Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

#1,381 – Zit Vaccine

The other day I was watching an episode of Zach Morris Is Trash, the Funny of Die series that hilariously revisits Saved By The Bell’s Bayside High to prove just how horrible our hero truly was.

In this episode, Zach and Screech accidentally invent a zit cream in science class and use it to cure Charlie “Crater Face” Coburn and Homecoming Queen hopeful Kelly Kapowski as part of a get rich quick scheme.  At least that is until the side effects kick in, turning everyone’s face maroon and ruining Kelly’s chances of winning.

Zach Morris may be trash, but he also may have been on to something.  A cure for acne that could help clear up the skin of middle school and high school students around the world would be a real game-changer.  And now it seems as though it may be closing to actually happening, thanks to the potential for creating an acne vaccine.

According to I Fucking Love Science, “An international team of skin researchers have gotten one step closer to achieving a holy grail of dermatology: a vaccine against acne. In a series of experiments in mice and isolated human tissue, the scientists showed that the use of lab-created antibodies to target a toxin produced by the P. Acnes bacteria can prevent the inflammatory response that leads to the development of the self-esteem shattering lesions.”

This would be huge.  No more creams.  No more medications.  No more getting made fun of for something beyond your control.  Just think about the implications for this discovery.  From now on Crater Face Coburn would just be known as Charlie.  Kelly would rightfully be Homecoming Queen.  All would be right with the world.  Well, maybe not all.  Zach Morris would sadly still be trash.

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Is a vaccine for zits the Greatest Idea Ever? Crater Face Coburn thinks so!

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Today’s big news, other than Hurricane Florence continuing its deadly march towards the Carolinas, was the recent announcement Apple made regarding their much maligned smart watch series.  That’s because the Apple Watch is now capable of acting as an early warning system for heart attacks, the first time such technology has ever been made available publicly.

As Engadget puts it, “The current Watch 3 is already pretty health-centric, but Apple has taken it to a new level with its latest model. Thanks to a new electric heart sensor built into the backside, the Watch Series 4 can not only detect a low heart rate but also act as an electrocardiogram (ECG). That means it can sense a dangerous condition known as an atrial fibrillation and warn you to talk to your doctor. The Watch Series 4 has received clearance from the FDA and is the first over-the-counter ECG app offered directly to consumers, Apple claimed.”

I’ve never been a big fan of the Apple Watch up to this point but I’ll be honest with you: this new-found ability to detect heart attacks is a major selling point for me as this is something that I’ve always been worried about.  Truth be told I hate feeling like I’m in the dark, feeling like I could be minutes or days away from a heart attack that I’ll never see coming.  To finally have a way to truly know whether or not I’m at risk is a real game-changer.  Just knowing that I’m not dying every time I eat something too quickly will greatly reduce my stress and anxiety levels.

But that’s not the only new trick the Watch Series 4 will have.  It’ll also be able to detect if you’ve fallen down. Giving an upgrade to those old, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” devices.

All in all, it’ll be interesting to see where Apple goes from here.  What other technologies can they pack into a miniature watch?  What other life-saving devices can be incorporated?  The Watch Series 4 has changed the game.  Will the Series 5 take it to the next level?

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Is the heart attack monitoring on the Apple Watch Series 4 the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Didn’t know who the smelly kid was growing up?  It was probably you.  Not sure who the smelly kid is in your workplace?  There’s now a device that can help with that, letting you know if you’re in danger of alienating your co-workers or if you’ve been unintentionally warding off potential mates this whole time with the noxious fumes emanating from your personal space.

As Engadget explains, “All you have to do with the Tanita ES-100 is turn it on, flip out the sensor and point it to a part of your body you’re concerned is exuding too much musk. It measures particulate matter and after 10 seconds, will display how intense your odor is on a 0-10 scale (0, you don’t smell; 10, you don’t have friends). Level 5 and above means it’s time for ‘smell care,’ though it might be more effective if it just told you to take a dang shower.

