The Department of Defense today announced the release of a mobile application to help service members adjust to life at home after returning from combat deployments.
Positive Activity Jackpot, developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology, uses augmented reality with a smart phone’s GPS to help find nearby activities and diversions for someone used to the high tempo of combat life.
The center, known as T2, used a behavioral therapy called pleasant event scheduling as the basis for design of the application. The therapy encourages a daily schedule of enjoyable activities to improve moods and overcome depression.
“After returning from a combat deployment, service members who are used to a more structured daily schedule may have difficulty adjusting to life at home,” said Dr. Amanda Edwards Stewart, psychologist who led the development of Positive Activity Jackpot. “This can lead to difficulties with relationships, depression and other problems. “
The application, available for Android systems, has an extensive list of pre-programmed activities.
Local doctors in Iquitos conduct a follow-up visit with a young Peruvian child as part of NAMRU-6 project on febrile surveillance. (Courtesy of National Naval medical Research Unit 6)
In the field of ‘epidemic intelligence,’ public health experts often turn to formal and informal data sources to learn about disease events occurring around the world. Advances in technology have been largely responsible for spurring the ability to augment the type and nature of potential data sources.
For example, unstructured data gleaned from the Internet in near real-time can be of significant value in identifying cues or signals that may indicate a disease outbreak is occurring in somewhere in the world. This information can then be used to help guide response activities among public health officials when appropriate. The massive amount of data contained on the Internet, along with easy to use search tools and computerized language translation software, help make this work possible.
Websites hosted all over the world allow data to be uploaded from virtually anywhere – for instance, in the middle of the Congo with a cellular or satellite phone – making the Internet a very useful tool for discovering novel outbreaks. Where CNN and the BBC are less likely to provide news coverage, the multitude of non–English websites can provide access to information in remote towns in faraway places.
Surveillance of media and other Internet-based sites has become such a rapid method to learn about incipient outbreaks among humans, animals, and even plants, that agencies such as the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control have specialized programs to do this work.