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App lets friends rate meals’ healthfulness; in ‘Shrink Rap,’ psychiatrists speak

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Healthful Eating: An apple a day? Why not five apples?

“Pic Healthy” app, MedHelp

A free iPhone app called Pic Healthy lets users take pictures of their meals, rate them as healthful or tasty or both, then share this information with friends and strangers. Users are also encouraged to rate the healthfulness of other people’s meals on a scale of one to five apples. “The ability to review the pictures of what you eat challenges you to become a healthier eater, and the social aspect of posting your photos for your friends and other followers to see and comment on adds that extra pressure to choose healthy foods,” says John de Souza, president and chief executive of the social network MedHelp, which helped create Pic Healthy. The photos are small and can be blurry, and people’s written descriptions aren’t always detailed, so you can end up rating an amorphous blob that may or may not be a baked potato. Pic Healthy also works with the iPad and iPod Touch.

Mind matters: What your shrink really thinks

Shrink Rap: Three Psychiatrists Explain Their Work,” (Johns Hopkins University Press, $19.95)

The HBO series “In Treatment” is between seasons, leaving a void for therapy voyeurs. Luckily, there’s “Shrink Rap,” in which three area psychiatrists dish about their field. The book is a spinoff of a blog that Dinah Miller, Annette Hanson and Steven Roy Daviss created five years ago; it later became the podcast “My Three Shrinks.” The doctors, who are affiliated with such local institutions as Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland, discuss psychiatric medications, involuntary hospitalizations and the business of psychiatry, among other topics, with compelling patient vignettes. Though the writing is more formal than their breezy, witty banter on the blog and podcast (bound to happen), it’s a fascinating peek into the minds of those who study minds.

— Rachel Saslow

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