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Doctors Looking at New Technology to Reduce the Effects and Cost of Treating Diabetes

The CDC’s latest figures indicate 29.1 million people, or 9.3% of the U.S. population, are diabetic. In 2012 alone, they estimated the costs for those diagnosed with the disease surpassed $245 billion, which puts diabetes nearly $100 billion more than the cost of cancer care.

Dr. Brett Osborn, author of Get Serious: A Neurosurgeon’s Guide to Optimal Health and Fitness, says that “More than 30% of Medicare dollars are spent on diabetics and/or related complications.”

These astounding figures have caused researchers, scientists, and tech companies to look for new and more affordable ways to reduce the costs for patients, and the effects of the disease. Here’s a look at some of the ways new technology is helping doctors and patients alike.

Smart Contact Lenses from Google

The search engine giant isn’t content with just making its Google Glass wearable heads up computer. Their latest project, dubbed Smart Contact Lenses, aims to “measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material. We’re testing prototypes that can generate a reading once per second.” With that kind of data, you won’t have to stop and prick yourself, collect your blood on a strip, and test for results.


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Study Finds Anesthesiologists May Be Failing To Wash Hands Before Tending to Patients

anesthesia hand washing

Today in things that make you go, “Ick” is the revelation that many anesthesiologists are failing to properly wash their hands when working with patients.

A new study suggests this lack of hand hygiene may be putting patients at risk for infections. On average, anesthesiologists have 149 “hand hygiene opportunities” per hour that a patient is under anesthesia.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are five hand hygiene opportunities that help in reducing the risk of infections caused by health care. The five opportunities are: before touching a patient, after touching a patient, before a clean procedure, after touching a patient’s surroundings, and after exposure to bodily fluids.

Researchers from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center found anesthesiologists were least likely to wash their hands properly during the first and last 20 minutes of their patient being under an anesthetic. This lack of hygiene corresponds with increases in the amount of bacterial contamination of frequently touched objects in the same time period.

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New Guidelines Suggest Some Women Can Skip Invasive Annual Pelvic Exam

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For millions of teenage girls and women, the annual pelvic examination has long been considered a necessary annoyance, but now, a new study suggests that in some cases, this invasive procedure is no longer needed.

Recently, the American College of Physicians announced new guidelines that suggest non-pregnant adult women who are involved in monogamous relationships who have no prior history of disease, can skip the annual exam saying, ” A review of the exams found they rarely catch disease but are costly, uncomfortable and even embarrassing.”

As Dr. Nancy Snyderman pointed out in the video, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists remains in favor of an annual exam.

Pap smears are still important
The Pap smear test, which screens for cervical cancer, should still be completed every three to five years, unless your gynecologist instructs otherwise based on your personal medical history.

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British Study Suggests Chewing Gum May Be Beneficial For Concentration

chewing gum

Teachers who dismiss gum as a noisy, sticky classroom nuisance might want to reconsider their position. A growing number of educators believe there could be some minty value in the chewing process, and a recent study suggests chewing a stick at the right time, might actually help students concentrate.

In the past, chewing gum was considered a treat, something that was given as a reward, but certainly not considered a learning tool. Now, according to a study in the British Journal of Psychology, researchers have determined that chewing gum may help students maintain their focus for longer periods of time.

These results challenge a previously published piece in the same journal from 2012 that stated chewing gum decreased short term memory.

Educators who work with children are constantly looking for ways to help them succeed. According to Bartlesville, Oklahoma teacher, Heather Davis, the first step is realizing that every child learns in a different way. “I do allow gum because learning style research indicates that some kids need intake to learn and some need movement,” she said. “I don’t formally assess my students’ learning styles anymore, but if a kid can chew gum, make at least a 75 on the assignment, and doesn’t disturb anyone else, then they can chew it.”

Over the last few years, more and more occupational therapists, teachers, and psychologists have stepped forward to tout the benefits of chewing gum in the classroom. A few of these benefits include:

  • Increased short term memory
  • Less fidgeting
  • Heightened alertness
  • Reduces/eliminates other negative social behaviors like sucking on pencils and thumbs
  • Some children find the oral activity calming
  • Chewing helps dull background noise by activating the Eustachian tubes

Allowing children to chew gum in school, or while doing homework may be beneficial but there should be ground rules established. To avoid trading cavities for good grades, only offer up sugar-free flavors. To ensure that gum-chewing doesn’t become a concentration tool for some, but a distraction to others, tell kids they can keep chewing as long as no one else can see or hear it.

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Released Today! New Guidelines Warn About Rare Liver Disorder Associated with OTC, Herbal and Prescription Medication

medication, herbal, liver

Today, The American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) released new clinical guidelines on the diagnosis and management of idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury (DILI). The article, featured in The American Journal of Gastroenterology, focuses on the rise in incidents of this rare adverse drug reaction that seems to correlate with the rise in herbal and dietary supplement use over the past 10 years.

The liver has an important job, it breaks down everything we swallow including food, drink and medication. To ensure their safety and efficacy, new drugs go through extensive testing before they’re released to the public, but in a small number of cases, the liver becomes susceptible to injury.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is tasked with monitoring and regulating new medication, but herbal supplements often fly under the radar.

“A lot of consumers have a preconceived notion that if it’s a natural product, it must be safe. But that is not necessarily the case,” said Herbert Bonkovsky, MD, FACG, co-author of the guidelines. “Most of these products are not well-regulated and have very little oversight. Traces of heavy metals and prescription drugs have even been found in some herbal and dietary supplements. We encourage patients to talk to their doctor about all medications they are taking, and herbal and dietary supplements should be no exception.”

