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a well wisher  
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 24 July 2009 at 10:45am

Could u txt me ur blood sample?

 
In the developed world, we take camera phones for granted as ways to record our lives – but in poorer countries they could be used to save lives, say bioengineers. The US team has designed a portable microscope that straps to a camera phone and can be used to diagnose potentially fatal diseases in blood and sputum samples.

Light microscopy is an essential healthcare tool that can help to diagnose dangerous diseases including malaria and tuberculosis. If necessary, digital images of cell samples provided by camera-equipped lab microscopes are shuttled through the internet to experts at other healthcare centres for further analysis.

But these technologies are often unavailable to those in remote regions or the developing world – although life-threatening diseases are often endemic in these places...

Cell counting is the main thing we have done," Fletcher says. "Additional things could include annotating an image to point out a problem or a question to be answered by a doctor at a central hospital."

If the image is coupled with the patient's details and location, the system could also help track the spread of a disease through the population, he says.

David Becker at University College London in the UK thinks the new system is a "simple yet elegant solution". He says that different coloured LEDs could be added to expand the range of cells that can be imaged.

Frean thinks the efforts to make diagnostic tools cheaper and accessible are "commendable", as long as workers are trained to use the devices properly.

"Cheap digital photography tailored to microscope applications, and transmission of images via cellphone or the internet should indeed be pursued and made more accessible," he says. He adds, though, that the system would benefit from higher quality parts to improve the results.

 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 25 July 2009 at 10:46am

The Good Life: Where Psychology Stands On Living Well

Unfortunately for us, there is no formula for fulfillment or guide to life satisfaction; however, humans have turned to philosophy, religion and science time and again for answers to our existential questions. We may have come a long way since Confucius and Plato, and science continues to piece together some of the answers, but what have we learned so far?

Psychologists Nansook Park and Christopher Peterson from the University of Michigan turned to their own field to ask, "What is a good life and how can we achieve and sustain it?" In their article recently published in Perspectives in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the authors explored the many ways psychology has contributed to, and continues to research, the science of living well.

So far we have learned from psychology that a good life includes experiencing more positive than negative feelings, feeling like your life has been lived well, continually using your talents and strengths, having close interpersonal relationships, being engaged at work and other activities, being a part of a social community, perceiving that life has a meaning, and feeling healthy and safe. And while these conclusions may seem like common sense, we as humans fall short on knowing just how to obtain and maintain these qualities.

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 26 July 2009 at 11:06am
FUTURE SEA CITIES: Freedom's Final Frontier in Pictures
 
 
Community Choice: "Refusion" by Team 3DA

Intentionally or not, it's a fitting name--"Refusion"--for a winning example of a futuristic homesteading concept based on refusal: refusal to be constrained by established governments or social mores or even by the fundamental desire for solid ground underfoot.

People's-choice award winner in a design competition for "seasteads"--oil rig-like, sovereign settlements in international waters--this proposed research facility by a group of Las Vegas-based 3-D artists includes "a number of environmental systems, such as greenhouses and renewable energy sources, which would enable absolute independence," according to a Team 3DA statement. "The aesthetic that emerged from this realization became influenced by a mixture of organic and mechanical systems operating in a symbiotic relationship."

Championed by California-based competition sponsor the Seasteading Institute, the high-seas homesteading movement is all about creating tiny frontier lands "where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas," according to the institute's Web site.

Though none of the winning designs--announced May 18, 2009--are intended to be built, they are "to inspire us with their vision of how seasteaders can make a home on the next frontier," said Seasteading Institute Executive Director Patri Friedman in a statement.
--Ted Chamberlain
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 27 July 2009 at 12:09pm

Wireless power system shown off

Electric tech could make plugs obsolete

A system that can deliver power to devices without the need for wires has been shown off at a hi-tech conference.

The technique exploits simple physics and can be used to charge a range of electronic devices over many metres.

Eric Giler, chief executive of US firm Witricity, showed mobile phones and televisions charging wirelessly at the TED Global conference in Oxford.

He said the system could replace the miles of expensive power cables and billions of disposable batteries.

"There is something like 40 billion disposable batteries built every year for power that, generally speaking, is used within a few inches or feet of where there is very inexpensive power," he said.

