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Concept: Mobile network operator


Modern technologies not only provide a variety of communication modes (e.g., texting, cell phone conversation, and online instant messaging), but also detailed electronic traces of these communications between individuals. These electronic traces indicate that the interactions occur in temporal bursts. Here, we study intercall duration of communications of the 100,000 most active cell phone users of a Chinese mobile phone operator. We confirm that the intercall durations follow a power-law distribution with an exponential cutoff at the population level but find differences when focusing on individual users. We apply statistical tests at the individual level and find that the intercall durations follow a power-law distribution for only 3,460 individuals (3.46%). The intercall durations for the majority (73.34%) follow a Weibull distribution. We quantify individual users using three measures: out-degree, percentage of outgoing calls, and communication diversity. We find that the cell phone users with a power-law duration distribution fall into three anomalous clusters: robot-based callers, telecom fraud, and telephone sales. This information is of interest to both academics and practitioners, mobile telecom operators in particular. In contrast, the individual users with a Weibull duration distribution form the fourth cluster of ordinary cell phone users. We also discover more information about the calling patterns of these four clusters (e.g., the probability that a user will call the c®-th most contact and the probability distribution of burst sizes). Our findings may enable a more detailed analysis of the huge body of data contained in the logs of massive users.

Concepts: Mobile phone, Internet, Text messaging, Mobile network operator, Cellular network, Push-button telephone, Instant messaging, GSM


Mobile technologies could be a powerful media for providing individual level support to health care consumers. We conducted a systematic review to assess the effectiveness of mobile technology interventions delivered to health care consumers.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Mobile network operator, Mobile technology


BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest from academics and clinicians in harnessing smartphone applications (apps) as a means of delivering behavioral interventions for health. Despite the growing availability of a range of health-related apps on the market, academic research on the development and evaluation of such apps is in the relatively early stages. A few existing studies have explored the views of various populations on using mobile phones for health-related issues and some studies are beginning to report user feedback on specific apps. However, there remains little in depth research on users' (and potential users') experiences and views on a wide range of features and technologies that apps are, or will soon be, capable of. In particular, research on young adults is lacking, which is an unfortunate omission considering that this group comprises of a good number of mobile technology adoptors. OBJECTIVE: The current study sought to explore young adults' perspectives on apps related to health behavior change. It sought their experiences and views of features that might support health behavior change and issues that contribute to interest in and willingness to use such apps. METHODS: Four focus groups were conducted with 19 students and staff at a University in the United Kingdom. Participants included 13 females and 6 males with a mean age of 23.79 (SD 7.89). The focus group discussions centred on participants' experiences of using smartphone apps to support a healthy lifestyle, and their interest in and feelings about features and capabilities of such apps. The focus groups were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. RESULTS: Study findings suggested that young, currently healthy adults have some interest in apps that attempt to support health-related behavior change. Accuracy and legitimacy, security, effort required, and immediate effects on mood emerged as important influences on app usage. The ability to record and track behavior and goals and the ability to acquire advice and information “on the go” were valued. Context-sensing capabilities and social media features tended to be considered unnecessary and off-putting. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided insight into the opportunities and challenges involved in delivering health-related behavioral interventions through smartphone apps. The findings suggested a number of valued features and characteristics that app developers may wish to consider when creating health behavior apps. Findings also highlighted several major challenges that appeared to need further consideration and research to ensure the development of effective and well-accepted behavior change apps.

Concepts: Psychology, Focus group, Qualitative research, Behavior, Participant observation, Mobile phone, Smartphone, Mobile network operator


In low-resource settings, community health workers are frontline providers who shoulder the health service delivery burden. Increasingly, mobile technologies are developed, tested, and deployed with community health workers to facilitate tasks and improve outcomes. We reviewed the evidence for the use of mobile technology by community health workers to identify opportunities and challenges for strengthening health systems in resource-constrained settings.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Health economics, Medicine, Healthcare, Mobile phones, Mobile network operator, Mobile technology


The Internet and mobile technology are changing the way people learn about and manage their illnesses. Little is known about online mental health information seeking behaviour by people with psychosis. This paper explores the nature, extent and consequences of online mental health information seeking behaviour by people with psychosis and investigates the acceptability of a mobile mental health application (app).

Concepts: Health care, Scientific method, Psychology, Educational psychology, Qualitative research, Learning, Internet, Mobile network operator


Long-term conditions and their concomitant management place considerable pressure on patients, communities, and health care systems worldwide. International clinical guidelines on the majority of long-term conditions recommend the inclusion of self-management programs in routine management. Self-management programs have been associated with improved health outcomes; however, the successful and sustainable transfer of research programs into clinical practice has been inconsistent. Recent developments in mobile technology, such as mobile phone and tablet computer apps, could help in developing a platform for the delivery of self-management interventions that are adaptable, of low cost, and easily accessible.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Clinical trial, Medical ethics, Mobile phone, Tablet PC, Mobile network operator


The prevalence of physical chronic or long-term conditions in adolescents aged 10-24 years is rising. Mobile phone and tablet mobile technologies featuring software program apps are widely used by these adolescents and their healthy peers for social networking or gaming. Apps are also used in health care to support personal condition management and they have considerable potential in this context. There is a growing body of literature on app use in health contexts, thereby making a systematic review of their effectiveness very timely.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Mobile phone, Health science, Mobile network operator



The patterns of life exhibited by large populations have been described and modeled both as a basic science exercise and for a range of applied goals such as reducing automotive congestion, improving disaster response, and even predicting the location of individuals. However, these studies have had limited access to conversation content, rendering changes in expression as a function of movement invisible. In addition, they typically use the communication between a mobile phone and its nearest antenna tower to infer position, limiting the spatial resolution of the data to the geographical region serviced by each cellphone tower. We use a collection of 37 million geolocated tweets to characterize the movement patterns of 180,000 individuals, taking advantage of several orders of magnitude of increased spatial accuracy relative to previous work. Employing the recently developed sentiment analysis instrument known as the hedonometer, we characterize changes in word usage as a function of movement, and find that expressed happiness increases logarithmically with distance from an individual’s average location.

Concepts: Mathematics, Geography, Space, Mobile phone, Radio, Mobile network operator, Cellular network, Base station


In response to our article, Davidson and Dahl offer commentary and advice regarding additional topics crucial to a comprehensive prescriptive agenda for future research on mindfulness and meditation. Their commentary raises further challenges and provides an important complement to our article. More consideration of these issues is especially welcome because limited space precluded us from addressing all relevant topics. While we agree with many of Davidson and Dahl’s suggestions, the present reply (a) highlights reasons why the concerns we expressed are still especially germane to mindfulness and meditation research (even though those concerns may not be entirely unique) and (b) gives more context to other issues posed by them. We discuss special characteristics of individuals who participate in mindfulness and meditation research and focus on the vulnerability of this field inherent in its relative youthfulness compared to other more mature scientific disciplines. Moreover, our reply highlights the serious consequences of adverse experiences suffered by a significant subset of individuals during mindfulness and other contemplative practices. We also scrutinize common contemporary applications of mindfulness and meditation to illness, and some caveats are introduced regarding mobile technologies for guidance of contemplative practices.

Concepts: Present, Meditation, Mobile network operator