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Health and Wellbeing

December 31, 2006 The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued three documents on the safety of animal cloning -- a draft risk assessment; a proposed risk management plan; and a draft guidance for industry. The draft risk assessment finds that meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals. Read More
December 17, 2006 There are few areas in which technology can make such a great difference as in mobility assistance for the disabled and aged market. We’ve already written about Kanagawa Institute of Technology’s Power Assist Suit, Independence Technology’s iBot, and a mind-controlled wheelchair, but the announcement this week that researchers in Sweden have developed a wheelchair that can be driven manually, by remote controlled or fully autonomously suggests that devices enabling the most severely handicapped people to achieve independent mobility are inevitable . Read More
December 14, 2006 The connection between nicotine and alcohol has been known for some time, though the fact that alcoholism is ten times stronger among smokers than among non-smokers is not as widely known ... and it’s not just because many people smoke at parties. When sober alcoholics are tempted to fall off the wagon, the same receptor in their brain is stimulated as is activated by nicotine. This has been demonstrated in a doctoral dissertation at the Sahgrenska Academy at Göteborg University in Sweden. The discovery may lead to new treatment for alcohol abuse. Read More
December 13, 2006 Once likened to “taking a shower with a raincoat on”, the condom may be the safest method of protection during sex, but it significantly detracts from the experience. Last week we featured the spray-on condom designed to offer a better fit but we’re betting that new work being done by University of Utah scientists will get a lot of attention due to its likelihood of overcoming the many shortcomings of the condom. It is in fact a "molecular condom" for use by women. The liquid is vaginally inserted daily and prevents AIDS by turning into a gel-like coating and when exposed to semen, returning to liquid form and releasing an antiviral drug. The ultimate hope for this technology is to protect women and their unborn or nursing children from the AIDS virus, but the molecular condom is five years away from tests in humans and roughly 10 years until it might be in widespread use. Read More
December 11, 2006 What does a rhinoceros horn, a Tiger’s penis, a bar of chocolate, Turtle Eggs, the elements Arginine and Zinc, oysters, and the drug Bremelanotide all have in common. They are all aphrodisiacs, as are a host of other naturally available nutrients such as Ginkgo Biloba, Kava Kava, Asian Ginseng (Panax), Yohimbine (the alkaloid derived from yohimbe bark) and Avena-Sativa/Oat extract. There are many aphrodisiacs found in nature. Some may have rare nutritional compounds that enhance sexuality in unknown ways, while others may fill nutritional gaps. For example, zinc is needed for libido, and a low zinc status is balanced by eating zinc-rich oysters returning zinc levels and sexual prowess to normal. Since time began, herbalists, hucksters, scientists and alchemists have sought the ultimate product, the sure fire aphrodisiac. Now a new non-prescription, all-natural sexual enhancement pill is taking to market claiming it is the world's strongest sex pill. It might make a novel Christmas present for a friend whose love life is flagging. Read More
December 7, 2006 The University of Portsmouth has opened a UKP4.85million high-tech teaching facility with computerised mannequins to train the health-related scientist of tomorrow. The new facility - called the ExPERT Centre (Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning) - features state of the art mannequins in two fully-kitted out simulation suites (operating theatre and hospital ward). The life-like mannequins - or human patient simulators - have computerised sensors that react to any treatment students apply. Read More
December 7, 2006 Stride Rite, the leading US children's footwear retailer and manufacturer, has begun a trial to evaluate a 3D foot gauge, a system designed to produce highly accurate foot measurements. Foot gauges were installed in three Stride Rite stores in the Boston area earlier this month following the signing of an evaluation contract with UK company QinetiQ. Stride Rite has been making shoes in the US for over 85 years and operates a nationwide chain of nearly 450 stores. Last year we previewed Intellifit, an ingenious measurment system for clothing that could revolutionise the global clothing market. The 3D foot gauge could have similar long-term effects on the footwear market. Read More
December 5, 2006 A new "antimicrobial paint" developed at MIT can kill influenza viruses that land on surfaces coated with it, potentially offering a new weapon in the battle against a disease that kills hundreds of thousands a of people every year. Clearly, the new substance, could be applied to doorknobs or other surfaces where germs tend to accumulate, significantly aiding the fight against the spread of the flu. Read More
December 4, 2006 World renowned chef Alain Ducasse runs three gourmet restaurants: Plaza Athénée Restaurant in Paris, Alain Ducasse Restaurant at the Essex House in New York and the famous Louis XV restaurant in Monaco. But this week the French master chef took his meals to an extraordinary new location when his meals were served to the astronauts living on board the International Space Station. Ducasse teamed up with ESA and the French National Centre for Space Studies, CNES, to create special gourmet food that could be used for celebratory meals in space, such as New Year, birthdays and the arrival of a new crew. Thirteen different recipes were available to the resident Expedition 14 crew, with dishes including typical Mediterranean ingredients such as olives, tomatoes, aubergine, quails, red tuna and swordfish. Read More
December 4, 2006 Researchers at the German Institute for Condom Consultancy plan to launch a spray-on condom – the Institute is currently conducting tests on a spray can into which the man inserts his penis which is then sprayed with latex from nozzles on all sides. The plan is to make the product ready for use in about five seconds and offer a more effective contraceptive that fits better than standard one-size fits all condoms and hence does not slip. Pre-market trials are underway to demonstrate the new latex condom is evenly spread when sprayed and to optimise the vulcanization process. The company is seeking Condom Testers with a penis length from 9 to 12 cm and 15 to 20 cm. Men between 13 to 14 cm are apparently welcome too, so we presume there must be some other qualification ‘cos that includes just about everyone. We could think of worse jobs, and if any Gizmag readers get the gig, please don’t forget to send us your business card. Video (in German) here. Read More
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