Tag: health

Ryan Reynolds Films His Colonoscopy To Lead By Example So Others Get Screened

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Video screenshot via Ryan Reynolds

In contrast with his many other incredible, but snappy, advertisements, Ryan Reynolds’ latest spot is seven minutes long. That’s because he’s squeezed a colonoscopy session—his own, and a friend’s—into it.

Reynolds turned 45 this year, which is the ripe age to get tested for colorectal cancer. As the adman behind creative agency Maximum Effort, Reynolds was well aware advertisers had to walk the talk to be believed. So he decided to take one for the team and Lead From Behind, which is the name of the initiative run by US nonprofit Colorectal Cancer Alliance to encourage Americans.

The actor, apparently, had wagered a bet with fellow actor Rob McElhenney that the latter couldn’t learn to speak Welsh. Why Welsh? Well, the two are co-owners of the Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC, that’s why.

In the new PSA, McElhenney can be heard speaking a few sentences of Welsh, so it is McElhenney: 1, Reynolds: 0. Reynolds’ forfeit? A colonoscopy that he’d publicly broadcast.

“I lost. But it still paid off,” Reynolds declares in hindsight. As a good sport, McElhenney agreed to record his session too.



It was a good thing they put each other up to this dare, as the doctor, Dr Jonathan LaPook, identified a subtle polyp on the right side of Reynolds’ colon. The procedure lasted about 25 minutes, but that was all it took to possibly turn the actor’s life around.


The patient had no symptoms, and it was only from the colonoscopy that the doctor was able to pick up a sign.

“This was potentially lifesaving for you. I’m not being overly dramatic. This is exactly why you do this,” Dr LaPook told Reynolds.

As for McElhenney, the physician found three polyps from his colon that he promptly removed.

High on sedatives, Reynolds even managed to fit in another advertisement. “Can’t believe you pumped all that Aviation Gin into my IV,” he told Dr LaPook.

The Colorectal Cancer Alliance projects that one in 24 Americans will develop colon cancer. It’s also the fourth-leading cancer diagnosis in Canada, according to the Canadian Cancer Society, and the second-most common cause of cancer-related deaths for men and third for women.

Speaking of his experience, Reynolds shares: “The procedure and prep were painless, but the discomfort of filming and sharing the process was the hardest part.”

He adds: “Rob and I did it because we want this potentially lifesaving procedure to be less mysterious and stigmatized.”

Luckily, colorectal cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer. That’s why people around the age of 45 are being kicked from the behind to finally get an exam.



[via B&T and Vancouver is Awesome, video and cover image via Ryan Reynolds]


Scientists Laud New Malaria Vaccine As Potentially ‘World-Changing’

Image ID 119114754 © via Konstantin Nechaev | Dreamstime.com


Malaria is no doubt a significant public health issue, with the World Health Organization (WHO) revealing that over 241 million cases were reported in 2020, with a total of 627,000 deaths.

To make headway in the fight against the disease, scientists at the University of Oxford have come up with a new vaccine that could potentially have “world-changing” implications. 

According to the BBC, the newly-developed vaccine is affordable to manufacture, with the team already having secured a deal to produce more than 100 million doses annually. 

The impact of the research could be so great, the charity Malaria No More went so far as to say that the progress could see children dying from the disease end “in our lifetimes.” 

Being incredibly complex, it has taken over a century for researchers to come up with effective malaria vaccines, considering the parasite—usually spread by mosquitoes—is often elusive and shifting, making it difficult to target. 

Only last year did WHO green-light the first ever vaccine for the disease, which was developed by pharmaceutical giant GSK. 

Now, the Oxford scientists say their vaccine is not only more effective, but it can be produced at a larger scale than before. 

Publishing their findings in a study, the vaccine proved to offer up to 80% protection with three initial doses followed by a booster a year later, which the team says is the best data in the field for any malaria shot. 

Going forward, the researchers hope to get the vaccine approved in the near future, and are gearing up for a larger trial involving 4,800 children by the year’s end. 




[via BBC and Anadolu Agency, cover image via Konstantin Nechaev | Dreamstime.com]


Japanese University Develops Video Game That Detects Glaucoma In The Eyes

Image via Tohoku University


You’ve spent all this time saving others (in video games); now, who’s going to save you? Potentially, this shooting game developed by the Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine and television network Sendai Broadcasting.

Meteor Blaster is a browser-based mobile shooting game designed to identify early signs of glaucoma, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in Japan. The game is free and could even change someone’s life, as the condition usually evades detection in the initial stages.

With glaucoma, which is damage to the optic nerves, patients often don’t recognize that anything is wrong until it reaches a point of little recovery.

That’s why researchers in Japan have banded together to create a simple way to spot optical issues early on, and quickly, without having to visit the doctor. In just five minutes, players of Meteor Blaster will be able to find out if they’re at risk of glaucoma.

The gameplay involves blasting meteoroids from a central laser cannon, while capturing white dots that surface on the screen. Since this is still an optical test, users are urged to hold their smartphones at the prime distance of 30 centimers (12 inches) away.

The game assesses players’ reactions to the objects and, within five minutes, presents a report of 16 sections, with the performance for each benchmark rated from one to five. One is the perfect score, but players with scores of fives are encouraged to consult an expert, reports SoraNews24.

The short, gamified evaluation, patented last July, could bring transformative implications.


Professor Toru Nakazawa, one of the game’s developers, says that there are an estimated 4.65 million people in Japan who have glaucoma, “but roughly 90% do not go to the hospital.” A quick eye check at home could lead to an early diagnosis at the hospital and make impending irreversible blindness, well, reversible.



[via SoraNews24 and University Journal, cover image via Tohoku University]


Psychedelic Mushrooms Found To Treat Alcohol Addiction, Researchers Say

Images via 180642755 © Dmitry Tishchenko, 191550657 © Sergeblack | Dreamstime.com


When it comes to addiction recovery, the first thing you might think of is therapy or rehab. However, a new study could potentially change the way we perceive getting help for addiction.


Researchers at the NYU Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine at have found that, of all things, psychedelic mushrooms could be effective for alcoholics.


During the study, two psilocybin pills and psychotherapy were administered to a group of 93 men and women. All of the people within the experiment were consuming an average of seven alcoholic drinks per day.


The test group was either given two pills of the psychedelic mushrooms or two antihistamine pills, the latter of which acted as a placebo.


According to the results published in JAMA Psychiatry, alcohol consumption in 80% of those taking the psilocybin pills had reduced significantly over a period of eight months after the first treatment. Thos is in contrast to just half for those taking the antihistamine.


The experiment comes at a time when researchers are trying to figure out if psychedelic-assisted recovery can actually help reduce addiction. This will include the administration of ketamine and psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms.


If proven true, the use of these mushrooms could be used to reduce a wide range of other addictions to drugs and smoking as well.


Now, if you’re wondering if the specially-made pills still cause hallucinations just like the actual recreational drug, yes, they might. According to NBC, a previous tester for the pill who participated in a similar experiment  in 2015 figured out he had been placed in the psilocybin group within the first hour of taking the pills, as he had experienced a trippy vision of himself in the desert with an alcohol bottle coming to him.


After that, he came to accept it as his call to quit drinking. However, it wasn’t until his second and third sessions that he truly decided to give it up after other drug-induced trips where he saw himself being cut down by a sword and scaling a mountain, which symbolized his journey to overcome drinking.


Unfortunately, it is still unclear to scientists how exactly psychedelics are able to rewire addiction in a person’s brain.





[via NBC and The Smithsonian Magazine, images via © Dmitry Tishchenko, 191550657 © Sergeblack | Dreamstime.com]


US Approves Now Most Expensive Medicine Ever, Costing $2.8M

Image ID 108547528 © via Elnur | Dreamstime.com


The skyrocketing prices of pharmaceuticals in the United States are not a new problem, considering Bloomberg’s report stating that Americans spend an average of US$1,300 per person per year on medicine—more than any other country in the world.


Now, news of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approving a new cell-based gene therapy, which aims to aid patients with Beta-thalassemia, a rare disorder requiring regular blood transfusions, has garnered mixed feelings from the public.

On one hand, green-lighting Zynteglo, the drug manufactured by Bluebird Bio, is an important advancement in the treatment of the disease, which is often associated with potential health complications. 

However, its price—a record US$2.8 million—has sent others balking, with the obvious concern of whether the estimated 1,500 affected patients in the nation would even be able to afford the drug once it becomes available. 

According to Reuters, analysts expect the treatment to face resistance from insurers due to its incredibly high price, which no doubt isn’t unusual for gene therapies but has never reached this level of expense. 

Bluebird claims the breakthrough therapy could function as a one-time treatment that stop patients from needing future blood transfusions, and even with its jaw-dropping price tag, could save them money in the long run. 

“Zynteglo is a one-time gene therapy product administer as a single dose. Each dose of Zynteglo is a customized treatment created using the patient’s own cells (bone marrow stem cells) that are genetically modified to produce functional beta-globin (a hemoglobin component,” a statement from the FDA explained. 

Treatments are scheduled to begin in Q4 2022, with each cycle expected to take 70 to 90 days to complete.




[via Reuters and FDA, cover image via Elnur | Dreamstime.com]


Scotland Becomes First Country To Officially Require Free Period Products

Image ID 36103179 © via Murdock2013 | Dreamstime.com


Two years after Scotland passed a bill making all tampons and sanitary pads free of charge, the country has captured headlines once again by becoming the first country to require establishments to carry menstruation hygiene products by law. 

According to USA Today, the legislation, which was passed earlier this week as part of the Periods Products Act, will now ensure that all public places, including councils and educational centers, will provide free sanitary products to visitors.


As per the BBC, the law was unanimously backed by the Scottish Parliament when Labour MSP Monica Lennon first introduced it in Scottish Parliament, with the nation having spent £27 million (US$35.5 million) to increase access to period products since 2017.

Calling the progress “another big milestone for period dignity campaigners,” Lennon said the change goes to show the big difference “bold political choices” can make on a large scale.

“Proud of what we have achieved in Scotland. We are the first but won’t be the last,” she added on Twitter.


Proud of what we have achieved in Scotland. We are the first but won’t be the last. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🩸🙌#PeriodDignity #FreePeriodProducts #MenstrualJustice follow @Period_Poverty for updates. https://t.co/8bFTML3MkK

— Monica Lennon MSP (@MonicaLennon7) August 15, 2022




[via USA Today and BBC, cover image via Murdock2013 | Dreamstime.com]


Wearable Vest Replaces The Stethoscope To Monitor Lung Activity On The Go

Image via Fraunhofer IKTS


Innovations often seek to better the lives of users, and the Pneumo.Vest project is no different, with scientists coming up with a wearable textile that allows patients with severe lung diseases to monitor their lung function while out and about. 

