Attention no texting on bicycles

Nearly everywhere and practically anytime, you’ll see people of all ages staring at Smartphones as if they were pets or love objects. While sitting and texting or reading or listening to music or watching videos, none of these should be mobile activities. These activities, city legislators seem to claim, divert attention from normal mobile responsibilities. Lawmakers are mow targeting texting on bicycles as a means of reducing associated mobile accidents.

Holding a phone and typing on a virtual keypad while moving about is a relatively irresponsible activity. Is it dangerous?

Statistics seems to indicate that, in 2011, over 20% of car accidents were related to cell phone use behind the steering wheel.

According to an Ohio State University study involving cell phones and walking, the number of walking accidents tripled from 2004 to 2010. Considering that smartphones became popular in 2008, texting capabilities may be associated with this rise.

Uses of smartphones and texting or browsing are being featured as news items as media picks up on rising accident statistics. New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio, is targeting bicycle riders who talk and text while riding through streets and byways. Part of the New York City Vision Zero program being discussed in the city council, measures are being taken to explore ways and means of reducing pedestrian accidents involving mobility.

The mayor already passed legislation reducing speed limits on streets from 30 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. While traffic fatalities have fallen from 2000 to 2011, there has been increases in minor accidents in the past three years. Some are faulting use of the iPhone 4s and 5, and some of the larger screen Android phones. Only a few of these accidents had fatal results and involved texting on bicycles.

Psychologists, especially neurocognitive psychologists, have been exploring human capabilities at attention span capabilities. Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. The general rule is that people can focus on doing up to 3 tasks at a time. Beyond that, people tend to perform less efficiently. Staring and moving around on mobile screens while walking and carrying devices makes it more likely to develop impaired integrity. Observations of children using mobile devices are showing evidence of dwindling attention spans as virtual replaces physical realities, even though some studies show that certain games improve coordination skills.

Holding and seek/find keys while texting as you are mobile may tax attention spans even for a moment. There are literally dozens of random movements that can occur on a busy street at any given second. Moving from virtual to physical visual consciousness requires certain motor skills and there may be some adaptation stress that mars thought response. There’s a medical condition called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR and this reprocessing difficulty can impair thinking, especially at many unanticipated stress levels. The results may lead to unintentional confusion that may lead to accidents.

New York’s Vision Zero believes that shifting senses by holding phones, touching phones, and listening to phone content (through earphones) compromise 50% or more of our sensory information channels. That is why many cities and States have made holding phones and driving illegal. Many car devices allow hands-free speaking and texting using Bluetooth car dock mounts.

Few walkers and bicycle riders use their Bluetooth phone features. They hold and use their devices while active. There are Bluetooth bicycle mounts and Bluetooth headsets available. General recommendations in using headsets are those that use one ear. Stereo headsets and plugs can drown out important street noises.

For all the beneficial uses that smartphones deliver, the consequences often derive from human inabilities to focus on more than a couple things simultaneously. New Bluetooth wearables and accessories may help reduce accidents. Until such time that people realize the complex limits of the motion we take for granted, talking, using, and texting on bicycles will require enforced legislation that punish scofflaws.

It is unfortunate that legislators have to punish the few to make places more livable and safe for many. The old behaviorist tactic of negative reinforcement through tough laws that seem unfair. There must be curbs on mobile users in motion. Sadly, when it comes to the deplorable behaviors and consequences of texting on bicycles in motion, a slap on the wrist may not suffice. Negative reinforcement strengthens a behavioral response by taking away a negative outcome and reducing accidents in a mobile digital world will need the same penalties that motored vehicles are subjected. Distracted driving can harm and kill others and texting on bicycles must be dishabituated among any operator of a moving vehicle.

Music memory and madness

The world is alive with the sounds of music. Babies react to sounds even before birth and that sense of hearing reaches far and wide within the brain of nearly every individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, intelligence, and politics. Music as sound is a primary language. As such, can music be associated with the integrities of memory and madness?

One of my earliest research projects studied how music may be associated with memory and madness – behavior. Those were the days when Alzheimer’s Disease was limited terminology and insurances didn’t cover cognitive disorders. New research technologies demonstrate that music may help prevent and treat memory and madness in senior populations.

In brain imaging scans, music has been shown to excite pleasure areas of the brain. Due to expenses, these studies have been very small.

According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the use of music as therapy shows evidence that it positively affects many behaviors and memory functions. A new, large study at the University of Wisconsin explores music and Alzheimer’s Disease effectiveness. The State of Wisconsin and the University are investing $300,000 for this study. The study is part of a Catalyst Grant program at the University. Are the simple power of sounds and music effective in reducing memory and madness?

