Tag: Health

According To The Doctors, Google Contact Lens To Monitor Diabetes Holds Promise

Google has come up with another wearable eye device, this time a lens made out of soft contact material that might help diabetes patients keep track of their glucose levels.

The company revealed a functional prototype Jan. 16 that doctors are saying has the potential to replace not only the current continuous glucose monitors implanted under the skin, but perhaps one day even the painful finger-pricking blood tests.

The so-called smart lens, a tiny wireless computer chip that contains a glucose sensor and an antenna thinner than a strand of hair, is implanted between soft contact lens material, which is worn on the surface of the eye.

The lens is powered by tapping into radio waves in the air and is designed to send data to a smart phone or other device.

Glucose levels change frequently with normal activity like exercising or eating or even sweating. Sudden spikes or precipitous drops are dangerous and not uncommon, requiring round-the-clock monitoring,” say Google [x] co-founders Brian Otis and Babak Parviz.

The gold standard for testing the presence of glucose is doing a quick blood test. But traces of glucose can also be found in bodily fluids under the skin and in the eyes.




But because changes in glucose levels can be so abrupt, there may be a lag time in detection in the eyes, according to endocrinologists.

The company said these are “early days” in its research. More would need to be known about the correlation between tear and blood glucose and what the lag time is in detection, as well as how the environment, such as heat and wind, can affect tears.

Dr. Gerald Bernstein, director of the Friedman Diabetes Institute at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, said the idea is “terrific, if it can be done.”

The key is whether the device measures just the tears on the outside of the eye or the aqueous humor, the thin, watery fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the iris.

Aqueous fluid is “a more predictable reflection of the blood sugar,” he said. “And don’t forget, this is bodily fluid and not exactly what is in the blood.

The concept is not new, according to Bernstein. Several years ago, he consulted with an Albuquerque, N.M., company to measure glucose in the aqueous humor.

Those scientists used a low-level laser that could safely send light through the fluid in the front chamber of the eye to record the blood sugar.

It was used for patients undergoing surgery so doctors could continuously read blood sugar levels.

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My Brain Thinks I’m Dead

On Nov. 5, 2013, Esmé Weijun Wang came to the remarkable conclusion that she was dead.

In the weeks prior to this, she had begun to feel increasingly fractured — like being scatterbrained, but to such an extreme that she felt her sense of reality was fraying at the edges.

She had started to lose her grip on who she was and on the world around her. Desperate to fend off what appeared to be early signs of psychosis, Wang went into a soul-searching and organizational frenzy.

She read a self-help book that was supposed to help people discover their core beliefs and desires; she ordered and scribbled in five 2014 datebook planners, reorganized her work space and found herself questioning her role as a writer.

Then one morning, Wang woke her husband before sunrise with an incredible sense of wonder and tears of joy to tell him it all made sense to her now: She had actually died a month before, although at the time she had been told she merely fainted.

I was convinced that I had died on that flight, and I was in the afterlife and hadn’t realized it until that moment,” said Wang, now 32, who was convinced her husband and their dog Daphne were dead as well.

“That was the beginning of when I was convinced that I was dead. But I wasn’t upset about it, because I thought that I could do things [in my life] over and do them better.




 

Her husband assured her that she — and he — were very much alive, an assertion she dismissed. But as the days passed, her bliss turned into total despair.

She lost all desire to work, talk or eat — because what’s the point when you’re already dead?

For almost two months, Wang suffered from Cotard’s syndrome, in which patients think they are dead or somehow nonexistent.

Any attempts to point out evidence to the contrary — they are talking, walking around, using the bathroom — are explained away.

French neurologist Jules Cotard first described the syndrome in the 1800s as a type of depression characterized by anxious melancholia and delusions about one’s own body.

In a case report published in 1880, Cotard wrote of a 43-year-old woman who “affirms she has no brain, no nerves, no chest, no stomach, no intestines . . . only skin and bones of a decomposing body.”

Although the condition is not classified as a separate disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there have been plenty of anecdotal accounts of what has been sensationalized as “walking corpse syndrome” and “life as a zombie.

Doctors who treat the condition say Cotard’s syndrome is a real illness, with patients believing they are dead and, like Wang, feeling extremely depressed, anxious and suicidal.

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Fake Dog Helps Vet Students Save The Real Ones

The jarring image you see above isn’t a real dog — but it is a hero of sorts.

In fact, this synthetic canine could be the solution to a vexing problem for veterinary schools: How do you teach vet students to save cats and dogs if they don’t practice surgical procedures on real animals?

A biotech company says it has developed the answer: the SynDaver Synthetic Canine, an anatomically correct, skinless model of a dog.

The artificial canine comes complete with tissue that is similar to a dog’s living tissue, and it has functioning bodily systems. It has a heartbeat and a circulatory system and it bleeds when surgical incisions are made.

According to the manufacturer, the model can be customized to mimic specific diseases, illnesses and even certain medical complications.

According to the press release, some veterinary students must work in “terminal surgery labs” where they work on live, anesthetized shelter animals and then euthanize them after the procedure.




In addition, they work on canine cadavers, which typically are euthanized animals that come from shelters.

A significant number of students do not care to be involved in terminal surgery procedures or the use of live animals when there is an alternative,” said Dr. Michael Blackwell, a member of the board of directors of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association.

I am so happy to have this change because that is where we need to be today.

Blackwell points out in the video above that most veterinary students at some time or another have to anesthetize a dog or a cat and perform a procedure as part of the learning process, “but at the end, the animal is not allowed to wake up.”

The company has launched a $24 million crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo. So far, about $3,000 has been raised.

With the funds, SynDaver promises to give 20 of the synthetic dogs to every accredited veterinary college in the world.

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Can You Really Be Scared to Death?

A friend jumps out at you when you’re turning a corner. Your heart starts pounding, and you gasp. “You scared me to death!” you say.

Of course, the fact that you can utter this common phrase means that you are not deceased. But saying this is so common, in fact, that we have to ask the question: Is it possible to be scared to death?

The answer: yes, humans can be scared to death. In fact, any strong emotional reaction can trigger fatal amounts of a chemical, such as adrenaline, in the body.

It happens very rarely, but it can happen to anyone. The risk of death from fear or another strong emotion is greater for individuals with preexisting heart conditions, but people who are perfectly healthy in all other respects can also fall victim.

Being scared to death boils down to our autonomic response to a strong emotion, such as fear.

For fear-induced deaths, the demise starts with our fight-or-flight response, which is the body’s physical response to a perceived threat.

This response is characterized by an increased heart rate, anxiety, perspiration, and increased blood glucose levels.




How does our fight-or-flight instinct lead to death, though? To understand that, we have to understand what the nervous system is doing when it’s stimulated, primarily in releasing hormones.

These hormones, which can be adrenaline or another chemical messenger, ready the body for action. The thing is, adrenaline and similar chemicals in large doses are toxic to organs such as the heart, the liver, the kidneys, and the lungs.

Scientists claim that what causes sudden death out of fear in particular is the chemical’s damage to the heart, since this is the only organ that, upon being affected, could cause sudden death.

Adrenaline opens calcium to the heart. With a lot of calcium going to the heart, the organ has trouble slowing down, which is something that can cause ventricular fibrillation, a specific type of abnormal heart rhythm.

Irregular heartbeats prevent the organ from successfully pumping blood to the body and lead to sudden death unless treated immediately.

High levels of adrenaline aren’t caused only by fear. Other strong emotions can also incite a rush of adrenaline. For example, sporting events and sexual intercourse have been known to lead to adrenaline-induced deaths.

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Yes, You Can Actually Work Yourself To Death. But Is That A Surprise?

A recent study found that the less control you have over your job, the more likely you are to drop dead.

Researchers studied 2,363 Wisconsin residents in their 60s for seven years, and found that “those in high-stress jobs with little control over their workflow die younger or are less healthy than those who have more flexibility and discretion in their jobs and are able to set their own goals as part of their employment.

They also found that people with less control in demanding jobs were 15.4% more likely to die than those with more liberty to structure their own timelines and goals.

They recommend that employers ease up a bit, for the good of all and suggest “job crafting,” which involves employees to redesign their jobs to make them more meaningful.

The more freedom employees in stressful jobs have, in other words, the more they flourish.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in a Twinkie factory or managing a hedge fund – if you get to choose when you have your coffee break and what you want to get done before that, you’re more likely to be productive, and to live to work another day.




If the boss lays off trying to control you all the time, you also get better at your job.

These research subjects were a bunch of 60-year-olds, but the principles easily transfer to managing, say, 6-year-olds.

We parents know this – give ‘em freedom (or the illusion of freedom) and they’ll grow in confidence and become more competent human beings.

Job angst is very real. In Japan, there is a word for dropping dead from work stress: karoshi. However, let us remember the word for dropping dead from no work and no possibility of work: starvation.

Sure, spending your days feeling seasick in a Twinkie factory is awful. But spending your days wondering how you’re going to feed your children has to be worse.

We don’t all have control of our work circumstances, our bosses or too many other factors that box us in to the lives we’ve (sort of) chosen. But sometimes there are choices even within tight constraints.

Herman Melville’s character Bartleby, who had a drab office job, one day simply said: “I would prefer not to.” He got away with it.

Perhaps, armed with scientific proof that the alternative might be a shorter life on this marvelous earth, we can all find some courage and fight to have more autonomy at our jobs.

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You’ve Just Thrown Away The Healthiest Part Of Your Avocado

If you’re like the rest of the avocado-eaters of the world, you approach your avocado like so: Cut around the avocado length-wise with a knife, then twist the two halves to separate them.

In a slightly unsafe fashion, you aim your sharp knife for the seed, hacking away until you get a firm grip, twist again to dislodge the seed. And then, you throw the seed away.

Well, according to Scientists of the American Chemical Society, you’ve just thrown away the healthiest part of your Avocado On Toast breakfast. Here’s a hint: It’s in the seed.




Scientists gathered 200 dried avocados and pulverized the seeds down to a powder.

After close examination, they discovered the avocado seed husk carries a “gold mine of medicinal compounds” capable of treating “a whole host of debilitating diseases.”

Dr. Debasish Bandyopadhyay from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, explains “it could very well be that avocado seed husks, which most people consider as the waste of wastes, are actually the gem of gems because the medicinal compounds within them could eventually be used to treat cancer, heart disease and other conditions.

Researchers found dodecanoic acid in the husk powder, said to increase high density lipoprotein (known as HDL), which in turn, can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.

Docosanol, a crucial component in antiviral medications and treatment to cold sores and blisters, was also found in the husks. Dr. Bandyopadhyay and his colleagues hope to modify these compounds to develop medications with fewer side effects.

Diving for treasure” really takes on a whole new meaning with this discovery. The discarded avocado seeds from breakfast is not trash, it’s a nutrient-packed, heart-protecting gold mine.

But, you need not dip your hands into the trash to fetch this valuable stone seed. At least, not yet. In light of the research findings, experts believe this could one day lead to a new wave of supplements containing the healthy compounds contained in avocado husks.

For now, the jury is still out on the safety of consuming raw avocado husk powder.

Just to be clear: you cannot eat the pit or the husk. Repeat: DO NOT EAT AN AVOCADO PIT.

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Apple Watch Series 4 Will Have FDA-Cleared ECG, Fall Detection

Well, we finally know what cardiac project Apple was talking with the FDA about two years ago.

Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams announced today at Apple’s special event in Cupertino that the company has received FDA clearance for both an atrial fibrillation-detecting algorithm and an ECG that will be built into the company’s Series 4 Apple Watch, due to start shipping September 21.

Williams announced several other new health features as well, most notably fall detection, which takes advantage of the device’s new accelerometer and gyroscope.

I’m also pleased to say we’ve received clearance from the FDA,” Williams said at the event. “This is a De Novo clearance, so it’s the first of its kind.

The irregular heart rhythm alert has also received FDA clearance. Both of these features will be available to US customers later this year and we’re working hard to bring them to customers around the world.

MobiHealthNews was half right when we predicted in February of this year that an algorithm for detecting atrial fibrillation could be the Apple’s first FDA-cleared product.




The company did receive clearance for such an algorithm, likely using data from the recently-concluded Apple Heart Study to submit the application.

Williams also announced that the Watch will alert users to low heart rates in addition to high ones. But the far bigger news is the ECG, which is accomplished by adding electrodes to the digital crown and the back of the Watch.

In addition to an optical heart sensor there is a new, Apple-designed electrical heart sensor that allows you to take an electrocardiogram, or ECG, to share with your doctor, a momentous achievement for a wearable device,” designer Johnny Ives said in a prerecorded video played at the event.

“Placing your finger on the digital crown creates a closed circuit with electrodes on the back, providing data that the ECG app uses to analyze your heart rhythm.”