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Bump in to Other Expecting Mommies on Preggie, a New Social Network for the iPhone

By Mike Beauchamp

As Facebook continues taking over your news feed with ads, memes, and other seemingly senseless noise from your “friends” on the Internet, it’s increasingly difficult to feel a sense of purpose in being there. As a result, we’ve seen countless new, genre-specific social networks pop up that cater to all aspects of our lives, the latest of which is ‘Preggie’ – an iPhone app / social network for mommies to be.

The idea behind Preggie is simple: give moms-to-be a place to share their stories, post their questions, offer suggestions and advice based on their own experiences, and to document and share each person’s pregnancy. If it reminds you a lot of the photo sharing app Instagram, that’s almost certainly not by coincidence.

The Preggie app is currently only available for iPhone users, but the company has an Android app planned for the coming months. Once you download it, you’ll setup a username and password, enter your location, your pregnancy week, and that’s it. Your Preggie news feed is a stream of people from around the world, and I found a lot of posts from Russia and Australia when I gave it a look. continue reading »

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Bodybuilders Seeking Breast Milk – A Disturbing New Online Trend

breast milk for body builders

The “breast is best” campaign was designed to remind mothers that breast milk provides essential nutrients for their babies. Now, an odd trend is on the rise that has men seeking breast milk for its perceived health benefits for adults. Health experts are debunking this myth, and even warning that the consumption of human milk could be dangerous.

A quick Google search for “breast milk for bodybuilders” yields page after page dedicated to bringing the two together. It seems like a mutually benefiting relationship. Women sell their extra milk to men who use it as a nutritional supplement. A forum on even declares it to be the, “Greatest supplement ever.” Unfortunately, there is no evidence to substantiate these claims.

“Body builders who believe in the power of breast milk are experiencing the placebo effect,” explains registered dietitian, Mary Hartley. “Their strength is due to their belief in the power of breast milk, not to the properties of the milk. From a nutrition standpoint, they’d be better off drinking regular dairy milk because it is nutritionally similar but it is pasteurized.”

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Your Eye Doc Sees More Than You Think – Serious Health Disorders Can Be Detected Through Routine Eye Exams

eye doctor eye exam

Even if you were blessed with 20/20 vision and you think your date with a pair of reading glasses is way off into the future, making an appointment with an experienced ophthalmologist should be part of your overall healthcare. A routine eye exam may reveal health problems you weren’t even aware of.

In the early nineties, I started having symptoms that I couldn’t quite understand. I experienced heart palpitations, insomnia, weight loss and my eyes were constantly itchy and red. When I finally took the time to go to a doctor, it was my bulgy red eyes that tipped them off to my eventual diagnosis of Graves disease and hyperactive thyroid.

My diagnosis could have been pinpointed much sooner had I been to see an eye doctor. In many cases, an examination of the retina can yield an abundance of information about how the body is functioning as a whole. In fact, there are many diseases that can be detected from a single eye exam.

Spondyloarthritis (SA) – An inflammatory rheumatic disease often associated with back pain but in 40% of SA cases, the patient has also experienced irisitis, a painful  inflammation of one or both eyes.

Diabetic Neuropathy – A routine eye exam can detect blood and other fluids seeping from vessels in the retina, which can lead to blindness.

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Innovative Quitbit Can Help You Kick a Smoking Habit at Kickstarter

by Mike Beauchamp

There are plenty of reasons to stop smoking, most of which you’re probably aware of if you’re reading this. I won’t get into those here, instead I’ll focus on some new tech that can help you quit.

I’ve been a smoker for the last nine years and this year marks the first time I’ve decided to proactively try to quit. I’m using one of the new e-cigarettes as a way to get off actual cigarettes. While the electronic versions are far and away less harmful than their tobacco counterparts, I’ve realized I’m  just trading one bad habit for another slightly less bad habit. The e-cigarette still has nicotine, which we all known is poison.

If you’ve ever tried to quit smoking, you know it’s one of the hardest things you can ever do. Many in the science and medical community agree it’s more difficult to drop cigarettes than hard drugs. If you have the discipline and drive to quit, some new tech products might make your journey a bit easier.

Enter the Quitbit electronic lighter and mobile app. It’s currently a crowdfunding project on Kickstarter attempting to raise $50,000 for mass production. Just a few day into its campaign, it’s already more than halfway there. When used together, the lighter and mobile app keep track of every time you light up, empowering you to track your smoking habits and visualize exactly how often you smoke. continue reading »

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Mesothelioma Patients Find Strength In Online Communities

Malignant Mesothelioma is one of the rarest forms of cancer in the United States. Patients must often deal with physical limitations, stress, lack of treatment options and feelings of isolation. Recent studies suggest that malignant mesothelioma patients and their families can find strength and a renewed spirit by joining online communities that welcome interaction.

mesothelioma asbestos 600

Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the tissue lining of major organs. The most common is lung related (pleural mesothelioma) and in most cases, can be traced back to asbestos exposure in the past. Inhaling asbestos products allows the particles to travel through small air passages and settle into the lining of the lungs causing inflammation. Though it may take 25-30 years to develop, these particles can also change the DNA of cells in the lining, leading to mesothelioma. Asbestos products that are swallowed can settle into the lining of the stomach and cause peritoneal mesothelioma.

During the 1970s and 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use and distribution of asbestos-containing products including insulation, wall patching compounds, artificial fireplace embers, flooring felt, commercial paper and many other construction materials that were commonly used to build businesses and homes. Some mesothelioma patients who believe their cancer was caused by asbestos-containing products are now seeking legal recourse.

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