Leading Off TIPS, TRENDS & NEWS YOU CAN USE
PROHIBITING TECHNOLOGY USE CAN RESULT IN POOR STAFF PERFORMANCE.
Delaying Gratification Hurts Productivity, Study Shows
■ Just like any other business owner, you likely have a policy regarding Internet and cell phone use to encourage employee productivity. Such policies, however, actually hinder productivity, reveals a study in January’s PLoS ONE.
Specifically, subjects asked to refrain from watching a funny video made significantly more mistakes on a subsequent counting task vs. those allowed to watch the video.
Will power depletion, which resulted from resisting the temptation to view the video, may have rendered concentration difficult on a following task, while watching the video may have “promoted resource replenishment,” allowing for the allowed video watchers to increase their concentration on the following task, the researchers explain.
What this means for O.D.s: To foster employee productivity, either remove Internet and cell phone access altogether or, if this is not possible, allot a specific amount of time, maybe even many minutes per hour, to use them, the study’s authors suggest. Also, consider regular “tech” breaks, which are similar to coffee and cigarette breaks.
On March 19, Justin Timberlake brings the “phoropter back” with his new album The 20/20 Experience. Among the 10 new tracks “Tunnel Vision.” When asked how he came up with the album’s name, he told Ryan Seacrest, “It more or less came out of I was playing some of the stuff for my friends, and they would come in and out of the studio, and I would say, ‘hey, what do you think of this,’ you know, and my best friend said, ‘this is music that you can see,’ and that stuck with me.”
STUDY LINKS CONTENTMENT WITH INCOME
Money Really Does Buy Happiness, Research Shows
■ Well-being increases with income, regardless of comparisons made among people in a single country and year, looking across countries, or economic growth for a given country, say German economists in the discussion paper “The New Stylized Facts About Income and Subjective Well-Being.” Further, through these comparisons, the economists reveal that wealthy individuals report higher well-being than poor people, wealthy countries have higher per-capita well-being than poor countries, economic growth through time is related to rising well-being, and no satiation point exists at which income and well-being are no longer linked.
In addition, in plotting income on a logarithmic scale across countries, the economists discovered that each percent increase in income grows measured well-being by a comparable amount, and, therefore, each extra dollar increases well-being by less than before. The researchers offer this example: Making $2,000 vs. $1,000 grows satisfaction by twice as much as making $2,000 to $3,000 and by the same amount as making $20,000 vs. $10,000.
“Mo Money Mo Problems?” Not so, study says.
SEE HOW YOUR PRACTICE COMPARES WITH OTHERS.
“Size Up” the Competition with Free SBA Web Tool
■ SizeUp, a web tool (www.sba.gov/sizeup) provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) enables you to identify new patients and compare your performance against other practices through data amassed from hundreds of public and private resources, the government organization says.
Specifically, the tool analyzes your practice vs. other practices in these three ways:
1 Benchmarking an existing business to see how it sizes up by comparing performance to all other competitors in the same industry.
2 A mapping feature that shows the locations of customers and suppliers.
3 Finding the best places to advertise through selecting from preset reports to find areas with the largest industry revenue and the most underserved markets. The tool can also create custom demographic reports.
In June 2011, Transitions Optical released an interactive, web-based tool called Market Area Profile (MAP), which enables you to identify key consumer segments in your geographic area. Specifically, it gives you detailed data regarding the vision needs and behaviors of target audiences and recommends marketing tactics to enable you to reach “high value” patients. MAP is available free-of-charge through www.Transitions.com/Pro.
DEVICE GOES WHERE NO DEVICE HAS GONE BEFORE.
FDA Approves Star Trek Technology
■ The FDA has approved an implanted retinal prosthesis that functions much the same way as Geordi LaForge’s iconic VISOR (Visual Instrument and Sensory Organ Replacement) in Star Trek: The Next Generation. It is the first such device, says the government agency.
Called the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, from Second Sight Medical Products Inc., the System also includes a small video camera, transmitter mounted on eyeglasses and a video processing unit. All these items may improve the perception of images and movement in adults (age 25 and older) who have severe to profound retinitis pigmentosa.
The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis: The 21st Century’s VISOR.
The retinal prosthesis, or artificial retina, replaces the performance of degenerated retinal cells, while the video processing unit wirelessly transforms the video camera’s images into electrical impulses. These impulses stimulate the retina and may allow the patient to detect light and dark environments, and thus better navigate their world.
In Star Trek: The Next Generation, LaForge’s VISOR scans the electromagnetic spectrum, creating visual input, and transmits it to his brain via the optic nerves.
A clinical study shows RP patients outfitted in the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System were able to recognize large letters, words or sentences, match black, grey and white socks, locate and touch a square on a white field, recognize street curbs, seamlessly walk on a sidewalk and detect the direction of motion.
Ironically, the VISOR prop LeVar Burton, as Geordi LaForge, wore in the series actually greatly impeded his vision:
“A total of 85% to 90% of my vision is taken away when the VISOR goes on…” he has said, “I bumped into everything the first season.”
The VISOR scans the electromagnetic spectrum.
“Say What!?” STUDYS
Diluted concentrations of Oxazepam, an anxiety-relieving drug in drug concentrations similar to those found in waterways in Sweden, caused European perch to display increased activity, decreased sociality and a greater rate of feeding, says February’s Science.
Because an array of pharmaceuticals enter waterways via treated flowing wastewater and remain active, the study’s researchers argue that such changes in behavior could have both ecological and evolutionary consequences.
Individuals who have short telomeres, which are protective protein complexes located at the ends of chromosomes, appear more susceptible to the cold virus, says Feb. 20’s The Journal of the American Medical Association. Also, starting roughly at age 22, telomere length may predict the likelihood of infection development.
● Age-related macular degeneration patients’ facial recognition issues may be due to abnormal eye movement patterns and fixations, says January’s Optometry & Vision Science.
● Automated rare cell analysis (ARCA), an authenticated and FDA-approved technology for reproducible rare cell identification, may be a helpful tool for creating a predictive test for the conversion of dry AMD to wet AMD, says Jan. 24’s PLoS One.
● Ocular hypertension and glaucoma patients prefer morning dosing vs. evening dosing of their prostaglandin analogue, says January’s Journal of Glaucoma. This finding may increase medication adherence, the study’s researchers say.
● Bausch + Lomb has initiated its Phase 3 clinical program of latanoprostene bunod for the reduction of intraocular pressure (IOP) in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension. The company signed a worldwide licensing agreement with Nicox for latanoprostene bunod.
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