Contributor: Michael Hines
DESIGNER DRUG JEWELRY
Susan Braig is a 61-year-old breast cancer survivor who crafts jewelry out of unused cancer medication. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 but didn't begin crafting her cancer jewelry until 2007 when she entered into a medical-themed art show in Pasadena, California. Her pill-encrusted princess tiara was a huge hit with show-goers who encouraged her to start her own jewelry line. Braig makes each piece out of donated cancer pills that she coats in a special sealant and applies using a strong adhesive to prevent abuse. Every piece of Designer Drug Jewelry comes in a pill bottle wrapped with a ribbon with a surgical face mask for a bag. Each piece can sell from anywhere between $15 to $150 with all of the proceeds going towards paying off Braig's staggering medical bills.
The Infant Warmer is a heating blanket designed by San Francisco-based Embrace to keep premature babies in developing countries safe from hypothermia. Preemies are typically kept warm using incubators which can cost up to $20,000 each and require a steady flow of electricity to power. The Infant Warmer is priced at $100 and requires no electricity to use. The Infant Warmer is shaped like a sleeping bag and features a pouch which holds a packet of wax. The wax is heated up using an included non-electric heating unit and sealed in the pouch where it maintains a temperature of 98.6 for four hours, regulating heat by absorbing it when its too hot and releasing it when its too cold. As of now no release dates have been set but Embrace is planning a pilot project to launch in India.
GOT HUMaN MILK from a COW?
A herd of 300 cows in China have been genetically modified to produce human milk, this according to a study in the journal PLoS ONE. Researchers genetically modified the embryos of Holstein dairy cows to include human genes. The modification resulted in the cows being born with the ability to produce lysozyme, "an antimicrobial protein naturally found in large quantities in human breast milk" that helps guard newborn infants from bacterial infections. Lead researcher Professor Ning Li of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at the China Agricultural University said that the milk was safe to drink and that it tasted stronger than normal cow's milk. The team estimates it will take 10 years or more before the process is commercialized and the milk starts hitting store shelves.
AS SEEN on SHARK TANK
Allergy sufferers and germaphobes might be able to breathe a littler easier now thanks to First Defense Nasal Screens. First Defense Nasal Screens are covers that attach to your nostrils and are designed to block out airborne allergens and virus-carrying droplets. The screens are made of "nasal dust covers made of 100% breathable non-latex, skin safe material." In lab tests the nasal screens were shown to be over 99 percent effective at blocking airborne allergens and over 90 percent effective at blocking out airborne droplets. First Defense Nasal Screens are somewhat unknown as of now, but that could all change thanks to creator Joe Moore's appearance on the hit ABC show "Shark Tank" which saw him fielding record-breaking offers for his company.
MORE ACCURATE DIAGNOSES
A new company called Rules-Based-Medicine has developed a new way to diagnose mental disorders. Rules-Based-Medicine, alongside Cambridge University has developed VeriPsych, hailed as the first blood test for schizophrenia. VeriPsych is a protein-based test that detects schizophrenia in the blood by looking at 51 confirmed biomarkers of the disease. VeriPsych has been designed specifically to avoid false biomarkers created by outside sources such as schizophrenia medication. Since its launch VeriPsych has been met with tepidity as only 500 tests have been ordered. That tepidity will hopefully decrease as Rules-Based-Medicine plans to release tests for depression and bi-polar disorder in the next few years.
LOW-WEIGHT BABIES MORE LIKELY
Mothers who were abused as children have a higher risk of birthing low-weight babies according to a new study. The Journal of Adolescent Health used data pulled from 136 women who participated in the Seattle Social Development Project since childhood. The results show that women who had their babies after the age of 18 and who were abused physically or sexually before age 10 were much more likely to abuse drugs during high school. This drug abuse often lead to alcohol and cigarette use during pregnancy, substances which increase the risk of having a low-weight baby. Amelia Gavin, assistant professor of social work at the University of Washington suggests having obstetric practitioners screen expectant mothers for childhood abuse and to provide services for women at risk of substance abuse.