Using integrated acoustic sensors hidden within the material, the patient’s respiratory state is tracked, with the signals being converted and displayed virtually by software so that individuals outside of intensive care units can still be constantly kept in check. 

Inspired by the one ubiquitous tool of doctors worldwide—the stethoscope—researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS developed a wearable vest as a 21st-century addition. 

The textile is said to be so accurate, its piezoceramic acoustic sensors can pick up any noise produced by the lungs in the thorax, no matter how imperceptible it is to our ears. 

And with the software programmed to know the position of each sensor placed on the patient, it’s able to attribute the data collected to precise locations, resulting in a detailed optical view of the person’s entire ventilation system.

Furthermore, the vest can indicate the state of one’s lungs over a period of time, such as how it’s been faring in the past 24 hours. When on the go, it can even double up as a stethoscope and manually measure different points of a patient’s chest using simultaneous sensors. 


Image via Fraunhofer IKTS


“Pneumo.Vest is not looking to make the stethoscope redundant and does not replace the skills of experienced pneumologists. However, auscultation or even CT scans of the lungs only ever present a snapshot at the time of examination,” explained Ralf Schallert, Project Manager at Fraunhofer IKTS.

“Our technology provides added value because it allows for the lungs to be monitored continuously in the same way as a long-term ECG, even if the patient is not attached to machines in the ICU but has instead been admitted to the general ward,” he added. 

According to the team, the software complementing the vest has a part to play as well. Not only can it be used by doctors to view acoustic events in specific areas of the lungs, but its algorithms can also be set to filter out specific sounds such as heartbeats, or to amplify frequency ranges so that symptoms including rustling or wheezing, are more prominent. 

Thus far, the first tests of the vest with staff at the University Clinic for Anesthesiology and Intensive Therapy at the University of Magdeburg have been encouraging, with the concept proving to work in the real world. 

“Pneumo.Vest addresses exactly what we need. It serves as an instrument that expands our diagnostic options, relieves the burden on our hospital staff, and makes hospital stays more pleasant for patients,” said Dr Alexander Uhrig, who tested the technology.

“The feedback from doctors was overwhelmingly positive. The combination of acoustic sensors, visualization and machine learning algorithms will be able to reliably distinguish a range of different lung sounds,” concluded Schallert. 




[via AZoSensors and Fraunhofer IKTS, images via Fraunhofer IKTS]


Youths Will Never Hold A Cigarette With Proposed New Zealand Law

Photo 161375925 © Nopphon Pattanasri | Dreamstime.com


New Zealand is potentially creating a future where coming generations will never know what smoking is. Prime Minister Jacinda Arden is looking to pass a law that prohibits teenagers from being able to purchase tobacco products.


The action entails dramatically lowering the nicotine content of cigarettes and limiting their sale to tobacco stores. The change also considerably raises the minimum age for purchase.


The most extreme of all was to make any purchase of tobacco illegal for people born after 2009. This means those 14 years and younger will never legally own cigarettes or cigars. 


However, as the law only applies to products containing tobacco, vaping will continue to be lawful.


According to The Guardian, the vote had reached a near-unanimous agreement when brought to parliament. Opposition National MP Matt Doocey noted that he was worried about the “experimental” nature of the new ruling.


There were also concerns about pushing the industry underground and potentially having to deal with black market sales, while others in parliament weren’t sure how the effects of a country essentially going cold turkey on nicotine would pan out.


Although a move like this is highly radical and unheard of, with how far and wide the fire the tobacco industry has set on our world has spread, perhaps something as far-reaching as this is what is needed to protect younger generations from ever having contact with nicotine, stopping a vicious cycle of addiction before it can begin. 


In the same report, the Guardian notes that the ruling has only gone through the first round of negotiations. While it has reached a majority in favor of imposing the law, it still has many rounds left before the smoke is cleared. If all goes well, the New Zealand government is hoping to implement the new regulation by 2023. 




[via The Guardian and Independent UK, Photo 161375925 © Nopphon Pattanasri | Dreamstime.com]


Danish Monkeypox Vaccine Gets Go-Ahead From European Commission

Image ID 248046126 © via Cristian Storto | Dreamstime.com


Bavarian Nordic, a Danish biotechnology company, has received the green light from the European Commission for its Imvanex vaccine to be used against the ongoing global monkeypox outbreak. 

The approval is indeed timely, considering the World Health Organization (WHO) had just issued a high-level alert categorizing the disease as a “global health emergency” earlier this week. 

Currently, there have been 3,040 reported cases of the virus across 47 countries, with the WHO assessing that there is a clear risk of further international spread, already upping the risk level to “high” on the European continent. 

According to Reuters, this vaccine is the only one to have gained approval for preventing monkeypox in the US and Canada, and has also been allowed to treat smallpox within the European Union (EU). 

“The availability of an approved vaccine can significantly improve nations’ readiness to fight emerging diseases, but only through investments and structured planning of the biological preparedness,” said Paul Chaplin, President and CEO of Bavarian Nordic.

“With this approval, we look forward to working closer with the EU and its member states to solve this important task,” he added. 




