His dad came back from the war with PTSD. His friends built an app to help.
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Dignity Health old

When Tyler's dad, Patrick, returned from serving in Iraq, he'd changed in many ways.

All GIFs via USA Today/YouTube.


Tyler, who was in sixth grade at the time, changed in many ways, as well. Your dad "disappearing for a year and coming back a little bit different" is bound to leave a mark, Tyler told USA Today. "His army buddies [came] back a little bit different, too."

That "difference" has a name: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder that affects an estimated 7.7 million Americans.

PTSD really took its toll on Tyler's dad — and for him, it came with night terrors.

Hating to see his dad suffer under these circumstances, Tyler stepped in to help.

In September, he and his friends entered a computer programming contest in Washington, D.C.

The challenge? Create a mobile application to help veterans.

They knew just what to do.

In a short 36 hours, his team had developed a genius app called myBivy to help veterans like Tyler's dad sleep better.

The smartphone and smartwatch app works like this: It tracks your heart rate and movement while you sleep, learning about your sleep cycle and finding the exact symptoms that trigger a panic attack. It's completely data-driven, so the more it's used, the more it learns and can help you.

"We at myBivy are trying to exploit the science of the sleep cycles in order to prevent these night terrors," Tyler says.

When the symptoms of a night terror begin, the app has the ability to take the person out of the deep sleep they're in while still keeping them asleep. And when the person wakes up in the morning, data from the night before shows how they slept. There's even an option to send the health statistics to their VA doctor or clinician.

This app has the potential to prevent night terrors altogether. Can you imagine?

Tyler and his team won the big prize of the contest, and now they have a successful Kickstarter set up where you can learn about myBivy's next steps, including taking it through clinical trials soon.

We only want the best for our loved ones and our heroes in uniform. Watching them battle PTSD (and all it can bring with it) can leave quite a helpless feeling.

Seeing ideas like myBivy in action gives so much hope for the future of health care, technology, and generations to come.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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