The stench scale goes both ways: if you’ve applied too much deodorant or cologne, the pocket-sized ES-100 will let you know if you should tone down the aftershave a little. The replaceable sensor is good for 2,000 uses, or about a year.”

Considering how easy it is for us to get used to smells in our environment, most of us may not even realize just how much we smell at any given time.  Or just how much our dogs or apartments smell.  Keeping a device around that could keep us informed could go a long way towards improving our personal hygiene.  Not to mention our social status.

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Is a body odor detector the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Some people claim that they can’t remember their dreams.  Or that nothing exciting ever happens.  I am not one of those people.

I often have very vivid dreams where I am being chased or racing against time to reach a forbidden area.  Last night, in the latest Hollywood blockbuster that I was starring in, I found myself as a nature photographer, flying through the air over the Himalayas to take a picture of the highest peak on Earth, a picture that no one else had ever been lucky enough to get.  As great as this dream was, it would have been even better if I could have taken control of my actions in it.  If I could have steered where I was flying so that I could have turned around and explored the rest of the planet.  A phenomenon known as lucid dreaming.

Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of controlling their dreams and those that can often spend years trying to master the techniques that will allegedly allow them to do so.  But what if there was an easier way? What if it was possible for everyone to suddenly gain the ability to lucid dream?  How great would that be?

Well, as it turns out, it may actually be possible after all, thanks to a new drug born out of Alzheimer’s research by psychiatrist Benjamin Baird at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

According to I Fucking Love Science, “In past research, Baird’s team discovered that lucid dreams tend to occur during periods of increased physical activation during REM sleep, leading them to theorize that boosting REM nervous system activity could help people switch normal dreaming into lucid dreaming. And since REM sleep appears to be affected by the signaling of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, they sought to test whether drugs that ramp up acetylcholine signaling – by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks the molecule down – might do the trick.”

I feel that such a drug, if its ever commercialized, could revolutionize society.  Just think about all of the people who suffer from nightmares and night terrors.  Just think about how different their lives would be if they could take control of their dreams, instead of being a prisoner inside of them.

Or just think about how much better all our psyches would be if we could take the lead on exploring the deepest recesses of our sub-conscious instead of just being helpless bystanders while our mind tries to sort out our feelings on its own.  Perhaps instead of trying to analyze our dreams for hidden meanings we’d already know where to find the answers.  Perhaps we’d be able to unlock the secrets of the Universe or at least better understand the world and our own place in it.

Suffice it to say, a lucid dreaming drug could be one of the best things to ever happen to mankind.  Allowing us to take control of our bodies.  Allowing us to turn dreaming from a necessary part of life into the best part of life.

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Is a lucid dreaming drug the Greatest Idea Ever?

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It’s finally happened.  I’ve finally found the Greatest.  Idea.  Ever.  A wearable device actually worth wearing.  One designed to create an impenetrable force field around you.  That’s right.  We now have a wearable capable of ensuring that you’ll never get another mosquito bite for the rest of our life.

Mosquito bites are one of nature’s worse creations.  They itch, annoy us, prevent us from getting a good night’s rest, and may even prevent us from staying outside for as long as we’d like to or going to locations that we would have wanted to go to.  Not to mention the way they carry and transmit diseases.

They’re such a nuisance that people like Bill Gates have gone to great lengths to try and genetically engineer solutions as they aim to reduce Malaria’s impact on the developing world.  But what if there was a better way to deal with our mosquito problem?  What if, instead of playing God, we could just make it so that the mosquitos can’t even get close to us?  That’s where Bandito comes in.

Digital Trends explains how this incredible wearable works, “The first line of defense that the Bandito offers is the use of sonic waves set at a frequency that repels a variety of different types of bugs. The sound is imperceptible to the human ear, and won’t bother pets either, but will quickly drive mosquitoes away. The device  also uses non-toxic scent strips to release an odor that will smell good to humans but will repel bugs. Those scents include citronella, peppermint, and lemongrass.  Each of these methods is highly effective on its own, but when combined with one another, they should greatly reduce the number of insect bites that you’ll receive while outside.”