Trillions of dollars, he said, had also been invested building an infrastructure of wires "to get power from where it is created to where it is used."

"We love this stuff [electricity] so much," he said....

HOW WIRELESS POWER WORKS
1. Magnetic coil (Antenna A) is housed in a box and can be set in wall or ceiling.
2. Antenna A, powered by mains, resonates at a specific frequency.
3. Electromagnetic waves transmitted through the air.
4. Second magnetic coil (Antenna B) fitted in laptop/TV etc resonates at same frequency as first coil and absorbs energy.
5. Energy charges the device.
 
 
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 29 July 2009 at 1:30pm

Weight Loss Improves Mood In Depressed People, New Research Shows

ScienceDaily (July 29, 2009) — Research to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB) finds that after a 6-month behavioral weight loss program, depressed patients not only lost 8% of their initial weight but also reported significant improvements in their symptoms of depression, as well as reductions in triglycerides, which are a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. The results of this study highlight the need for further research into the effects of weight loss in individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders.

“This research is novel because clinically depressed individuals are not usually included in weight loss trials due to concerns that weight loss could worsen their depression,” said Dr. Lucy Faulconbridge, lead author of the study. “These concerns, however, are not based on empirical evidence, and the practice of excluding depressed individuals from clinical weight loss trials means that we are learning nothing about this high-risk population.” The latest findings suggest that depressed, obese individuals can indeed lose clinically significant amounts of weight, and that weight loss can actually reduce symptoms of depression

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090727102028.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote a well wisher Replybullet Posted: 30 July 2009 at 2:00pm
Too many ways to say 'it hurts'
 
 
There are at least 100 ways to say, "It hurts!" And that is the problem.
 

David Cella is on mission -- backed by nearly $10 million in National Institutes of Health funds -- to revolutionize the language of pain, as well as fatigue, depression and anxiety. These are some of the important symptoms researchers measure when they try to figure out if a medical treatment improves the quality of life for a patient with a chronic disease.

Are they in too much pain to unload groceries from the car? Are they too tired or depressed to go out to lunch with a friend? The answers are vital for researchers to know if new treatments are useful or useless.

But the glitch is every group of researchers asks patients different questions to measure their symptoms. Thus, one group's measurement of severe pain or fatigue or depression may be different than another's. Because researchers aren't speaking a common language, doctors and other health care providers can't compare the results across studies to decide which is the best approach. Instead, study results remain separate puzzle pieces that never fit together into a whole picture.

"Can you imagine if a doctor wanted to check your hemoglobin and there weren't any numbers to measure whether it was normal?" asked Cella , professor and chair of the new department of medical social sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. "When you say a patient's hemoglobin is 11, everybody knows what it means, but nobody knows what a pain of 36 means or a fatigue of 32 because we don't use common measures."

That's about to change. Cella is leading a far-reaching new national project that establishes a common scientific vocabulary. In August, he and colleagues from six other institutions and the NIH will release a set of free publicly available computerized tests for researchers to measure pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety and physical and social functioning. Now there will be a pain measurement of 75, for example, that will mean the same thing to every doctor and scientist.

The new project is called Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS). More than 1,000 researchers have already registered to try the new tools.

Cella's project addresses President Obama's call for greater accountability in medical treatment. "In order to have a system that works that way you need a consistent measure of outcomes that people can understand and relate to," Cella said. "That's what we have developed."

The lack of a common vocabulary has hurt research, Cella noted. "It's a Tower of Babel, a hodge-podge of language. It's a big problem because you can't migrate the results of one study to a broader understanding," he said. "We keep having to learn the same things over and over. We are not building on a foundation of knowledge."

Not only have Cella and his team created a new language and tool for researchers, but the PROMIS project also represents a shift in the way researchers evaluate the benefits of treatments. The goal is not just to help people live longer but also live better.

X-rays, CT scans and lab tests may have minimal relevance to the day-to-day functioning of patients with chronic diseases. "We help measure directly if people are living better by asking them," Cella said. "Sometimes it's as simple as asking, 'Do you think this treatment has made your life better?' That question is surprisingly absent from many studies."



