Expats become more social media savvy

Updated 12 August 2013
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Expats become more social media savvy

Saudi Arabia is home to a large number of expatriates, most of who come to the Kingdom in search of better opportunities.
However, the loss of close family ties is undeniable. Thanks to technology, expats have now turned to modern communication tools such as Facebook, Skype and Twitter to be able to stay in touch with loved ones.
The most evident reason for the rise in the social media trend is because it offers cheaper means of communication compared to landlines and mobile phones. Also, the technology is instant which keeps you connected with the world around the clock.
Riffat Ayesha, mother of three, says, “I began using social media after my daughters left the Kingdom to pursue higher education. If it was not for Skype, I would be very lonely. It also helps me stay connected with my relatives around the world.”
Expats are not so reluctant to leave their homelands anymore as technology has made the transition much easier.
Salman Habib, 26, says, “When I first came here, I felt lost! Now, I have turned to social media and my parents back home are up-to-date with every move I make,” he added with a chuckle.
With other social media forums, like Foursquare and Instagram, which offer picture sharing options and check-in, you can travel virtually with your friends and family members.
Twitter is a vital social media tool too. It helps expats stay in tune with news, current affairs and events taking place in their homeland, you can also talk to anybody, as they are just a tweet away.
Besides, staying connected with loved ones; social media allows expats to learn about Saudi Arabia’s lifestyle, culture and people. It also gives them a chance to contact other expats in the Kingdom for advice and assistance.
On the other hand, Hotmail and Yahoo have witnessed a decline as messaging tools, in part due to the advent of instant messaging services such as Whatsapp and BlackBerry Messenger, which offer users immediate communication channels.
The absence of Viber, a popular communication android application, which has recently been blocked in the Kingdom, is heavily felt by expats.
Adib Shiekh, 56, described the impact of blocking Viber on her, saying, “When I first heard the news, I was in shock. I could not imagine learning to use another social media application again. Not to mention, Viber was user friendly and very convenient.”


Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

Updated 17 April 2018
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Japan to trial ‘world’s first urine test’ to spot cancer

  • Previous research has shown a new blood test has potential to detect eight different kinds of tumors before they spread
  • The research starts in April and will run until September

TOKYO: A Japanese firm is poised to carry out what it hailed as the world’s first experiment to test for cancer using urine samples, which would greatly facilitate screening for the deadly disease.
Engineering and IT conglomerate Hitachi developed the basic technology to detect breast or colon cancer from urine samples two years ago.
It will now begin testing the method using some 250 urine samples, to see if samples at room temperature are suitable for analysis, Hitachi spokesman Chiharu Odaira told AFP.
“If this method is put to practical use, it will be a lot easier for people to get a cancer test, as there will be no need to go to a medical organization for a blood test,” he said.
It is also intended to be used to detect paediatric cancers.
“That will be especially beneficial in testing for small children” who are often afraid of needles, added Odaira.
Research published earlier this year demonstrated that a new blood test has shown promise toward detecting eight different kinds of tumors before they spread elsewhere in the body.
Usual diagnostic methods for breast cancer consist of a mammogram followed by a biopsy if a risk is detected.
For colon cancer, screening is generally conducted via a stool test and a colonoscopy for patients at high risk.
The Hitachi technology centers around detecting waste materials inside urine samples that act as a “biomarker” — a naturally occurring substance by which a particular disease can be identified, the company said in a statement.
The procedure aims to improve the early detection of cancer, saving lives and reducing the medical and social cost to the country, Odaira explained.
The experiment will start this month until through September in cooperation with Nagoya University in central Japan.
“We aim to put the technology in use in the 2020s, although this depends on various things such as getting approval from the authorities,” Odaira said.