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Health and Wellbeing

Enviga – the calorie-burning soft drink

October 13, 2006 The diet soda market has traditionally been a place where the soft drinks didn’t add as many calories as non-diet brethren, but Coca Cola is now readying a product for the U.S. market that is proven to burn calories. Enviga hits the Northeast in November and will roll out across the U.S. in January 2007. Enviga is a sparkling tea containing green tea extracts, calcium, and caffeine, and was conceived by Beverage Partners Worldwide (BPW), a joint venture between Nestle and Coca-Cola. Research shows that epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant present in green tea, has the ability to speed up metabolism and increase energy use, especially when combined with caffeine. Studies have shown that when EGCG and caffeine are present at the levels comparable to that in three cans of Enviga, healthy subjects in the lean to normal weight range can experience an average increase in calorie burning by 60 – 100 calories.  Read More

New insight into skin-tanning process suggests novel way of preventing skin cancer

October 9, 2006 Though synthetic images and contrived looks help to shape our ideas of what’s attractive and what’s passe, we suspect the suntanned look triggers recognition of a healthy, robust outdoorsy person and no matter what shape the Ozone Layer is in, the bronzed look is still likely to be fashionable for a long time yet. Which makes the following great news for the sun worshippers of the world. Findings from a study led by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Children's Hospital in Boston have rewritten science's understanding of the process of skin tanning – an insight that has enabled them to develop a promising way of protecting fair-skinned people from skin cancer caused by exposure to sunlight.  Read More

The world’s most dangerous job?

October 7, 2006 Next to being a soldier, where it’s part of your job description to have people shooting at you, journalism rates as one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. Indeed, 75 journalists have been killed so far this year, making 2006 the deadliest year for journalists on record, according to the World Association of Newspapers. Twenty-six of the deaths occurred in Iraq, where journalists continue to be targeted and murdered. The 75 journalists and other media workers killed through September makes 2006 the most deadly year since WAN began keeping records of journalist murders in 1997. Seventy-two journalists were killed in 2004.  Read More

Father-son Nobel Prize Quinella

October 6, 2006 One of the feel-good stories of the week was Stanford University’s Roger Kornberg winning the 2006 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, completing a rare father-son Nobel Prize quinella. Forty-seven years ago, the then twelve-year-old Kornberg (top right) was in Stockholm to see his father (centre right), Arthur Kornberg, receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1959) for his studies of how genetic information is transferred from one DNA-molecule to another. Given that only 763 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to individuals in history, the chance of two members of the same family winning is not as small as you might think. Indeed, there have been four people who have won the prize twice, four married couples, one mother and daughter, one father and daughter, six father and son combinations and one pair of brothers who have one the prize. The most prolific Nobel Laureate family is without doubt the Curies – husband-wife team Marie and Pierre Curie won the Physics prize in 1903, Marie won again for Chemistry in 1911, then their daughter Irene Joliot-Curie and her husband Frederic Joliot won for Chemistry in 1935. Stanford shared a second Nobel Prize this week when Andrew Fire shared this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Craig Mello.  Read More

Designer Bag makes illness discreet

October 5, 2006 From time to time, everyone gets to regurgitate, vomit, throw up … whatever you wish to call it, it’s inevitable! Unfortunately, some people such as pregnant women, cancer patients and travellers encounter the problem frequently, and now there's a pretty way to handle it - the Red E Bag. The canvas Red E Bag folds to the size of a small clutch -- or large wallet. When sickness arises, just unsnap and you're ready. A removable black plastic liner opens wide with the bag and holds up to half a gallon of liquid. A zippered pocket on the outside is large enough to carry tissues and mints.  Read More

The Wake-up Light

October 4, 2006 It seems the human body is so attuned to the rhythms of the sun that simulating its dawn is actually highly beneficial. Royal Philips Electronics has utilised the simulation in developing a new, medically proven wake-up lamp, which emits light that gradually increases to the intensity you have selected, simulating the rising sun in your bedroom thus gently preparing your body to wake up. The light falls on your eyes and sends your brain a message to reduce the production of melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone. Over 30 minutes, the natural light gradually increases to reach the optimal intensity to wake you up at the set time, in a pleasant manner that leaves you feeling energized and ready to wake up. The light intensity can also be adjusted to your own personal preference. The Wake-up Light will be available exclusively in France in October 2006 with a rest-of-Europe roll-out in 2007.  Read More

Mobile X-ray unit capture the knee in motion

October 3, 2006 Walking is a dynamic process, so it might come as a shock to realise that up to now the function of artificial knee joints has been analysed using static images of extended and bent knees. However, these were scarcely able to explain why certain patients’ prostheses were painful again and again. This is a big problem, because about one million artificial knees are implanted each year, 40,000 of them in Switzerland. The situation led researchers at the Institute for Biomechanics to analyse the problem in more detail and a mobile X-ray unit was developed that allows the knee to be x-rayed during normal walking. The purpose of the equipment is to help understand how an implanted artificial knee joint behaves during the everyday movement of walking.  Read More

Cell Phones to monitor the air and alert users to harmful chemicals and gases

October 2, 2006 One wonders what super powers our mobile phones might have a decade from now given the plethora of sensing technologies, miniaturisation and functionality being planned by various companies. Cell-phone-sensor technologies specialist Gentag’s latest patent (7,109,859) for a "Method and Apparatus for Wide Area Surveillance of a Terrorist or Personal Threat" certainly indicates that it won’t be long before our cell phones will be monitoring the air we breathe and alerting us if there’s something we should know regarding allergens, contaminants or harmful bacteria. Gentag also holds patents for the use of RFID readers incorporated into cell phones, which will provide consumers with innovations like smart skin patches to detect health conditions and smart food labels to help consumers to determine the freshness of produce and meat. Gentag also a cell phone with a UV sensor built-in (pictured).  Read More

Nanocarriers that can kill tumors with drugs and DNA

October 2, 2006 Singapore scientists have developed nanoparticles that can carry both small molecular anticancer drugs and nucleic acids simultaneously for improved cancer therapy. The uniqueness of the new technology from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) lies in the design of a special biodegradable carrier (cationic core-shell nanoparticle), which can enclose drug molecules and allow therapeutic nucleic acids to bind onto it. It can efficiently introduce DNA into a cell to be incorporated into its genetic make-up, i.e. induce high gene expression level, especially in both human and mouse breast cancer cell lines, and mouse breast cancer model. The co-delivery of small molecular drugs with nucleic acids can improve gene transfection efficiency, reduce side-effects of these drugs, and achieve the synergistic effect of drug and gene therapy for the more effective treatment of cancer.  Read More

Intel shows Mobile Medical Platform

September 28, 2006 Intel has unveiled a mobile point-of-care platform designed specifically to address the needs of nurses and physicians working on the front line of patient care. The mobile clinical assistant platform is the outcome of hospital workflow studies, nurse and physician interviews, and ethnographic research among nurses at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California. It focuses on the healthcare community’s needs to enhance patient safety, reduce medication-dispensing errors and ease staff workloads. Products based on the mobile clinical assistant platform could offer a variety of features and technologies including: an exterior casing that can be wiped clean with disinfectant; radio frequency identification (RFID) technology for rapid user and patient identification; and barcode scanning to help reduce medication-dispensing errors.  Read More

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