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Structural dynamics underlying memory in aging brains

Structural dynamics underlying memory in aging brains | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
(Medical Xpress)—When the brains of those who have succumbed to age-related neurodegeneration are analyzed post-mortem, they typically show significant atrophy on all scales

Not only is the cortex thinner and sparser, but the hollow ventricles inside the brain are grossly enlarged. In the absence of any specific disease, these general trends are still familiar. It has traditionally been assumed that the dynamic microfeatures of aged brains—the growth of the fine neurites and the synapses they make—would similarly be degenerate. In other words, synaptic growth would have either entered some form of stasis, or alternatively, a state of permanent decay with replacement by matrix or scar tissue. Contrary to these expectations, recent research shows increased structural plasticity in the axonal component of synapses in the aged mouse cortex. Reporting in the current issues of PNAS, researchers provide evidence that the observed behavioral deficits in these animals may be due to an inability to maintain persistent synaptic structure, rather than because of a loss of plasticity.

Read more at: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-04-dynamics-underlying-memory-aging-brains.html#jCp

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Pill-dispensing "robot" knows who you are

Pill-dispensing "robot" knows who you are | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Imagine a pill-dispensing, health-focused version of Amazon Echo, and you'll get an idea of what Pillo is designed to be. Utilizing facial and voice recognition software, the internet-connected device can reportedly recognize multiple family members on sight, giving them their daily medication while also addressing their health and wellness-related inquires.

The tamper-proof dispenser can store different pills for multiple users, keeping track of who has and has not taken their daily dosage. In cases of medication that can't be stored onboard (such as liquids), audio and visual reminders are still offered. Users are notified when their pill supply is running low – Pillo can even order refills for them online, from a pharmacy of their choice.

Up to 250 medium-sized pills can be stored in the device at once. If a user doesn't take their medication for whatever reason, Pillo can send an alert to the smartphone of a caretaker or family member.
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Ziggi Ivan Santini's curator insight, July 1, 3:25 AM

Utilizing facial and voice recognition software, the internet-connected device can reportedly recognize multiple family members on sight, giving them their daily medication while also addressing their health and wellness-related inquires.

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Marijuana compound smokes the seeds of Alzheimer's disease

Marijuana compound smokes the seeds of Alzheimer's disease | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Memory loss, decline in brain function and communication skills are all clear indicators of Alzheimer's disease. But the brain's chemistry begins to change long before these telltale signs appear through the accumulation of what are known as amyloid beta proteins. These proteins go on to form brain plaques that correspond with the neurodegenerative disease, but what if it were possible to intervene somehow? Scientists are reporting that exposure to certain compounds in marijuana can cleanse the brain of harmful amyloid beta cells, offering up new clues as to how we might stop the disease in its early stages.

While we are learning more about Alzheimer's everyday, with new insights into its destructive forces, the development of potential blood tests and treatments to reverse its symptoms being just a few recent breakthroughs in the area, there's a whole lot we still don't know.

How exactly the amyloid beta proteins give rise to plaques and in turn wreak havoc on the brain isn't entirely clear, but that hasn't stopped researchers working to avert the process altogether. The development of natural molecules, debris-clearing proteins and drugs inspired by snake venom have all shown promise as tools to stop or slow the buildup of plaques.

And now researchers at the Salk Institute have uncovered new evidence supporting another candidate, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Working with modified nerve cells engineered to produce high levels of amyloid beta, the researchers found that the presence of these proteins caused nerve cell inflammation and higher rates of neuron death.
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Does drink really make you happy?

Does drink really make you happy? | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
For those of us that partake, drinking alcohol is often seen as a balancing act that weighs up the pleasures of drinking against the pains. Government regulation is often seen the same way, weighing the benefits of pleasure and freedom of the individual on one hand against the cost of crime and health harms on the other. Yet while such simplicity has its charms, it might actually lead to bad alcohol policies that don’t achieve the best balance between pleasure and pain.

