So I hadn’t planned to continue doing Healthcare Updates, but there are always so many interesting healthcare-related articles that I can’t stay away. To wit …
For women, it’s the birth control pill. For men, it may soon be a shot to the nuts. Literally. Researchers showed that an injection of Vasalgel into the vas deferens (the pathway leading out of the testicles) could temporarily block the flow of sperm and effectively sterilize monkeys. Other studies in rabbits showed that the gel eventually “flushed out,” returning flow of sperm. Learn more about Vasalgel here.
If you aren’t adventurous enough to inject some slime into your working parts, there’s also an app for that … maybe. A mobile app called Natural Cycles was recently granted approval to be used as a contraceptive in the European Union. It works by tracking temperatures and then predicting when women ovulate. The app will recommend against having sex on days 6 through 16 of a woman’s cycle. That’s all fine and dandy, but to me, there are too many variables involved in fertility. These “fertility awareness” methods of contraception are notoriously unreliable. As in up to 24% of women will end up pregnant at the end of 1 year by using them. Wondering if the app will give refunds for that.
If your smartphone can’t keep you from getting pregnant, it may at least be able to tell you if you smell bad. New Japanese gadget called KunKun links to your smart phone and detects multiple different chemicals that are often associated with bad smells. At an estimated price of $300, I don’t know that I’d purchase this for personal use, but it would be an interesting attraction outside of a bar at the end of the evening – as long as no one puked on it.
One of my many pet-peeves: Overmedicating our children. There is waaay too much medication for ADHD and ADD being prescribed to young children. The problem is that the diagnosis of ADHD includes activities that are common in most children – doesn’t pay attention, doesn’t listen, fails to finish chores, often loses things, fidgets in seat, often “on the go” …. these activities seem to be the rule, not the exception.
This article recommends that we Stop Drugging Our Kids and explores some of the reasons parents may want their kids to take stimulant medications. Helping kids excel in school and perhaps a lack of parenting skills fit in there somewhere maybe? Money quote: “we are putting kids on drugs for behaving in age appropriate ways.” Absolutely true and it needs to stop. The graphic accompanying the article artfully demonstrates one of the issues our society is facing.
Fascinating article about how grip strength is a predictor of overall health … and how grip strength is rapidly declining in this country: Raising the American Weakling. One researcher, an occupational therapist, noted that the grip strength in her patients was far from the norms established in the 1980s. The article cites many other studies showing that, for example, that grip strength was a stronger predictor of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality than systolic blood pressure. Another interesting point in the article was that a top NHL scouting prospect wasn’t able to perform a single pull-up during a fitness test. On the other hand (no pun intended), a different researcher noted that womens’ grip strength is worse than men, yet women live longer than men.
I’m a fan of exercising, so I tend to agree with the study sentiments – even if grip strength is an imperfect indicator of overall strength/health.
Another fascinating article about how some doctors in Wake Forest are using new technology to print 3D tissues and organs. A special 3D printer uses a patient’s own cells to create new organs one cell layer at a time. Lab-made cartilage, bone, and muscle implanted into rodents was found to later develop a system of blood vessels and nerves. They’ve also printed human ears, bones and heart, lung, and kidney tissue. Amazing.
Man weighing significantly more than 130 pounds who doctors called “just fat” has testing which confirms that an ingrown hair, irritating his abdomen for roughly 10 years, resulted in a 130 pound benign tumor. He recently had the tumor removed in California hospital.
I’m happy for the patient and hope that the removal of the tumor is an impetus for him to lose further weight, but the tumor alone didn’t cause this fellow’s weight gain. From his picture, he’s easily more than 500 pounds. The see-food diet has to go.
Good news: Bifocals may be a thing of the past. Researchers at the University of Utah developed “smart glasses” that use liquid within the glasses to automatically adapt to the user’s focus – regardless of the distance of the object being focused upon.
Bad news: You’d rather be blind than get caught wearing the glasses. They make “Coke Bottle Glasses” look fashionable. By the way, I went to look up an explanation of the term “Coke Bottle Glasses” but didn’t find one. As I recall when I was a wee lad, people who had significant problems with their eyesight had to wear very thick glasses in order to see clearly. Old time bottles of Coke (yes, beverages other than beer used to be sold in glass bottles) happened to have very thick bases – leading to the comparison.