Music therapy has been studied as being beneficial for developmental diseases such as Autism as a treatment modality but not as a cure. The music therapy for autism studies, however, have been small but yielded promising results if further investment were granted.

With a rise in senior population, the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia bring memory studies to the forefront. Therapeutic interventions and successes involving music therapy with the symptoms of memory loss offer exciting research opportunities. Wisconsin’s population of those age 65 or over is slightly higher than the USA national average. The new University of Wisconsin studies may have deep impact.

Access to different music resources are friendlier as more adults use MP3 players and cellular phones. Government (and private) sponsored organizations such as Older Adults Technology Services help seniors make use of computers and download resources. Many senior centers now offer courses to learn about computer use. Access to free music is virtually limitless through websites online. At no point in history has music been as accessible as it is now. Using music as a therapy tool may deliver some extraordinary benefits.

At a university in Belfast, a rather large and long study found that music therapy reduces depression in children and adolescents. Studies also show that music, as a therapeutic intervention can relieve anxiety, depression in older people. Depression and anxiety may somewhat lead to cognitive impairment. There are many new studies citing evidence that music reaps many benefits for all ages.

Anesthesiologists have found that post-surgical patients listening to jazz music in the recovery room are more relaxed when researchers monitored heart rate. Is mellow jazz helpful for hospital use?

Technology can often confound other technologies. New hearing aids use special integrated sound technologies that facilitate conversations. Many older people wearing these hearing aids find that listening to MP3 music on these results in unwanted noise. You may need a simpler, older hearing aid for music listening.

Listening to loud music while driving may help you feel relaxed but studies show that it can lead to distracted driving and accidents.

Using music as therapy can be conducive as an aid in treating memory and madness issues. Much of the noted research has been published in the last two years, most in the past few months It is a growing field seeking more professionals. Of course, there are some people who simply don’t enjoy music listening. That’s what makes therapy very challenging. Music may offer no positive effects or increase anxiety even more.

Music therapy has many benefits for Alzheimer’s disease. It may help by soothing an agitated person, igniting associative memories, engage the mind even in the disease’s later stages, and improve appetite and eating in some cases. It is beneficial for symptoms of cognitive loss but it is not a cure. At best, like many drugs, it may slow progression.

So, if you remember too many tip-of-the-tongue memory losses, it may be time to schedule a cognitive assessment test with a memory healthcare professional. There are many available technologies and there are conflicting opinions about the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Sometimes, for example, it may be neurovascular episodes. Take more than one test at different centers to assure a fair and less partial diagnosis. There’s much money to be made in the business of Alzheimer’s disease.

Author William Congreve (1697) wrote:

“Music has Charms to sooth a savage Breast,
To soften Rocks, or bend a knotted Oak.”

and brings about the question, Can music heal? More studies are focusing on music therapy as a means of treating memory and madness. Music may not be all-encompassing but, with greater availability, may prove beneficial. More large research on music therapy should be investigated.

Texting and distracted driving are textecution

Distracted driving may be more lethal than military wars. From 2001 to 20013, USA casualties in the Afghanistan War total 3371. That’s just about the same number of accidents caused by distracted driving in one year. According to published statistics, distracted drivers are a leading cause of deaths and injuries. In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 3,267 in 2010. An additional, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, compared to 416,000 injured in 2010. One of the leading distractions is texting while driving.

Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. These types of distractions include:
Texting
Using a cell phone or smartphone
Eating and drinking
Talking to passengers
Grooming
Reading, including maps
Using a navigation system
Watching a video
Adjusting a radio, CD player, or MP3 player

Sometimes your smartphone can be an answer to help minimize distracted driving and the accidents that are so dangerous. Here are some apps that you may find useful.

Among available apps to help r4educe cellular phone use or texting while driving is a clever Android app aptly named Textecution that disables texting when you are driving faster than 10 miles per hour. While it is designed for installation on a children’s phone, this app may reduce distracted driving incidents with adult drivers.

Still need to text while distracted driving? Here is an app that helps reduce distraction. DriveSafely is another app that speaks your texts and lets you speak your texts in response. It may be about as safe as a car speakerphone.

A popular magazine, Family Circle, lists suitable apps for teen drivers in your family.

While many apps are aimed at teenage distracted driving, they apply to adults as well. Texting while driving should be seen as a form of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) and the laws should be stricter than they are.

When texting or using a smartphone in your hand or ear, you are seriously compromising attention to the road ahead. Distracted driving is a form of suicide or homicide. Don’t be a casualty. Don’t be a killer. Distracted driving is easier than using a knife or gun. Only seconds make the difference between having fun and being guilty of injuring or killing someone. With an app on your smartphone, it can enforce responsibility over an addictive obsession. Help make distracted driving a thing of the past.