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Health and Wellbeing


— Health and Wellbeing

CPU-controlled artificial leg offers new freedom of natural movement for amputees

July 27, 2007 Prosthetics is a fascinating field – science’s ability to mimic the complicated natural function of lost limbs can make a truly life-altering difference for amputees. Nowhere is this difference more strongly felt than in the field of artificial legs that get amputees out of wheelchairs, off crutches and back to a level of mobility that lets them blend back in into ordinary life. The latest drive towards the development of advanced prosthetics includes this new microchip-controlled artificial knee joint that’s opening up an unprecedented level of freedom of movement for above-knee amputees and allowing amputee servicemen to remain active in their jobs if they so choose. The US$30K hydraulic C-LEG’s CPU “brain” automatically adapts to changes of speed and direction, and can be pre-programmed into up to 10 switchable “modes” to enable natural driving, cycling and other programmable activities that require different leg actions to normal walking and stair climbing. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Diet Coke turns 25

July 16, 2007 It’s just 25 years since Diet Coke burst onto the scene and forever changed the beverage landscape by catering to a society paying homage to a healthy lifestyle. So well did Diet Coke hit the mark that it is now a business school text book case study, as the most valuable brand extension in marketing history and the most successful launch in beverage history. The brand was launched in the United States on July 29, 1982, and was so immediately successful that it was followed just six months later with an international roll-out. By 1984, it was the number three sparkling beverage in the United States, a title it has held since. In 1986, it became the number one low-calorie sparkling beverage in the world. Today the brand, including both Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Light, is available in 173 countries and has a 40 percent share of the global diet sparkling beverage segment. For those who worship at the altar of smoke and mirrors, there’s a commemorative can. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Strap-free heartrate monitor fits like a glove

July 12, 2007 Heart rate monitors have become an almost ubiquitous tool in fitness training, allowing athletes to ensure they're operating in the right BPM range to maximize the effectiveness of their cardio training or weight loss programs. The chest-strap used to take heart rate readings isn't universally popular though, as many find it uncomfortable and annoying. Adidas tried to solve this by building the sensor into a tight training shirt, NuMetrex built the sensor into a sports bra for women - and now Beurer has come up with a new system that fits as half a glove and reads heart rate from your index finger. The PM 100 beltless heartrate monitor uses photoplethysmography to determine your heart rate - it's effectively a flexible, soft equivalent of the plastic finger clip you get in hospital. While it won't be perfect for sportspeople that need to use their hands, those involved in running or other pure cardio exercise will likely find it a comfortable and no-fuss way to keep a constant tab on their heart rate. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Bionic arm uses elephant’s trunk as a design model

July 4, 2007 The more we learn about intelligent design, the more we understand the engenuity of nature, and the latest lesson in this regard has come during the development of a bionic robot arm by German researchers. The technology is expected to be used in therapy to restore the use of injured limbs, and low-cost, flexible prosthetic devices. Such devices could be commercially available within two years. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Handheld pulmonary drug delivery device could beat indoor smoking bans and assist quitters

July 3, 2007 Now here’s an interesting product which might find all manner of niche applications. Next Safety has created a handheld pulmonary drug delivery device that delivers extremely high arterial levels of nicotine – with effects felt less than ten seconds after inhalation – and provides higher psychoactive effects than cigarettes or any other tobacco product on the market. It is expected that the device, which is roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes, will substantially increase success rates for those who wish to quit smoking due to its ability to accurately duplicate the delivery of nicotine from tobacco smoke. Additionally, by delivering a high percentage of nicotine to the bloodstream, the use of the device is expected to cost less than 30 percent of the equivalent cost of cigarettes. We guess the same would be true for any other substances people smoked too. Hmmmm Could this be used indoors to beat the smoking bans implemented this week in the U.K. and Australia? Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

My cousin slimey - the (very common) origins of the human brain

June 30, 2007 Say hello to your long lost cousin, the marine ragworm Platynereis dumerilii. Yes folks, if the thought of “good breeding” appeals to you, we have some humbling news. European researchers have found strong evidence the hypothalamus and other hormone-secreting brain centres are much older than previously believed and probably evolved from multifunctional cells of the last common ancestor of vertebrates, flies and worms. Hormones control growth, metabolism, reproduction and other biological processes and in all vertebrates (humans included), these chemical signals are produced by specialised brain centres such as the hypothalamus and distributed around the body via the blood stream. Researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] have now found that the evolutionary basis of these advanced brain centres were multifunctional neurons that sensed the environment and released hormones accordingly – so next time you swat that fly … Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

The Kohler C3 Toilet Seat with remote control

June 27, 2007 Given that we’ve spent a lot of time recently convincing our readers to invest money in logical places where they spend a lot of time and can hence significantly enhance wellbeing (in bed) and productivity (their computer screen), at first glance we figured that justifying a high tech toilet seat was going to be tough. Applying our usual bang-per-buck rule though, the Kohler C3 Toilet Seat is a ripper – retrofitting onto almost any toilet, the heated seat has three temperature settings, bidet functionality, a warm-air fan for partial drying, a lighted bowl that eliminates the need to turn on a light at night, a deodorizer that minimizes unpleasant odors, a Quiet-Close cover that prevents slamming and a remote control. Just like the seating/driving/heating in a luxury auto, you can have “personal settings” adjustable by a remote control. If keeping up with the Jones is your game, this is a winner! Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Should children be spared the pain of the needle?

June 27, 2007 Most adults hate doctor’s needles and for children the fear is even more acute. But are they always the best form of treatment? A world-first study published by the University of Nottingham suggests that in some cases children who are spared this pain are more likely to recover faster. The research found that children suffering from pneumonia – a disease that affects two-and-a-half million children each year in Europe alone – who were given oral treatment as an alternative to injections recovered as quickly, suffered less pain, required less oxygen therapy in hospital and were able to go home sooner. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Pain Decreases under Hypnosis

June 26, 2007 Hypnosis is a process in which critical thinking faculties of the mind are bypassed and a type of selective thinking and perception is established. The term hypnosis was coined by Scottish physician, James Braid, using the Greek word for sleep for the technique which he pioneered as a surgical anaesthetic. Last week a university study presented to the European Neurological Society meeting in Rhodos demonstrated that hypnosis can offer significant reduction in pain awareness without any effect on non-painful aspects of the subject's perception. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain activity, the studies found hypnosis reduced acute pain perception by about a third. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

New research reveals the effects of ecstasy on memory function

June 25, 2007 Research carried out at the University of Hertfordshire (U.K.) has revealed that ecstasy users have significantly impaired memory compared with non-ecstasy users. The research report suggests that the recreational use of ecstasy produces a moderate to large effect on short-term and long-term memory and verbal memory, but not on visual memory. In over three-quarters of ecstasy users, long and short-term verbal memory is below the average of non-ecstasy using controls. Perhaps even more alarming in an era of recreational drug experimentation, the researchers also found that memory impairment was unrelated to the total number of ecstasy tablets consumed. Read More
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