[via Reuters and Bavarian Nordic, cover image via Cristian Storto | Dreamstime.com]


Scientists Discover New Way To Detect Diseases—With Our Tears

Photo 96457052 © Volodymyr Melnyk | Dreamstime.com


People who are in emotional discomfort often cry. It’s often an expression of feelings—including sadness, fear, and even rage—but what if it’s also an indicator of our physical health? Scientists have learned that a person’s tears can be used to diagnose illnesses, according to a study published in ACS Nano.  


Researchers have discovered that our bodies’ cellular signals are transmitted in tiny informational sacs called tears. Tears, also known as exosomes, are similar to other body fluids that contain disease indicators. Blood and urine are commonly used to check for the presence of diseases.  


The Wenzhou Medical University in China conducted the study. The team’s theory was that tears might provide doctors with a fresh perspective on their patients. The goal of the ‘iTEARS’ initiative was to provide greater, non-intrusive insight into people’s health.  


While it may seem like a straightforward way to gather answers, the team intended to further simplify the process. Diagnosis frequently entails taking blood, performing physical exams, or collecting urine samples. The iTEARS experiment, which stands for ‘Incorporated Tear Exosomes Analysis via Rapid-isolation Systems,’ was able to employ only a small number of the teardrops required for the investigation. 


They gathered just a few drops of the study participants’ tears before adding them to a solution. The liquid was then put into a machine that, within five minutes, employed nanoporous membranes to filter the sample and read its findings.  


They discovered that several eye conditions had left distinctive patterns in tears. In fact, as the researchers dug deeper into the study, they uncovered that they could even track the evolution of diabetes.  


According to Luke Lee, a Harvard Medical School coauthor of the study, the group intends to advance the research even further and shed light on depression and other mental states using teardrops. 




[via Science News and ScienceDaily, Photo 96457052 © Volodymyr Melnyk | Dreamstime.com]


First US Patient Receives Mind-Reading Brain Device, Can Surf Web With Thought

Photo 123486654 © Denis Trofimov | Dreamstime.com


A brain chip maker has thought one step ahead of Elon Musk’s Neuralink with the first human implementation of a brain-computer interface (BCI) in the US. Bioelectronics medicine company Synchron Systems was the literal brains behind the mind-reading invention. 


At Mount Sinai West hospital in New York on Tuesday, the 1.5-inch stent-like device was implanted into the brain of an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patient following approvals by the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct a trial.


The wire was inserted into a blood vessel of the brain of a patient who has ALS and has lost the ability to speak and talk, allowing them to communicate just by thinking. The US patient joins four others in Australia, the company’s home base, to have their brains connected to the computer.


The ‘Strenode’ can read the thoughts and brainwaves of the patient via a connected computer system and translate their thoughts into texts and email.


Patients will also be able to surf core areas of the web and perform everyday tasks such as accessing online banking sites and shopping online. 


The surgery was a non-invasive procedure, meaning that there was no need to cut into the skull to insert the Strenode. Instead, an incision was made into the neck where a catheter pushed the mind-reading gadget into a blood vessel near the motor cortex. 


A second procedure was done to place a pacemaker-like device into the chest of the patient to act as the receiver, which computes what the Strenode picks up. Meanwhile, the Strenode will read the neurons and brainwaves of the patient to determine what they are thinking.


As the technology is still in development, it cannot translate complete sentences, but it can do enough to get the patient’s thoughts across. 


The trial was done to measure just how safe these stents are and how much independence can be returned to patients who can now send messages hands-free.




[via Fierce Biotech and Bloomberg, Photo 123486654 © Denis Trofimov | Dreamstime.com]


Gymshark Opens ‘Safe Space’ Barbershop For Men To Open Up About Mental Health

Photo 137684695 © Ina Reviaka | Dreamstime.com


Mental health isn’t discussed often enough, particularly with men, who have been told all their lives that “boys don’t cry” and that they should “suck it up.”

There are very few places where men can let their guard down, and one of them is at the barbershop, when they hand over the reins to their barber.


Activewear brand Gymshark has thus opened a barbershop in East London’s Shoreditch that’s a cut above the rest—it’s a “non-judgmental safe space” where customers are encouraged to be vulnerable. The Gymshark Deload Barbershop, which will welcome customers from July 12 to 17, will listen to patrons talk about their mental health while giving them a free haircut.

All the barbers, who are employed by Curfew Grooming, are also trained professionals in mental health support.


Gymshark open new barbershop called deload- where all the barbers are trained in mental health care encouraged men to open up pic.twitter.com/r1ZwqbStu6

— Carrie Rose (@CarrieRosePR) July 12, 2022


Gymshark has been working with UK suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and US-based mental health nonprofit The JED Foundation to raise mental health awareness in an initative called Deload, hence the name of the barbershop.

The temporary salon was set up following a study by CALM that discovered men felt safer opening up to their barbers than to therapists or doctors.

“As men, we’re notoriously bad at talking about how we’re feeling, but there’s just something about being at the barbers that makes us open up more. Here at Gymshark, we believe the weight belongs in your hands, not your head, which is why we want to get more men talking about their mental health in an environment they feel comfortable in,” Gymshark explains.


Sportswear brand Gymshark has created a barbershop where men can get free haircuts and open up to barbers with training in mental health care.

Deload is open between July 12 – 17, 2022.

📍 149 Shoreditch High St, London E1 6JQ https://t.co/VMJHLaknv8 pic.twitter.com/MpeD6hkp1N

— Dionne Grant (@DionneGrant) July 12, 2022

Deload merchandise will also be put up for sale, with proceeds going to CALM’s suicide prevention efforts. Lined on the shop’s walls are posters by the charity reminding visitors that it’s okay to not feel okay.


