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The iBGStar plug-in glucose meter

With the number of apps in Apple’s App Store standing at more than 250,000 it’s no surprise that there are a number of diabetes-related apps amongst them. Such apps require users to manually enter information such as glucose numbers, carbohydrate consumption, insulin dosages and activities to allow diabetics to better control the disease. A new plug-in attachment for the iPhone and iPod touch called the iBGStar takes things one step further by incorporating a blood glucose meter that allows users to view and analyze readings in ‘real time’.  Read More

Dr Iain Spears from Teesside University with the 'exergaming' system

The local pub might not seem like the most obvious location to try and improve the health of middle-aged men but that’s just the task researchers in the U.K. have set themselves. In a novel approach to get unfit men active, the researchers have devised an ‘exergaming’ system targeted at sedentary middle-aged men on Teesside in the North East of England. The plan is to put the system into workingmen’s clubs and get the men to take part in virtual boxing matches with a computer-generated opponent.  Read More

The Zambulance provides medical transportation to people in developing nations

According to a recent study, over 60 percent of people in developing countries live more than eight kilometers (five miles) from a healthcare facility. As you can imagine, most of these people don’t own cars, or even have access to motorized ambulance services. When they require urgent medical attention, they often have to walk, are loaded into an ox cart or wheelbarrow, or have to sit on the rack of a bicycle. Fortunately, however, an alternative is available to some – the Zambulance. While the bicycle trailer/ambulance might seem like very basic medical transportation, early trials indicate that it’s truly life-saving.  Read More

An illustration of a telomerase molecule (Image: Sierra Sciences, LLC)

For many scientists who know about such things, the question isn’t whether the first person to live forever has been born, but how old they are. The basis for this belief is that, if a person can survive the next 20 or 30 years, then breakthroughs in biotechnology will easily allow them to extend their lifespan – not to mention their quality of life – to 125 years. From that point, the advances will keep coming to allow the prolonging of life indefinitely. One of the first steps towards such a reality has just been announced by a group of researchers who have discovered the first compound that activates an enzyme called telomerase in the human body.  Read More

Radio-wave technology used to detect bombs and explosives could be utilized to identify co...

Technology used to detect bombs and explosives could have a beneficial side-effect – identifying counterfeit and substandard drugs, which pose a major threat to public health, particularly in developing countries. Around one percent of drugs in developed countries, and 10 to 30 percent of drugs in developing countries are counterfeit, and the percentage of substandard drugs is thought to be even higher. Swedish and British researchers are developing a cheap, reliable system that uses radio waves to analyze the chemical structure of drugs to identify fakes.  Read More

A model of the implantable bioartificial kidney shows the two-stage system

End-stage renal disease, or chronic kidney failure, affects more than 500,000 people per year in the U.S. alone, and currently is only fully treated with a kidney transplant. That number has been rising between five to seven percent per year and with just 17,000 donated kidneys available for transplant last year the waiting list currently exceeds 85,000, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplant Network. Those who can’t secure a kidney for transplant are left reliant on kidney dialysis. An expensive and time consuming process that typically requires three sessions per week, for three to five hours per session, in which blood is pumped through an external circuit for filtration. In a development that could one day eliminate the need for dialysis, researchers have unveiled a prototype model of the first implantable artificial kidney.  Read More

Solariums significantly increase the risk of skin cancer

Ever since the 1920s, getting a tan has been highly fashionable in many Western cultures. Despite the growing mountain of evidence regarding the dangers, many (mainly young) people continue to use solariums as a way to attain what is often seen as a “healthy tan.” However, the evidence just keeps piling up with two new studies out of Australia, home of the “bronzed Aussie,” showing that using a solarium significantly raises ones chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer and that the risks increase as the age of solarium use decreases.  Read More

The Integrascope's LED (left) shines light through a drop of blood (center), and the refra...

When bodily fluids such as blood are tested for infectious diseases and unhealthy protein levels, they’re typically mixed with antibodies or other biological reactants to produce a positive or negative reaction. Researchers from Arizona State University (ASU) have now come up with an alternative testing system that they claim is just as accurate, but much simpler, quicker and cheaper. It utilizes LED lights and simple microelectronic amplifiers, and actually uses the sample itself as a diagnostic tool. Because it integrates the sample into the process, inventors Antonia Garcia and John Schneider call their device the Integrascope.  Read More

The humble spud can get an antioxidant boost from an electric current or ultrasound waves

Originating in the region of southern Peru and first being domesticated between 3,000 and 2,000 BC, the potato has spread to become an integral part of the world’s cuisine and the world’s fourth-largest food crop. Scientists have now discovered not one, but two simple, inexpensive ways to boost the amounts of antioxidants in the humble spud. One involves giving spuds an electric shock, while the other involves zapping them with ultrasound, high frequency sound waves.  Read More

MIT researchers have devised a way to measure blood glucose levels by shining near-infrare...

For most sufferers of type 1 diabetes pricking their fingers several times a day to draw blood for testing is an annoying (and often painful), but necessary part of life. It is essential to keep an eye on blood glucose levels because too much sugar can damage organs, while too little deprives the body of necessary fuel. To minimize that pain and inconvenience, researchers at MIT’s Spectroscopy Laboratory are working on a noninvasive way to measure blood glucose levels using light.  Read More

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