decided whether they should get a warrant to search the house for the girl’s phone, and presumably, the girl. When Saba asked if he could go back inside to use the bathroom, the police wouldn’t let him.

On a separate occasion, Lee told the BBC, three “frantic” young men showed up outside their door looking for someone.

“The minute Michael opened the door they were, ‘like where is he?'” she said.

So why is it happening? So far, nobody is entirely sure; but several theories have been floated by experts.

To grasp the problem, it helps to rewind history to the mid-1990s, when cellphone companies were forced to create a way to locate cellular devices so that their coordinates could be sent to police dispatchers. At the time – as the Las VegasReview-Journal reported in 2013 – a growing number of calls to police were occurring via cell phone and authorities needed a way to accurately locate the callers.

Nearly two decades later, a recent USA Today investigation revealed, the number of calls to dispatchers from cell phones has increased to 70 percent; but in many cities around the country, the technology has not always kept pace.

The ubiquity of the technology may leave the impression that location tracking is always reliable, experts say.

Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert from Surrey University, told the BBC that trackers rely on GPS, which isn’t available in many locations.

Without GPS, he noted, phone trackers rely on a less accurate process of determining location known as “triangulation.”

“All triangulation does is draw a line equidistant between three cell towers and if your house is on that line you’ll get visits,” Woodward said. “I don’t have enough data to know exactly what’s going on but I wouldn’t be at all surprised [if it was a triangulation error].”

In instances where triangulation doesn’t work, a tracker will attempt to use the “the last known wi-fi signal the device found,” according to the BBC.

Ian Williams, a security consultant from Pentest Partners, told the BBC that the problem may arise during this crucial step in the location process. He noted that a moved or stolen wi-fi router may still be “registered as being in the vicinity” of the home.

“I have actually seen a person’s location data hop around a map where a router has been relocated due to a house move and before the databases of the routers location have had the chance to be updated,” he said.

A similar problem plagued a 59-year-old man named Wayne Dobson, who started receiving unwanted visitors looking for their missing phones at his Las Vegas home in 2011, according to the Review-Journal.

“I’m standing there and I’m thinking, ‘What are they talking about?’ ” he told the paper. “They might as well have said, ‘Give me my horse back.'”

The people pestering Dobson were all Sprint users, the paper reported. By 2013, they were still showing up at all hours of the day. Dobson was also searched by police on one occasion and narrowly avoided several other conflicts with strangers. Eventually, he told the Review-Journal, he began to fear for his safety and his domestic life began to deteriorate.

“It’s very difficult to say, ‘I don’t have your phone,’ in any other way other than, ‘I don’t have your phone,’ ” Dobson told the paper.

“It’s a hell of a problem,” he added. “It would be nice to be able to get a good night’s sleep.”

Sprint eventually located the problem and apologized to Dobson, according to the Verge.

Despite similar circumstances, Saba and Lee have not been so lucky.

They told Fusion that their home is near three cell towers, the closest of which is belongs to T-Mobile. Efforts to reach out to the company as well as Google and Apple seeking help yielded no assistance, Fusion reported. The publication even reached out to the Federal Communications Commission “the agency in charge of regulating wireless devices,” according to Fusion but were told the issue didn’t fall under their control.

The couple plan to file a complaint with the FCC and their senator.

Moving isn’t an option, they told Fusion, because Lee’s parents own the home.

“Public pressure is how stuff like this changes,” Saba told Fusion. “It sucks that it happens to us, but I hope our experience will lead to it not happening to anyone else.”


The blockade is over but Nepal’s young Madhesis are determined to keep their agitation alive

The blockade is over but Nepal's young  Madhesis are determined to keep their agitation alivePhoto Credit: Anumeha Yadav
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Madhesi protestors have lifted the four-month blockade of the India-Nepal open international border at Birgunj. On February 5, the first trucks rolled across the Maitreyi bridge, which connects Raxaul in Bihar’s East Champaran to Birgunj in Nepal, just 150 km away from the capital Kathmandu.

The agitation began in September, shortly after Nepal’s parliament ratified the country’s new Constitution, as reported earlier in this series. The Madhesis – a term for several communities living in Nepal’s central and eastern plains who have close cultural and family ties to India – fear that the new statute will perpetuate the discrimination they have long faced. Kathmandu, however, accused India of imposing an unofficial blockade on the landlocked country, a charge denied by New Delhi.

The agitation caused an enormous shortage of fuel and essential goods in Nepal.

