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Health and Wellbeing to April 2014

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The Happiness Blanket - British Airways. Mink 3D prints makeup. The slow death of purposeless walking. Image copyright AP A number of recent books have lauded the connection between walking - just for its own sake - and thinking. But are people losing their love of the purposeless walk? Walking is a luxury in the West. Very few people, particularly in cities, are obliged to do much of it at all. Instead, walking for any distance is usually a planned leisure activity. Wordsworth was a walker. Charles Dickens was a walker. Henry David Thoreau, who was both author and naturalist, walked and walked and walked. From recent decades, the environmentalist and writer John Francis has been one of the truly epic walkers. Image copyright Alamy But you don't have to be an author to see the value of walking. In the UK, May is National Walking Month. Across the West, people are still choosing to walk. It is that "just to walk" category that is so beloved of creative thinkers.

"There is something about the pace of walking and the pace of thinking that goes together. "Your senses are sharpened. When the French clock off at 6pm, they really mean it | Money. Relaxing in a French cafe, untroubled by work emails. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features Just in case you weren't jealous enough of the French already, what with their effortless style, lovely accents and collective will to calorie control, they have now just made it illegal to work after 6pm. Well, sort of. Après noticing that the ability of bosses to invade their employees' home lives via smartphone at any heure of the day or night was enabling real work hours to extend further and further beyond the 35-hour week the country famously introduced in 1999, workers' unions have been fighting back. Now employers' federations and unions have signed a new, legally binding labour agreement that will require staff to switch off their phones after 6pm. That's right.

C'est all right pour some, quoi? Laser Light Opens Nanoparticles to Release Chemo Drugs Right to Tumors. 19inShare Chemotherapy is an effective therapy for cancer, except for the side effect of killing the rest of the body with the toxin. Being able to deliver chemo drugs directly to the tumor while sparing the body’s healthy tissues may allow higher doses of the drug to attack cancer without killing the patient. Researchers at UCLA and University of Montpellier in France have developed light-activated particles that release their payloads when a special laser shines illuminates them. The technique is based on mesoporous silica nanoparticles (MSN) the pores of which are filled with a chemo drug and plugged by “pseudo-rotaxane constituted by an azobenzene stalk and a β-cyclodextrin moiety.” When a two-photon laser illuminates the nanoparticles, the pores unclog and the medication is released. Besides opening up pores of the nanoparticles to release the drugs inside, the same laser can be used to fluoresce the particles and visualize whether they reach their target.

Microneedle Patches Allow for Self Administering of Flu Vaccine. 14inShare Annual flu vaccinations have become a regular chore for a lot of people, while the fear of needles has kept quite a few people away. An easier way of getting vaccinated would help get more people to participate. Researchers at Georgia Tech, Emory University, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have tested a new patch that allows just about anyone to deliver a flu vaccine in the privacy of their home. The microneedle array consists of 50 tiny needles that inject the vaccine into skin where the immune reaction begins. The team compared self administration to a professional applying the patch, and also against traditional syringe delivery. Though there was no actual vaccine involved in the trial, the study examined how well each patch penetrated the skin surface and whether it would be an effective delivery option for self delivery of vaccine.

Here are some results from the study: Food Allergy Oral Immunotherapy More Effective When Paired With Asthma Drug Omalizumab - Health News. March 1, 2014 Brett Smith for – Your Universe Online New research from Stanford University and Johns Hopkins Medical School has shown that an asthma drug can be used to help desensitize people to several food allergens all at once, according to a new report in the journal Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology. The new findings expand on previous research from the same team that showed a technique called oral immunotherapy could be used to desensitize someone to multiple food allergens – instead of one at a time as had been shown previously.

“Parents came up to me and said things like, ‘It’s great that you’re desensitizing children to their peanut or milk allergies, but my daughter is allergic to wheat, cashews, eggs and almonds. Oral immunotherapy is considered experimental and patients in other studies took as long as three years to become desensitized to a single allergen – meaning several foods, one at a time, could take decades. “It’s efficient,” said study author Dr. Google Glass Could Be A Benefit To Patients In Remote Regions Of The World - Health News. February 28, 2014 redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online Google Glass may have made headlines recently for getting people ticketed for wearing it while driving, interrogated for taking it with them to the movies and even physically assaulted for showing it off in a bar, but new research suggests that the device could also be used to save lives.