ONE in 10 UK MOMS AFFECTED
Despite its name postnatal depression can actually start during pregnancy, this according to the Mother and Baby Unit at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM). The Mother and Baby Unit of SLaM routinely treats women who have developed depression while pregnant or who have relapsed back into previous mental illnesses due to being pregnant. Dr. Trudi Seneviratne, a SLaM psychiatrist said"While depression following birth is the most common form of pregnancy-related depression, it can also begin during pregnancy, or months after giving birth." Around one in 10 UK mothers are said to suffer from postnatal depression. Common indicators of postnatal depression are: tearfulness, feeling overwhelmed, lack of appetite and lack of interest in your new baby and yourself.
POSSIBLE BIOPSY SUBSTITUTE
A skin cancer-detecting laser designed to find malignant melanomas sooner has been developed by scientists at Duke University. The laser works by firing two low-energy beams at suspected moles and measuring the energy distribution and pigment for increased levels of eumelanin, a cancer indicator. Out of 42 samples of skin the laser correctly identified all 11 that had melanoma. The laser will undergo more trials using thousands of skin samples to test its accuracy and to see if it can identify moles that eventually became cancerous. Currently the laser only works on tissue slides, but the good news is that it is already available and can be retrofitted onto microscopes for $100,000. The Duke University study first appeared in the February 23rd edition of Science Translational Medicine.
ONLY THREE CALORIES PER HIT
Chocaps chocolate inhalers could quite possibly be the smoker's tastiest weapon in the war on nicotine addiction. Chocaps chocolate inhalers were created by Austrian confectioner Rouven Haas as a way to help smokers kick their habit and to help keep chocolate-lovers from packing on the pounds. Chocaps are used in almost the same way as cigarettes with a small plastic tube being inserted into a pill containing coca powder. Haas, himself a former smoker is hoping that the act of inhaling coupled with the tastiness of the coca powder will be enough to keep smokers from lighting up in times of desperation. Chocaps have recently come under fire for their design, with anti-smoking expert Otto Brandli saying, "it is a dangerous product that can only encourage the smoking of cigarettes or worse."
SKINNY HOS CRY FOUL
Residents of Waco, Texas, are crying foul over the city's newest restaurant, Fat Ho Burgers. Fat Ho Burgers was recently opened by Lakita Evans, who came up with the unique name for her restaurant while watching the movie "Phat Girlz." Fat Ho Burgers serves traditional burger-stand fare with a twist. A cheeseburger is known as a Supa Fly Ho with Cheese, a chicken sandwich is a Fat Chicken Ho. The restaurant has attracted plenty of curious customers and the ire of some of the town's Christians who own and operate the Gospel Café, a cafe/bookstore located down the street from Fat Ho Burgers. A Facebook group encouraging Evans to change the restaurant's name has been created, but I wouldn't wager a Supa Fly Ho with Cheese that it'll be successful.
RESEARCHERS GROW STRONG SWIMMERS
Japanese researchers have successfully managed to grow fertile mice sperm in a lab according to a new study published in the March edition of the journal Nature. Takehiko Ogawa and his colleagues at Yokohama City University grew the fertile sperm by changing the sperm culture conditions. The team achieved success after soaking the sperm with KnockOut Serum Replacement, a substance used to grow embryonic stem cells. After several weeks the sperm had grown flagella, the tails that help sperm swim. The sperm was implanted into eggs which bore live and fertile offspring a few weeks later. Reproductive biologist Ali Honaramooz of the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada, hopes to see the technique adapted to one day help young boys about to become sterilized due to cancer treatment.
ARTHRITIC CHEFS CELEBRATE
Australian university student Ching-Hao Hsu has designed a new tool dubbed the Arthritis Handle to help sufferers of Rheumatoid Arthritis cook safer. Hsu was inspired to create the Arthritis Handle after interviewing people with Rheumatoid Arthritis and learning that they often carried pots and pans with their forearms due to their weakened grip and finger flexibility. The Arthritis Handle slips over the forearms to aid in the transfer of pots and pans from the stove to the counter top and is made out of thermoplastic elastomers coated in heat-resistant silicone designed to limit heat transfer. The Arthritis Handle has been shortlisted for the first-round of the Australian Design Award/James Dyson Award competition and entered into the Kitchen Tools International Design Competition.