For example, in the eyes of some – including simplistic versions of cost-benefit models used by some governments - every time you have a drink you make a fully rational decision to maximise your own utility. This ignores issues of alcohol addiction and the fact that it’s quite a stretch to describe yourself as “fully rational” at 2am after ten pints when a friend has just suggested a round of tequila. But because pleasure is not generally something that alcohol researchers examine, the alcohol debate is dominated by either these naive models or optimistic assertions by lobbyists about alcohol’s happiness-inducing effects.

In a new paper published in Social Science and Medicine, George MacKerron and I examined what evidence there was to tease out the relationship between alcohol and happiness. To try to capture some of the complexities, we took two approaches:

One study collected data from iPhone users through the Mappiness app app George created, which buzzed people a couple of times a day to ask how happy they were, what they were doing, and who they were doing it with. This is a huge study, with over 2m observations from more than 30,000 people.

The other study was more traditional, using the 1970 British Cohort Study to see how the cohort’s members’ alcohol consumption changed between the ages of 30, 34 and 42, and what links we can see between changes in their life satisfaction and their drinking.

What we found is that alcohol does make you happier in the moment, by about three to four points on a zero to 100 scale. These models look at changes within individuals over time, and ignore differences between different sorts of people. There’s also no sign of a hangover effect on happiness, although people tend to be less awake the morning after drinking.
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Broccoli sprout extract may block cancer's return - Futurity

Broccoli sprout extract may block cancer's return - Futurity | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Potent doses of broccoli sprout extract activate a “detoxification” gene and may help prevent cancer recurrence in survivors of head and neck cancer, according to new research that confirms preliminary results released last year.

“With head and neck cancer, we often clear patients of cancer only to see it come back with deadly consequences a few years later,” says lead author Julie Bauman, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
“Unfortunately, previous efforts to develop a preventative drug to reduce this risk have been inefficient, intolerable in patients, and expensive. That led us to ‘green chemoprevention’—the cost-effective development of treatments based upon whole plants or their extracts.”

Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and garden cress, have a high concentration of the naturally occurring molecular compound sulforaphane, which previously has been shown to protect people against environmental carcinogens.

For the study, published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research, Bauman and colleagues treated human head and neck cancer cells in the laboratory with varying doses of sulforaphane and a control, and compared them to normal, healthy cells that line the throat and mouth. The sulforaphane induced both types of cells to increase their levels of a protein that turns on genes that promote detoxification of carcinogens, like those found in cigarettes, and protect cells from cancer.
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Google eases the pain of online diagnosis

Google eases the pain of online diagnosis | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
No one likes going to the doctor, so the popularity of online medical sites should come as no surprise – this despite the fact an online diagnosis will usually elicit a rolling of the eyes and a biting of the tongue from the GP when you do eventually make the trip to the doctor's office. Now Google is making efforts to return more relevant and trustworthy search results when you punch in your symptoms.

For most people, the first port of call when struck down by a new ache or pain is the internet. The problem is, as is so often the case when it comes to the internet, is sorting the wheat from the chaff. Google is now making it easier to find a diagnosis based on the symptoms you describe, offering a simpler way for people to see what might be causing their head/heart/tooth ache, and what might be the best way to handle it.

According to the team at Google, about one percent of all searches conducted on the site are symptom-related. That mightn't sound like a lot, but one percent is still a lot of people when you consider the fact there are more than 50,000 Google searches made every second.

When you search for something reasonably specific like headache on one side, Google will provide you with a list of related conditions, potentially helping to identify whether you're suffering a regular headache, migraine, tension headache or the common cold. These conditions are accompanied by information about options for self-treatment, as well as a friendly push in the right direction if an appointment with a real life doctor is necessary.
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A low-cost ‘electronic nose’ spectrometer for home health diagnosis | KurzweilAI

A low-cost ‘electronic nose’ spectrometer for home health diagnosis | KurzweilAI | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
UT Dallas researchers have designed an affordable “electronic nose” radio-frequency front end for a rotational spectrometer — used for detecting chemical molecules in human breath for health diagnosis.

Current breath-analysis devices are bulky and too costly for commercial use, said Kenneth O, PhD, a principal investigator of the effort and director of Texas Analog Center of Excellence (TxACE). Instead, the researchers used CMOS integrated circuits technology, which promises to make the device compact and affordable.

A rotational spectrometer generates and transmits electromagnetic waves over a wide range of frequencies, and analyzes how the waves are attenuated (absorbed) to determine what chemicals are present, as well as their concentrations in a sample. The system can detect low levels of chemicals present in human breath.

A breath test contains information about practically every part of a human body, but an electronic nose can detect gas molecules with more specificity and sensitivity than breathalyzers, which can confuse acetone for ethanol (the active ingredient of alcoholic drinks) in the breath, for example. This is important for patients with Type 1 diabetes, who have high concentrations of acetone in their breath.

The current research focuses on the design of a 200–280 GHz transmitter radio-frequency front end.
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Fiber in food may protect the gel in your gut - Futurity

Fiber in food may protect the gel in your gut - Futurity | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Certain substances, like bacteria and dietary fiber, can change the structure of the protective gel that lines intestines, a recent study suggests.

The gel lets in nutrients and largely blocks out bacteria, preventing infections. It also regulates how some drugs are delivered elsewhere in our bodies.

Researchers had previously studied how the gel can be damaged, for instance when bacteria feed on the gut’s lining. The new study is the first to look at the structure of the gel and how it morphs in the presence of other substances naturally found in the gut.

Performing their experiments in mice, researchers tested the effects of polymers, which include dietary fiber as well as therapeutics such as medicines for constipation. The researchers fed some mice a diet rich in polymers and others (the controls) a polymer-free diet.
Apple a day?

Using a technique called confocal reflectance microscopy they measured the thickness of the gut gel and the degree to which the gel was compressed as a result of the consumed polymers. Mice given a high-polymer diet, they found, had a more compressed gel layer.

“The gel is like a sponge with holes that let material through,” says the paper’s lead author, Sujit Datta, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology. “We are seeing that polymers, including dietary fiber, can compress the gel, potentially making the holes smaller, and we think that this might offer protective benefits.”
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Sensoria’s smart clothes send out an SOS if your ticker gets in trouble

Sensoria’s smart clothes send out an SOS if your ticker gets in trouble | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Sensoria has announced a crowdfunding campaign to launch a new line of its heart-rate monitoring t-shirts and sports bras. A new app will also be launched which uses information from the smart clothing to identify if you might be about to suffer a cardiac arrest, and can even alert your nearest and dearest urging them to seek help.
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Gene Therapy Is Curing Hemophilia

Gene Therapy Is Curing Hemophilia | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Earlier this spring, Bill Maurits sat in a waiting room in Philadelphia ready to have a trillion viruses dripped into his body through an I.V. “I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s go. I can’t wait,’” he says.

Maurits has hemophilia B, which means his body doesn’t produce enough factor IX, a protein that clots blood. He’s at risk for bleeding and his joints are damaged from all the bruises. Since he was 10, he’s depended on injections of “ridiculously expensive” replacement protein. Lately, his left ankle has been killing him.

In April Maurits, an engineering designer, joined a study in which he was dosed with viruses packed with a correct version of the gene that codes for factor IX. Today at the European Hematology Association’s meeting in Copenhagen, the Philadelphia company that ran the gene-therapy study, Spark Therapeutics, is presenting results on four patients, him included.

In all four, factor IX activity has reached about 30 percent of average. That’s enough to prevent bleeding when you get hit by a baseball or twist your ankle. It’s also been enough to let Maurits go without factor IX replacements since April. “There’s no other explanation than ‘It worked,’” says Maurits.

Sure, gene therapy has been tried before. What’s different is that Spark’s therapy so far appears to work well every time it’s attempted—a consistency that’s eluded previous efforts. “Right now this looks very close to being as good as it gets,” says Edward Tuddenham, a hematologist at University College London, who led a competing study and consults with some of Spark’s rivals.
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Could a device tell your brain to make healthy choices? - Futurity

Could a device tell your brain to make healthy choices? - Futurity | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
New research suggests it’s possible to detect when our brain is making a decision and nudge it to make the healthier choice.

In recording moment-to-moment deliberations by macaque monkeys over which option is likely to yield the most fruit juice, scientists have captured the dynamics of decision-making down to millisecond changes in neurons in the brain’s orbitofrontal cortex.

“If we can measure a decision in real time, we can potentially also manipulate it,” says senior author Jonathan Wallis, a neuroscientist and professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. “For example, a device could be created that detects when an addict is about to choose a drug and instead bias their brain activity towards a healthier choice.”

Located behind the eyes, the orbitofrontal cortex plays a key role in decision-making and, when damaged, can lead to poor choices and impulsivity.
While previous studies have linked activity in the orbitofrontal cortex to making final decisions, this is the first to track the neural changes that occur during deliberations between different options.
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Why do humans have an innate desire to get high?

Why do humans have an innate desire to get high? | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
It’s easy to explain the appeal of drugs like heroin and cocaine, which directly stimulate the brain’s reward centres. What’s less easy to explain is the appeal of psychedelic drugs such as LSD and psilocybin that produce altered states of consciousness. After all, there’s no obvious reason why unusual patterns of thought and perception – typically, the symptoms of poisoning or illness – should be attractive. And yet, people not only pay money for these experiences, they even run the risk of being imprisoned or worse for doing so. Why is this?

One answer is that these drugs provide short cuts to religious and transcendental experiences that played an important role in human evolution. The logic behind this idea becomes clearer when we look at how human culture was shaped by religious ideas.

For some time, anthropologists have argued that religious people are more cooperative than nonreligious ones. For small groups, the effect of religion is negligible or even negative. However, as group size increases, it seems that religion plays an increasingly important role in creating bonds between strangers. In fact, some scholarship suggests that the emergence of the first city states in the Middle East nearly 12,000 years ago was made possible by belief in “Big Gods”, who supposedly oversaw all human action and guided human affairs.
Why does religion make people more cooperative? On the one hand, the belief that a morally concerned, invisible agent is always watching you makes you less likely to break rules for personal gain. This effect is quite powerful. Research shows that even something as trivial as a picture of a pair of eyes on an honesty box is enough to make people pay three times as much for their drinks.

On the other hand, religion connects people with a reality larger than themselves. This might be the social group that they belong to, it might be life after death, or it might even be the cosmos as a whole. The connection is important because it makes people more willing to cooperate when the results of doing so are not immediately beneficial. If I believe myself to be at one with my tribe, my church or the universe itself, it’s easier to accept others getting the benefits of my hard work.

It is probably this second aspect to religious cooperation than explains the appeal of psychedelic drugs. By simulating the effects of religious transcendence, they mimic states of mind that played an evolutionarily valuable role in making human cooperation possible – and with it, greater numbers of surviving descendants. This does not mean that humans evolved to take psychedelic drugs. But it does mean that psychedelic drug use can be explained in evolutionary terms as a “hack” that enables transcendent states to be reached quickly.
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High cholesterol 'does not cause heart disease' new research finds, so treating with statins a 'waste of time'

High cholesterol 'does not cause heart disease' new research finds, so treating with statins a 'waste of time' | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it

cholesterol does not cause heart disease in the elderly and trying to reduce it with drugs like statins is a waste of time, an international group of experts has claimed.

A review of research involving nearly 70,000 people found there was no link between what has traditionally been considered “bad” cholesterol and the premature deaths of over 60-year-olds from cardiovascular disease.

Published in the BMJ Open journal, the new study found that 92 percent of people with a high cholesterol level lived longer.

The authors have called for a re-evaluation of the guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease and atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries, because “the benefits from statin treatment have been exaggerated”.

The results have prompted immediate scepticism from other academics, however, who questioned the paper’s balance.

High cholesterol is commonly caused by an unhealthy diet, and eating high levels of saturated fat in particular, as well as smoking.

It is carried in the blood attached to proteins called lipoproteins and has been traditionally linked to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease and aortic disease.

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Air pollution now major contributor to stroke, global study finds

Air pollution now major contributor to stroke, global study finds | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Air pollution has become a major contributor to stroke for the first time, with unclean air now blamed for nearly one third of the years of healthy life lost to the condition worldwide.

In an unprecedented survey of global risk factors for stroke, air pollution in the form of fine particulate matter ranked seventh in terms of its impact on healthy lifespan, while household air pollution from burning solid fuels ranked eighth.

Valery Feigin, director of the National Institute for Stroke and Applied Neurosciences at Auckland University of Technology, said that while he expected air pollution to emerge as a threat, the extent of the problem had taken researchers by surprise.

“We did not expect the effect would be of this magnitude, or increasing so much over the last two decades,” he said. “Our study is the first to demonstrate a large and increasingly hazardous effect of air pollution on stroke burden worldwide.”

The result is particularly striking because the analysis is likely to have underestimated the effects of air pollution on stroke, as the impact of burning fossil fuels was not fully accounted for. Emissions from fossil fuels are more harmful to the cardiovascular system than the fine particulate matter the team analysed, Feigin said.

Scientists in the field said the “alarming” finding, published in the journal Lancet Neurology, showed that harm caused by air pollution to the lungs, heart and brain had been underestimated.

About 15 million people a year suffer a stroke worldwide. Nearly six million die, and five million are left with permanent disabilities, such as loss of sight and speech, paralysis and confusion.
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Snake oil? Comparison of scientific evidence for many health supplements

Snake oil? Comparison of scientific evidence for many health supplements | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it

More information about the data behind this chart is here: http://bit.ly/Snakeoil


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Milk and Other Surprising Ways to Stay Hydrated

Milk and Other Surprising Ways to Stay Hydrated | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Most Americans have heard that they should drink eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated, but there is surprisingly little data to support this advice.

But now, a new “beverage hydration index” provides evidence-based suggestions for how to most efficiently hydrate. The index was developed from a British study published in December that tracked how long 13 common beverages remain in the body after being consumed.

“In the last 25 years, we’ve done many studies on rehydration after exercise,” said Ronald J. Maughan, a hydration expert from Loughborough University, and lead author of the study. “We thought it was time to look at hydration in typical consumers who aren’t exercising.”

The hydration index is modeled after the well-known glycemic index, which measures how the body responds to the carbohydrate content of different foods. (The glycemic index is used to help individuals keep their glucose-insulin response under control.) The guiding principle behind the new hydration index is that some fluids last longer in your body than others, providing more hydration. After all, if you drink a cup of water and then immediately excrete half that amount in your urine, you haven’t added eight ounces to your water supply, but only four.

The British study determined the hydration index of 13 common beverages by having the participants, 72 males in their mid-20s, drink a liter of water as the standard beverage. The amount of water still remaining in subjects’ bodies two hours later — that is, not voided in urine — was assigned a score of 1.0. All other beverages were evaluated in a similar manner, and then scored in comparison to water. A score higher than 1.0 indicated that more of the beverage remained in the body as compared to water, while a score lower than 1.0 indicated a higher excretion rate than water.

The results showed that four beverages — oral rehydration solution, like Pedialyte; fat-free milk; whole milk and orange juice — had a significantly higher hydration index than water. The first three had hydration index scores around 1.5, with orange juice doing slightly better than water at 1.1. Oral rehydration solutions are specifically formulated to combat serious dehydration such as that resulting from chronic diarrhea.
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'Pronoia' and other emotions you never knew you had

'Pronoia' and other emotions you never knew you had | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
In recent years, neuroscience has introduced a new way of thinking about our emotions. The scientists behind the latest brain-imaging studies say they can now pinpoint with precision where these feelings are located within our heads. In 2013, for instance, a team of psychologists published a study in which they claimed that they had found neural correlates for nine very distinct human emotions: anger, disgust, envy, fear, happiness, lust, pride, sadness, and shame.
This is an intriguing trend for academics like Tiffany Watt Smith, a research fellow at the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London. "It's this idea that what we mean by 'emotion' has evolved," Smith tells Science of Us. "It's now a physical thing — you can see a location of it in the brain." And yet, of course, that's not all an emotion is; calling the amygdala the "fear center" of the brain offers little help in understanding what it means to be afraid.
It's exactly that — the subjective experience of emotions — that Smith explores in her charming new book, The Book of Human Emotions. It's a roundup of 154 words from around the world that you could call an exploration of "emotional granularity," as it provides language for some very specific emotions you likely never knew you had. "It's a long-held idea that if you put a name to a feeling, it can help that feeling become less overwhelming," she said. "All sorts of stuff that's swirling around and feeling painful can start to feel a bit more manageable," once you've pinned the feeling down and named it.
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In a bid for the perfect profile pic, young men are increasingly turning to steroids

In a bid for the perfect profile pic, young men are increasingly turning to steroids | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that around 60,000 people are using steroids to gain muscle, to become leaner and fitter, or to get stronger. But academics and experts who work with steroid users believe the real figure is much higher – probably in the hundreds of thousands.

Needle-exchange clinics across the UK report that steroids users are a growing group and, in some cases, even exceed other illegal drug-using groups. Recently, Merchants Quay Ireland, the largest needle-exchange clinic in Ireland, reported that over the past two years 50% more people have come to the service for needles and other equipment to inject steroids.

What is even more alarming is that a significant number of young men are consuming a range of performance and image enhancing drugs, including steroids and human growth hormone. While the use of steroids has traditionally been limited to professional athletes, bodybuilders, soldiers and police, it is increasingly becoming a mainstream choice for young men looking to bulk up or lose weight.
Distorted body image

A rising number of young people are unhappy with the way they look. Although social pressure to conform to idealised beauty standards is nothing new, the growth of social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook has exacerbated this focus on appearance. Young people spend several hours a day using social media, interacting with and comparing themselves with their peers, often in the pursuit of the perfect profile picture or to increase their number of followers and “likes”.

While it is widely known that a distorted body image affects many females, there is growing evidence that males are under similar pressure – not to be thin but to be muscular. Television programmes such as “Obsessed with my body” and “Dying for a six pack” illustrate that there is a huge growth in male teenage vanity, from boys seeking to “get ripped” in the gym to men having invasive plastic surgery. For instance, the number of men opting for cosmetic surgery has almost doubled in the past decade in the UK, from 2,440 treatments in 2005 to 4,614 in 2015.
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This Is Your Brain on Silence - Issue 16: Nothingness - Nautilus

This Is Your Brain on Silence - Issue 16: Nothingness - Nautilus | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
One icy night in March 2010, 100 marketing experts piled into the Sea Horse Restaurant in Helsinki, with the modest goal of making a remote and medium-sized country a world-famous tourist destination. The problem was that Finland was known as a rather quiet country, and since 2008, the Country Brand Delegation had been looking for a national brand that would make some noise.

Over drinks at the Sea Horse, the experts puzzled over the various strengths of their nation. Here was a country with exceptional teachers, an abundance of wild berries and mushrooms, and a vibrant cultural capital the size of Nashville, Tennessee. These things fell a bit short of a compelling national identity. Someone jokingly suggested that nudity could be named a national theme—it would emphasize the honesty of Finns. Someone else, less jokingly, proposed that perhaps quiet wasn’t such a bad thing. That got them thinking.

A few months later, the delegation issued a slick “Country Brand Report.” It highlighted a host of marketable themes, including Finland’s renowned educational system and school of functional design. One key theme was brand new: silence. As the report explained, modern society often seems intolerably loud and busy. “Silence is a resource,” it said. It could be marketed just like clean water or wild mushrooms. “In the future, people will be prepared to pay for the experience of silence.”
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Seven Ways to Increase Your Insulin Sensitivity

Seven Ways to Increase Your Insulin Sensitivity | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
You can’t turn on the radio or flick through a magazine without hearing someone talking about the rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance is one of today’s hot topics and one of the biggest challenges to our health, as a key cause of diabetes, high blood fat levels and hypertension. The good […]
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Higher intake of whole grains associated with lower risk of major chronic diseases and death | KurzweilAI

Higher intake of whole grains associated with lower risk of major chronic diseases and death | KurzweilAI | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
A meta-analysis of 45 studies (64 publications) of consumption of whole grain by an international team of researchers, led by Dagfinn Aune, PhD, at Imperial College London, found lower risks of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease overall, as well as deaths from all causes and from specific diseases, including stroke, cancer, diabetes, infectious and respiratory diseases.

The researchers say these results “strongly support dietary recommendations to increase intake of whole grain foods in the general population to reduce risk of chronic diseases and premature mortality.”

The results have been published in an open-access paper in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The greatest benefit was seen for people who increased from no intake of whole grain to two servings per day, equivalent to 32 g/day, such as 32 g of whole grain wheat, or to 60 g product/day, such as 60 g of whole grain wheat bread.

Further reductions in risks were observed up to 7.5 servings a day, equivalent to 225 g/day of whole grain products, and suggest additional benefits at higher intakes.

Relation to specific types of disorders

A large body of evidence has emerged on the health benefits of whole grain foods over the last 10–15 years. Grains are one of the major staple foods worldwide and provide on average 56% of energy intake and 50% of protein intake.

But recommendations on the daily amount and types of whole grain foods needed to reduce risk of chronic disease and mortality have often been unclear or inconsistent. So the researchers carried out a systematic review and meta-analysis of 45 published studies on whole grain consumption in relation to several health outcomes and all-cause mortality.*

They found reductions in the relative risk of coronary heart disease (19%), cardiovascular disease (22%), all cause mortality (17%), and mortality from stroke (14%), cancer (15%), respiratory disease (22%), infectious disease (26%), and diabetes (51%) per 90 g/day of whole grain product (one serving equals 30g of whole grain product).

Reductions in risks of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality were associated with intake of whole grain bread, whole grain breakfast cereals, and added bran, as well as total intake of bread and breakfast cereals.

There was little evidence of an association with intake of refined grains, white rice, total rice or other grains.
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Pacemaker for the tongue helps apnea patients breathe normally

Pacemaker for the tongue helps apnea patients breathe normally | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
For years, one of the primary ways to treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea was through the use of a device known as a continuous positive airway pressure – or CPAP – machine, which forces air through the nasal passages to interrupt dangerous pauses in breathing while sleeping. For people can't tolerate the machine, a new chest implant that sends electrical pulses to a nerve in the tongue promises healthier rest, as reported in a new University of Pennsylvania (U Penn) study.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition wherein the muscles in the throat relax so much during sleep that they block the airway and cause breathing to intermittently stop and start through the night, making it impossible to get a good night's rest. The condition can strain the cardiovascular system due to restricted oxygen intake, and can cause general daily fatigue according to the Mayo Clinic. Some cases of OSA can be cured with a mouthpiece or the CPAP machine, but in other cases, more serious intervention is called for – which is where the implant comes in.

First clinically trialed in 2010, and approved by the FDA in April 2014, the implant is from a company called Inspire and is basically a pacemaker for the tongue.
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Interview with the inventor: Nura's adaptive headphones turn our understanding of hearing on its head

Interview with the inventor: Nura's adaptive headphones turn our understanding of hearing on its head | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Your perception of sound and mine are very, very different. That's why my favorite headphones sound tinny and awful to you, and yours sound woofy and messy to me. People's ears vary so much in physiology that it's like we each get a randomized graphic equalizer at birth, with up to 20 decibel swings each way as we go up and down the audible frequency spectrum. Even your left and right ear are different from one another. Nura's adaptive headphones measure these differences with a short test, then tune themselves so that they sound amazing for every listener. We had a chance to pass them around the Gizmag office and speak with Nura co-founder Kyle Slater. And while it wasn't a surprise that they sounded fantastic, what really blew us away was how terrible they sounded when we tried each other's sonic profiles.
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Obesity boom 'fuelling rise in malnutrition' - BBC News

Obesity boom 'fuelling rise in malnutrition' - BBC News | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Malnutrition is sweeping the world, fuelled by obesity as well as starvation, new research has suggested.

