March 13, 2007 Bilingual learning can provide substantial benefits for second and third generation children whose families speak a language other than English, according to ESRC
-funded research by Goldsmiths, University of London. Even when children have grown up with English as their stronger language, using both languages aids cognitive development and strengthens their identities as learners.
March 13, 2007 Acrongenomics
and Molecular Vision
have developed an extremely promising technology that will enable disposable, Point Of Care diagnostics for a large range of biomarkers. BioLED Lab on a Chip technology uses Molecular Vision’s patented, organic semiconductor technology in a high sensitivity, small size, medical diagnostic device. The device has been demonstrated to measure biomarkers with high sensitivity and at low cost, and the companies forsee such BioLED technology applications being used at home, in doctor’s offices and hospitals.
March 12, 2007 Although cellular telephone use has been prohibited in hospitals because of concerns of interference with medical devices, a new study by Mayo Clinic researchers
shows that calls made on cellular phones have no negative impact on hospital medical devices, dispelling the long-held notion that they are unsafe to use in health care facilities. Three hundred tests were performed over a five-month period in 2006 using two cellular phones, which used different technologies from different carriers and 192 medical devices. Not a single problem was found. The study's authors say the findings should prompt hospitals to alter or abandon their bans on cell phone use.
March 9, 2007 A new and unique employee security and safety tracking system will be shown for the first time at the ISC West EXPO, in Las Vegas, March 28-30, 2007. The system revolves around a bio-sensor chip with proprietary algorithms that collects information from the reflectance of light on the human body, in a non-invasive manner, to monitor key vital signs, including heart rate and oxygen saturation levels. The Third Eye
SATS unit is a wrist-mounted device for employees, which collects and sends information wirelessly to the employer’s central monitoring system. If the heart rate exhibits unnatural fluctuations, the information is captured on the wrist unit and transmitted to the central monitoring system. The receiving system can be configured with a video surveillance system to trigger cameras to zoom in on the employee.
March 9, 2007 We’ve written before about Cyberkinetics Neurotechnology Systems’ BrainGate
, a brain-implant device designed to control a computer, assistive devices and eventually, limb movement. The company’s focus
is neural stimulation, sensing and processing technology to improve the lives of those with severe paralysis resulting from spinal cord injuries, neurological disorders and other conditions of the nervous system. Cyberkinetics' product development pipeline includes: Andara OFS (Oscillating Field Stimulator) Therapy for acute spinal cord injury, an investigative device designed to stimulate nerve repair and restore sensation and motor function; the; and a pilot program in the detection and prediction of seizures due to Epilepsy. Cyberkinetics has now filed to market its Andara OFS Therapy for Acute Spinal Cord Injury under Humanitarian Device Exemption. Cyberkinetics recently submitted a Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain market clearance for the implantable Andara OFS System, a nerve growth stimulator. If approved, Andara would be the first commercially available neurotechnology device designed to partially restore sensation and motor function in acute spinal cord injuries by stimulating nerve repair. The company sees it as its first step toward building a Nerve Repair Franchise.
March 6, 2007 For most of modern civilization, efforts to understand the human psyche have concentrated on understanding the downsides of anger, depression, anxiety and mental illness. In more recent times, there has been a great deal of scientific exploration of what makes people happy. In our increasingly complex society, happiness is not the simple product of favourable circumstance. Well-being is dependent on making the right individual choices. Handling freedom is not always easy and that has created a demand for happiness advice. Philosophers, psychologists and spiritual thinkers offer happiness counsel, but their widely differing views have never been empirically scrutinized. A special issue on Happiness Advice of the Journal of Happiness Studies
published online this week, fills this gap, by comparing the advice given with what is known about the conditions of happiness observed in empirical research.
March 5, 2007 Here’s an interesting new inhaler that provides metered dose inhaler (MDI) users with breath-activated delivery and dose-counting capabilities. From Accentia Biopharmaceuticals, the MD Turbo offers significant advantages for the users of many of the 40 million MDIs prescribed each year in the United States alone. Studies show that many patients using traditional press-and-breathe pMDIs (pressurized metered dose inhalers) to control asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), regardless of age or MDI experience, cannot successfully coordinate the press-and-breathe action necessary for drug delivery to the lungs. More than 70% of MDI users do not know the number of doses remaining in their inhalers at a given time.
March 5, 2007 Two years ago, we wrote about
the “time-shifting” drug, Modafinil
that enables you to stay awake for 40+ hours with close to full mental capacity and with few side effects. The drug is a eugeroic and offers improved memory, mood enhancement, improved alertness and cognitive powers, and has a much smoother feel than amphetamines because they work differently. Popular Science is now reporting
that we’re just about to see new forms of super eugeroic called armodafinil
(Modafinil’s creator Cephalon
is awaiting FDA approval for the drug), and a drug code-named CX717 from Cortex
. Both drugs promise even longer periods of wakefulness, and in experiments with Ampakine CX717, sleep-deprived rhesus monkeys on the drug often outperformed their own well-rested but undrugged best efforts on mental-performance tests. While these drugs will be marketed to assist people with sleep disorders like narcolepsy, it’s their potential as recreational and workplace performance-enhancing drugs that make them worth watching. The times they are a changing …
March 2, 2007 We’ve written about Tanita’s Innerscan previously, but the newly released Tanita BC-545
is such a leap forward in technology that it deserves more than just a mention. The BC-545 is designed to assess the impact of your training routine on different parts of your body. It is able to give individual body composition readings for five body segments (each arm, each leg and the trunk area). The measurements are taken quickly and accurately by standing on the 4 footplates and by pulling the hand electrodes that are housed in the base using retractable connecting cables. The monitor then sends a safe low signal from the hand and footplate electrodes through the body. The resistance to the measurement (known as Bio-electrical Impedance Analysis or BIA) is then fed into researched equations to provide your personalized body composition readings. As the device includes a calendar function, it can track the changes over time for you, so you can create comparison graphs showing a history for each segment of the body and for each of the body composition readings, so that you can see your progress, day by day, week by week and month by month over a three year period. The backlit buttons and animated illustrations are clear and user-friendly, and the scales come with batteries included and a three year guarantee. Needless to say, because the device sends electrical signals through the body, it is highly inadvisable to use this device if you have a heart pacemaker.
February 27, 2007 The term Spanish Flu seems almost innocuous to those who are unaware of its history. Spanish Flu swept the world in the years after World War One, killing somewhere between 2.5 and 5% of the human population of Planet earth. Around 20% of the world population suffered from the disease which killed more people than had WW1 and more than the Black Death of the 1300s – it remains the most deadly outbreak of disease in world history. Spanish Flu was caused by a mutation of the bird-specific H1N1 strain of the influenza virus. More recently, another highly infectious avian strain (H5N1 also known as Bird Flu ) has caused great concern that it might also mutate to allow human-to-human transmission and cause another catastrophic pandemic. Specific mutations in a viral protein, the polymerase, contribute to the ability of the bird virus to jump the species barrier to humans. European researchers have now produced the first three-dimensional image of part of this key protein. The study, which is published in the current issue of Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, investigates the structure and function of the protein and sheds light on how polymerase mutations contribute to transmission of avian flu to humans.