Monday 8 August 2016, 15:03 | By

In the News August 2016: Health’s in fashion

CSL In The News

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Innovations, particularly in mobile technology, seem to now have the capacity to change human behaviour overnight, making it a very exciting time to be alive. But how else can say, a computer game or according to one of this month’s articles – fashion, benefit those with long term or life-limiting conditions? CSL’s August news review finds out.

Where will it Go?

The rise of Pokemon Go can’t have escaped many people’s attention, even if it were just noticing more people staring at their phones, walking around in circles. But in addition to the stories of its popularity, stories are quickly appearing about the benefits it can offer those with life-limiting conditions.

According to this recent article, 60 year-old Lisa Freedman has to walk at least 20 minutes a day to help recover from the radiation used to treat her breast cancer. This treatment had left her feeling fatigued and removed any joy of exercise as it was now only about her condition.

Upon being introduced to Pokemon Go however, she rediscovered the joy from the moment she started the game. “So you open it up,” Freedman said, “and there’s a Pokemon right beside you, staring at you. That just kind of got me addicted immediately. For the last couple of days I’ve been happily walking around the neighbourhood, finding Pokemon. This way I’m not thinking about the cancer and, you know, it’s fun.”

Freedman believes the game should be advertised as a fitness app so that people like her can benefit from the game’s unique combination of entertainment and health benefits. We couldn’t agree more as not only is the game touching the lives of people like Freedman, but is helping create a new concept known as ‘activated spaces’ – recently ignored public spaces where strangers are connecting face-to-face. Analogue interactions if you will. Read more about them in this recent Huffington Post article – just one of the many about this global phenomenon.

Dressed for success

On a totally different note, we saw this great article in The New York Times about a growing sector getting more attention from designers to “rethink the basic premise of fashion”, by creating clothing for disabled people or those with life-limiting conditions. We strongly recommend taking a few minutes to read the full article as it goes into some depth about the topic, but to quickly summarise it looks at some the key players in what is being called the ‘healthware’ sector, inspired by young designers, industry innovators and even those with life-limiting conditions themselves.

The article opens with the story of Maura Horton, whose husband had received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease four years before, and symptoms were starting to worsen. He was finding it harder to dress himself, and after recounting a recent incident where he had to ask a colleague to help him dress, Horton said she went looking for clothes suitable for people with his challenges. She found very little, but said after her search; “…and then I looked at my iPad cover and saw it had these really small magnets, and thought, ‘Well, what about that?’”

Fast forward to a company, a patent and 22 shirt styles now on the market, and this is just one example of how a little creative thinking can radically change lives for the better. As Chaitenya Razdan, one of the other innovators in the industry says; “What you wear has a profound impact on your psyche. It can make you feel like yourself again at a time when it’s easy to feel like things are out of your control.”

And if that weren’t enough to get the attention of the large scale manufacturers, then another of Razdan’s thoughts might; “We think it is a $40 billion industry.” As the article concludes, “It all seems so obvious that it’s hard not to wonder: What took fashion so long?”

Music to our ears

Finally, we saw a really interesting segment from BBC’s iWonder recently called ‘How can playing an instrument improve my life?’, looking at the power of music to literally change who we are. From a variety of angles, it looked at music’s power to improve concentration, blood flow, cognition, motor skills, memory, fine hearing skills even the ability to detect changes in human emotions.

According to Dr Vicky Williamson, who was discussing music’s effect on the brain on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Why Music?’; “Music can change the structure of the brain. It is ready to grow and learn at any age.” And no matter what your age, said one of the segment’s articles; “What makes learning music different from most other skills is that it can train several sensory, cognitive and motor systems all at once.”

The BBC regularly produces insightful articles about the history of music, and those making it, but we love seeing pieces like this on mainstream media going even further by looking at what it can also do to change who are for the better. Take a moment to read and listen, and maybe even think about the song that turns your day around!

If you enjoy learning about stories like these and what they are doing for those with life-limiting or long-term conditions, then do make sure to stay up to date with us via Twitter. If we see it, we’ll share it. Until next month.