Google Glass, which is essentially high-tech headwear that has built-in smartphone-style technology, could be used in the treatment of patients living in isolated regions, according to a paper published Thursday in the ACS Nano, the peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The authors of that report said they are currently developing an app that can take a picture of a diagnostic test strip and transmit the data to remote computers, which they apply to a detailed diagnostic report. That information, they said, could help medical researchers track the global spread of diseases. The app developed by Dr. Global Health and Wellness News: Greener chemical cleanups.

Cleaning up oil spills and metal contaminants in a low-impact, sustainable and inexpensive manner remains a challenge for companies and governments globally. But a group of researchers at UW—Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and "greener" method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces. Shaoqin "Sarah" Gong, a researcher at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) and associate professor of biomedical engineering, graduate student Qifeng Zheng, and Zhiyong Cai, a project leader at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, have recently created and patented the new aerogel technology.

Aerogels, which are highly porous materials and the lightest solids in existence, are already used in a variety of applications, ranging from insulation and aerospace materials to thickening agents in paints. Read more at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Linking Alzheimer's to environmental contributors. Scientists have known for more than 40 years that the synthetic pesticide DDT is harmful to bird habitats and a threat to the environment.

Now researchers at Rutgers University say exposure to DDT, banned in the United States since 1972 but still used as a pesticide in other countries, may also increase the risk and severity of Alzheimer's disease in some people, particularly those over the age of 60. In a study published online today in JAMA Neurology, Rutgers scientists discuss their findings in which levels of DDE, the chemical compound left when DDT breaks down, were higher in the blood of late-onset Alzheimer's disease patients compared to those without the disease. DDT — used in the United States for insect control in crops and livestock and to combat insect-borne diseases like malaria — was introduced as a pesticide during WWII. Read more at Rutgers University. Elderly couple image via Shutterstock. Photosynthesis bike could be a breath of fresh air for cyclists.

New trends may transform how we eat and drink. The future of food is upon us. Well, according to innovation, research and advisory firm Stylus it is. They have predicted these new developments in the food market: 2014 could see food labelling become more accurate, and less reliant on eco-unfriendly stickers, through new techniques such as food tattooing or edible QR codes. Originally trialled in a Californian sushi restaurant to allow diners to verify the providence of their seafood, if successful we could see edible QR codes everywhere. New and exciting technology will transform the way we eat, drink and prepare food: “smart knives”, for example, will be able to check bacteria levels, as well as fat, protein and sugar, and even keep food fresher.

New types of health food are also likely to emerge in 2014, say Stylus, including the rise of 'health chocolate', kale lollies, insect bars and even edible soil. For the full article and links to developers' websites, see here. Food trends in 2014: from digital dining to healthy junk food. It is a blustery winter morning in Mayfair, London, and 100 or so well-heeled representatives from the advertising and retail worlds are huddled in a lecture theatre at the Royal Institution.

This is the future of food, according to Stylus, an "innovation, research and advisory firm" that scours global markets to pinpoint the most influential emerging trends for companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Bacardi and Hotel Chocolat. Digital dining Edible QR code at Harney Sushi. Edible QR codesHarney Sushi, a restaurant in San Diego, has attempted to tackle the problem that 52% of Californian seafood is supposedly being mislabelled, by devising edible rice paper QR codes.

Using smartphones, diners can call up detailed information about the provenance and global stocks of the fish they've ordered. Interactive cocktail loungesLogbar in Tokyo issues customers with iPad Minis upon entry. Electrolux Design Lab's holographic chef. Smart Knife by Jeon Chang Dae for Electrolux Design Lab. Smart tooth. Chemists use newt toxin to 'see' pain in a living animal.

