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July 18, 2006, 8:47 PM CT

World's First Handheld Electronic Reader For The Blind

World's First Handheld Electronic Reader For The Blind
The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) today unveils a groundbreaking new device, the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader. The portable Reader, developed by the National Federation of the Blind and renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil, enables users to take pictures of and read most printed materials at the click of a button. Users merely hold "the camera that talks" over print-a letter, bills, a restaurant menu, an airline ticket, a business card, or an office memo-and in seconds they hear the contents of the printed document played back in clear synthetic speech. Combining a state-of-the-art digital camera with a powerful personal data assistant, the Reader puts the best available character-recognition software together with text-to-speech conversion technology-all in a single handheld device.

Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: "The world of the printed word is about to be opened to the blind in a way it has never been before. No other device in the history of technology for the blind and visually impaired has provided quicker access to more information. The NFB promotes a positive attitude towards blindness, and this Reader will make blind and visually impaired people dramatically more independent. The result will be better performance at work, at school, at home, and everywhere else we go. This Reader substantially improves the quality of life for the growing number of blind and visually impaired people".........

Posted by: Mike      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 9:01 PM CT

Protein-coated Dental Implants

Protein-coated Dental Implants
Titanium dental implants coated with proteins that induce bone formation may be a key advancement in treating tooth loss due to gum disease, scientists say.

In laboratory tests, MCG scientists applied a protein onto implants that directs endogenous stem cells to become bone-forming cells. The result was a nearly complete regeneration of lost tissue, says Dr. Ulf Wikesjo, a professor of periodontics in MCG's School of Dentistry.

Loss of teeth and bone is a common and devastating result of gum disease.

Dr. Wikesjo, who came to MCG this year from Temple University in Philadelphia, is researching wound-healing and tissue regeneration with a $1.4 million grant from Nobel Biocare, a leading manufacturer of dental implants and equipment.

Finding the key to improved regeneration is like piecing together a puzzle, Dr. Wikesjo says.

"For the past 20 years, there has been a quest to regenerate tissues around teeth that are lost due to periodontal disease," he says. "I've looked at multiple approaches to achieve regeneration, including bone grafts, root conditioning and membrane devices for directed tissue growth, all resulting in some regeneration. Where we had to look was at the commonalities among these therapys".

Dr. Wikesjo and colleagues observed that any regeneration requires two characteristics: a stable wound and space for the regenerated tissue to grow during the initial stages of healing.........

Posted by: Scott      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 8:43 PM CT

New Way To Fix Painful Broken Ribs

New Way To Fix Painful Broken Ribs
Surgeons in the Oregon Health & Science University Trauma/Critical Care Program are challenging the decades-old practice of 'not 'fixing' rib fractures. In a first-of-its kind pilot study, the surgeons hope to identify people most at risk of prolonged pain and disability from broken ribs. They also hope to expedite pain relief and healing using a surgical technique, and a new device, called a U-plate. Neither the technique nor the device are used anywhere else.

"Historically, physicians have been taught that nothing can be done to fix a rib fracture," said John Mayberry, M.D., principal investigator of the study and associate professor of surgery in the OHSU School of Medicine. "My colleagues and I have long thought that wasn't true, but we have yet to prove it. With this study, we hope to identify subsets of people who respond better to surgical repair than nonsurgical treatment, then develop a standard criteria for therapy".

Traditionally, people with rib fractures, some 300,000 a year, are discharged from the hospital with large doses of oral narcotics and anti-inflammatory painkillers, explained Mayberry. They are advised to use a liberal amount of these agents to control pain; to cough and breathe deeply to prevent pneumonia; and to expect several weeks to pass before the ribs heal and become pain-free.........

Posted by: Mark      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 7:59 PM CT

Help Child Anxiety Disorders

Help Child Anxiety Disorders
Special skills workshops for parents of anxious young children could offer a breakthrough in addressing this difficult problem, as per psychology experts at The University of Manchester.

Providing psychological therapys for children under ten with anxiety disorders is problematic for health professionals, as the approaches that are most successful with teenagers and adults are difficult to apply to the very young.

As per researcher Dr Samantha Cartwright-Hatton: "A therapy like cognitive behaviour treatment (CBT) relies on the patient having highly-developed verbal skills, and needs them to understand and reflect on the causes of their symptoms. This is very difficult for younger children, and there is not much evidence that it works with them".

The team is therefore investigating a new approach, which allows parents to be much more involved. "Parents raising an anxious child need a very special set of skills which nobody ever teaches you," Dr Cartwright-Hatton explains, "so we're trying out a course which helps them develop the skills to give their child the best chance of becoming a confident, mature adult".

The team is eager to hear from parents of children under ten who display symptoms of anxiety, such as extreme fears, phobias, frequent worry or distress at separating from their parents. If they participate in the study they will either undertake a weekly two-hour session for ten weeks (starting September) at the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility on Grafton Street in Manchester, or receive a thorough assessment and detailed advice on how to get the right help for their child.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 7:53 PM CT

Telepathy To The Test

Telepathy To The Test
Researchers at The University of Manchester have created a virtual computer world designed to test telepathic ability.

The system, which immerses an individual in what looks like a life-size computer game, has been created as part of a joint project between The University's School of Computer Science and School of Psychological Sciences.

Approximately 100 participants will take part in the experiment which aims to test whether telepathy exists between individuals using the system. The project will also look at how telepathic abilities may vary depending on the relationships which exist between participants.

The test is carried out using two volunteers who could be friends, work colleagues or family. They are placed in separate rooms on different floors of the same building to eliminate any possibility of communication.

Participants enter the virtual environment by donning a head-mounted 3D display and an electronic glove which they use to navigate their way through the computer generated world.

Once inside participants view a random selection of computer-generated objects. These include a telephone, a football and an umbrella. The person in the first room sees one object at a time, which they are asked to concentrate on and interact with.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink         Source


July 17, 2006, 5:13 AM CT

Children who live with smokers

Children who live with smokers
Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoking, both because they are small and still growing and because they're often a "captive audience" for tobacco smoke. Now, scientists identify another problem: a greater risk for respiratory complications during outpatient surgical procedures.

Dwight Jones, MD, of Children's Hospital Boston and Neil Bhattacharyya, MD, from Brigham and Women's Hospital followed 405 children, 168 of whom came from households with smokers. The children were having day surgical procedures at Children's, ranging from drainage of middle-ear fluid to circumcision to hernia repair. All had general anesthesia and received oxygen through a face mask.

Children who lived with smokers had a higher occurence rate of respiratory problems that may occur during surgery than those from nonsmoking households: excessive mucus secretion (38 percent vs. 8 percent), breath-holding (15 percent vs. 6 percent), constriction of the larynx or bronchial tubes that potentially could impair breathing (29 percent vs. 5 percent), and actual airway obstruction (29 percent vs. 11 percent). Respiratory problems were similarly increased in the recovery room, but to a lesser extent.

"It was in the wakeup period in the operating room that they did the worst," says Jones, a pediatric otolaryngologist at Children's. "We had a harder time waking up children coming out from anesthesia because of choking, gagging and secretions".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 13, 2006, 9:59 PM CT

Don't Let Job Get In The Way Of Your Relationship

Don't Let Job Get In The Way Of Your Relationship
Do we feel accepted by our partners no matter how good or bad our professional life is going? Do we see our spouses as loving us for better or worse? These questions are explored in a recent study included in the recent issue of SAGE's Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, an official publication of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, published by SAGE Publications.

The article, "For better or worse? Self-esteem and the contingencies of acceptance in marriage" presented research led by Sandra Murray of the University at Buffalo. The study, funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, was culled from the daily diaries of over 150 married couples. It concluded that people with low self-esteem incorrectly perceived their partner's acceptance and love to be contingent on their professional accomplishments.

To help to unravel the mysteries of relationships as they naturally occur in real life, husbands and wives reported on their professional successes and failures while also reporting on the degree to which they felt accepted and loved by their partner. Self-esteem was found to be a key indicator of how people perceived their partner's approval and support. Men and women with low self-esteem felt that their partner's love was contingent on their daily professional successes--they felt more loved on days when they were more successful. Low self-esteem women also felt less accepted and loved by their partners on days when they failed at work or school. In contrast, men and women with high self-esteem perceived their partner's love as unconditional. In fact, high self-esteem women even tended to feel more loved on days when they reported failing at work.........

Posted by: JoAnn      Permalink


July 12, 2006, 11:19 PM CT

Living Alone Doubles The Risk Of Serious Heart Disease

Living Alone Doubles The Risk Of Serious Heart Disease
People who live alone double their risk of serious heart disease as those who live with a partner, suggests research in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. This includes severe angina and heart attack.

The finding is based on a study of more than 138,000 adults between the ages of 30 and 69 living in one area (Aarhus) of Denmark.

Between 2000 and 2002, 646 people were diagnosed with severe angina, or sustained a heart attack, or sudden cardiac death, a spectrum of conditions known as acute coronary syndrome.

When analysed in detail, using information from population registers, poor educational attainment and living on a pension were linked to an increased risk of the syndrome.

But the two strongest predictive factors for the syndrome were age and living alone.

Women above the age of 60 and living by themselves, and men over the age of 50, in the same position, were twice as likely to have the syndrome as everyone else.

Lone women over 60 comprised just over 5 per cent, and lone men over 50 just under 8 per cent, of the whole population.

Yet lone women in this age group accounted for a third of all deaths from the syndrome within 30 days of diagnosis, while lone men in this age group accounted for two thirds of deaths.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 10:55 PM CT

Women At Risk From Working Long Hours

Women At Risk From Working Long Hours
Long hours of work may be more worrisome for women in comparison to men. Women who work long hours are more likely than men to indulge in unhealthy behaviours such as snacking, smoking and drinking caffeine. A new study funded by the Economic and Social Research Council finds that men and women respond very differently to working long hours.

Researcher Dr Daryl O'Connor explains: "Women who work long hours eat more high fat and high sugar snacks, exercise less, drink more caffeine and, if smokers, smoke more than their male colleagues," he points out. "While for men, working longer hours has no negative impact on exercise, caffeine intake or smoking."

While a number of women adopt unhealthy behaviours in response to working long hours, scientists think that, in one respect, working long hours has an equally beneficial effect for both men and women. "The one clear positive impact of working long hours for both sexes is that alcohol consumption is reduced," Dr O'Connor points out.

These findings are part of a wider study conducted by psychology experts from Leeds University into the effects of stress on eating. "Stress disrupts people's normal eating habits," Dr O'Connor suggests. "Stress causes people to opt for unhealthy high fat and high sugar snacks in preference to healthier food choices. Also people under stress eat less than usual in their main meals including their vegetable intake but shift their preference to high fat/high sugar snacks instead".........

Posted by: Janet      Permalink         Source


July 12, 2006, 9:50 PM CT

Brain-computer Helps Paralyzed Patients

Brain-computer Helps Paralyzed Patients
How can we make a paralyzed person perform actions that he or she wants to do? Technology is now coming to aid people who were paralyzed for long time.

People with long-standing, severe paralysis can generate signals in the area of the brain responsible for voluntary movements. These signals can be detected, recorded, routed out of the brain to a computer and converted into actions, enabling a paralyzed patient to perform basic tasks.

The results of the clinical trial evaluating this possibility are reported in the latest issued of Nature. In this study, the first patient, Matthew Nagle, a 25-year-old Massachusetts man with a severe spinal cord injury, has been paralyzed from the neck down since 2001. After having the BrainGate sensor implanted on the surface of his brain at Rhode Island Hospital in June 2004, he learned to control a computer cursor simply by thinking about moving it.

During 57 sessions, from July 2004 to April 2005, at New England Sinai Hospital and Rehabilitation Center, Nagle learned to open simulated e-mail, draw circular shapes using a paint program on the computer and play a simple video game, "neural Pong," using only his thoughts. He could change the channel and adjust the volume on a television, even while conversing. He was ultimately able to open and close the fingers of a prosthetic hand and use a robotic limb to grasp and move objects. Despite a decline in neural signals after 6.5 months, Nagle remained an active participant in the trial and continued to aid the clinical team in producing valuable feedback concerning the BrainGate technology.........

Posted by: Daniel      Permalink         Source



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Did you know?
Adolescents who suffer physical injuries are vulnerable to emotional distress in the months following their hospitalization, yet almost 40 percent of hospitalized adolescents interviewed for a new study had no source for the follow-up medical care that could diagnose and treat symptoms of post-traumatic stress. These young trauma survivors are at risk for high levels of post-traumatic stress and depressive symptoms, as well as high levels of alcohol use, according to research by researchers at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

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