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Health and Wellbeing


— Health and Wellbeing

"Bicycle mechanism" uncovered that is said to drive our brains in and out of sleep

Jet-setters and night owls will have felt the wrath of an off-kilter body clock, by way of the physical impact it can have on immediate well being. A yearning to understand the underlying reasons for this has been the subject of much scientific interest, and has led to some rather strange products like LED light glasses and glowing pillows. But by studying the biological clock of a humble fruit fly, researchers at Northwestern University are claiming to have uncovered the precise mechanisms that bring us in and out of sleep, with their evidence suggesting these switches date back hundreds of millions of years.

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— Health and Wellbeing

VR system simulates the effects of dementia

It may be an overused proverb, but it's a good one: "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand." That's the definitely the thinking behind Virtual Dementia Experience, a virtual reality system created by four multimedia graduates from Australia's Swinburne University. It provides caregivers with an interactive simulation of what it's like to suffer from dementia, so they can better understand what their patients are experiencing.

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— Health and Wellbeing

Nicotine-gobbling enzyme could help smokers quit

Nicotine replacement therapy, such as pills, gum and patches, can make the road to quitting smoking a little less rocky, but these aren't always effective and a tremendous amount of discipline still plays the major role. A team of US-based researchers has now uncovered an enzyme found in nature they say could greatly improve on the effectiveness of smoking cessation aids, by devouring nicotine in smokers before it can deliver its "reward" to the brain.

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— Health and Wellbeing

New therapy to help addicts put memories of meth use behind them

Even after a lengthy period of abstinence, putting lingering memories of methamphetamine use to rest is a difficult and often impossible task for former users. Therapies are available to help people stay clean, but for many the lure remains irresistible with incredibly high relapse rates of more than 90 percent, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But a research team is hoping to help addicts stay away from the devastating drug for good by developing a way to safely erase drug-associated memories.

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— Health and Wellbeing

Ebola vaccine shown to be 100 percent effective in field trials

Ebola is one of the most frightening viruses of modern times and the recent outbreak in West Africa sparked a worldwide effort to contain it. Though it is far from under control in much of the region, there is a glimmer of hope as the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that in trials, a vaccine called VSV-EBOV has proven to be 100 percent effective in protecting individuals.

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