By studying newts, scientists have found a way to tag and take images of the location where pain is generated in living rats. The work began in the 1960s, when Stanford University scientists discovered that the native newts had a chemical in their skin and eggs identical to the potent toxin found in pufferfish. The newts are only toxic if eaten. The late chemist Harry Mosher spent much of his career analyzing and attempting to synthesize this toxin and related molecules, collectively called guanidinium toxins.

They turned out to be an interesting group of molecules for chemists who like to develop new ways of stitching atoms together to form molecules. One such chemist, Justin Du Bois, a professor at Stanford, started a lab focused on making and modifying the structures of the guanidinium toxins. Block pain neurons Du Bois didn’t initially know about Mosher’s early work, but when he did they had a conversation that sent Du Bois in a new direction. Better picture of pain Success in rats. A 18F-Labeled Saxitoxin Derivative for in Vivo PET-MR Imaging of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Expression Following Nerve Injury - Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Aileen Hoehne †, Deepak Behera †, William H. Parsons ‡, Michelle L. James †, Bin Shen †, Preeti Borgohain †, Deepika Bodapati †, Archana Prabhakar †, Sanjiv S. Gambhir †, David C. Yeomans §, Sandip Biswal *†, Frederick T. †Department of Radiology, ‡Department of Chemistry, and §Department of Anesthesia, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, United States J. DOI: 10.1021/ja408300e Publication Date (Web): November 21, 2013 Copyright © 2013 American Chemical Society Section: Abstract Both chronic and neuropathic pain conditions are associated with increased expression of certain voltage-gated sodium ion channel (NaV) isoforms in peripheral sensory neurons.

Citing Articles View all 1 citing articles Citation data is made available by participants in CrossRef's Cited-by Linking service. Dishes that do themselves. You’ve just enjoyed a great meal, with fine wine and good company, but now it’s time to slave your way through the mountain of greasy plates and stained glasses.

Sound familiar? Fortunately, a new invention from Swedish design studio Tomorrow Machine may well bring an end to this most hated of all nightly rituals. Their self-cleaning dishes are coated in a substance which mimics a lotus leaf, allowing food, dirt and oil to simply run off, leaving nothing behind. Although such superhydrophobic substances are nothing new (see the briefing in Green Futures about the use of similar materials on aeroplane wings, etc.) it is the first that is safe enough to be used with food. If it proves a success, it could not only save millions of gallons of water, but also eliminate the need for washing up liquid, which are often packed full of unwanted chemicals.

Find out more Picture: Art Poskanzer. 'Sugar is the new tobacco': Cuts to amounts hidden in food could halt obesity epidemic, claim doctors - Health News - Health & Families. Sugar is a major cause of obesity and also increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Leading experts today launched a new campaign group, Action on Sugar, to alert the public to the high levels of sugar in their food and lobby the government and the food industry to reduce its use of “unnecessary” sugar. The group, which brings together doctors from the UK, the US and Canada, aims to emulate the reduction in salt levels in our diet.

Intake of salt dropped by 15 per cent between 2001 and 2011, leading to a minimum of 6,000 fewer strokes and heart attack deaths per year, saving £1.5bn. Experts said that if major manufacturers reduced the amount of sugar in their products, adding up to a 20 to 30 per cent decrease in sugar content in three to five years, the obesity epidemic could be stopped in its tracks. Children were particularly at risk from high sugar foods and soft drinks, said Simon Capewell, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Liverpool. Loading gallery 1 of 50. Valproate reopens critical-period learning of absolute pitch | Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience. 1Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, CNRS, Paris, France2Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France3Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Mental Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada4Department of Linguistics, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA5School of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia6Department of Molecular Cellular Biology, Center for Brain Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA7Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada8Centre for Affective Disorders, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, UK Absolute pitch, the ability to identify or produce the pitch of a sound without a reference point, has a critical period, i.e., it can only be acquired early in life.

Keywords: critical period reopening, learning, absolute pitch, valproate, histone-deacetylase inhibitors, human adults *Correspondence: Allan H.