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tom-morrison
Tom Morrison
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July 13, 2010– 4

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults engage in at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic physical activity each week. Recommendations for children age 6 to 17 are even higher: at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous activity each day.

Yet according to the CDC, only one-third of American adults regularly engage in some kind of physical activity, and the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past three decades—to nearly 20% among children age 6 to 19. The warm and sunny days of summer provide an excellent opportunity to try new outdoor activities, or spend more time engaged in old favorites. Wolfram|Alpha can perform useful computations for many popular summer water sports, including fishing, water skiing, and sailing. By adding time and/or body weight to these inputs, you can tailor the calculations to your own physical measurements and activity schedule:

For queries about activities such as swimming and rowing, you can now incorporate other variables about speed and pace, along with age and physical measurements:

In addition to basic information about calories and fat burned, the amount of oxygen consumed, and the metabolic equivalents required for the activity, Wolfram|Alpha also computes estimates of working heart rate and heart rate reserve.

Below the “Heart rate pod”, Wolfram|Alpha generates an “Equivalent activities” pod that displays the amount of time it would take to expend the same amount of energy performing other activities. Within the “Speed” and “Pace” pods that follow, you can click “Show comparisons” to see how your predicted performance measures up against various world records. Below the “Pace” pod, there are “Distance” and “Time” pods followed by the “Performance prediction” pod. Using Riegel’s endurance model, this pod displays the predicted time, speed, and pace over standard swimming race distances. More »

June 29, 2010– 7

How many people are diagnosed with diabetes in a given year? Is hypertension more common in men than in women? What drugs are most commonly prescribed for anemia?

In order to address questions like these and many more, Wolfram|Alpha has now assimilated data from two different surveys conducted by the CDC: the national ambulatory medical care survey (NAMCS) and its hospital-focused counterpart, the national hospital ambulatory medical care survey (NHAMCS). Together, these surveys provide information on common reasons why people visit the doctor’s office, drug treatments that are highly correlated with a particular disease, and which diseases are most commonly diagnosed within specific races, ethnicities, and genders.

Through Wolfram|Alpha, you can investigate data on thousands of diseases and medical conditions, such as these:

Instead of looking at all the information at once, you can also try more targeted inputs, such as “fraction of US population affected by lung cancer”:

Fraction of the United States population affected by lung cancer

From this output, we can see that approximately .21% of all U.S. patients are diagnosed with lung cancer each year. More »

January 6, 2010– 16

When Wolfram|Alpha launched, we were able to estimate physiological energy expenditures for very basic exercise queries involving walking and running. But now we can answer much more detailed questions about a broader assortment of physical activities. For example, this query will compute the energy burned by running a specific distance in a given time:

Wolfram|Alpha calculates activity data for a 6mph, 40 minute run for a male, age 14.

You can also specify a running speed over a given distance: More »

December 8, 2009– 3

One of Wolfram|Alpha’s primary sources for medical test data is the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), an annual survey of thousands of people, from throughout the United States, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Wolfram|Alpha’s presentation of this data is unique in that it doesn’t just report reference ranges, but allows you to see where your own measurements and test numbers fall within the survey’s distribution of results. (Wolfram|Alpha does not give advice, medical or otherwise.)

At the most basic level, an input of “cholesterol test” returns the survey’s distribution of total cholesterol values:
Wolfram|Alpha computes cholesterol test data

More »