Luckily, this barbershop might expand beyond the UK. Noel Mack, the company’s chief brand officer, says that Gymshark’s North American wing is considering taking the idea across the pond, according to Famous Campaigns.







View this post on Instagram












A post shared by Gymshark (@gymshark)





[via Retail Gazette and Famous Campaigns, images via various sources]


FDA Could Soon Green-Light The First Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill

Image ID 183859853 © via Inna Mykhalchuk | Dreamstime.com


In light of Roe v Wade, the debate surrounding reproductive rights has become more heated than ever. And while the discourse can often be harrowing, here’s some good news: The first over-the-counter birth control pill could soon become a reality. 

According to The Guardian, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently revealed it is overlooking an application for the first birth control pill to be sold without a prescription in the US. 

The application, filed by HRA Pharma, hopes to make its daily, hormonal contraception—first approved for consumption in 1973—available to consumers at pharmacies nationwide, allowing them to purchase the pill without the need to see a doctor. 

Worryingly, as the company points out, nearly half of the 6.1 million pregnancies occurring in the country each year are unintended. Plus, with one-third of adult women reporting difficulties in obtaining a prescription or refill for the pill, creating greater access to contraception has become more important than ever. 

“This historic application marks a groundbreaking moment in contraceptive access and reproductively equity in the US,” says Frédérique Welgryn, Chief Strategic Operations and Innovation Officer at HRA Pharma. 

“More than 60 years ago, prescription birth control pills in the US empowered women to plan if and when they want to get pregnant. Moving a safe and effective prescription birth control pill to OTC will help even more women and people access contraception without facing unnecessary barriers,” he adds. 




[via The Guardian and Perrigo Company, cover image via Inna Mykhalchuk | Dreamstime.com]


Implants That Grow Real Breasts Could Replace Silicone For Good

Image via Healshape


When you think of breast implants, a chicken cutlet-shaped slab of silicone might come to mind. Silicone is the most common material for breast reconstructions, but it has rightfully gained a bad rep for its contamination and rupture risks and making patients feel uncomfortably cold on days out in the winter.

Doctors, in fact, recommend flap surgeries for breast cancer survivors instead. These take a sample from another part of the body—such as the tummy, thigh, or back—to form the new ‘breast’, and they’re more long-lasting than silicone implants, which would require replacements every 10 years or so.

Flaps, however, are a long-winded procedure, and not many patients would be mentally prepared for them after having endured the trauma of cancer.

A new tier of implants sets out to overcome the discomfort and complications tied to silicone implants, as well as the time taken for reconstructions.

One manufacturer, Lattice Medical, has a unique 3D-printed implant that grows into a new, natural breast over time.


The insert is hollow at first, resembling a cage, and it’s then filled with a small sample of healthy tissue from the patient’s body. Eventually, the tissue grows into fat that fills the cage.


Image via Lattice Medical


The ‘cage’ implant is made from a fully degradable biopolymer, so it fully dissolves into the body after about 18 months.


The Guardian reports that human trials for this variation, called ‘Matisse’, will begin in Georgia on July 11, making the company the first to test an implant of this ilk on humans.

Another startup working on its own breast implant is Healshape. Its version is a soft insert 3D-printed from resorbable hydrogel.


Once inside the body, the implant is gradually colonized by fat cells. The implant itself disappears into the body months later, leaving behind a natural breast.

Healshape’s breast implant, which is fully customizable, is scheduled to start clinical trials in a couple of years, CEO Sophie Brac de la Perrière tells the Guardian.

Patients’ breasts might regrow from these reconstructions, but it remains to be known if their sensations may return. With conventional implants, it’s common to experience numbness due to potential nerve damage, while patients who opt for flap surgeries may only get the feeling in their breasts back after a few years.

It would take some time before scientists can prove the effectiveness of dissolvable breast implants, but it’s a ray of hope for the two million people globally who are diagnosed with breast cancer.




[via The Guardian, 3D Printing Industry, Sifted, images via various sources]


New Neck Patch Can Detect Concussions In High-Impact Sport Athletes

Photo 67671586 © Mark Adams | Dreamstime.com


Concussions caused by high-impact sports can lead to several health issues, including chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain condition that is caused by repetitive blows to the head. At Michigan State University, Nelson Sepúlveda and his team have developed a patch that can be stuck onto the necks of athletes to diagnose a concussion.  


During a single season, it is estimated that approximately 140 concussions are reported by football players, making that one player for every five games who sustains a head injury. Currently, the only protective measure in place, besides the helmet, are accelerometers within the helmet to detect a concussion. However, since the headgear is not directly attached to the body, it is often inaccurate.


The patch is a paper-thin piece of piezoelectric film, placed onto the nape of the neck, that holds two electrodes. Its thermoplastic material produces a pulse of electricity when touched, and the stronger the touch the more aggressive the signal sent to the computer. The sensors track the speed and acceleration in the movement of the neck to better understand how these concussions can occur.


The patch was first tested on a human dummy that was dropped from a height of 60 centimeters (23.6 inches), with the model’s neck packed with sensors to create a control for the experiment. The patch and the sensors ended up lining up 90% of the time. 


Often, concussions can go undetected, leading to symptoms that get progressively worse or won’t go away. They can also lead to CTE, a common disease among footballers that cannot be diagnosed until an autopsy is performed. And since there are no other forms of treatment for concussions besides rest, being able to detect and prevent them is the best first-line defense. 