YOUNGER CHILDREN AT MOST RISK
One-third of children aged 5 to 15 will sleep through a smoke alarm, according to a new Australian study. The findings, published in the journal Fire and Materials and led by researchers at Victoria University in Melbourne, followed 123 children from 79 different families. The children were split into two groups: aged 5 to 10 and 11 to 15. 78 percent of children slept through the alarm, with 87 percent of children aged 5 to 10 sleeping through the alarm. The older children performed better, although less than half of them (56 percent) actually woke up. Lead author of the study, Dr. Dorothy Bruck said, "Parents should not rely on their children waking to the smoke alarm in the event of a fire and should not assume that they will immediately evacuate if they do wake up to a fire."
CHILDREN ESPECIALLY VULNERABLE
"All we're getting is that there's "no danger" to the west coast of the U.S. when it's obvious that threat will be arriving in the next shipment of tuna."
- Gunter Chang in the comments
Scientists are warning that the radioactive steam being released from the disabled Japanese nuclear power plants could possibly contaminate food and water resources. Scientists are saying that the radioactive steam being released could eventually return to the Earth in the form of radioactive rain where it could then contaminate everything from drinking water to livestock. Cows are at risk of contaminating their milk with radioactive elements, with one expert who preferred to remain anonymous saying, "Cows are like vacuum cleaners, picking up radioactive iodine that lands over a wide area of pasture, and then those particles very easily are concentrated and pass into the milk." Children are considered especially vulnerable as they consume more cow's milk than adults.
HUSBANDS CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC
A new study has shown that diets high in Vitamin B may help prevent PMS. The study showed that women who consumed high amounts of riboflavin (B1) and thiamine (B2) significantly lowered their risk of PMS. The study followed over 3,000 women, all initially PMS-free, between 1991 and 1999. The researchers found that women with diets high in food-based riboflavin and thiamine significantly lowered their risk of PMS, with women who had high amounts of riboflavin in their diets cutting their risk for developing the emotional and physical symptoms of PMS by 35 percent. The study was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was led by Dr. Patricia O. Chocano-Bedoya of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
PLaNS to DRINK FOUR BEERS a DaY
An American newspaper editor is planning to live on beer and water for Lent. J Wilson, 38, of Prescott, Iowa is attempting to recreate a 17th century tradition in which German monks brewed a heavy "liquid bread" to sustain themselves throughout Lent. Wilson, who says his last goal is to get drunk, has consulted with a doctor who will continue to monitor him during and after his 46 day alcohol-fueled fast. Wilson is an avid home-brewer and will drink four of his specially created 'Illuminator Doppelbock' beers a day, saying, "I did a 36-hour test drive about a week ago, and I don't think four beers is going to be a problem." The beer has a 6.67 percent alcohol content and 228 calories per 335ml serving.
BRITAIN'S YOUNGEST ALCOHOLIC
British newspaper The Sun is reporting that a West Midlands three-year-old has been treated for alcoholism. The toddler is Britain's youngest alcoholic on record and is thought to have been given alcohol repeatedly for six months. The child reportedly suffered from mood swings and shaking, symptoms typical of alcohol withdrawal. Between 2008 and 2010 13 children under the age of 12 have been diagnosed in Britain as alcoholics by the Heart of England NHS Trust. The alcohol awareness organization Drinkaware says childhood drinking could lead to a disruption of brain development. 106 13-16 year-olds have been treated for alcohol-related problems in the area where the three-year-old lives.
GREEN EGGS and HAM DIET SLAMMED
The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been chosen to promote the new "Eating Healthy. Growing Strong." campaign designed to fight childhood obesity. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Academy of Pediatrics have teamed up to provide 17,500 copies of the book, complete with growth charts and reading handouts to pediatricians around the country. Former president Bill Clinton, founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation, one of the founding organizations of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation said, "We are starting a dialogue between parents and doctors that will go beyond the waiting room and into the home, enabling 21 million children to make more nutritious choices and lead healthier lives."