It takes about 30 seconds for a user to take an ECG, which is then stored in Apple’s Health app. This means, via Apple Health Records, some users will also be able to send readings directly to their doctors.

It’s amazing the same watch that you wear every day to make phone calls and respond to messages can now take an ECG,” Williams said.

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High Sugar Diets Linked To Heightened Depression Risk In Men

doughnuts

Millions of sweet-toothed British men could be making themselves anxious and depressed by consuming too much sugar, a study suggests.

Scientists found that men who consumed more than 67g of sugar per day – the equivalent of two regular cans of coca-cola – increased their risk of mood disorders by more than a fifth compared with those with an intake of less than 39.5g.

Since the average British man has a 68.4g per day sugar habit, according to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey published in 2013, the findings do not bode well for the mental health of the UK male population.




The study ruled out the possibility that the results can be explained by unhappy men comforting themselves with sugary treats.

Lead researcher Dr. Anika Knuppel, from University College London’s Institute of Epidemiology and Health, said: “High sugar diets have a number of influences on our health but our study shows that there might also be a link between sugar and mood disorders, particularly among men.”

”There are numerous factors that influence chances for mood disorders, but having a diet high in sugary foods and drinks might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

There is increasing evidence for the physical damage sugar has on our health. Our work suggests an additional mental health effect.”

depressed

For reasons that are unclear, the study which looked at thousands of civil servants of both sexes found no link between sugar intake and new mood disorders in women.

The findings are based on data from Whitehall II, a major long-term investigation into physical and mental health problems encountered by people working at different levels of the UK civil service.

Sugar consumption was compared with rates of common mental disorders in more than 5,000 men and 2,000 women between 1983 and 2013.

Participants were placed into three groups according to their daily sugar intake. After five years, men in the top group were 23 per cent more like to have developed a common mental disorder such as depression or anxiety than those in the bottom group.

sugar

The top tier men consumed more than 67g of sugar per day and the bottom group less than 39.5g.

British adults consume roughly double recommended levels of added sugar, three quarters of which comes from sweet foods and drinks, said the researchers.

Dr Knuppel added: “Sweet food has been found to induce positive feelings in the short-term. People experiencing low mood may eat sugary foods in the hope of alleviating negative feelings. Our study suggests a high intake of sugary foods is more likely to have the opposite effect on mental health in the long-term.”

Co-author Professor Eric Brunner, also from UCL, said the new sugar tax on soft drinks which takes effect in April 2018 was a “step in the right direction”.

He said: “Our findings provide yet further evidence that sugary foods and drinks are best avoided. The physical and mental health of British people deserves some protection from the commercial forces which exploit the human ‘sweet tooth’.”

sugar

Catherine Collins, from the British Dietetic Association, was one of a number of experts to urge caution. “Whilst the findings as reported are interesting, the dietary analysis makes it impossible to justify the bold claims made by the researchers about sugar and depression in men.”

“More surprising is the lack of reported effect in women, who have a far more emotional relationship with food,” she said. Reducing intake of free sugars is good for your teeth, and may be good for your weight, too. But as protection against depression? It’s not proven.”

Professor Tom Sanders, a nutrition expert at King’s College London, said: “This is an observational study not a clinical trial and its interpretation needs to be treated with caution.”

“While the authors have tried to adjust for the effects of social factors there still is a risk of residual confounding. There is also a major problem in that sugar intake is under-reported in the overweight and obese, which the authors acknowledge.”

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Can Eating Too Much Make Your Stomach Burst?

I ate so much I’m about to burst!

Someone at your Thanksgiving table likely said this, after you’ve all stuffed your faces with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and the rest.

But how much would you have to eat in order for your stomach to actually burst? Is that even possible?

Interestingly enough, you can rupture your stomach if you eat too much,” says Dr. Rachel Vreeman, co-author of “Don’t Cross Your Eyes … They’ll Get Stuck That Way!” and assistant professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine.

It is possible, but it’s very, very rare.

A handful of reports over the years document the tales of people who literally ate themselves to death, or at least came dangerously close.

Japanese doctors wrote in a 2003 case report that they believed it was a 49-year-old man’s “excessive over-eating” that caused his stomach to rupture, killing him.




And this 1991 case report describes a similar “spontaneous rupture” in an adult’s stomach “after overindulgence in food and drink.

Normally, your stomach can hold about one or one-and-a-half liters, Vreeman says — this is the point you may reach if you overdo it tomorrow, when you feel full to the point of nausea.