Edited by a well wisher - 30 July 2009 at 2:00pm
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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 01 August 2009 at 1:03pm

Scientists Announce Mass Participation Experiment To Cheer-up The UK

ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2009) — Today, British psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman (University of Hertfordshire) invites the public to take part in an ambitious five-day experiment that aims to boost the UK’s happiness. Participants will first rate their mood and then be randomly assigned to one of four groups. 

People in each group will watch a video describing one of four techniques commonly used to boost happiness, and use the technique during each day of the study.  At the end of the experiment everyone will reassess their mood, allowing the research team to identify the most effective way of making people happy.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090731090009.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 02 August 2009 at 11:40am

Poor Sleep In Children May Have Prenatal Origins

ScienceDaily (Aug. 2, 2009) — A new study found that alcohol consumption during pregnancy and small body size at birth predict poorer sleep and higher risk of sleep disturbances in 8-year-old children born at term. Findings are clinically significant, as poor sleep and sleep disturbances in children are associated with obesity, depressive symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and poor neurobehavioral functioning.

Results indicate that children exposed prenatally to alcohol were 2.5 times more likely to have a short sleep duration of 7.7 hours or less and 3.6 times more likely to have a low sleep efficiency of 77.2 percent or less across all nights, independent of body size at birth and current maternal alcohol use. ........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090801092712.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 03 August 2009 at 1:16pm

Why We Learn More From Our Successes Than Our Failures

ScienceDaily (Aug. 3, 2009) — If you've ever felt doomed to repeat your mistakes, researchers at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory may have explained why: Brain cells may only learn from experience when we do something right and not when we fail.

In the July 30 issue of the journal Neuron, Earl K. Miller, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience, and MIT colleagues Mark Histed and Anitha Pasupathy have created for the first time a unique snapshot of the learning process that shows how single cells change their responses in real time as a result of information about what is the right action and what is the wrong one.

"We have shown that brain cells keep track of whether recent behaviors were successful or not," Miller said. Furthermore, when a behavior was successful, cells became more finely tuned to what the animal was learning. After a failure, there was little or no change in the brain — nor was there any improvement in behavior.

The study sheds light on the neural mechanisms linking environmental feedback to neural plasticity — the brain's ability to change in response to experience. It has implications for understanding how we learn, and understanding and treating learning disorders. .........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729121557.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 04 August 2009 at 1:41pm

TV And Computer Screen Time May Be Associated With High Blood Pressure In Young Children

ScienceDaily (Aug. 4, 2009) — Sedentary behaviors such as TV viewing and "screen time" involving computer use, videos and video games appear to be associated with elevated blood pressure in children, independent of body composition, according to a report in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

The recent trend in obesity is a major public health concern and its effect on blood pressure is of particular concern, according to background information in the article. "The clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors in overweight youth suggests that risks may be immediate and not just indicative of potential future problems," the authors write. Although elevated blood pressure is associated with genetic factors, healthy physical, dietary and sleep habits seem to be relevant contributors to blood pressure levels in children. However, there have not been any clear links between sedentary behavior and elevated blood pressure in children younger than age 9. ........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803173127.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 05 August 2009 at 1:36pm

Tumors Effectively Treated With Use Of Nanotubes

ScienceDaily (Aug. 5, 2009) — By injecting man-made, microscopic tubes into tumors and heating them with a quick, 30-second zap of a laser, scientists have discovered a way to effectively kill kidney tumors in nearly 80 percent of mice. Researchers say that the finding suggests a potential future cancer treatment for humans

The study appears in the August issue of PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). It is the result of a collaborative effort between Wake Forest University School of Medicine, the Wake Forest University Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, Rice University and Virginia Tech.

"When dealing with cancer, survival is the endpoint that you are searching for," said Suzy Torti, Ph.D., lead investigator for the study and professor of biochemistry at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. "It's great if you can get the tumor to shrink, but the gold standard is to make the tumor shrink or disappear and not come back. It appears that we've found a way to do that."

