iPhone app helps prevent lice infestations; book talks about bedside manners

August 29, 2011
Hair care: No nit-picking
“The Facts of Lice,” iPhone App

When you’re not using your smartphone for playing Angry Birds, text messaging and tweeting random thoughts, you can use it to help fight off creepy-crawlies. “The Facts of Lice,” a free iPhone app developed by Fairy Tales Hair Care, compiles tips that will help keep the little bloodsuckers from making their home in the scalp of someone you love. Prevention is, of course, the best protection: Avoid head contact, don’t share hats or scarves, and don’t think it will do any good to wash your hair every day. (Lice actually prefer a clean scalp.) Besides videos, graphics and illustrations, the app employs user-generated content — which means you can rat out your infested friends and neighbors by anonymously reporting an outbreak in their school, town or Zip code. Remember: If you see something, say something.

Medicine: Physician, heal thy bedside manner
“Healers: Extraordinary Clinicians at Work” (Oxford)

What makes a good doctor? Technical knowledge is a plus, but people skills are just as important. For their new book, David Schenck and Larry R. Churchill surveyed 50 practitioners they identified as “healers” — the kind who don’t just slide the scope down a patient’s esophagus but who put her at ease with the procedure and help her to understand the results. Some of the advice they offer clinicians is about little things, such as smiling, making eye contact and shaking hands. “One practitioner indicated he always finds a way to say this: ‘We are going to work through this together,’ ” they write. Not exactly rocket science, but not always something you find at your doctor’s office, either.

Aaron Leitko

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