HEART IN HAND: There are thousands of apps for mobile phones that help people monitor health, diet and exercise. Several caught Scientific American's eye, including this blood pressure, weight and heart rate monitor for Apple's iPhone and iPad. Image: Courtesy of Taconic System, LLC
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Thousands of health and medical apps can be had for a minute or less of download time, and sometimes a dollar or two. Because choosing among mobile applications can be an overwhelming experience, Scientific American has put together a list—based on functionality, content and customer reviews—of ones you may find useful.
Nowadays, an app exists for tracking most of your routine health needs, whether it be recording distance on a treadmill or finding a clinical trial for a recently diagnosed disease. These tools undoubtedly could help you take care of yourself better, yet there are some caveats that also need to be heeded. Most applications, including the ones in this article, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has proposed the regulation of certain apps that deal with health and medical needs, although the rules address only a small fraction of programs, such as those that accompany already regulated medical devices. So consumers need to use their best judgment and check with a physician to ensure that a particular app meets their individual health needs.
View a slide show of screen captures and additional information for each of the mobile apps.
Here are some additional mobile health apps worth checking out:
Smart Alarm Clock
Description: Monitor your sleep cycles and wake up at the best time for your body.
Description: Assess (not diagnose) your risk of depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders.
Description: Set goals and establish a daily calorie budget that enables you to meet them.
Description: Record your chemotherapy schedule, treatments and select symptoms.