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Apple, Harvard release preliminary data to help destigmatize menstrual symptoms

The landmark study’s first set of data offers insights into menstruation and the experiences of menstruators across the US

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Menstrual cycles are an important window into one’s overall health, but the topic is notably under-researched. Medical research on menstruation often has not been representative of the broader population. Without substantial scientific data, menstrual symptoms have historically lent themselves to dismissal, or have even been minimized as overreaction or oversensitivity.

The Apple Women’s Health Study team at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health released a preliminary study update, offering pioneering scientific insights on menstruators and their symptoms, made possible through the innovative research methodology of the Research app.

With 10,000 participants of varying ages and races across the US, the study highlights how large-scale, longitudinal research on menstruation can help destigmatize menstruation. The landmark study allows for collection of a comprehensive set of cycle tracking and other health data, strengthened through participant surveys.

Through the Research app, the Apple Women’s Health Study invites people who have periods across the US to contribute to research simply by using their iPhone, and Apple Watch if they have one.

“This natural monthly occurrence is something we should be having more discussions about,” said Dr. Shruthi Mahalingaiah, one of the study’s principal investigators and an assistant professor of environmental, reproductive, and women’s health at the Harvard Chan School.

Destigmatizing menstruation and its symptoms

The early results of the study validates menstruator’s experiences including symptoms that are less commonly known. The most frequently tracked symptoms were abdominal cramps, bloating, and tiredness, all of which were experienced by more than 60 percent of participants who logged symptoms.

More than half of the participants who logged symptoms reported acne and headaches. Some less widely recognised symptoms, like diarrhoea and sleep changes, were tracked by 37 percent of participants logging symptoms.

“Our study will help to achieve a more gender equal future, in which all people with menstrual cycles have access to the health services and menstrual products needed to feel safe and empowered,” said Dr. Michelle Williams, Dean of the Faculty at Harvard Chan School.

The study team will further investigate the preliminary data and submit a detailed analysis, including a breakdown of methods, for peer review and journal publication.

The Apple Women’s Health Study is a first-of-its-kind research study that aims to advance the understanding of menstrual cycles and how they relate to various health conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility, and menopausal transition. iPhone and Apple Watch users across the US download the Research app to enrol in the study, conducted in partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Participants must be at least 18 years old (at least 19 years old in Alabama and Nebraska and at least 21 years old in Puerto Rico) and have menstruated at least once in their life.

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Top iOS 15 Features to look out for

FaceTime for Android, anyone?

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The next version of iOS rolls out this fall. There are new features such as FaceTime for Android, new Memojis, rebranded Safari and Messages app, personal identification card compatibility for Wallet, and more.

But in this video, we rounded up our Top 10 iOS 15 Features you should look out for.

Watch the whole video by clicking here.

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Voilà AI Artist turns your selfies into 3D cartoons, caricatures

And many more artistic renditions!

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Voilà AI Artist

From FaceApp to Zepeto, plenty of avatars from these apps proliferated social media platforms. Most recently, the Internet went crazy with cute avatars once more. You probably noticed how people have been posting a 3D cartoon version of themselves, akin to a Disney character. It’s all thanks to Voilà AI Artist — a photo-editing app using artificial intelligence to turn your photos into artistic renditions.

Get yourself painted as a Renaissance painting.

Voilà AI Artist

Have your selfies transformed into a 3D cartoon from an animated movie.

Turn your photos into a 2D cartoon…

Voilà AI Artist

… or even have your face drawn as a caricature.

Voilà AI Artist

Voilà AI Artist is developed by WeImagine.AI., a Canada-based team of creators and developers. The app is free to download on the App Store and Google Play Store. If you’re concerned about the app’s privacy policy, read it here.

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The US revokes Trump’s executive order that banned TikTok

A level-playing field for everyone

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President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday that sets criteria for the government to evaluate the risk of apps connected to foreign adversaries. It’s specifically meant for apps like TikTok and WeChat, which President Trump banned.

It should use an “evidence-based approach” to see if they pose a risk to US national security, said Biden. If apps are found violating fundamental laws, a ban can be imposed. The task of identifying threats has been given to the US Commerce Department.

Trump’s executive order particularly targeted TikTok and WeChat. Instead, Biden is opting for a level-playing field for everyone. Biden shares the same concerns as Trump, but their approach is vastly different.

Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it sold to an American company. A proposal was produced that would have seen Oracle and Walmart owning a US entity of the service and taking responsibility for handling TikTok’s US user data and content moderation.

But there were numerous legal challenges, and before they could be ironed out, Trump lost the election. The Biden administration’s new executive order does not affect those negotiations, which are a separate process. The order also calls upon federal agencies to develop recommendations – for future executive actions or legislation — on how to protect the data of US citizens.

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