MARCH 2018 HEALTH NEWS ROUNDUP

March 2018 health news roundup is coming a bit late. I apologies.

Here are some insightful health news, that you will find informative just in case you didin’t know.

  • THE WEARABLE BRAIN SCANNER YOU CAN MOVE AROUND IN

If you have ever gotten your brain scanned before, you would know that you have to sit absolutely still in a particular position for hours before any results can be achieved.

Also, before now, it was difficult to measure accurately the brain activities of babies, children and people with movement disorder. An improvement in science has now made it possible. Scientists in Nottingham have invented a new type of brain scanner that can be worn on the head, allowing patients to move while being scanned.

The device records the tiny magnetic fields generated by the brain. Magnetoencephalography [MEG] has been around for decades, but conventional scanners are large, weighing half a ton.

The sensors used to measure the brain’s magnetic fields have to be super cooled to minus 269c. The MEG scanners are largely limited to research, because its subjects have to keep completely still. But with this newly developed wearable MEG, which uses light weight quantum sensors mounted in a 3D printed helmet, the subjects can behave totally natural which is a plus while scanning for total brain activities.

This wearable MEG scanner will also be useful in imaging patients with Parkinson’s disease.

  • THIS MODIFIED SMARTPHONE MEASURES BLOOD PRESSURE DIRECTLY FROM YOUR FINGER

High blood pressure can lead to heart disease and stroke, but it often goes undetected and untreated. A new technology could change that by putting a simple blood pressure monitor in everyone’s pockets.

Normally, blood pressure is measured using an inflatable cuff that presses down on an artery in the arm while a device records the effect on blood flow. Now, scientists have created a smartphone attachment that measures blood pressure directly from the finger, removing the need for any specialized equipment.

The user places their finger on a pressure sensor and is guided by a chart displayed on the phone to gradually increase the applied force. Meanwhile, another sensor measures blood volume by illuminating the finger and detecting changes in how light is absorbed. Software on the phone then uses this information to determine blood pressure. The researchers tested their prototype on 30 people, and found that most, quickly learned how to use it.

Although the device was not quite as precise as an arm monitor, the scientists say its accuracy could be improved by taking multiple measurements over time. Modern smartphones already contain most of the hardware needed to transform them into portable blood pressure monitors, which would be particularly useful in developing countries where access to cuff-based devices is limited, but where smartphones are becoming commonplace.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/03/modified-smartphone-measures-blood-pressure-directly-your-finger

Talk of Science and Tech enhancing health care.

 

  • INTERSTITIUM: NEWLY FOUND ORGAN IN THE HUMAN BODY

Scientists have identified a new human organ hiding in plain sight, in a discovery they hope could help them understand the spread of cancer within the body. Layers long thought to be dense, connective tissue are actually a series of fluid-filled compartments researchers have termed the “interstitium”.

These compartments are found beneath the skin, as well as lining the gut, lungs, blood vessels and muscles, and join together to form a network supported by a mesh of strong, flexible proteins Remarkably, the interstitium had previously gone unnoticed despite being one of the largest organs in the human body.

The study said the interstitium can compress or expand in size, suggesting it could serve as “shock absorbers” for other parts of the body.  This is the second time in as many years humans have learned details about a new organ. Last year, an Irish surgeon discovered the mesentery, which connects the intestine to the abdomen. Its identifiable function is still not known.

Officially, the interstitium has been defined as a contiguous fluid-filled space existing between the skin and the body organs, including muscles and the circulatory system. The fluid in this space is called interstitial fluid (or lymph), which is composed of extracellular fluid and its solutes.

  • TOXIC FOODS YOU EAT EVERYDAY

The number one cause of injury-related death is poisoning. That is why the third week of March is National Poison Prevention Week. Poisonous items in your home don’t always have a warning label, so what you could be eating every day may be toxic to your health.

Fruits are good for a healthy diet, but what’s inside some fruits may send you to the hospital.

Some seeds and pits contain cyanide, a poisonous chemical that can be deadly in high doses. So beware of the seeds and pits from apples, cherries, apricots and peaches. A few won’t do any harm if eaten accidentally, but ingesting just a couple of milligrams of these seeds can do some serious damage.

You should also be on the lookout for a popular item in wines and teas. Elderberry leaves and stems can produce cyanide and uncooked elderberries contain a toxic alkaloid. Another warning: nutmeg, if consumed in large amounts, can have hallucinogenic effects. Eating five or more grams can cause gastrointestinal reactions and heart palpitations.

Finally, potatoes are great to make fries and chips with, but green potatoes have toxic levels of a harmful pesticide that can cause nausea, headaches and neurological problems.

  • MALE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS COULD BE AVAILABLE SOON

In March 2018, researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle announced they may have finally created an effective male birth control pill.

Known as Dimethandrolone Undecanoate [DMAU], the male pill contains a combination of hormones that suppress sperm production and is taken once a day.

In addition to blood work indicating the pill was working effectively, research subjects who took the pill reported minimal side effects. While further studies are necessary before the pill becomes widely available, the news is promising.

For years, researchers have attempted to create a male birth control pill, but have run into a number of common problems. Testosterone used in past male birth control pills could cause liver problems. In addition to this, pills previously tested had to be taken twice daily to work effectively.

While the new pill causes mild cholesterol issues, it so far seems to have avoided many of the major problems associated with male birth control in the past.

The real question now is , how willing will men be to take birth control pills? A burden that seems to have been on females for years past. Time will tell how the male population receive this new development.

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