FIGHT INFECTIONS with CHEERIOS
A recent study claims that having lower cholesterol may help fight infections. The study appeared in the PLoS Biology journal and was conducted by researchers from the University of Edinburgh. "What we have discovered is that a key immune hormone stimulated upon infection can lower cholesterol levels and thereby deprive viral infections of the sustenance they need to grow," said Peter Ghazal, the chair of Molecular Genetics and Biomedicine at the University of Edinburgh. The key immune hormone is interferon, which was shown to lower cholesterol in mice infected with a variety of viruses. The researchers say that while cholesterol itself isn't linked to a virus' survival, it is linked to the protein production that viruses feed on.
FEAR of JUDGMENT
A new study reports that people are more inclined to let bad things happen rather than causing them to happen, especially if someone is watching. The study, which appeared in the research journal Psychological Science, shows that people are much more likely to judge someone who caused a bad thing to happen harsher than someone who let it happen. Peter DeScioli, a moral psychologist at Brandeis University, ran an experiment in which people had 15 seconds to either take 90 cents of a dollar from a store owner or let the timer expire, costing the store owner the entire dollar and rewarding the participant with 85 cents. 51 percent of participants let the timer run out under observation, with observers judging the people who "stole" 90 cents harsher than the people who let the timer expire.
AMERICA LEADING the WAY
The U.S. has the highest bipolar disorder rate, according to a new 11-nation study. The study, published in the March edition of the Archives of General Psychiatry has the U.S. leading the way with a 4.4 percent rate of lifetime bipolar disorder, with India bringing up the rear at 0.1 percent. Experts say there are several reasons as to why the rate of bipolar disorder in the U.S. is so high. Sara Bodner, MD, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, says that everything from cultural awareness to genetics could play a part in the U.S. having such a high rate of bipolar disorder. The study was conducted by researchers worldwide and was funded by a combination of grants, pharmaceutical companies and public health organizations.
REHABBING ATHLETES REJOICE
Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany have developed a progress-reporting knee bandage designed to track the healing of injuries. The bandage is equipped with special sensors designed to track and record vital stats like the joint's range of movement and the forces acting upon it. The progress-reporting knee bandage lets doctors continuously monitor the healing process and adjust treatment if necessary. The sensors of the progress-reporting knee bandage have been seamlessly integrated into the bandage itself, ensuring free and easy movement for the wearer. Frauhofer researcher Bernhard Kleiner said the bandage also has an added psychological benefit for patients, letting them monitor their progress daily.
CEREAL KILLERS SPOTTED in EUROPE
"That was one oddly written article by Fox. They seem to be trying to scare people out of using recycled cardboard boxes."
- Peggy in the comments
Swiss toxicologists are reporting that cancer-causing cereal boxes may be on the shelves of some European supermarkets. Certain types of recycled cereal boxes were shown to contain a high level of mineral oils that could potentially cause cancer. The mineral oils are thought to trace back to the ink from recycled newspapers used to make the boxes. European cereal brand Jordans has decided to discontinue the use of recycled cardboard boxes while Kelloggs and Weetabix both mull alternative eco-friendly options. American consumers have nothing to fear, as the process used to make recycled cereal boxes in Europe differs from the process used in America, says Deborah White, executive director at the Recycled Paperboard Technical Association.
WAITING ROOMS SOON to BE EXTINCT
One Medical is pushing doctor's office waiting rooms to extinction with the One Medical virtual portal. The One Medical virtual portal is designed to streamline the health care system by letting patients do everything from check their medical records to scheduling same-day appointments. In addition to making administrative work easier, the One Medical virtual portal also gives patients access to their doctors for follow-ups and referrals. One Medical is also claiming longer appointments for those who schedule their appointments through the One Medical virtual portal. Five hospitals in San Francisco and two in New York have already signed up for the One Medical virtual portal, with a third New York hospital expected to sign-on shortly.
LITERALLY GET SICK from STUDYING
Scientists are developing a memory virus designed to genetically reengineer the brain to retain memories long after they're made. The memory virus involves injecting the memory-preserving enzyme protein kinase M ζ directly into the parts of the brain that deal with memory. Once the virus has been injected into the brain affected cells produce more of kinase M ζ, leading to a higher rate of memory retention. The virus was tested on rats, with results showing an improvement in specific types of associative memory concerning taste. The scientists who conducted the study have been careful to state the limitations of the memory virus, suggesting that it may only affect memory retention with regards to bad tastes.