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Health and Wellbeing

March 8, 2006 Fifty years ago the methods of preparing for sporting contests were positively backward compared to the event-specific preparation of today which involves dietary, physical and mental conditioning. Compare almost any measurable aspect of any sport and you’ll see that human performance has improved out of sight. So it’s logical that if we apply the same principles to improving our training and diet to improve the mind, it’s only a matter of time before we get smarter. Tests conducted for a new BBC (UK) television program entitled Get Smarter in a Week suggest that by healthy eating, physical activity, sound sleep and stimulating your mind with mental exercises, (such as playing Sudoku, remembering telephone numbers and taking a shower with your eyes closed) we can all get smarter by up to 40 per cent within seven days, not to mention be more confident and have better decision-making skills. Read More
March 2, 2006 German scientists have developed a new type of prosthetic foot that imitates the natural walking motion so convincingly that you have to take a second look to realize its user is wearing a prosthesis. The foot is purely mechanical and entirely without elaborate electronics. Read More
Not all innovations that have the potential to save lives are high tech, as the new FAB card proves. With More Than 11 Million people suffering from food allergies annually in the United States alone, the New Food Allergy Buddy card simply instructs chefs about which ingredients to avoid for particular patrons. Launched earlier this month, the FAB Dining Card is a free and personalized ingredient card that restaurant patrons can present to waiters and chefs detailing and easily communicating their food allergies. Chefs will then alter their recipes accordingly to ensure patron food safety. Consumers can log onto www.FoodAllergyBuddy.com to easily enter in their allergy information. They may then print out numerous business-sized cards that easily fit into their wallet or purse. There's no cost for the service or the cards, which are available in adult and children's designs. Users are assured that the information entered into the FAB system is not collected. Read More
February 13, 2006 Everyone knows about brain scanning, but most of us have never heard of a new technology called transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). Non invasive and painless, it can temporarily inactivate an area of the human brain to let brain scientists study the effect. Twenty years ago we began the scientific dream of peering into the human brain while it is working. Brain scanning devices such as fMRI and PET scans can pinpoint precisely which brain regions are active as people respond to stimuli (including brands and advertisements) or as they go about making decisions (including brand choices). It is fascinating to see just what areas of the brain light up in response to a stimulus or a particular decision task but still we have to ask, what exactly can we conclude from this? Because an area of the brain lights up doesn’t mean that it is causal in that behaviour or decision. After all, ice cream sales correlate with drownings but they don’t cause them. You cannot conclude causality from correlation because there is no way of knowing if some other, unaccounted-for variable (like weather) may be involved. To sort out causality you need to be able to do experimentation. Read More
February 12, 2006 Approximately 30 million Americans suffer from chronic insomnia. Many of these people do not seek help for their sleep problems, while others rely on medications to help them sleep. Unfortunately, most of these approaches are not long-term solutions. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released a State-of-the-Science statement concluding that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective long-term treatments for chronic insomnia. In the past, insomnia sufferers have not had the option of behavioral therapy in the comfort of their homes. A new product called SleepKey is designed to bridge this gap by delivering CBT as a self-help modality. Read More
February 9, 2006 Je Joue is the world's first programmable vibrator - a non-penetrative vibrator controlled by digital files called Grooves, which instruct its soft massage pad to move in an infinitely variable number of patterns, creating a foreplay-like experience. Accordingly, long-distance lovers can now email their partners a sensual Valentine's Day treat - their own personal 'pleasure programme'. During the development process of JeJoue, the product was tested by 150 women – 90% said they would buy one, 75% said it was better than any other toy, and 24% said it was better than their partner. Read More
February 9, 2006 Vanderbilt University, Brigham Young University and Ceragenix Pharmaceuticals have announced that one of a family of compounds, called Ceragenins (or CSAs) shows potent virucidal activity in in vitro laboratory tests against multiple strains of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. CSAs were invented by Dr. Paul D. Savage of Brigham Young University's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and exclusively licensed to Ceragenix. In data previously presented by Dr. Savage and other researchers, CSAs have been shown to have broad spectrum antibacterial activity. Dr. Derya Unutmaz, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, tested several CSAs in his laboratory for their ability to kill HIV directly and whilst cautious, acknowledged that CSAs could be the breakthrough technology to combat HIV/AIDS researchers the world has been waiting for. Read More
January 31, 2006 We’re not sure if this is a good idea, or akin to signing up for a tour of duty with a society of flagellant monks. The EnterTrainer Cardio-TV-Trainer is a wireless device that converts any exercise machine and TV, video game or stereo into an interactive workout system. The EnterTrainer combines a wireless heart monitor and a universal remote control and maintains the correct volume for the device you wish to watch/play/listen to when your heart is working in the target zone you have set. Too low or too high and the volume is lowered until you get your heart pumping in the right zone again. At US99 it’s not all that expensive compared to most wrist-worn heart rate monitors but then again, they can be used to monitor your heart rate anywhere whereas this is location-specific. For some people, the Entertrainer will be very useful, but most will probably find it a little one-dimensional and we figure it’ll get used for a while and unhooked so you can use the game console, telly or stereo in its normal mode … and maybe never get hooked up again. The company is also set to release an “iTrainer” Cardio Training Headphones for use with iPods. In our mind, the idea behind compelling and usable exer-tainment devices is to enrol and reward the participant, not to punish. But if you have an overweight child who watches too much telly, it might be ideal. See what we mean … oh no, not another wicked thought. Read More
January 31, 2006 … and we all thought it was just a silly Fairy Tale but Little Miss Muffett’s “curds and whey” might have been just the thing for her to eat if she was about to take on a spider. Researchers at the United States Air Force Research Laboratory’s Human Effectiveness Directorate (AFRL/HE) have partnered with GNC Corporation to determine if a specialized form of whey protein — a pure, natural, high-quality protein derived from cow’s milk during the process of making cheese — can help warfighters stay strong and alert during fatigue-inducing missions. Whey protein is popular in the physical fitness world as a supplement to boost muscle growth. It contains essential amino acids that the human body needs on a daily basis. Whey protein also contains high concentrations of numerous amino acids, which tests show enhance the process of muscle protein synthesis and muscle building. In its purest form, as whey protein isolates, it contains little to no fat, lactose or cholesterol. Read More
January 28, 2006 Pfizer’s Exubera (insulin human [rDNA origin]) Inhalation Powder has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Exubera was found in clinical trials to be as effective as short-acting insulin injections, and to significantly improve blood sugar control when added to diabetes pills. Exubera, which is expected to be available for patients by mid-year, is the first inhaled form of insulin and the first insulin option in the United States that does not need to be administered by injection. Pfizer is naturally hailing the new drug form as a breakthrough. Read More