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Could Apple Watches manage health conditions? Grandmothers behind new mental health therapy; Daily sauna time linked to weight loss – Morning Medical Update


The top news stories in medicine today.

Morning Medical Update : © wichayada - stock.adobe.com

Morning Medical Update : © wichayada - stock.adobe.com

Could Apple Watches manage health conditions?

Some doctors are now recommending that Apple Watches can be used as a medical tool to help diagnose and manage certain health conditions, such as heart disease monitoring and post-surgery recovery.

Rod Passman, cardiologist and professor of medicine at Northwestern Medicine, said, “It empowers patients to get involved in their health care. It allows them to understand lifestyle choices may impact their health. And from my perspective, it allows me to monitor my patients long term, remotely, no matter where they are in the world, to understand what's going on with their heart rhythm, simply by doing an EKG from the watch itself. So I think this is a very powerful tool, and many of us are using it, not only to diagnose disease, but perhaps even manage diseases like abnormal rhythm.”

Read more about the potential benefits of wearing an Apple Watch here.

Grandmothers behind new mental health therapy

A new mental health therapy formed in Zimbabwe is now spreading to countries like the US. Inspired by its elderly community, the approach involves setting up benches in quiet, discreet corners of community clinics, churches, low-income neighborhoods, and universities. The therapy, started by Dixon Chibanda, came after her son was arrested last year, leading her to deal with new mental health problems on her own.

Chibanda intertwined the well-known Zimbabwean tradition that grandmothers are seen as the models for wisdom in rough times into the approach, leading her to work with psychiatry professionals. Last year, Chibanda was named the winner of a $150,000 prize by the McNulty Foundation in the US for revolutionizing mental health care.

As of now, 20 grandmothers are determined to end the stigma around mental health and are currently being trained by a team from Friendship Bench Zimbabwe.

Daily sauna time linked to weight loss

New research found that older female mice subjected to a daily 30-minute whole-body heat treatment gained less weight and showed better insulin utilization compared to older female mice who did not undergo daily heat treatment. Researchers believe the same could be found in humans, suggesting that whole-body heat therapy could be an effective and noninvasive method for managing age-related and menopause-related weight gain and insulin resistance in women after menopause.

While more research is needed to confirm these findings, Rong Fan, a doctoral candidate who presented the study at NUTRITION 2024, said heat therapy may be the key to preventing weight gain after menopause in the future.

“If future studies confirm these findings, especially in postmenopausal women, this approach could provide a new, non-drug method to manage weight and metabolic issues, improving health and quality of life as we age,” Fan said.

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