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Health and Wellbeing

February 14, 2007 The diet soda market has been traditionally one where the calories are reduced in comparison to the syrupy full-calorie sodas. In October last we wrote about the coming of a Coca Cola-owned softdrink which puts a new spin on diet soda – the soda actually raises the metabolism and burns calories. Now research company Datamonitor has named the category of calorie burning beverages, as the number one food and beverage trend for 2007. As it turns out, Coca Cola’s Enviga did not make it to market first. That honour goes to Celsius, making it the first calorie burning soda and hence a category buster. Celsius has been clinically proven to burn calories, boost energy, and increase metabolism, on average 12% for up to 3 hours. Both Enviga and Celsius are based on Green Tea. Read More
February 12, 2007 It appears that the ever more omnipotent computer is set to add another remarkable by unravelling the secrets of mindreading. Every day we plan numerous actions, such as to return a book to a friend or to make an appointment. How and where the brain stores these intentions has been revealed by John-Dylan Haynes from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in cooperation with researchers from London and Tokyo. For the first time they were able to "read" participants’ intentions out of their brain activity. This was made possible by a new combination of functional magnetic resonance imaging and sophisticated computer algorithms. By imaging patterns of activity in the brain's prefrontal cortex as subjects concentrated on their choice of two future actions, researchers have been able to distinguish cortical activity patterns that correspond to the subjects' different plans. Read More
February 8, 2007 The world’s caffeine addicts got some good news this week when it was announced that the genes involved in coffee quality have been identified. Since 2001, CIRAD and the Agricultural Institute of Paraná in Brazil (IAPAR) have been working on joint research into understanding the biological processes - flowering, fruit ripening, etc - that determine coffee’s distinctive characteristics. Some compounds (sugars, fats, caffeine, etc) are known to play a role in coffee quality. Their accumulation in the plant, and particularly in the beans, is a determining factor. Sucrose is considered to play a crucial role in coffee organoleptic quality, since its breakdown during roasting releases several aroma and flavour precursors.how coffee beans ripen. Using molecular biology and biochemistry techniques, they have characterized the key enzymes in the sucrose metabolism during coffee bean development. The quality of coffee makes a big difference at market, which is good news for all concerned as coffee is still the second most traded commodity in the world behind only petroleum. Read More
February 2, 2007 Man has been producing and administering drugs since the neolithic period. Initially these drugs were administered orally mixed with a liquid with the advent of pills making inhalation and the intramuscular or intravenous injection following. These days, the majority of the world’s drugs are administered via pills – pills offer an accurate dosage, but they are so convenient that it’s often possible to forget when you’ve taken them. Chronically ill patients get muddled when constantly having to swallow different numbers of tablets at different times, while those with dementia simply cannot cope. Now EU researchers are developing a better, more accurate and more convenient way – a dental prosthesis capable of releasing accurate dosages into the mucous membranes in the mouth. As it can administer accurate micro amounts over continuous periods, the prosthesis overcomes the peak concentrations that occur with taking pills and even offers the ability to monitor and maintain consistent blood levels of any drug. What makes the Intellidrug prosthesis unique is that, unlike existing drug prostheses and implants, it is small enough to fit into two artificial molars. Inside the patient’s mouth, it is readily accessible and can easily be maintained and refilled. Read More
January 30, 2007 When it comes to the inequality in people's health across the globe, says Professor Danny Dorling of the University of Sheffield, "you can say it, you can prove it, you can tabulate it, but it is only when you show it that it hits home." This is the philosophy behind Worldmapper, a collection of cartograms that rescale the size of territories in proportion to the value being mapped. The project aims to create new world maps in explanatory posters, and provide raw data and technical notes on many of the most prominent available world major datasets. "What I think matters most," says Professor Dorling, "are the new ways of thinking that we foster as we redraw the images of the human anatomy of our planet in these ways. What do we need to be able to see—so that we can act." Read More
January 29, 2007 The CelluBike integrates cardio-vascular exercise with modern infrared technology to assist in weight loss and the reduction of cellulite. The CelluBike developers claim the infrared energy penetrates the body to warm and soften the hardened cellulite, then flushes it away through the increased cardio activity and accelerated metabolic processes. In addition to aiding in flushing cellulite from the body, infrared helps in ridding toxins from the body that are stored in the fatty tissue. This means the multiple-technology bike has many applications in the health, rehabilitation, wellness and medical professions, as it facilitates a deep cleansing treatment for the body, aiding detoxification of narcotic drugs and hormones, heavy metals, hydrocarbon residues, alcohol, nicotine, sodium and cholesterol. To its biggest market, the Cellubike looks like a more natural, less invasive alternative to liposuction with exceedingly bright prospects. In some of those other industries, it looks even more promising. Whatsmore, the monitor that tracks and displays your progress is also an entertainment centre to help you while away the hours. Read More
January 10, 2007 TASER is well known for its advanced personal protection devices (AKA stun guns or non-lethal weapons) which have now been on the market for five years and are widely used by law enforcement personnel. Now the company aims to give the general consumer an effective way of defending themselves, with the unveiling its new consumer-model US$300 TASER C2 Personal Protector at the Consumer Electronics Show. The TASER C2 is powered by lithium batteries, has a 15-foot range, a 10 year shelf life, and can shock up to 50 people without replacing the battery. There's also a single use cartridge you can clip on to shoot electrodes. The TASER C2 also incorporates a public safety background check technology called SureCheck. TASER C2 units are shipped in an inactivated state and cannot be used until the end user successfully completes a background check using a secure web site. If approved after the check, the user is issued an activation code unique to their serial number. If you were figuring this non-lethal gizmo would be ideal and humane way to rob banks, think again, because each time the C2 is used, it disperses 20-30 bits of serialized confetti, which identifies the owner of the TASER system. First shipments are scheduled for April, 2007. That's TASER co-founder and chairman Tom Smith with the new C2 - and inside are lots of images of playboy girls because TASER and Playboy co-sponsor a racing car which was used on the stand at CES. Read More
January 3, 2007 Nature magazine is reporting a fascinating new discovery by researchers at Harvard Medical School which could help boost human sporting abilities, slow muscle wasting and almost certainly create even more headaches at the World Anti-doping Agency. Led by Bruce Spiegelman, the team of Harvard Medical School scientists hit upon a genetic switch that converts almost all mouse muscle fibres into type IIX. Human muscles are made of four main types of fibre, including two 'slow-twitch' varieties and one 'fast-twitch' muscle type that are suited to endurance and sprint activities respectively. Little has been known about the fourth type, called IIX fibre, because it is scattered throughout different muscles. Spiegelman's team found a specific gene can convert muscles that are a mix of fibre types into mainly slow-twitch fibres and when tested in mice, found the mice were able to run on a treadmill for 25% longer before reaching exhaustion. Sadly, the natural attributes of Joan Benoit Samuelson, Grete Waitz, Derek Clayton, James Peters, Paula Radcliffe, Khalid Khannouchi and Abebe Bikila might be overshadowed by some remarkable performances when this research filters into practical technology for athletes to abuse. Read More
December 31, 2006 Colorado-based Medical Modeling is set to begin using an EBM (Electron Beam Melting) Metal Rapid Manufacturing and Prototyping System to design and build titanium implants for insertion into the body. The company is also planning to provide surgeons and medical device manufacturers with titanium models for improved surgical planning and implant development. Using data acquired from CT or MRI (Computed Tomography or Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans, Medical Modeling creates highly accurate, three dimensional anatomical models of bone structures – such as the skull, pelvis and spine – and soft tissue – such as the brain and organs. Using its Arcam EBM system with titanium material, Medical Modeling can create fully dense, fully functional models of surgical instruments, guides and potentially implantable devices. The rapid manufacturing and prototyping system is a Stratasys Arcam EBM S-400, which manufacture real parts or prototypes from metal. Read More
December 31, 2006 We’re a funny bunch us human beings, and there’s no greater testimony to this than the number of liposuction procedures performed each year in the United States, which shows numbers growing from a mere 50,000 15 years ago, to an annual number approaching half a million. It’s the most popular plastic surgery procedure, mirroring US$35 billion a year sales of weight loss products and US$63 billion a year sales of low carb, fat, sugar, and calorie products. Liposuction is used to remove localized areas of fat so the body can be sculpted. The procedure is performed by vacuuming excess fat from the body using a cannula which is inserted through small incisions in the natural creases of the body. It’s a routine and safe procedure these days, but recovery takes at least a few days off your normal activities and you could still be wearing compression bandages up to a month later. Now a new procedure similarly reduces fat from localised body regions, (e.g. stomach or thigh or in industry parlance, your Banana fold, Buffalo hump, Cankles, Chubb, Doughnut or Wings), without requiring an incision or a lengthy recovery time. The procedure focuses high-intensity ultrasound through the skin into precise locations within subcutaneous adipose tissue, permanently disrupting the adipocytes without damaging the epidermis, dermis, or underlying tissues and organs. Treated tissue is resorbed via normal inflammatory mechanisms. LipoSonix has the potential to be offer non-invasive body sculpting to the masses with low cost and even lower time and recovery overheads. One to watch in 2007. Read More