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Health and Wellbeing

WHO announces new standards for registration of ALL human medical research

May 19, 2006 The World Health Organization (WHO) is urging research institutions and companies to register all medical studies that test treatments on human beings, including the earliest studies, whether they involve patients or healthy volunteers. As part of the International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, a major initiative aimed at standardizing the way information on medical studies is made available to the public through a process called registration, WHO is also recommending that 20 key details be disclosed at the time studies are begun. The initiative seeks to respond to growing public demands for transparency regarding all studies applying interventions to human participants, known as clinical trials. Before making the recommendations announced today, the Registry Platform initiative consulted with all concerned stakeholders, including representatives from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and device industries, patient and consumer groups, governments, medical journal editors, ethics committees, and academia over a period of nearly two years.  Read More

Automatic Chemical Agent Detector Alarm (ACADA)

May 19, 2006 One can only imagine the horrors of finding out the hard way that one was in the vicinity, or indeed, the target of a chemical agent attack. Whilst it’s something most of us will never have to worry about, there are those in occupations where it’s a distinct possibility they might face such a scenario. Those people will be glad to have a GID-3 chemical agent detector in their vicinity. The ACADA is an advanced point-sampling, chemical warfare agent detection system that continuously monitors for the presence of nerve agents and blister chemicals using IMS (Ion Mobility Spectrometry) technology. It provides early warning of chemical attacks and can be remotely deployed, vehicle mounted or carried by soldiers.  Read More

Cerealtop – solving the everyday problems

May 18, 2006 While there are any number of noble research pursuits, we have not yet solved some seriously basic problems with products we handle every day – like an effective seal on a cereal packet. It remains in most cases as an often large cardboard box (such as 750 g Maxi Packs) with a plastic inner pack, filled to the brim with crunchy stuff that doesn’t stay crunchy for long once it’s opened. Package design in cereals has not really evolved much. The lack of progress in the area has been such that you might consider the cereal producers have an interest in ensuring their product is consumed at its best or discarded. It is also without doubt that an effectively sealed cereal packet will keep its contents fresh much longer, so the Belgian-developed Cerealtop fills a much needed void in the market. Cerealtop is an adjustable cereal box lid (so it fits any box) with a dispenser flap.  Read More

Learning lab to train surgical teams of the future

May 11, 2006 Surgical teams from the United States and around the world will learn advanced robotic and minimally invasive surgical techniques at a newly opened Surgical Learning Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, Michigan. Traditionally, surgeons train by operating on patients under the supervision of highly experienced doctors. At the center, new surgeons can test their skills before ever stepping into an operating room, enhancing patient safety. Experienced surgeons can increase their capabilities. In addition, the new center will allow surgeons, nurses, anesthetists, technologists and other operating room personnel to train as a team.  Read More

The World’s Largest Crossword Puzzle

May 6, 2006 Use it or lose it is the message for brainpower, so next time you see someone doing a crossword, just bear in mind that mental agility exercises of all forms are good for the brain and they’re exercising an important part of the brain. Now, the retailers of this crossword puzzle are claiming this to be the world’s largest crossword puzzle. We can’t verify that but we’ll suspend disbelief that the world’s largest can be just 2.1 metres by 2.1 metres (49 square feet) – yes, it’s still big, but, … shouldn’t the world’s biggest be bigger? It has 91,000 squares and 28,000 clues and even the clue book runs 104 pages. At AUD$59.95 (US$46), it’s probably the ideal present for a crossword nutter, or someone intent on staving off Alzheimers.  Read More

Personal chemical warfare agent (CWA) detector

April 26, 2006 It might be handy to have one of these in the cupboard for a rainy day – or a really smoggy day if the smog, heaven forbid, should ever contain chemical warfare agent. The ChemRAE is a portable chemical warfare agent (CWA) detector available as stand-alone or as a wireless component of the AreaRAE rapid deployment hazardous environment detection platform produced by RAE Systems  Read More

The four-wheel drive hybrid wheelchair

April 20, 2006 Technology is beginning to yield many new and wonderous devices to make life better, safer and more fun, but few can compare to the life-enhancement offered by a new wheelchair which offers mobility-impaired and aged people an unprecedented level of freedom. It is comfortable, all-terrain and safe - a four-wheel drive wheelchair with hybrid motor and electronic assistance system has the immense potential to enable the physically disabled live more independent lives, to enable Octagenarians to bushwalk, and paraplegics . The innovative system even checks pulse rate and blood values and calls for help in emergencies.  Read More

Imitating Nature’s Scaffolding -scientists create artificial fibres that act as templates ...

April 19, 2006 A team of researchers at Singapore’s Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) have successfully created artificial fibres with nanometer-sized features that can be used to grow cells and tissue structures. These ‘fibrous scaffolds’ have been imbued with features of the natural extracellular matrix, the ground substance in which cells are embedded and a vital component in the engineering of human tissues.  Read More

Eyeglasses with adaptive focus

April 15, 2006 The end is nigh for bifocals, and not a moment too soon. Optical scientists at the University of Arizona have developed new switchable, flat, liquid crystal diffractive eyeglass lenses that can adaptively change their focusing power. The new technology will open the way for a new generation of "smart" eyeglasses with built-in automatic focus. In the foreseeable future, with this technology, you won't change prescription eyeglasses but will have your eyes tested and the optician will dial in a new prescription into the specs you already own. Indeed, we can even see the possibility of geeks doing their own eye tests and creating superglasses designed to focus perfectly depending on what you’re looking at.  Read More

Glasses with built-in hearing aid

April 11, 2006 A new and elegant hearing aid invisibly built into the arms of a pair of glasses will go on sale later this month in Holland. The Varibel hearing-glasses will offer hearing-impaired folk respite from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aid. In each leg of Varibel glasses frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. Tests have shown that the Varibel user can separate desired sounds from undesired background noise very effectively with the glasses’ technology, with the added bonus that natural sounds can still be heard.  Read More

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