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Health & Wellbeing

Condometric - the condom that measures the size of your penis

November 26, 2008 Madrid-based Curiosite has come up with a product that will surely be one of the novelty hits of 2009. The Condometric is a condom with a measuring ruler printed on the side that will accurately determine the size of the wearer’s penis. Currently in manufacturing, the condom will be available in four flavours (lime, cherry, banana and prophylactic rubber), both metric and imperial measurements (centimetres and inches), and in packs of 3, 6 and 12 (the party pack?).Read More

New technology for portable wastewater treatment unveiled

In disasters such as hurricane Katrina, dealing with wastewater can be one of the greatest difficulties facing military and relief operations. Nicknamed “DAAB” (Deployable Aqueous Aerobic Bioreactor), this new self-sustaining, portable, and “smart” wastewater treatment system offers a solution to this critical problem. Read More

Motion Capture in MRI

We’ve seen a bit of innovative motion capture technology in recent times, furthering the notion that the technology can find some compelling application in the real world and is far more relevant than just computer games! MoCap technology is advancing rapidly and Measurand’s ShapeWrap III full body system, ShapeHand Data Glove, and ShapeAccelArray Geotechnical sensors have already found countless ways of enhancing understanding and interface design. Perhaps the company’s most innovative endeavour to date is its work with the medical community to aide in MRI research and analysis. The ShapeHand is a portable, lightweight motion capture system of flexible ribbons that captures hand and finger motion. The data captured by the ShapeHand system precisely simulates the hand movements of whoever is wearing it, and projects a computer generated 3D image of the hand (or hands) on a screen. By using plastic optical fiber laminated to an MRI compatible substrate on extended leads, the ShapeHand system can be fitted specifically for the MRI environment. Read More

The Business Card for Dentists

September 17, 2008 Stuart Saunders is a serial entrepreneur and inventor and has designed everything from Mass Transit Systems to CPU coolers, stereo systems, screen printers, traffic lights, and even a 4WD system with one differential, but almost certainly the business card for dentists is the invention which will find itself in the most hands. It’s a plastic credit card that contains 50 metres of dental floss – it’s a no-brainer for dentists as it combines just enough floss for between check-ups, and a ready-made reminder of the telephone number - and a nuclear wow-factor.It's quite a business card too.Read More

Measuring your health in dollar terms - study shows short-term ROI of $1.17 per $1.00 spent

September 10, 2008 A program to reduce weight and improve health risk factors in obese employees produces a short-term return on investment (ROI) of $1.17 per dollar spent, according to a University of Georgia study. Just as important, the ROI model used in the study provides a relatively simple and inexpensive tool to help companies estimate the dollar benefits of investing in employee wellness programs. The ability to simulate the cost savings associated with reducing employee health risks could help in building a "credible and defensible case" for investment in employee wellness.This story really got us thinking that it might also pay for individuals to begin considering what the ROI for investing in their health would be – if there’s a short term benefit measured in dollars for your employer to pay for you to get healthy, what’s the long term ROI for investing in your optimum health with all those other personal gains to be considered – such as happiness, a feeling of well-being and a few extra years of painless mobility.Read More

New study identifies mechanism linking stress to physical illness and premature aging

September 6, 2008 Stress is a function of our primal origins. When the body is under stress, it boosts production of cortisol to support the 'fight or flight' response we all have at the heart of our operating system. If the hormone remains elevated in the bloodstream for long periods of time, though, it wears down the immune system. Every cell contains a tiny clock called a telomere, which shortens each time the cell divides. Short telomeres are linked to a range of human diseases, including HIV, osteoporosis, heart disease and aging. Previous studies have shown that an enzyme within the cell, called telomerase, keeps immune cells young by preserving their telomere length and ability to continue dividing. UCLA scientists have found that the stress hormone cortisol suppresses immune cells' ability to activate their telomerase. This may explain why the cells of persons under chronic stress have shorter telomeres.Read More

New stem cell tools to accelerate drug development

U.K. Scientists have designed, developed and tested new molecular tools for stem cell research to direct the formation of certain tissue types for use in drug development programmes. A collaborative team of scientists from Durham University and the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) has developed two synthetic molecules which can be used to coax stem cells to ‘differentiate’ - that is, transform into other forms of tissue. Their use could also help reduce the number of animals used in laboratory research.Read More

Experimental study of hallucinations as they occur

September 4, 2008 A hallucination is a perception in a conscious awake state, in the absence of external stimuli, that has qualities of real perception in that they are vivid, substantial, and located in external objective space. For most of us, hallucinations are a normal, fleeting, brain glitch; yet for a few they are persistent, distressing and associated with a range of psychiatric, neurological and eye conditions. In the September Issue of Cortex, Dominic H. ffytche at the Institute of Psychiatry in London reviews what we do know and moves the field forward, by introducing a new experimental approach to studying hallucinations as they occur.Read More

New fluorescence correlation spectroscopy technique offers real-time view of human chemical messenger system

September 2, 2008 One wonders sometimes just how far our understanding of life itself will extend within the next few decades. Earlier this week, U.K. researchers announced the development of a technology that enables the real-time viewing of microscopic activity within the body’s chemical messenger system. The researchers first created novel drug molecules which have “fluorescent labels” attached, then using fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, the molecules can be followed under a highly sensitive microscope as they bind to receptors, glowing all the while under a laser beam … all in real time at the single molecule level. Truly remarkable! Read More

Easy-to-produce plastic microneedles offer pain-free injections

August 19, 2008 Singapore’s A*STAR continues to put the country on the technology map, this time with the news that the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE) has perfected an innovative range of microneedles that can be mass produced more readily and at a much lower cost than current microneedle technologies. The microneedles can be made from plastics as well as conventional materials such as silicon and metal and offer unique structures for better drug delivery. Microneedles are a fraction of the size of hypodermic needles and hence can penetrate the skin enough to deliver the medicine (or extract bodily fluids) but miss the nerve receptors so they induce no pain. Combined with the appropriate electronics, they can be worn as a skin patch, for regular doses of drugs to be delivered automatically to patients. Read More

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