Health & Wellbeing

High-tech comb uses plasma to kill lice

As some parents will already know, head lice infestations can be very difficult to treat. Typically a toxic shampoo or lotion has to first be applied to the sufferer's scalp, after which the lice are removed by pulling a specialized comb through their hair. Louse eggs aren't harmed by such shampoos, however, so the treatment needs to be repeated once they've hatched. This means more nasty chemicals, and more discomfort for the child (or adult). That's why researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films have developed an alternative, in the form of a comb that zaps the pests with cold plasma.Read More

Wing lung monitor aimed at letting asthmatics breathe easier

There are 30 million people with asthma in the US alone and one of the biggest problems they have is not knowing when symptoms might occur or not always knowing what might trigger them. Scientists at Sparo Labs are looking to change that with Wing, a pocket-sized device that plugs into your smartphone and can detect early warning signs for asthma attacks. Read More

Smartphones may soon detect air pollution

According to the World Health Organization, nitrogen dioxide (NO2)-based air pollution contributes to over 7 million deaths per year – children and the elderly are particularly at risk. Thanks to research being carried out at Australia's RMIT University, however, it may soon be possible to receive early warnings of dangerous NO2 levels in the air around you … via a sensor in your smartphone.Read More

FDA-approved drugs show promise for rapid and robust hair regrowth

Other than costly transplants, underperforming creams and less-than-convincing wigs and combovers, those experiencing hair loss aren't exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to addressing fading follicles. Over the years science has teased us with a number of promising developments, but none have yet evolved into market-ready saviours the bare-bonced among us are waiting for. New research suggests that a solution be on the horizon, however, with scientists discovering that blocking certain enzyme activity can treat certain kinds of hair loss, with bald mice treated in this way sprouting new hair within 10 days.Read More

Home haptic feedback system could help stroke victims rebuild motor skills

Although stroke victims do receive some rehabilitative therapy while at the hospital, it's difficult for physiotherapists to track their progress once they've gone home. As a result, according to Prof. Thenkurussi Kesavadas at the University of Illinois, many of them end up declining in fine-motor abilities. That's why he's leading an effort to create a system that would allow them to continue supervised therapy, via their home computer.Read More

Fruit flies study identifies gene that could help treat Parkinson's

King's College London (KCL) researchers have identified a gene that regulates nerve function, and could be switched off as part of a new Parkinson's treatment. The breakthrough was made by studying the disease in fruit flies, and significantly furthers our understanding of the degenerative condition. Read More

Helmet decal could reduce athletes' brain injuries

If we lived in a world where athletes only received straight-on blows to the head, then regular helmets would offer all the protection needed. In real life, however, helmets usually receive impacts at an angle, with the resulting twisting of the head potentially causing brain injuries to the wearer. Now, scientists from Vancouver's Simon Fraser University have developed something to help keep that from happening – a sticker called the BrainShield.Read More

Livi medication dispenser accesses the cloud to make sure you don't miss a dose

Keeping track of multiple medications can be challenging, particularly if they aren't all simple one-a-day doses. That's why South Carolina-based PharmRight Corporation has developed Livi. It's a cloud-connected pill dispenser that can manage a 90-day supply of up to 15 medications at once, letting users know when to take what, and letting caregivers know if they miss a dose.Read More


    See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning