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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Every year millions of people contract the flu and have to deal with its devastating effects. But this year things are different.  This year there is a particularly lethal strain of the Flu going around.  According to some reports as many as 10,000 Americans are dying from it every day. That’s not just an epidemic.  That’s a public health crisis. Thankfully, there may be something that we can do to stop the virus from spreading in public.

As Inquisitr explains:

“With many parts of the United States dealing with a crippling flu epidemic, researchers have come up with an ultraviolet lamp that is capable of killing the influenza virus, with the potential of preventing the disease from spreading in hospitals, schools, and other public places.

Ultraviolet light has long been recognized as an effective tool against harmful, disease-causing agents, and to this end, UV has often been used for sterilizing items such as medical equipment in hospitals, according to a report from Time.  Unfortunately, standard UV lamps for combating germs carry several risks, including the possibility of skin cancer and cataracts due to extended exposure. That’s what inspired the researchers, who published their findings this week in the journal Scientific Reports, to devise a safer alternative to these germicidal lamps.

The secret to the new UV lamp’s ability to safely combat the flu virus is their use of far-UVC, the light found on the UV-C spectrum’s far end. The researchers observed that this form of light has the potential of destroying bacteria and viruses without the risk of traveling through human skin’s protective layers, or damaging one’s eyesight, due to the fact that far-UVC has unusually short wavelengths.”

In the near future these lamps could pop up in public places from hospital waiting rooms to airports to schools where they would surely be a sight for sore eyes…and noses.

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Are special UV lamps that stop the flu from spreading the Greatest Idea Ever?

 

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#1,251 – Sweatcoin 

How’d you like to get paid to work out? Sounds too good to be true, right? Not anymore.  It’s the premise behind a new cryptocurrency based fitness app known as Sweatcoin that’ll let you earn a form of digital currency for every step you take.  To start out, using the free version of the app, you can earn up to 5 coins per day.  Eventually, you’ll be able to cash in your earnings for fitness related gear.

According to TechCrunch:

“It works like this: users sign up and then hook up their smartphone’s health and fitness data and GPS location to the app. The app then tracks how many steps you take in a day and rewards you a monetary “sweat” value according to your movements. For every 1,000 steps recorded, the app will pay out .95 in “sweatcoins.” Users can later trade these coins in for fitness gear, workout classes, gift cards and a number of other offerings.”

There is a catch, however.  The app allegedly only works outside.  Perfect for a hiker like me.  Not so perfect for office drones and treadmill enthusiasts who would hope to accumulate steps throughout the work day or through their normal workout routine.

But despite this limitation and the limitation on how much you can earn per day this is still a pretty cool idea.  Even if you aren’t earning real cash.  After all, winding up with a Fitbit or gym membership just for doing something that you ought to be doing anyway is pretty sweat.  I mean sweet.

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Is Sweatcoin the Greatest Idea Ever?

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2017 was a great year for medical breakthroughs:

Metformin: Until scientists can figure out a way to reverse the aging process and enable humans to live forever, we may have to settle for Metformin, a drug that could prolong our “healthspans”, giving us a longer period of time to live with all of our faculties functioning properly.

Cure for Baldness: Dr. Lu Le has figured out exactly which genes are switched off when people go bald or have their hair turn gray.  Giving us hope that in a few years a product can be created to treat these unwanted side effects of growing old.

No More Junk Food Cravings: UK scientists have figured out a way to suppress junk food cravings, without inhibiting a person’s natural appetite.  As an added bonus you’ll want to eat smaller portions too.

Injectable Glue: MeTro eliminates the need for stitches and staples by gluing your wounds together thanks to a combination of a naturally occurring protein and UV light.  It’ll even work on your internal organs as well.

Unico: Brush your teeth in just 1.87 seconds thanks to the Unico electric toothbrush that uses a retainer like design to brush all sides of your teeth at the same time.

Fat Loss Patch: Miracle weight loss schemes aren’t new but the Fat Loss Patch may take the cake.  Literally and figuratively.  It works its magic by converting the body’s stored white fat cells into energy burning brown fat cells.

Tooth Decay Vaccine: Chinese researchers are working on developing a powder that could be added to sugary foods that would render a bacterium found in our mouths less destructive to teeth after sugar was consumed.  Essentially, what they would be doing is creating a tooth decay vaccine.

Allergen Detector: Just set this key chain sized device next to your plate and it’ll tell you if there any allergens in your food.  Potentially life-saving.

One Touch Healing: A new method known as Tissue Nanotransfection (TNT) can start healing wounds in just one second by adding various genetic material i.e. vascular cells to a patient’s skin cells.  The specialized cells can begin the healing process faster than skin cells can, thereby saving lives with just one touch.

A working Tricorder: A Star Trek inspired hand-held device known as Dexter can detect and diagnose up to 34 health conditions, giving consumers a valuable weapon in the on-going battle against disease.

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Are any of these the Greatest Idea Ever?

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To be honest I’m not a big fan of tattoos.  I can appreciate the artistic aesthetic they provide but I have no interest in dating someone who has them and no desire to get one myself.  I don’t even like Henna, face painting, or getting my hand stamped at a bar.  However, all that may be about to change thanks to Everence, better known as DNA tattoos.

As the New York Times puts it, “It is about as biologically intimate as one can get. Everence is a powdery substance synthesized from a sample of DNA, something as simple as a few thousand cells from a swab of a person’s inner cheek, or from cremated ashes. A small vial of Everence can be brought to a tattoo artist and added to any type of inks.  The result: A tattoo imbued with the DNA of another human being — or, if you prefer, a dog, cat or other furry friend.”

Some people may find this concept a little bit creepy and there’s really no denying the weirdness that surrounds it, but at the same time, the idea has a lot of merit.  For instance, just look at the mental health benefits for those mourning the loss of a loved one.  Every time they look at the tattoo they’ll be reminded of the person they loved and they’ll be comforted by the fact that they’ll always have a piece of their dearly departed with them.  It would also make for a powerful gesture for those in active relationships.  Instead of just getting standard run of the mill matching tattoos, couples could now get tattoos imbued with each other’s DNA.

But that’s not the only tattoo related breakthrough making headlines.  In fact, there’s one even crazier.  The idea of using tattoos as living computers.

According to Inverse, “In a research paper published in Advanced Materials, Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have figured out a way to 3D-print specially designed cells into flat designs, like the tattoo above, and into 3D structures. It’s a technique they believe could possibly be used to create a ‘living computer,’ or a structure made up of living cells that can do the stuff your laptop can.”

How exactly would this process work though?!?

“Instead of the plastics or nylon usually used for 3D printing, the team used modified bacteria that are able to withstand the process of being squeezed out of a nozzle. Some of the cells were programmed with the ability to send signals to other cells, so that the entire 3D-printed design can respond as one when it comes into contact with certain chemicals.”

These biological tattoo computers might then be used to produce drugs and deliver them to a targeted part of the body.  Or perhaps one they could enable us to communicate with one another or give us access to secure areas just like how our modern devices do.  Just in a much cooler way.

Either way it’s becoming increasingly clear that I just might need to rethink my stance on tattoos.  Between Everence, biological tattoo computers, health monitoring tattoos, and hidden underskin tattoos, there may be no escaping them.  And that could be a good thing.

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Is Everence the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Anyone with kids knows how hard it can be to get them to brush their teeth.  Us adults sometimes struggle with the concept as well.  That’s because brushing our teeth is time consuming and annoying.  The kind of thing that we do because we have to not because we want to.  Thankfully, there’s a new solution that could eliminate the pain and hassle associated with brushing our teeth.  That’s right.  Thanks to the Unico Smart Brush we’ll soon be able to brush our teeth in just three seconds!  Actually, less than 2 seconds to be precise!

This incredible breakthrough comes down to simple math as they explain on their official Kickstarter page:

“According to dentists, the time we have to spend on tooth-brushing is 180 seconds –> 5.62 seconds for each of the thirty-two teeth we have –> 1.87 seconds for each of the three exposed surfaces of each tooth.”

This means that across your lifetime you’ll be spending 200 full days just brushing your teeth!  Unico aims to prevent that tragic loss of time by cleaning all sides of your teeth at the same time thanks to its retainer like design.

New Atlas explains how it works:

“Unico is essentially a mouthpiece containing an unspecified number of little brushes, with a micro-pump system sending toothpaste to each individual brush. These brushes are powered by a separate power unit that contains a motor and slots onto the mouthpiece.”

Impressive right?  No wonder they’ve blown through their fundraising goal, racking up close to a million dollars in donations when they only needed $90k.  Hopefully, this product will be as good as advertised when it finally comes out.  Which begs the question: what are you going to do with all your extra free time?!

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Is the Unico toothbrush the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,212 – Forward

You probably pay a monthly fee to stay in shape.  It’s called a gym membership and usually costs about $30-50 per month.  But what about staying healthy? How much do you pay for that?

If you’re like most people you probably pay nothing until you are in need of serious medical attention.  At which point you probably pay a lot.  But what if you could change that approach?  What if you could pay a monthly fee to stay healthy?  A health membership of sorts.  Well, now you can thanks to Forward, a hybrid doctor’s office/wellness center that charges a monthly fee to help you monitor your health and stay on top of any potential issues.

As TechCrunch puts it:

“Weaving together a number of Silicon Valley’s favorite healthcare trends, the company’s services combine proprietary, purpose-built medical devices with algorithmically enabled diagnostic tools, and the latest in gene, bacteria and blood tests to provide a holistic view of its patients’ health.

These technologies and services include: unlimited access to its medical staff; baseline screening; blood and genetic testing; wellness and nutrition counseling; and ongoing monitoring from wearable sensors provided at the clinic. Support and access to its AI and 24/7 access to medical staff through the app are available exclusively to anyone who’s willing to pay the $149 per month fee.”

Personally, I love this idea.  For years I’ve been talking about how I wish medicine was more proactive instead of reactive.  About how I wish I could know, at any given time, exactly how healthy I was, like a video game character energy level bar for real life.  By signing up for a membership at Forward, that may now be possible.

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Is Forward the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Whenever somebody asks me why I don’t drink I usually respond by saying that I don’t like the taste.  Beer, champagne, wine.  It doesn’t matter.  They’re all acquired tastes that I don’t have the patience to acquire seeing as how I’m a picky eater.  Of course, that’s not the only reason why I don’t drink.  Primarily, it’s because I’m not a fan of the lifestyle.  Standing around a loud, crowded bar constantly getting bumped into while meatheads spill their beers on me, is not my idea of a good time.  I’d rather go to bed early, wake up early, and conquer the next day than deal with the after effects of a hangover.  But rather than explain all that I just revert to my standard, “I don’t like the taste”, retort whenever the topic comes up.

However, it looks like I’m going to have to come up with a new excuse the next time someone asks me why I don’t drink thanks to a new invention capable of changing the taste of any beverage.  After all, I’m not going to be able to avoid drinking beer now that I can have one that’ll taste like chocolate milk or whatever else I’d prefer.

As Springwise puts it:

“Craving a drink that is a bit more high-tech than your average martini? Well, you may be in luck. A team of researchers at the National University of Singapore, led by Nimesha Ranasinghe, have developed a programmable cocktail glass which is capable of tricking your senses into thinking that you are drinking just about anything.  Named the Vocktail, the glass and specially-designed stand contain scent cartridges and micro air-pumps to provide aroma; LEDs to alter the color of the drink; and two silver electrodes on the rim of the glass which stimulate the tongue to add salty, bitter or sweet notes. The Vocktail also comes with an app that allows drinkers to fully customize their own drinks.”

Just think about the possibilities that this Vocktail, or virtual cocktail, would enable.  Instead of needing to stock a full bar, you could in theory, just carry a few standard, run of the mill ingredients, and then “trick” your friends or customers into thinking that they really ordered their favorite drink, when in fact, all they ordered was a glass of apple juice.

Or if you find yourself in a social situation that doesn’t suit your tastes, say at a bachelor party where everyone is sharing a bucket of beers, or at a Sunday morning brunch where everyone is sharing some Sangria, you no longer have to avoid participating.  Thanks to the Vocktail you can now pound a beer or share a glass with everyone else because when you do, you’ll actually be tasting your favorite rum.

Or taken one step further, imagine the possibilities for the Vocktail to be used as an instrument of health, not just as another way to get drunk.  For example, what if I could drink a horrible tasting Kale shake or some other kind of vegetable juice concoction but have it taste like soda?  Or better yet, what if you could turn water into anything you wanted?  This would be a total game changer.  By replacing soda with water we’d finally have a leg up on putting an end to the obesity epidemic.

That’s why the Vocktail has the potential to be so transformative.  From enabling me to finally drink alcohol to enabling me to finally kick my soda habit, the Vocktail could change my life forever.  For better or for worse.

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Is the Vocktail the Greatest Idea Ever?

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