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Weekend reads: Noisy traffic may be bad for your heart


Why high-speed internet is the newest social determinant of health, how traffic noise may be damaging your heart, and more.

Ben Palmer's reads

Why your smartphone might be ruining your sleep. A study published in Frontiers in Psychiatry has found that being too attached to your smartphone will likely result in poor sleep. The study looked at how 1,043 students at King's College London between the ages of 18 and 30 used their smartphones with two questionnaires on the quality of their sleep and typical phone usage. The researchers found that almost 40% of the students qualified as "addicted" to their phones and that students who reported using their smartphones frequently also reported poor sleep. According to Vsevolod Polotsky, director of sleep basic research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the poor sleep is likely because "any LED spectrum light source may further suppress melatonin levels," which disrupts a person's circadian rhythm.

The professional athletes struggling with long-term Covid-19. A number of high-profile professional athletes across all different sports have dealt with Covid-19, and for some of them, even months later, they're still struggling to get back to 100%. Writing for SB Nation, Sydney Umeri details the obstacles many of these athletes are encountering as a result of their Covid-19 diagnosis as they try to get their bodies back in shape.

José Vasquez's reads

Why high-speed internet has become the latest social determinant of health. America's so-called "digital divide" is hampering telehealth's uptake among the tens of millions of Americans who don't have access to high-speed, broadband internet services—and quickly becoming one of the newest social determinants of health, Steven Ross Johnson writes for Modern Healthcare. According to a fact sheet from the American Hospital Association, 74% of U.S. hospitals currently offer telehealth services requiring broadband access, Ross Johnson writes. However, Susan Hull, a member of the American Medical Informatics Association's board of directors, told Ross Johnson, many providers and communities rapidly adopted telehealth services during America's coronavirus epidemic but they failed to "take stock" of the country's digital divide, which, according to Ross Johnson, is perpetuating health inequities.  

How traffic noises may be hurting your heart. It's long been known environmental noise from airports, railways, and roads is associated with hearing loss, but now a growing body of evidence is showing a link between traffic noise and cardiovascular illnesses, Cypress Hansen writes for Knowable Magazine. A 2018 study published in Noise & Health, for instance, found people who live close to Germany's Frankfurt airport have up to a 7% higher risk of stroke than those who live in similar but less noisy neighborhoods, Hansen reports. The reason why traffic noise may increase people's risk for cardiovascular disorders remains unclear, but researchers are beginning to pinpoint a potential "culprit: dramatic changes to the endothelium, the inner lining of arteries and blood vessels," Hansen writes.


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