Nanotubes are long, thin, sub-microscopic tubes made of carbon. For the study, researchers used multi-walled nanotubes (MWCNTs), which contain several nanotubes nested within each other, prepared for the study by the Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials. The tubes, when non-invasively exposed to laser-generated near-infrared radiation, respond by vibrating, creating heat. If enough heat is conducted, tumor cells near the tubes begin to shrink and die. ...........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090803104809.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 09 August 2009 at 1:36pm

Earth's Most Prominent Rainfall Feature Creeping Northward

ScienceDaily (Aug. 9, 2009) — The rain band near the equator that determines the supply of freshwater to nearly a billion people throughout the tropics and subtropics has been creeping north for more than 300 years, probably because of a warmer world, according to research published in the July issue of Nature Geoscience.

If the band continues to migrate at just less than a mile (1.4 kilometers) a year, which is the average for all the years it has been moving north, then some Pacific islands near the equator – even those that currently enjoy abundant rainfall – may be drier within decades and starved of freshwater by midcentury or sooner. The prospect of additional warming because of greenhouse gases means that situation could happen even sooner.

The findings suggest "that increasing greenhouse gases could potentially shift the primary band of precipitation in the tropics with profound implications for the societies and economies that depend on it," the article says.

"We're talking about the most prominent rainfall feature on the planet, one that many people depend on as the source of their freshwater because there is no groundwater to speak of where they live," says Julian Sachs, associate professor of oceanography at the University of Washington and lead author of the paper. "In addition many other people who live in the tropics but farther afield from the Pacific could be affected because this band of rain shapes atmospheric circulation patterns throughout the world." ............

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090701135535.htm

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Longer Lives Can Still Lead To Happier Golden Years, Psychologists Say

ScienceDaily (Aug. 10, 2009) — As more people live well into their 80s and 90s, it's reassuring to know that most people get happier as they age and exert more emotional control than younger adults, according to researchers who spoke at the 117th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association.

"Life expectancy changed because people changed the way they lived," said Lauren Carstensen, PhD. "Now that we're here, we have to keep adapting. We are in the middle of a second revolution and it's up to us to make adulthood itself longer and healthier."

Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford University and founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity, said the percentage of people on the planet who are over 65 is expected to more than double by the year 2050, and the fastest-growing segment of the population is people over age 85.

Susan Turk Charles, PhD, of the University of California, Irvine, presented a review of several psychological studies on aging and mental health. She found that except for people with dementia-related diseases, mental health generally improves with age. One study she cited – a 23-year longitudinal study looking at three groups of people, each at different stages in their lives – found that emotional happiness improved with age.

Research has also shown that older adults exert greater emotional control than younger adults, meaning older adults are more likely to actively avoid or limit negative, stressful situations than do younger adults, Charles said. She presented results from one study in which younger and older adults reported their thoughts and emotions after hearing personal criticism by two other people. Younger adults focused more on the negative comments and demanded more information about the origin of the criticism. Older adults were less likely to dwell on the negative comments and their responses were less negative overall compared to those of the younger adults.

"Based on work by Carstensen and her colleagues, we know that older people are increasingly aware that the time they have left in life is growing shorter," said Charles. "They want to make the best of it so they avoid engaging in situations that will make them unhappy. They have also had more time to learn and understand the intentions of others which help them to avoid these stressful situations."

However, Charles also said that these age-related benefits for older adults may not appear when older adults are faced with prolonged, distressful situations with no way to escape. "Older adults may have more difficulty with these situations because distressing events require both psychological and physical resources," she said. "We know that older adults who are dealing with chronic stressors, such as caregiving, report high rates of physical symptoms and emotional distress."

In separate addresses, Carstensen and Charles both acknowledged the importance of social relationships on longevity. Scientists have been uncovering evidence that the quality of people's relationships can influence the way their brains process information and how they respond physiologically to stress. ..........

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090807141850.htm

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Rating: 0 of 0 votes Quote Al-Cordoby Replybullet Posted: 10 August 2009 at 9:21pm
 

Drink blamed for oral cancer rise

Alcohol is largely to blame for an "alarming" rise in the rate of oral cancers among men and women in their forties, say experts.

Numbers of cancers of the lip, mouth, tongue and throat in this age group has risen by a quarter in the past decade.

Alcohol consumption has doubled since the 1950s and is the most likely culprit alongside smoking says Cancer Research UK.

Each year in the UK around 1,800 people die from the disease.

There are 5,000 newly diagnosed cases per year.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8193639.stm

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