Concussions in footballers and the way they lead to CTE, have long been discussed as impact is often associated with outbursts of violence and aggression and has even led to crimes—as in the case of Mike Webster, center for the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Kansas City Chiefs, who passed away in 2002 and subsequently was discovered to have CTE. Other notable cases include Junior Seau’s suicide and Aaron Hernandez’s murder-suicide case.  


Head injuries aren’t only exclusive to footballers—boxers, rugby players, and soccer players all have a tendency to suffer from head damage. This neck patch is a step in the right direction for the safety of all high-impact athletes safe while playing their sport. 




[via Science News and Smithsonian Magazine, Photo 67671586 © Mark Adams | Dreamstime.com]


New Brain Scans Can Accurately Diagnose Alzheimer’s In A Single Take

Photo 89225915 © Dedmityay | Dreamstime.com


The time taken between speculating and confirmation of Alzheimer’s can be agonizing for not only the patient but their family as well. Now, there has been a breakthrough in the diagnosis of this disease, significantly cutting down the waiting time so patients and loved ones can have peace of mind.


Imperial College London has found a way to use a single scan to identify whether someone has Alzheimer’s or not. With an impressively high rate of diagnosis and accuracy, this one image can also determine how far along the disease has progressed.


Using a single MRI scan, researchers utilize the same procedure in identifying cancerous tumors to examine the brain. They have trained the algorithm to study 115 different regions and 660 different aspects of the brain, such as the size and shape, to carefully identify whether Alzheimer’s is present.  


Currently, brain scans are used to check the hippocampus, the part that controls memory functions, for shrinkage and for the presence of tau protein. However, the researchers are now zeroing in on areas like the cerebellum and the ventral diencephalon, which are responsible for coordination and sensory perception respectively.


This new method allowed for 95% accuracy in diagnosis and 78% accuracy in determining the progression of the disease. Scientists at Imperial College London used a 1.5 Tesla MRI machine that also has machine-learning capabilities to help it study different scans and provide accurate results.  


Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and while there is no cure for cognitive decline, catching it in the early stages is key to making sure quality of life does not drastically deteriorate.  


Previously, patients had to go through lifestyle discussions, medication trials, and neurological testing. Coupled with long waiting times, it’s easy to see why researchers have been trying to find a way to quicken the process. This breakthrough could reduce the diagnosis process to just a single scan.  




[via BioSpace and ScienceDaily, Photo 89225915 © Dedmityay | Dreamstime.com]


Could Exercise Pills Put The Days Of Working Out Behind Us?

Photo 240166819 © Prostockstudio | Dreamstime.com


It’s a good day to be lazy. Out of all the crazy things science has bestowed upon humanity, an exercise pill is certainly up there, and almost too good to believe. Yet, researchers have identified a blood molecule called Lac-Phe that is produced when working out, and when administered to mice in an experiment, it has shown that obesity was reduced.  


The research was conducted by the Baylor College of Medicine, Stanford School of Medicine, and various other institutions to identify the molecule in us that makes us lose weight.


Lac-Phe acted as a food suppressant when given to the mice. Mice who were fed high-fat diets were injected with Lac-Phe only to find that their hunger was reduced by 50%. Over a 10-day period, the subjects had lost weight and their blood sugar levels were stabilized.  


Lac-Phe has been found in humans and racehorses and is at its highest production after sprinting or performing resistance training. So, imagine a pill that packs the benefits of a workout into a little capsule. 


As tempting as it is to toss out our running shoes and rely on a pill, more testing still needs to be done on the effects of induced Lac-Phe on the brain. Not to mention, human trials haven’t been conducted yet.




[via NewsBytes and SciTechDaily, Photo 240166819 © Prostockstudio | Dreamstime.com]


World Health Organization Will Give ‘Monkeypox’ A New Name To Fight Stigma

Image ID 248045260 © via Angellodeco | Dreamstime.com


A year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed to the public to stop using location-centric names for COVID-19 variants, including “UK Variant” or “Indian Variant,” in order to streamline discussions and prevent discrimination. 

Instead, it decided to turn to the Greek alphabet for inspiration, naming the numerous variants that emerged in order of alpha, beta, delta, and so forth. 

Now, while COVID-19 may seen like it’s behind us, there’s another disease taking center stage in daily headlines: monkeypox. 

Monkeypox, as the disease has been referred to in the press, is caused by a virus belonging to the same family as smallpox, but in a less severe form. This time, similar to with COVID-19, scientists have petitioned for the “urgent need” to rename the virus, so that it is “non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing” in the public eye. 

Additionally, as per the BBC, references to the virus as African are both unfounded and may cause discrimination towards the continent. 

According to NPR, over 3,100 cases of the disease have been reported worldwide thus far, and the WHO has said it will convene for an emergency meeting next week to decide if the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern—which does not bode well for those looking to return to normalcy following two years of the pandemic.  

In a briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the organization will be “working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus,” and that the new names will be announced “as soon as possible.” 




[via BBC and NPR, cover image via Angellodeco | Dreamstime.com]


Two New Male Contraceptive Pills Could Lead The Way Into Expanded Birth Control

Image ID 2205762 © via Hamiza Bakirci | Dreamstime.com


Apart from vasectomies and condoms, there aren’t many options out there when it comes to male contraception. 

On the other hand, more of the burden in heterosexual relationships falls on women, with Interesting Engineering noting that a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) census from 2015 to 2017 showed 64.9% of women aged between 15 and 49 used contraception, ranging from oral pills to long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).

Now, two experimental male contraceptive pills—known as DMAU and 11β-MNTDC—could potentially pave the way for new birth control options, as per a new study that will soon be presented at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting. 

To put it simply, these drugs, made specifically for men, help suppress testosterone, thus reducing an individual’s sperm count. In the past, scientists have been hesitant to introduce this class of contraceptives, known as progestognenic androgens, to men, for fear of unpleasant side effects. 

However, this time, 75% of the 96 healthy men who participated in the study indicated they were willing to continue taking the pills, which could be a positive sign that an option with acceptable side effects may soon hit the shelves. 

“Development of an effective, reversible male contraceptive method will improve reproductive options for men and women, have a major impact on public health by decreasing unintended pregnancy, and allow men to have an increasingly active role in family planning,” explained lead researcher Tamar Jacobsohn.

“Men’s positive experiences in clinical trials and high ratings of acceptability for this male pill should serve to excite the public about male birth control being potentially widely available in the coming decades,” he added. 




[via Interesting Engineering and Endocrine Society / Newswise, cover image via Hamiza Bakirci | Dreamstime.com]


LeBron James To Open Multimillion-Dollar ‘HealthQuarters’ In His Hometown

Photo 18530768 © Dgareri | Dreamstime.com


LeBron James plans to open a multi-million dollar medical facility in Akron, Ohio, where he hails from. The I Promise HealthQuarters was first announced by his LeBron James Family Foundation.


Set to open next year in 2023, the health center will offer an array of services, including offerings in medical, dental, optometry, and mental health. Students from James’ I Promise School, and the local community will be able to receive treatments and services from there.  


There will also be a pharmacy and lab research center on the premises. The pharmacy will be paired with local medical services from AxessPointe, Coleman Health Services, and the Peg’s Foundation, where it aims to bring down the costs of medication and make it more accessible for those in need. 







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A post shared by LeBron James Family Foundation (@ljfamfoundation)



The center will be situated a short walk from his I Promise School, which opened in 2018 with the aim of helping at-risk students and families. Now, as he furthers his philanthropy, James will embark on bringing medical aid to his community.


James wishes to give back to and assist those in need in his community, and his medical center follows in the footsteps of Michael Jordan, who opened three clinics in North Carolina.  




[via CBS News and 10TV, Photo 18530768 © Dgareri | Dreamstime.com]


Harvard Scientists Reverse Aging In Mice And Hope To Do So In Humans Soon

[Click here to view the video in this article]

Photo 34860248 © Anyaivanova | Dreamstime.com


Mice in a research lab of Harvard Medical School are going back in time as scientists have found a way to reverse their aging process. David Sinclair, a molecular biologist, and his team have discovered a way to counter the aging of cells in rats and believe that one day this could be a reality for humans as well.  


Adult cells from a rat were taken and turned into stem cells using a protein that enables this conversion. This has reset aging cells and altered the aging process for mice.


This led to the regaining of sight of a mouse that was losing its vision. The critter began to see as well as its young were able to see.  


The desired outcome of such research is to prevent the human body from degenerating and developing age-related diseases. If we can reverse aging, we can potentially prevent these diseases from ever forming in the first place.


It seems that this Benjamin Button effect does not freeze the aging process completely. The body will continue to get older, but another age reversal could take place to hinder the process again.


Mice and men are not made the same, of course. What works for them might not work for us. While we are still years away from just heading down to the local clinic to go back in time, it is still a landmark discovery that could reshape how medicine moves forward.  




Sinclair’s team is among the deluge of scientists looking to make human bodies look and behave younger. Researchers at Salk Institute have also successfully reversed aging in mice, while scientists at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge have even managed to de-age human skin cells by 30 years.




[via CNN,  Interesting Engineering, NPR, cover image via Photo 34860248 © Anyaivanova | Dreamstime.com]


Marvel Studios & NHS Join Forces To Call On Real-Life Heroes To Donate Blood

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Video screenshots via NHS


In real life, we’re not distressed dudes or damsels waiting to be rescued by someone in a cape. Power is harnessed from within, and there’s enough of it to save someone’s life.


In a curious new campaign, the UK’s National Health Service has recruited Marvel superheroes Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Doctor Stephen Strange) and Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch) to call on valiant, “real-life heroes” to give blood.

The appeal—commissioned by Walt Disney Studios UK and NHS Blood and Transplant—arrives in time for the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and will run through June 19. The advertisement will air on the big screen in some cinemas, in addition to a social media rollout.

“In the real world, you don’t need costumes and special effects to be a hero… You can be the hero of your story and someone else’s just by giving blood,” Cumberbatch implores.

Olsen adds: “You already have the power to alter reality and change timelines… Because just one hour of your time could save up to three people’s lives.” The Doctor Strange sequel goes deeper into the Marvel multiverse and parallel timelines.

The NHS is making this plea following the depletion in blood supplies caused by the pandemic. To recoup the shortage, the country’s healthcare service will need 100,000 donors to sign up for its blood donation drive this spring. Donors whose blood types are O-positive, O-negative, or B-negative are most particularly needed, though all volunteers are welcome.

