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Health and Wellbeing

July 28, 2006 Researchers in Aberdeen have made an exciting breakthrough in showing that electricity has a major impact on the healing of wounds. The research team – one of just a handful of groups in the world studying direct current electrical fields in the body and their control over cell behaviours - believe their findings have the potential to open up pioneering methods for treating wounds and other injuries. The University of Aberdeen team detail how electricity works in a wound in a paper which appeared in yesterday's copy of Nature. The team have discovered a couple of proteins and genes within cells which play a key role in steering the cells to heal wounds in response to the naturally occurring electrical signals found at wounds. Read More
July 18, 2006 Recent geo-political and natural disaster events have shown that one of the primary threats to victim’s survival is blood loss. In particular, the global war on terror has demonstrated specific vulnerabilities in critical blood loss due to damaged limbs. In late 2003, American Special Operations Forces requested the urgent supply of a tourniquet with some special requirements including; operation by one-hand, application and occlusion in less than a minute, applicable to trapped limbs, no external power, quick release and reset, weighing less than 230 grams, and having a 10 year shelf-life. Within seven weeks, Cybertech Medical Product Development delivered the first prototype of the Mechanical Advantage Tourniquet (MAT) to the DoD that solved all of their desired requirements, and to-date is the only device to do so. It’s unique modulated constriction makes the MAT safe to use in preventing tissue damage and loss of limb. Read More
July 17, 2006 We just love a successful business model and when that distinctly American direct sales institution Avon was awarded its direct-selling license by the Direct Selling Administration of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the conditions were just right for a spot of spontaneous combustion. China is embracing some aspects of Western culture most readily, among them the concepts of applied glamour, fashion and beauty contests. In less than four months (to June 30), Avon Products China has recruited and certified more than 114,000 licensed Sales Promoters, and another 31,000 are in various stages of the certification process. Avon's Sales Promoters are the company's direct-selling reps, who provide customers with the one-on-one personal service that Avon is recognized for globally. "The high numbers of licensed Sales Promoters in such a short time reflects the great appeal of the Avon earnings opportunity in the Chinese market," said SK Kao, General Manager, Avon China. Read More
June 26, 2006 Back in November 2004, we tried Freeze-Framer - an interactive program that measures stress levels so the user can better manage their emotional and physical response to stress. Stress is the mind's response to any pressure that disrupts its normal balance. It occurs when our perception of events doesn't meet our expectations and we are unable to manage our reaction. As a response, stress expresses itself as resistance, tension, strain or frustration that throws off our physiological and psychological equilibrium, keeping us out of sync. If our equilibrium is disturbed for long, the stress can become disabling. According to the American Institute of Stress, up to 90% of all health problems are related to stress. Too much stress can contribute to and agitate many health problems including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, depression and sleep disorders. Now the same Freeze-Framer technologies have been incorporated in a mobile handheld device, no bigger than a cell phone, designed to help the user reduce stress anytime, anywhere. Weighing only 2.2 ounces, the US$200 emWave pocket-sized personal stress reliever becomes available tomorrow to assist people in gaining a new sense of inner control. Read More
One of the delicate balances of modern technology is delivering all the relevant information in such a way that it can be taken in at a glance – akin to the car dashboard – while still concentrating on the mission-critical task at hand. Last week we covered the latest advances for the information-intensive battlefield and now we’re reporting on what seems like the opposite end of the spectrum – the Operating Room. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York has recently deployed LiveData's OR-Dashboard across its 21 new operating rooms. The new ORs incorporate state-of-the-art medical and information technology that visually integrates information from disparate sources, delivering a complete, real-time view of all relevant patient information on a large, flat panel display that is visible to the entire OR team. Read More
June 19, 2006 Each human foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands and in the course of a day can produce as much as a pint of sweat, so it’s not surprising that shoes often smell. Indeed, it’s not so much the sweat that makes shoes smell but the bacteria that thrive in the moist, warm environment sweat creates. Cleaning shoes has traditionally been done on the outside but that of course doesn’t get rid of the smell or the problem. Michael Kritzer is a “designer with well-founded problem identification, process, ideation, and computer skills” whose web site is designed to showcase said skills to potential design company employers. His solution to the eternal smelly shoe problem is the Shumidor, an ingenious ionic shoe deodorizer which caught our eye when we saw it on BornRich, though we must admit that some of Michael’s other products, notably a fully adjustable, hydroponic indoor herb garden named Herbi and a layered table place setting for home or commercial use named StackMe, were equally worthy of mention. Read More
June 14, 2006 Suicide attacks have been a common tactic since armed conflict began, as has been the practice of targeting civilians rather than military personnel. But technology has now created a far more effective set of tools which enable one person, as a suicide bomber, to wreak enormous physical, psychological and financial carnage on the population. Attacks on civilians by terrorists increased 35% in 2005, with bombings increasingly conducted in highly populated areas at a time likely to cause the most injury and hence to heighten feelings of vulnerability in the population. Emanating almost exclusively from societies where bombers are seen as cultural heroes, there is every likelihood that suicide bombing will be increasingly seen as the most effective tactic possible by the aggrieved and/or repressed. So the new Sago ST 150 could well be seen as the right product at the right time as it is specifically designed to detect suicide bombs carried on people. The patented imager is radiation-free, portable, and produces high-quality imagery revealing the exact location of the weapon and its size. The ST150 "sees" through clothing providing real-time information critical in preventing terrorist attacks. Read More
June 6, 2006 We just love clever systems that reduce error and make the world a more efficient and safer place, and the devilishly clever VeriScan medication administration system fits the bill perfectly, using a synthesis of bar code and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag readers to track medication directly at the patient's bedside. VeriScan runs on a Pocket PC equipped with a dual RFID and bar code reader. The nurse scans the bar code on the medication package and RFID tags on both the patient's wristband and the nurse's identification badge. Updates or changes to a patient's medication order are available in real-time, providing the nurse instant access to those changes, and the system also automatically charts each medication administration into the patient's Electronic Medical Record (EMR), saving data entry time and reducing the opportunity for human error. RFID technology is used on the patient's wristband and the caregiver's ID badge as it does not require direct contact or line-of-sight necessary for a bar code reader. It was announced yesterday that the US-developed system would be distributed to healthcare organizations in 15 Asian nations. Read More
June 5, 2006 Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU) has developed an innovative ‘gap clearing’ mechanism that could bring about long term convenience and benefits to physically disabled people in wheelchairs. This invention, called the Wheelchair Gap Enabler, allows wheelchair users to board a bus faster and easier and also clear low steps, such as roadside curbs, with ease and efficiency. Read More
June 3, 2006 Yet another use for the ubiquitous USB flash drive is the Swiss MediStick which is claimed to be the world's first personal multilingual medical record device. The basic idea behind the MediStick is to carry your current medical history around with you so doctors can treat you quickly if you're in an accident or have a medical emergency. The software solution in memory stick format contains your blood group, allergies, current medication and any current health conditions) and administrative data such as your name, date of birth, next of kin contact information and family doctor contact numbers as well as health care insurance details. The software also contains a password protected area for storing your more sensitive data. It makes sense that we should seek to develop a standard for this type of device, though we suspect that the MediStick would not help much in most countries as the doctors could not legally trust the device. The ability to carry the records of up to five people on the Medistick would at first glance appear to muddle the issues rather than make a more appealing product. Read More