Pathologists’ reports seem to suggest the stomach is able to do OK handling up to about three liters, but most cases of rupture seem to occur when a person has attempted to stuff their stomach with about five liters of food or fluid.

It takes a certain amount of misguided determination to manage to override your natural gag reflex and continue to eat.

Which is, not surprisingly, reports of ruptured stomachs caused by overeating are most common in people with some sort of disordered eating, or limited mental capacity, Vreeman says.

Speaking of strong stomachs, you’d best have one in order to read this next paragraph. If vomiting isn’t happening, all that food and fluid still has to go somewhere.

The increasing volume of stuff in the gut puts pressure on the stomach’s walls, so much so that the tissue weakens and tears, sending the stomach contents into the body and causing infection and pain, Vreeman says.

Surgical intervention is necessary to repair a ruptured stomach and save the patient’s life.

In particular, she says, anorexics or bulimics may be at risk. In fact, Cedars-Sinai, the non-profit hospital in Los Angeles, actually lists this as a “symptom” of bulimia.

In rare cases, a person may eat so much during a binge that the stomach bursts or the esophagus tears. This can be life-threatening.

Other reported cases of spontaneous stomach rupture happen in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome, a congenital disease that is characterized by, among other things, a kind of disordered eating.

An “intense craving for food,” resulting in “uncontrollable weight gain and morbid obesity.” according to the National Institutes of Health.

In a 2007 study examining the deaths of 152 individuals with the condition, 3 percent of those deaths were the result of gastric rupture and necrosis.

The takeaway here: This really happens, sometimes! Also: This is probably not going to happen to you.

Even if you’re starting to feel a bit sick or tired and overwhelmed from eating so much at Thanksgiving, you’re still far, far away from the scenario where you’re going to make your stomach actually explode,” Vreeman assures.

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The Apple Watch Is Inching Toward Becoming A Medical Device

Apple is trying to turn its smartwatch from a niche gadget into a lifeline to better health by slowly evolving it into a medical device.

In its fourth incarnation, called the Series 4 and due out later this month, the Apple Watch will add features that allow it to take high-quality heart readings and detect falls.

It’s part of Apple’s long-in-the-making strategy to give people a distinct reason to buy a wrist gadget that largely does things smartphones already do.

Since the Apple Watch launched in April 2015 , most people haven’t figured out why they need to buy one.

Apple doesn’t release sales figures, but estimates from twoanalysts suggest the company shipped roughly 18 million of the gadgets in 2017.

Apple sold almost twelve times as many iPhones — 216 million — that year. Apple shipped another 7.3 million during the first half of this year, according to Canalys Research, compared to more than 93 million iPhones.




Worldwide, about 48 million smartwatches are expected to be sold this year compared to nearly 1.9 billion phones, according to the research firm Gartner.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has long aimed to emphasize the health- and fitness-tracking abilities of the smartwatch.

The original version featured a heart-rate sensor that fed data into fitness and workout apps so they could suggest new goals and offer digital “rewards” for fitness accomplishments.

Two years later, Apple called its watch “the ultimate device for a healthy life,” emphasizing water resistance for swimmers and built-in GPS for tracking runs or cycling workouts.

In February, the company announced that the watch would track skiing and snowboarding runs , including data on speed and vertical descent.

The latest Apple Watch version unveiled Wednesday is pushing the health envelope even further — in particular by taking electrocardiograms, or EKGs, on the device, a feature given clearance by the US Food and Drug Administration, Apple said.

The watch will also watch for irregular heartbeats and can detect when the wearer has fallen, the company said.

EKGs are important tests of heart health that typically require a doctor visit.

The feature gained an onstage endorsement from Ivor Benjamin, a cardiologist who heads the American Heart Association, who said such real-time data would change the way doctors work

This is enormous,” Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen said of the Apple Watch’s EKG feature. It could turn smartwatches “from something people buy for prestige into something they buy for more practical reasons,” he said.

It could also lead some health insurance plans to subsidize the cost of an Apple Watch, Nguyen said.

That would help defray the $400 starting price for a device that still requires a companion iPhone that can now cost more than $1,000.

The watch will use new sensors on the back and on the watch dial.

A new app will say whether each reading is normal or shows signs of atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart rate that increases the risk of heart complications, such as stroke and heart failure.

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