Since last weekend, the tents and bamboo poles blocking the Maitreyi bridge, the most visible symbols of the protest, have disappeared. What is left is the memory of the human cost – 55 civilians and seven policemen lost their lives in the agitation – and an over-arching question: How has the turmoil shaped the views of youth in towns like Birgunj, which were at the epicenter of the protests?

State brutality

On January 15, when negotiations between a coalition of Madhes-based parties and the three major Nepali political parties were still in progress in Kathmandu, protestors had for the first time since September allowed two-wheelers onto the Maitreyi bridge.

A few kilometers away, at the clock tower on a busy crossroads at the center of Birgunj town, a large crowd thronged an exhibition of photographs chronicling the agitation.

Chandan Gupta, a 19-year old student of business administration, was in the crowd. Gupta, clad in the signature t-shirt and jacket of the young, said he had taken part in several of the protests.

“This photograph shows a man impersonating Sushil Koirala [Nepal’s prime minister from February 2014-October 2015], wearing shoes around his neck because Koirala ratified a biased Constitution,” said Gupta, as he walked along the exhibits, pausing occasionally to point out photographs of special interest.

“This next one shows Newar women, a community from the hill region, supporting the Madhesi agitation… Here, a goat is dressed as current Prime Minister KP Oli, little children are leading it… Men, women, and children had formed a 1,100 kilometer-long human chain all along the plains from east to west, but Oli called us a swarm of flies for organising it.”

Gupta’s family migrated to Birgunj 12 years ago from a village in the adjoining Bara district to set up a small hardware business. Though communities from Nepal’s hills and plains had struggled together for a democratic Constitution, the hill communities – who had greater numbers in parliament – had ratified a Constitution inimical to Madhesi interests, he claimed.

This, he said, was in line with Nepal’s history, throughout which Madhesis had been given “no rights to their civilisation” and were slightingly referred to as “Dhotis” and “Biharis”, among other pejorative terms.

Gupta, who by then had been joined by some of his classmates, recalled that last September, Nepal Armed Police had fired at protestors marching towards this same clock tower. One of his friends fished out his mobile phone to show images of bullet-ridden bodies of protestors that had been circulated on WhatsApp. “The government was sending the army here dressed as policemen,” said Chandan.

Chandan’s friend Harish believes there was an ethnic bias in how security personnel were deputed during the protests. “The government gave only sticks to Madhesi security personnel and put them on the frontline,” he claimed. “The Pahadi security personnel stood behind, and fired at Madhesi protestors with powerful guns.”

Eleven people, including children, were killed when the police fired on protestors in Birgunj.
Eleven people, including children, were killed when the police fired on protestors in Birgunj.

Social and institutional polarisation

Mainstream Nepali publications provided little ground reportage of the protests, but young Madhesis living in Kathmandu and abroad have been publishing analysis and news on independent web platforms such as Madhesi Youth.

Local FM radio stations took sides. “The media in Kathmandu was speaking the official line, and Terai’s local media became the voice of the movement,” said Suresh Bidari, a radio jockey with Narayani FM. Once the protests picked up steam, the radio station changed its format. Where once it focused on film music, it now began broadcasting interviews with protestors, farmers, and political activists through the day, he said.

Bidari, in his 20s, belongs to a community from the hilly regions; his family had moved to the Terai seven years back. Despite being a “Pahadi” he supports the Madhesi movement, though he does not agree with all of its demands.

“The Madhesis have been ruled for 250 years by people from the hills,” said Bidari. “They must be treated as equal citizens, and get full citizenship even if they have cross-border marriages.” But he did not support seemankan, the demand that provincial boundaries be redrawn.

A key demand of the alliance of Madhes-based parties is that the plains be divided into no more than two provinces. The government for its part has proposed seven provinces, drawn such that in four of five provinces in the plains, areas with large Madhesi population have been merged into hill regions. Madhesi leaders have demanded that Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari districts in the east be included in a contiguous Madhes province, which will have access to water from the river Kosi in the east.

Said a young professional who did not wish to be named: “What will I, as a resident of Birgunj, get if we get a Jhapa district? Instead, it would be better if they asked for a hill district so we can access hydel power.”

Such sharp differences over issues, and over the question of who participated in the agitation and who did not, have polarised younger people. “For me, the main issue is that Madhesis face discrimination,” said Aashu Saraf, a 21-year old photojournalist and undergraduate student. “I don’t support the demarcation demand and yet, since I have started speaking about the andolan actively on Facebook, my friends of several years from school and college have distanced themselves from me. I had never thought this would happen.”

Members of a band called Sanskriti jamming in a restaurant in Birgunj.
Members of a band called Sanskriti jamming in a restaurant in Birgunj.

