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Medicine Wireless Networking Science

Researchers Use Wireless To Study How Flu Spreads 64

MojoKid writes "With the help of wireless sensors, Stanford researchers confirmed what most of us suspected. When it comes to infectious viruses, human beings are toast. The researchers outfitted an entire high school population with IEEE 802.15.4 sensors for one day to model what they call a 'human contact network.' The devices tracked how often people came within the infection-spreading range of other individuals during a typical height-of-flu-season January day. The devices logged more than 760,000 incidents when two people were within 10 feet of each other, roughly the maximum distance that a disease can be transmitted through a cough or sneeze, according to a Stanford report on the project. The researchers ran thousands of simulations of a flu outbreak trying to determine infection rates under various circumstances."
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Researchers Use Wireless To Study How Flu Spreads

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  • Is it just distance? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @08:36PM (#34568758)

    I was under the impression that flu was also spread by a carrier touching a surface, then someone else touching it, then touching his eyes or mouth. And if people aren't sneezing/coughing like crazy, I would expect this shared-surfaces issue to be the dominant way the flu is spread.

    If I'm right, wouldn't their approach have a serious problem getting data on these shared-surface transmissions?

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @09:10PM (#34569030)

    High school students are generally a lot more sociable than the general population. Outfit a large office building with these same sensors, and I bet you get different results.

  • Re:Wireless != noun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mcsqueak ( 1043736 ) on Wednesday December 15, 2010 @10:35PM (#34569658)

    As a brilliant man said a very long time ago "The meaning of a word is its use in the language".

    OK, my reply is going to be off topic, but your comment quoted above reminded me of an argument I had with some friends.

    I had one friend who had started dating a mildly religious women who didn't like cussing, so he was working to cut cuss words out of his speech. He would sometimes use silly or weird words in their replacement, such as "ferk" in lieu of "fuck" if he accidentally hurt himself, for example.

    My argument was that he was *still* cussing, despite the change in word. The new stand-in word retained the original meaning, use, and inflection and was understood by all as a replacement for the original word. Therefore, it was still cussing.

    Many of my friends did not agree with my assertion.

    As a linguist, I would be interested in your take.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito