+

When industrial designer Doug Dietz went to the hospital to see the inaugural scan of a brand-new MRI machine he designed, what should've been an exciting event quickly turned somber.

The patient coming in for a scan was a young girl. And she was petrified.

The huge, hulking machine had the girl in tears — and that was before the loud whirring noise started up (the average MRI machine is about as loud as a rock concert, and not nearly as fun).


"As [the family] got even closer to me, I notice the father leans down and just goes ‘remember we talked about this, you can be brave," he recalled to GE Health, explaining that the parents looked horrified too — feeling helpless to find a way to make their daughter feel comfortable in the giant machine.

Dietz went back to the drawing board.

He was determined to use his design know-how to make the hospital environment for kids feel more like an adventure instead of a nightmare.

All photos by GE Healthcare,  used with permission.

After interviewing kids, parents, and doctors about what might make the experience of getting a medical scan a little less scary, Dietz and his team from GE Health got to work, along with partners from the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

It wasn't just the machines that got a makeover.

The whole exam room needed some love. From the sterile, beige decor, to the frank instruction placards (Dietz calls them "crime scene stickers"). Even the patter (or conversation/instructions) from doctors and nurses needed some livening up.

The team developed themes that could bring each exam room to life.

MRI rooms, for example, became space voyages. CT scans became pirate adventures.

The redesigned MRI machine and rooms turned the kids into active participants in their own fantastic adventure stories, with themed books given ahead of time to prepare them for the journey.

Inside the scanning machines, the children get special goggles that allow them to watch a DVD during their scans — which can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes.

When the first newly designed rooms were put into action at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, they worked like a charm. Not only did they calm the kids down and keep their minds occupied, Dietz recalled hearing one child ask her parents if she could have "another scan tomorrow."

"That was probably the biggest reward I could ever have," he told the Journal Sentinel.

Dietz's designs are so popular and successful that many other hospitals have joined in on the fun.

The project, called the Adventure Series, isn't just something that makes kids smile. It allows the hospital to help more people.

According to an article in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the fear of machines and tests is so bad that Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh had to sedate over 80% of kids who needed an MRI or CT scan, prior to the updates.

Sedating and calming anxious patients takes extra time, elongating the length of each scan. If the kids don't need sedation, but don't hold still during the duration of the test, the whole thing has to be redone. These issues take up precious time that ultimately resulted in the hospital serving fewer patients.

After implementing the Adventure Series, the hospital only had to sedate a quarter or less of its patients, making their work far more efficient.

Making the experience less frightening for kids is a big win here — for the patients and hospitals too. There's nothing that can completely erase the anxiety that comes with needing serious medical testing or care, but just knowing there are people who care enough to try is likely a big comfort to these families.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Pixabay

The show must go on… and more power to her.

There are few things that feel more awful than being stranded at the altar by your spouse-to-be. That’s why people are cheering on Kayley Stead, 27, from the U.K. for turning a day of extreme disappointment into a party for her friends, family and most importantly, herself.

According to a report in The Metro, on Thursday, September 15, Stead woke up in an Airbnb with her bridemaids, having no idea that her fiance, Kallum Norton, 24, had run off early that morning. The word got to Stead’s bridesmaids at around 7 a.m. the day of the wedding.

“[A groomsman] called one of the maids of honor to explain that the groom had ‘gone.’ We were told he had left the caravan they were staying at in Oxwich Bay (the venue) at 12:30 a.m. to visit his family, who were staying in another caravan nearby and hadn’t returned. When they woke in the morning, he was not there and his car had gone,” Jordie Cullen wrote on a GoFundMe page.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less