They add that, “An individual Bandito is built for consistent use throughout a single season. It comes with an internal battery that can function for about 500 hours, while each scent strip lasts about two weeks before it must be replaced. The device ships with 12 strips, which is enough to cover three months of consistent use outdoors.  Those numbers are based on using the Bandito for up to 5.5 hours each day.”

I don’t think I can overstate just how amazing this invention is.  Just imagine how great it would be if you could sleep with the window open on a warm summer night and not have to worry about waking up covered in bug bites.  Just think about how great it would be if you could go hiking off the beaten path near a pond or lake and not have to worry about wearing long clothing.  Armed with a single Bandito I could freely sit on my balcony and read a book or write a blog post for hours on end.  Currently, I’m afraid to even open the door to my balcony on account of all the bugs I may encounter out there.

All in all, I wonder if this technology could expand to other life forms?  Could I scrap my plans to develop mobile body armor and instead just wear a Bandito on a hike to keep all the snakes, scorpions, and spiders at bay?  Furthermore, could its size and range be expanded so that the sensors could blanket entire regions, keeping entire communities free from the risk of a mosquito born disease outbreak?

Only time will tell.  But for now if you want to learn more about what Bandito can do or if you want to support the creation of the greatest wearable of all-time be sure to check out their Indiegogo page.

Is Bandito the Greatest Idea Ever?

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The Quantified Self Movement is in full swing as more and more people don wearables that track their footsteps and other vital signs.  That’s all well and good as they motivate us to get up and move around.  But what if we were to take the idea of a wearable one step further?  What if we all had wearables inside of us to track our progress from within?!?! Thanks to a new “FitBit for the stomach” that future may soon be possible.

According to The Week, “These so-called ‘conformable decoders’ are packaged inside a pill and swallowed by a patient…The pill dissolves, and an embedded device latches to the stomach lining. It can then start transmitting messages, revealing how your stomach behaves when you’re stressed, eating, or sleeping.

The device powers itself on heartbeats and other organ movements using a form of electrical energy Pierre Curie first discovered in the 1800s. And since it conforms to the stomach wall, the decoder can likely stay in the body indefinitely…Eventually, it could be used to diagnose gastrointestinal issues.”

If this conformable decoders prove to be comfortable and helpful could we soon find ourselves carrying around several of them throughout our bodies, to track how all of our various systems are working?  Could we have one that monitors our brains or one that monitors our immune system?!?

I’m not entirely sure.  But one thing is clear though.  When it comes to wearables we may be getting more than we bargained for.  Even if no one will notice that we have them.

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Is a FitBit for the stomach the Greatest Idea Ever?

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#1,340 – Lumen

We all say that we want to work out more, eat better, and live healthier lifestyles.  Or at least that’s what we all should be saying.  Very few of us actually take the initiative to get in tune with our bodies, figure out a plan of action, and follow through on it.  Thankfully, there’s a new device hitting the market, called Lumen, that could help us do just that.

As New Atlas puts it, “There are a growing number of fitness trackers hitting the market that claim to offer detailed insights into your heath using a variety of biomarkers. Perhaps the most striking of these devices to date is Lumen, a tiny breathalyzer-styled gizmo that is claimed to measure a person’s metabolism from just a single breath.

Lumen’s technology is based on the very real metabolic measurement called respiratory quotient (RQ). For decades scientists and dieticians have used RQ to determine how a body is metabolizing macronutrients and which energy pathways are being individually favored, from carbohydrates to fat.”

In theory if you knew what fuel sources your body was pulling from you could optimize your diet to ensure that your body stays in balance at all times.  That’s where Lumen would come in.

“Instead of delivering your RQ value as a dry decimal, Lumen translates that data into a spectrum that spans fat to carbs and then suggests meal plans that can optimize your day according to your specific metabolic profile. Via a paired app, the system can subsequently track your sleep and activity to constantly modulate its recommendations.”

Is this knowledge enough to revolutionize health and fitness as we know it?  We shall see.  But I for one am intrigued.  Especially if improving my diet means I won’t have to go to the gym anymore.

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Is Lumen the Greatest Idea Ever?


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