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Health and Wellbeing

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
May 23, 2006 Everyone has a different relationship with alcohol and that was never more obvious than during a year of trials with the Draeger SoberCheck - a compact, affordable handheld digital alcohol detector. By the time one reaches adulthood, almost everybody has had a number of experiences with alcohol and its ability to distort reality to a greater or lesser extent. The results of the trial changed everyone involved. The SoberCheck provided dozens of our associates with a reality check on just what their blood alcohol levels were in comparison to what they thought they were - almost invariably, everyone erred several points lower than they really were and we found that this errant judgement would often have been the difference between driving legally and illegally. Remarkably, the SoberCheck emerged as remarkable educational tool, not just in what you need to do to keep your obligation to society and ensure you are driving under the alcohol limit, but about alcohol and its effects in general. Education is about life preparedness – it is formally teaching us the things we need to know to contribute effectively and manage our lives effectively. The SoberCheck could be the enabling tool in the educational process. Read More
May 22, 2006 The production, trade and consumption of alcohol dates beyond 10,000BC. The Sumerians, Egyptians and Babylonians produced and traded alcohol and the Romans and Ancient Greeks had wine Gods. Across the centuries, almost every culture has used alcohol medicinally, ritualistically and socially and in so doing, woven it inextricably into global society. We now consume more alcohol per person than ever before and at least 2.0 billion people drink it regularly. Which means the number of hangovers faced each day is also on the increase and why an effective hangover cure is the holy grail of “killer apps” – it is a “must have” product that no old wives tale has yet tackled successfully. As the word intoxication suggests, alcohol is actually a poison. That’s why we sometimes vomit when we drink it (to expel the poison), and why, if you drink enough of it, you will die. This new breed of hangover cure addresses the toxicity. The cure we tested and found to be remarkably effective is called Kampai, which is the Japanese equivalent to slainte, salute, prost, googy wawa (Zulu) and Cheerz, which is also the name for another clinically proven hangover cure we reported on but didn’t try. We tried Kampai and it works. We tried it every which way and it significantly reduces the after effects of a night on the town more than anything we’ve previously tried, though we invite any hangover cure peddlers to send us a box and we’ll report on them too. We think Cheerz and Kampai, or any other cures as good as they clearly are, should be stocked wherever customers are asked to “name their poison”, because now there’s an antidote, too. Read More
May 20, 2006 UPDATED Getting pregnant is one of those things that’s incredibly easy unless you actually want to – then Murphy’s Law ( the probability of an event occurring is inversely proportional to the desirability of that event) takes over and you need to stack all the odds in your favour. If that’s your aim (getting pregnant), then the Conception Curve might be handy. It’s a post-coital positioning pillow contoured to support a woman's hips, thighs and buttocks comfortably as gravity helps nature take its course. Read More
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
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
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
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
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