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Colorbind

Scott LaFee on

Nearly 52 million people in the U.S. wear some sort of device with a heart rate tracker, such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch. New research suggests these devices may not necessarily be accurate for persons of color.

The reason: Some devices rely on green light optical sensors, which emit shorter wavelengths than the infrared sensors used in, say, hospital heart monitors. More melanin in one's skin means the green light is absorbed faster, resulting in inaccurate heart rate measurements.

Fitbit and device makers like Garmin and Samsung all use green light technology. Apple does, too, but its smart watches simultaneously track heart rates using a second method as well.

Apart from the devices' perhaps not serving all consumers equally well, the deficiency has some scientists concerned. They use the devices in studies and clinical trials, and if they aren't accurate for everyone, the resulting data is less useful.

Body of Knowledge

Anything inhaled by your lungs, such as smoke or vaporized medicine, reaches your brain very quickly, thanks to the lungs' intimate and expansive relationship with the blood vessels around it. How quickly? In under seven seconds.

 

Get Me That, Stat!

Most traumatic brain injuries in persons under age 19 occur because a youth hits their head against a common household fixture such as furniture or sports equipment, according to new research.

Almost 1.7 million TBI cases occur every year in the US, with approximately 700,000 involving youths. Among infants and kids age 1 to 4, hits to the head from beds and other furniture were most likely. Among older children, TBIs were more commonly related to bicycling, football and basketball.

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