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The Ebola outbreak has largely lost popularity in the press, but the war wages on in Africa, and over 6,800 people have died in the recent scourge. Unfortunately, the death toll continues to climb. One of the keys to combating Ebola is quick detection. Isolating patients away from the general population reduces risk of that infected person spreading the disease. The World Health Organization has set a goal of have 70% of Ebola victims quarantined, and 70% of the dead safely buried, in order to begin to turn the tide back. To achieve this goal a fast and reliable test is needed to streamline the process. Even the sad task of ensuring proper burial protocols is simply impossible if there isn't a confirmed Ebola diagnosis.
Enter technology. An IC developed by STMicroelectronics and Clonit, in collaboration with Italy's National Institute for Infectious Diseases, has led to development of a portable analyzer that can identify an Ebola infection in under 75 minutes. The portable analyzer is based on the Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) molecular biology technique and utilizes a stamp-sized silicon microchip. The device only requires a few microliters of human blood, and can even detect Ebola in samples that have been diluted up to a million times. The key is to get this device through regulatory agencies and in the field as soon as possible.
It seems more people are suffering from "Text Neck," a medical condition when people suffer from pain and damage due to the head and neck position of people texting on smartphones and using tablets. A mix of the angle - and gravity - is the equivalent of carrying 60 pounds, and with more people looking down, the problem only seems to be escalating.
"Everyone is heads down," said Kenneth Hansraj, chief of spine surgery at the New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine. "It's in every mall and in every city. It's my opinion that this kind of heads down position is the cause of pain and suffering on the planet and a contributor to spinal surgery."
Previous reports recommend users take breaks, let their eyes adjust on their natural environment, and stretch before continuing to use PCs, smartphones or tablets.
Gaming company Nintendo announced a new health and fatigue technology from its health care division, manufactured with the assistance of the ResMed medical equipment company, to help better treat sleep disorders. The QOL Sensor will roughly be the size of an average human hand, and should be available on the consumer market before April 2016.
Here is what Nintendo head Satoru Iwata said regarding the new technology: "All you have to do is place the QOL Sensor on your bedside. Inside the QOL Sensor is a non-contact radio frequency sensor, which measures such things as the movements of your body, breathing and heartbeat, all without physically touching your body. This automatically gathered data will be transmitted to the QOL cloud servers, which will then analyze the data measured by the sensor and visually represent sleep and fatigue results."
Iwata hopes the new Nintendo division will be profitable within the next two years, but didn't say what else Nintendo has in the pipeline. It isn't a secret that Nintendo wants to ensure its customers are as healthy as possible, hoping to visualize sleep and fatigue things.
We've all been there, there's something wrong with you, you Google for symptoms, worrying that you're going to die, but don't want to call the doctor out of a variety of reasons.
But Google looks like it might be going down an interesting, and why-hasn't-it-happened-sooner path, trialing direct video chat with doctors after you Google your symptoms. Google confirmed the news with Engadget, telling the site that it is trialing a Helpouts-style feature that offers people video chats with doctors when they search for their symptoms.
There aren't many details on how exactly this works, but a search card mentions that Google is covering the costs of any video chats with doctors while in its trial phase. Virtual appointments would be the next step, but there would most likely be costs involved. I think this could be a great step for the company, who is investing and researching into health technology, allowing doctors from all corners to talk to patients who otherwise might not have contacted a doctor about their issues.
Chinese search giant Baidu is developing smart chopsticks that will be able to assist consumers to better protect them from food poisoning and tainted water. Dubbed the Baidu Kuaisou, the chopsticks can connect to a smartphone or PC wirelessly, and the app notifies diners whether the food is safe to consume.
Baidu Kuaisou isn't ready for mass production quite yet, but should prove to be easy to use for customers - a light on the chopsticks display a blue or green color depending if food is safe or not.
"In the future, via Baidu Kuaisou, you'll be able to know the origin of oil and water and other foods - whether they've gone bad and what sort of nutrition they complain," said Robin Li, Baidu CEO, during a recent speech.
Wearable technology shipments have been forecast to grow by almost 130 percent throughout 2014, a new report from analysts at CCS Insight has stated.
The company believes new products will cause a boom in shipments of wearables, reaching 22 million by next year compared to 9.7 million in 2013 - and with all sales counted for the next five years, the total figure could be as high as 370 million.
Right now it's early days for wearable, but some health gadgets like FitBit have really taken off. It's fitness wearables that CCS expects will drive early adoption rates, and the group images Christmas will be a big win for the sector. However, CCS' Marina Koytcheva said for wearables, the market is still in a "chaotic stage of development" and that there's "still a huge amount of uncertainty" in general.
Google's research and development arm, known as Google X, is working on something new: the Baseline Study project. The goal of this new adventure is to hopefully one day, better detect health risks such as heart disease earlier in a patient's life, so that the patient can take preventative measures before it is too late.
Dr. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist, is the lead on the Baseline Study project, who has been credited with creating a cheap way of scanning donated blood for HIV. Conrad joined the ranks of Google in March 2013, assembling a team of 70-80 experts in the fields of biochemistry, imaging, molecular biology, optics and technology.
Google's Baseline Study began earlier in the year through an unnamed clinical testing firm, where doctors started collecting bodily fluids such as urine, blood, saliva and tears from 175 anonymous volunteers. Google will use these fluids and its mammoth computing power to hopefully find patterns called biomarkers. These biomarkets will help the search giant, and its researchers detect health issues before a person even shows symptoms of this issue. We don't know when we will hear more about this, but it's great to see Google working on something so important with its resources.
Google I/O 2014 - Google provided a preview of its Google Fit Platform at Google I/O, with Fit letting an app go to a single place to provide users' fitness stream.
It's interesting to note that Nike is stepping up and helping Google, since it has its own platform with Fuel. But Nike's Fuel will be baked into the Fit stream for other apps to use, along with a bunch of other companies you can see above.
British researchers want to better understand any potential smartphone and tablet health ramifications on adolescent brain development. As part of the Study of Cognition, Adolescents and Mobile Phone projects will focus on memory and attention, during a sensitive time in brain development, to see if tech-savvy children are at risk. The study will focus on 2,500 seventh graders in schools across London, and will take over three years of continued research.
Research hasn't found that radio waves affect brain health, though previous studies have focused on adults and not children. Once research is completed, investigators want to find any potential negative impact on cognitive abilities in teenagers.
"Scientific evidence available to date is reassuring and shows no association between exposure to radio frequency waves from mobile phone use and brain cancer in adults in the short term - i.e., less than 10 years of use," said Paul Elliott, Director of the Center for Environmental Health at Imperial College London, in a statement. "But the evidence available regarding long-term heavy use and children's use is limited and less clear."
For those of you not in the know, today is Earth Day, a crowd-sourced holiday in which everyone is supposed to pause and think about how our daily lives are affecting the earth. This week Google, Apple and other tech giants have released statements, and held events to make their consumers more Earth conscious, and today coincidentally Google began selling its Nest smart thermostat on its Google Play Store.
Again, unless you have been living under a rock, you will recognize the Nest Thermostat as one of the early entries into the Internet of Things, and one of the first so-called intelligent thermostats to hit the market. Nest learns your heating and cooling schedule, and automatically adjust things to keep your home at the perfect temperature when you are home. Nest Thermostat owners can also make adjustments from their smartphone or tablet anywhere that has an internet connection. This allows users to turn the HVAC off while away and to turn it on before arriving home, and that saves a lot of money and lessens the owners carbon footprint.