“Blood donors choose to make a difference, just like the superheroes in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” explains Zeeshan Asghar, head of commercial partnerships for NHS Blood and Transplant, in a press release. “We want to show the public that they already have the power to save lives just by giving blood.”





[via Campaign UK and NHS Blood and Transplant, video and cover image via NHS]


This AI Can Predict If Someone Will Have A Heart Attack 10 Years Ahead

Image ID 25070396 © Stevanovicigor | Dreamstime.com


Using a novel artificial intelligence-based approach, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have come up with a “foreseeing” model that can predict when a patient could suffer from a heart attack.

The technology, which is built on raw images of diseased hearts and patient backgrounds, could help doctors improve decision-making and increase the chances of survival from sudden or fatal cardiac arrhythmias. 

According to the study, sudden cardiac death accounts for up to 20% of all deaths worldwide, with physicians puzzled at how to tell who’s most at risk. 

Now, with this AI algorithm, it can be determined who is at risk of heart attacks and when it could possibly occur, allowing doctors to put measures in place to mitigate the risks. 

In fact, the technology is so precise, it can predict with high accuracy the chance of a sudden cardiac attack over a decade into the future, and even pinpoint when it’s most likely to occur.

This is because the AI, which looks over hundreds of contrast-enhanced cardiac images from patients, can piece together patterns from cardiac scarring that may not be visible to the naked eye. 

“The images carry critical information that doctors haven’t been able to access,” said first author Dan Popescu. 

“This scarring can be distributed in different ways and it says something about a patient’s chance for survival. There is information hidden in it,” he explained.

Following that, the team trained a second AI network to sieve information from 10 years’ worth of clinical patient data, using 22 data points including a patient’s age, weight, and prescription drug use. 

Together, the system could predict heart attacks significantly more accurately than doctors, and even passed the test when it used in independent patient cohorts from 60 health centers across the country. 

Trayanova, co-director of the Alliance for Cardiovascular Diagnostic and Treatment Innovation, said the program could reshape clinical decision-making regarding arrhythmia risk. 

“It epitomizes the trend of merging artificial intelligence, engineering, and medicine as the future of healthcare.” 




[via Fierce Biotech and Johns Hopkins University, cover image via Stevanovicigor | Dreamstime.com]


This Billboard ‘Pees’ On You To Shed Light On Urinary Incontinence

Image via Don’t Cry Wolf


This brand is spraying an impactful message on a wall, and not in the same way graffiti artists do. Female tech firm Elvie has installed a 10-foot-tall billboard that “pees” on passersby to raise awareness about a condition that affects 84% of women in the UK, according to a self-commissioned study.

The outdoor advertisement, produced by brand agency Don’t Cry Wolf, sports 28-year-old mother-of-two Megan Burns, a real sufferer of post-natal incontinence. Burns is depicted working out, with real water gushing out from between her legs, drizzling onto onlookers.


Image via Don’t Cry Wolf


“Leaks happen… but they don’t have to,” the two-part sign for Elvie’s kegel trainer and app reads.


The visual hits home for Burns, who was incorrectly told by her doctor to use tampons while exercising to put a cork on uncontrolled leakage.


Elvie didn’t have to go public like that—it originally advertised on TikTok but the campaign was quickly banned for being too “graphic.”


“How can we educate about pelvic floor health if we’re too frightened to talk about leaks and too frightened to share our experiences? Or if social media censors us, labeling us too taboo, too graphic?” the brand questions on Instagram.


“Elvie’s giant ‘peeing’ billboard is bringing the issue [of urinary incontinence] out of the shadows and into the spotlight,” shares the company’s chief marketing officer Aoife Nally. “We hope it will encourage women to start speaking out about the issue and seek the help they need to solve the problem. Elvie’s goal is to empower and enable women to achieve everything their bodies are capable of.”







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A post shared by Elvie (@elvie)






[via Campaign and The Cut, images via Don’t Cry Wolf]


Daylight Saving Time Gets Unanimous Vote To Be Permanent In The US

Image ID 140989296 © via Juan Moyano | Dreamstime.com


This week, the US Senate unanimously voted to make daylight saving time a permanent measure, putting a stop to having to change the clocks twice every year. 

Dubbed the Sunshine Protection Act, the regulation is scheduled to come into effect in 2023, though it will first have to be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by President Joe Biden.

While it’s unclear if President Biden is in favor of the change, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she was “reviewing it closely,” as per Reuters.

Supporters of the bill have said it would allow children to spend more time outdoors, reduce seasonal depression, and increase economic activity during the darker months of the year.

“Springing forward and falling back year after year only creates unnecessary confusion while harming Americans’ health and our economy,” Democratic Senator, Ron Wyden said previously.

“Making daylight saving permanent would give folks an hour back of sunshine during the winter months when we need it most,” he added.

However, not everyone is as keen on daylight saving time as a whole.

Beth Malow, Director of the Vanderbilt Sleep Division, said that daylight saving time made it more difficult to be alert in the morning, saying it was akin to “living in the wrong time zone for almost eight months out of the year.”

Additionally, as per CNET, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine said that the standard time was the “best choice to most closely match our circadian sleep-wake cycle.” 

“Daylight saving time results in more darkness in the morning and more light in the evening, disrupting the body’s natural rhythm,” remarked Dr M. Adeel Rishi.

It still remains to be seen if the bill will pass through the House, and if then, it will be backed by the Biden Administration. 




[via Reuters and CNET, cover image via Juan Moyano | Dreamstime.com]