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Health and Wellbeing

November 21, 2006 The day you are born, your birth certificate carries a detailed genetic profile showing your predisposition to allergies and certain diseases, your health risks and information useful to minimise your chances of falling sick. With all this information so early on, you and your health professional can take steps to minimise the effects of disease, before age-related illnesses begin to develop 60 years on. In the meantime, if you do fall sick, doctors can better diagnose and tailor treatment and drugs to your exact genetic profile, with a greater chance of success. The coming era of genetic medicine promises a revolution in health care, yet major obstacles remain, not least the complexity of extrapolating clinical practice from organic molecules. The INFOBIOMED team hopes to link biological and medical informatics in a bid to make genetic medicine a reality. Read More
November 12, 2006 Hospital clinicians know that the worst time to find out a defibrillator isn't working is during a cardiac arrest event. Which is why resuscitation device manufacturer ZOLL will be introducing its new R Series defibrillator for hospitals at the 2006 Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in Chicago today. The R Series extends testing beyond shock delivery and checks more than 40 measures of readiness, including the presence of the correct cables and electrodes, the type of electrode, and other important electronics, such as verifying the condition and expiration date of the electrode set. A simple green checkmark indicates that the R Series is fully ready for use. There's lots more to commend the R Series, but when a device is as mission-critical as a defibrillator, we like the idea that it's ready-to-go! Read More
November 12, 2006 The discovery of unexpected magnetic interactions between ultrasmall specks of rust is leading scientists at Rice University's Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology (CBEN) to develop a revolutionary, low-cost technology for cleaning arsenic from drinking water. The technology holds promise for millions of people in India, Bangladesh and other developing countries where thousands of cases of arsenic poisoning each year are linked to poisoned wells. Read More
November 8, 2006 Whatever your opinion of head lice, it must be said that they are fair creatures as they do not discriminate by race, religion, gender or social status. Each year, somewhere between 6 million and 12 million Americans are infested with head lice, making children miss 12 million to 24 million school days, as lice have developed resistance to many of the currently used insecticide shampoos. Now biologists have invented a chemical-free, hairdryer-like device they have dubbed the LouseBuster which eradicates head lice infestations on children without the use of chemicals. A study published in the November 2006 issue of the journal Pediatrics "shows our invention has considerable promise for curing head lice," says Dale Clayton, the University of Utah biology professor who led the research and co-invented the machine. Read More
November 8, 2006 A new and very promising Laser-Ultrasound-Nanotechnology combination that detects malignant breast tumors one-fifth the size found with conventional technology has attracted U.S. Federal funding totalling US$3.8 million. The new federal funding will support Phase II research into breast and prostate cancer detection using laser optoacoustic imaging technology developed by Fairway Medical Technologies. Read More
November 8, 2006 Historically, knee implants have been designed using predictions based on theoretical data. Now, a new smart knee replacement can wirelessly transmit multi-axis torque and force information directly from patients to a computer. These advances greatly enhance the capabilities of the first smart knee implant in 2004 that reported only knee compressive forces. The second generation implant provides a wealth of new information: twisting, bending, compressive, and shearing loads across the human knee - all reported dynamically and wirelessly. The data generated from this device will provide key inputs for new designs, techniques for implantation, and actual use of knee replacements. In-depth analysis can now be undertaken of forces and torques transmitted across the knee joint during normal human activities such as stair climbing, rising from a chair and walking. The results of this analysis can be used to improve design, refine surgical instrumentation, guide post-operative physical therapy and potentially detect the individual activities that would overload the implant. Read More