‘At least, we will live with dignity’

In peri-urban areas and villages, where most of the young protestors came from, there is a wider acceptance of the demand for demarcation and a willingness to continue the agitation in some form.

In Barjari, near Jaleswar in Mahottari district, the protests were so intense that Neha Jha, a student of commerce in class XI, could not attend school for nearly two months. On a January afternoon, she was returning after her final exams, walking down a path that led to her house in the village. “The demarcation issue is crucial because right now, the main Madhes province is between two rivers and we have access to neither of them,” she said. “This means farmers will get no water for irrigation. What will people do then? Already, Madhesis are denied jobs in government.”

Though she had stayed at home, her family members and neighbours had taken part in the protests, and Neha has vivid memories of the chaos. “The police were coming towards this path here in their vehicles, firing from inside, and people were running, and throwing stones at them.”

She recalled how Rohan Chaudhary, a secondary school student from her neighbourhood, was fatally shot in the chest while he was returning from private tuitions. Two days later, Rohan’s grandfather Ganesh Chaudhary was shot in the head by the police when he went to the market to purchase things for Rohan’s cremation.

“The police were oppressive,” Jha said. “The andolankari set a police chowki on fire, they killed a policeman, setting him on fire – they also didn’t do the right thing.”

Jha found the violence and the political impasse exasperating. “The government will not agree to demarcation, and leaders here won’t agree to wait for more months,” she said. “If the Nepal government will not give us rights, then I think it will be alright for us to fight for a separate nation. Why fight again and again over demarcation? Even if more people die in a future agitation, at least we will live with dignity.”

The sentiment Neha Jha articulated had been already voiced ten years earlier by armed secessionist groups in the region. While the strength of these groups has ebbed over time, the demand for an independent Terai state has been raised repeatedly in recent years by Chandra Kant Raut, a computer scientist and political campaigner.

In 2014, the Nepalese government charged Raut with sedition and has arrested him twice. Last month, Raut’s acquittal was upheld by Nepal’s Supreme Court.

Secessionism as final solution?

Madhes-based parties have consistently argued that if their agitation for a separate province within Nepal fails, it will pave the way for more extreme secessionist demands, such as Raut’s.

On a visit to Delhi recently, Raut argued that the failure of Madhes-based parties this January to get the Constitution amended as per their demands proved that Nepal’s parliamentary politics was “a step in the wrong direction”.

Raut said his plan is to hold fresh elections independently in every village in the Terai, elect a constituent assembly, and form an interim Terai government. “Till we do this, and till have our own army, Madhesis will never have control over their natural resources or the economy,” he said. “First and foremost, Madhesi youth have to fight for their freedom.”

Chandrakishore Jha, a political analyst and writer who lives in Birgunj, said the demand for a separate state is not feasible, and would only invite more state repression.

However, though Raut has been actively campaigning for a free Madhes only since a couple of years, his campaign has successfully reached a wide range of youth across social classes, and spanning the political spectrum. Rajat Pandey, a 16-year old studying in boarding school in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand, who was on a visit to his home in Pipra village near Janakpur, said he regularly read Raut’s Facebook page for updates, and that he backed the demand for an independent Terai state as “timely and legal.”

Chandan Gupta, the business administration student in Birgunj, said he had been deeply moved by Raut’s speech at Birgunj’s clock tower the day Raut was arrested in 2015. “Raut is a scientist and he has studied Madhesi history,” Gupta said. “He has been saying for two years that we will not get a fair Constitution, but these political parties did not pay any attention.”

He added: “Dard bhara speech hai uska (His speeches are filled with emotion). The day he was at the clock tower to deliver a speech, hundreds of policemen came to arrest him but the students would not let them take him.”

Given the sense of alienation that prevails, some young people see Raut’s strategy as an inevitable option. “Madhesis were doing a peaceful Gandhivaadi andolan, but the government heartlessly fired at them,” said Ram Lal Das, a 22-year old teacher from Duhabi panchayat in Dhausa district. “It is a cruel khaswaadi political regime. It does not consider the Madhesis its people.”

Ram Ratan Das, a 30-year old mason in Janakpur, said he had read out Raut’s pamphlets on secessionism at political rallies at Madhwapura near his village. “We will fight in the current course till we are able,” said Das. “Otherwise, we will ask for a separate state. That will be like a surgery, the final treatment.”

Charred motorcycles lie at a chowk in Janakpur, where a curfew was imposed after three youth died in police firing on January 21.
Charred motorcycles lie at a chowk in Janakpur, where a curfew was imposed after three youth died in police firing on January 21.
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