The 2016 Global Nutrition Report said 44% of countries were now experiencing "very serious levels" of both under-nutrition and obesity.

It means one in three people suffers from malnutrition in some form, according to the study of 129 countries.

Being malnourished is "the new normal", the report's authors said.

Malnutrition has traditionally been associated with children who are starving, have stunted growth and are prone to infection.

These are still major problems, but progress has been made in this area.

The report's authors instead highlighted the "staggering global challenge" posed by rising obesity.

The increase is happening in every region of the world and in nearly every country, they said.

Hundreds of millions of people are malnourished because they are overweight, as well as having too much sugar, salt or cholesterol in their blood, the report said.
'Totally unacceptable'

Professor Corinna Hawkes, who co-chaired the research, said the study was "redefining what the world thinks of as being malnourished".

"Malnutrition literally means bad nutrition - that's anyone who isn't adequately nourished.

"You have outcomes like you are too thin, you're not growing fast enough… or it could mean that you're overweight or you have high blood sugar, which leads to diabetes," she said.
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I Quit Showering, and Life Continued

I Quit Showering, and Life Continued | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
12,167 hours of washing our bodies.

That’s how much life you use, if you spend 20 minutes per day washing and moisturizing your skin and hair (and you live to be 100, as we all surely will).

That adds up to nearly two entire years of washing every waking hour.

Not to mention water usage and the cost of cosmetic products—which we need, because commercials tell us to remove the oil from our skin with soap, and then to moisturize with lotion. Other commercials tell us to remove the oils from our hair, and then moisturize with conditioner.

That’s four products—plus a lot of water and time— and few people question whether it’s anything short of necessary.

It’s not just the fault of advertising, but also because most of us know from personal experience that if we go a few days without showering, even one day, we become oily, smelly beasts.

But what if you push through the oiliness and smelliness, embrace it, and just go forward?

Out of curiosity—not laziness—I tried it.

At first, I was an oily, smelly beast. The odor of bodies is the product of bacteria that live on our skin and feed off of the oily secretions from the sweat and sebaceous glands at the base of our hair follicles. Applying detergents (soaps) to our skin and hair every day disrupts a sort of balance between skin oils and the bacteria that live on our skin. When you shower aggressively, you obliterate the ecosystems. They repopulate quickly, but the species are out of balance and tend to favor the kinds of microbes that produce odor.

But after a while, the idea goes, your ecosystem reaches a steady state, and you stop smelling bad. I mean, you don’t smell like rosewater or Axe Body Spray, but you don’t smell like B.O., either. You just smell like a person.

Because, evolutionarily, why would we be so disgusting that we need constant cleaning? And constant moisturizing and/or de-oiling? If we do more to allow our oil glands and bacteria to equilibrate, the theory goes, skin should stop fluctuating between oily and dry.
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Most antidepressants not working for children and teenagers – study

Most antidepressants not working for children and teenagers – study | The future of medicine and health | Scoop.it
Most available antidepressants do not help children and teenagers with serious mental health problems and some may be unsafe, experts have warned.

A review of clinical trial evidence found that of 14 antidepressant drugs, only one, fluoxetine – marketed as Prozac – was better than a placebo at relieving the symptoms of young people with major depression.

Another drug, venlafaxine, was associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts.

But the authors stressed that the true effectiveness and safety of antidepressants taken by children and teenagers remained unclear because of the poor design and selective reporting of trials, which were mostly funded by drug companies.

They recommended close monitoring of young people on antidepressants, regardless of what drugs they were prescribed, especially at the start of treatment.

Professor Peng Xie, a member of the team from Chongqing Medical University in China, said: “The balance of risks and benefits of antidepressants for the treatment of major depression does not seem to offer a clear advantage in children and teenagers, with probably only the exception of fluoxetine.”

Major depressive disorder affects around 3% of children aged six to 12 and 6% of teenagers aged 13 to 18.

In 2004 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning against the use of antidepressants in young people up to the age of 24 because of concerns about suicide risk.
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