October 30, 2006 The current global innovation tornado seems to touch every conceivable niche and one which touches us all – keeping the body optimally hydrated – has resulted in some ingenious solutions (no pun intended) of recent times. First there was the GEL-BOT for providing energy and/or hydration during endurance sports, then the recently announced Hydracoach Intelligent Waterbottle. Now HydroSport USA has announced a wrist-worn water bottle developed so runners don’t need to hold their water bottles while they run and it is hence potentially applicable for other activities too. Each HydroSport holds 160 ml of rehydration liquid (aka water, electrolyte drink) and weighs about a half pound (225 gms), a size Hydrosport arrived at after balancing the conflicting aspects of weight at the wrists and the amount of liquid needed by the body. The Hydrosport is strapped on to the wrist and has a pull top and retails for US$10 a pair. Read More
October 23, 2006 The online dating scene incorporates about 1500 sites and generates about 1.81% of all web pages served – one in fifty web pages or around 2 percent of the world’s attention while it is online. As this is such a large industry, it is forever trying to come up with more efficient algorithms for putting compatible parties together both time- and cost- efficiently and facilitating effective communication between the parties. Two new web sites named Yesnomayb and eHarmony Marriage joined the ranks recently and both differentiate themselves very effectively in this space. Yesnomayb could be best described as the online equivalent to speed dating – it’s quick and effective and worth a look. Online dating is big business for the major players who have client bases in the ten million range. More people become single every year - 46 percent of all Americans are single, up from just 28% in 1970. Dating site EHarmony focuses on facilitating communication between potential partners and is now extending its relationship skills services to catering to married couples with programmes designed to facilitate a more harmonious marriage. eHarmony’s Marriage program will run a diagnostic personalized assessment of the current state of your marriage, or build a specialised program for you or you and your partner based on your needs (to maintain your level of happiness, get help with minor issues or major problems, to enrich the marriage or to avoid likely divorce). By offering a self-help alternative to marriage counselling, eharmony gets our vote for one of the best product extensions we’ve seen as it targets the other 54% of the population. Read More
October 23, 2006 Parents are always up for another trick to get their children to develop good dental hygiene habits and we suspect this new Toothtunes toothbrush will become a two-edged sword. On one hand the ability to get your child to brush when the toothbrush plays great music from top artists (Black Eyed Peas, Hilary Duff, Destiny’s Child, KISS, Kelly Clarkson and The Cheetah Girls) is a winner, but we suspect the US$10 one-song-per toothbrush model will be found ill conceived in the longer term because US$10 a song is just too much. But they have a captive market and it might be some time before we see an MP3 toothbrush using the same Toothtunes patented technology which transmits songs and music vibrations through the teeth, which are then heard in the inner ear and they hence control this new musical medium. From vinyl to tape to CD-ROM, check out this fascinating Karl Hartig chart showing how we have consumed our music over the years. The chart finishes in 1998 and hence doesn’t include the MP3 phenomena. Hartig produces some of the most information-intense graphics the world has ever seen. His ability to visualise and who what's happening from large amounts of information is a beaty to behold - every school should have these charts on the wall. Some charts that will take your breath away include U.S. Population Changes, the Information Age, the history of Consumer Electronics, this 3D graph showing America's immigration patterns, energy production versus energy consumption, and business cycles. Read More
October 20, 2006 Being comfortable when you’re working increases your productivity and is good for your state of mind – yet so few of us invest in the technologies to gain those benefits, even though we spend hundreds of hours a month slaving over a keyboard. A few thousand dollars might significantly increase workplace comfort and there’s a tangible ROI via the productivity. Our favourite seating solutions for office applications are the Bionomic Chair, the MYPCE workstation, the Plasma 2System, the Netsurferand the NeThrone and the Ypsilon office chair designed by Mario and Claudio Bellini just slipped into that elite category of executive seating. With ten different adjustments possible, Ypsilon can be individually adapted to the size, weight and the body of the sitter, following his or her movements, and providing support without constricting. It has a sensitive motion mechanism and extremely wide backward angle, enabling it to offer a viable lounge working position. The flexible backrest is like a sail. Frameless and fixed only on the corner points, it has a burred texture that encourages pleasant air circulation. The soft cushioning of the headrest and armrests and the patented ClimaSeat offer additional comfort and create an agreeable sitting climate for extended periods. Read More