Tag Archives: Health

The Incredible Fitness Apps for iPod

There are probably thousands of fitness apps available for your iPod. The challenge is choosing the best apps to increase your fitness level. Here are a few incredible fitness apps for your iPod.

If Gym registration costs too much, the iFitness app will provide you with lots of exercises which are explained with text instructions, video clips, and amazing images. You will have the ability to add your exercise and track your performance. This app helps in reaching your goals, such as weight loss, and uses graphs to monitor your progress. It also provides you with specific exercises and programs for any region of your body.

The iTreadmill app helps you to accurately measure the distance, average speed and calories burned while you are running. It can monitor your exercise wherever you go at anytime. There are different parameters that you can customize, such as strike rate and step count. It includes a history table to record all your past walks and runs. In addition, you can even email your history. A screen lock allows you to save power, and the auto pause will engage if you stop moving, while the resume option will start if you start moving again.

If you want to track your food calories, start your diet plan and view nutrition data, Tap & Track app will help you to search for food items in different categories. This app allows you to build your own recipes and select between various exercise programs. You can monitor your progress through Calorie and Weight graphs and get regular reports about your average consumed calories and other nutrition information.

If you are eager to improve your strength, the Hundred Pushups app will provide you with a special training program.This app builds your strength by increasing the number of pushups you can complete, step by step, until you reach a complete 100 by the end of the six weeks.

No one can deny that yoga helps in gaining a stable equilibrium. The Yoga Stretch app works at improving your balance, strength, and flexibility. You don’t need to go to yoga class, since this app provides you with an audio instructor that tells you which yoga positions and poses you should take.

The Fooducate app turns your iPod into scanner. You can scan the bar code of any food product and get all the nutrition details. It allows you to compare different items according to their taste, quality and health.

There are moments that might wish to roll back the clock and rebalance your life. Is it your time to start with fitness apps to improve the quality of life — to find a happy balance between work and social life? Be smart and start setting your fitness goals, because nothing is more important than your health.

==== About the Author ====
This article is written by the Matt E. Logan who is a professional writer and technology blogger. He has written several posts and articles on different technology topics such as, Smartphone apps, antivirus apps, and on accessories such as iPod touch cases, blackberry torch cases, iPhone covers, etc.

The Deodorant You Eat???

You can file this away in your “I’ve Seen It All” file. It appears you can now have your candy and come out smelling like a rose all at the same time. No I am not kidding. The product is called “Deo” and it claims, ” Science and nature have come together to make a functional food that leaves your skin with a beautiful rose fragrance.”

Deo Edible Deodorant

So is it perfume candy, or is it a health and beauty product? To be honest, I am not sure where this product will wind up if it ever hits the aisles of a major box store. Beneo Group announced this new innovation on its website. Beneo seeks innovative solutions that “cater to the growing health awareness among their customers”. The ingredient manufacturer developed a relationship with a Bulgarian company, Alpi. Together they are marketing this “rose-scented boiled sweet” which they claim not only tastes sweet, but will “transmit an attractive rose fragrance through the skin”.

The active ingredient is a natural anti-oxidant called geraniol. Geraniol is a colorless liquid found in plants like roses, lavender and vanilla. They call this product a nutri-cosmetic because it leaves the body through the pores of the skin which in turn, leaves behind a sweet rose smell. According to their website, http://perfumecandy.com, four pieces of the candy are considered a serving. A serving size will be most effective for people up to 145 pounds. Wim Dries, Area Sales Manager for Beneo said, “Many people like garlic, and it’s especially popular in European diets, but the tell-tale smell lingers for some time after a meal. Deo is the perfect antidote.”

Deo has already sold out on Amazon.com and they are working to replenish their stock. To keep up with new developments, visit their website at http://perfumecandy.com or visit their Facebook page.

MSN Health Re-launched as Healthy Living; Fresh Design and Great Content

MSN Health, the health and wellness channel on MSN, has transitioned to MSN Healthy Living. The new site features a vibrant visual design with focused content that helps readers live life more healthfully.

The fresh experience features content from independent health experts and bloggers as well as trusted and award-winning content providers like Prevention, Health.com, HealthDay, EatingWell, Self, and more. It is curated to be the online destination for people to connect with timely and relevant trends in wellness topics, as well as expert advice on diseases, health conditions and caregiving.

The site features content across diverse categories – News, Wellness, Diet & Fitness, Nutrition, Pregnancy & Parenting, Diseases & Conditions – and includes related videos. While MSN Healthy Living doesn’t provide medical or other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment, it is a definitive and credible source of information on health and fitness with exclusive medically reviewed health content. The site’s Medical Advisory Board provides expert professional perspectives on emerging trends in disease treatment and condition management, as well as guidance for preventative health care options.

Medical Implants of the Future May Be Powered by Sugar

It’s like something out of a science fiction magazine, but leave it to MIT to turn science fiction into science fact. A study published in the June 12th edition of PLoS ONE reveals a new glucose powered chip that literally will create an interface between brain and machine. The glucose “fuel cell” brings hope that in the future we will be able to help paralytics regain control of their limbs using neural prosthetics powered by this new technology.

Glucose is basically the sugar that can be found in our blood. It is the usable form of energy that our bodies use to power our muscles and our brain. The glucose powered fuel cells can be seen, pictured below, on a silicon wafer.

Glucose Fuel Cell
Glucose Fuel Cells on Silicon Wafer (Courtesy PLoS ONE)

The new fuel cells strip electrons from glucose molecules to create a small electric current. Implantable electronics are nothing new. Consider the pace maker, for instance. Many heart patients are alive and well today due to the tiny electronic module that keeps their heart in perfect rhythm. Oddly enough, scientists in the 1970’s originally proved they could power a pacemaker using glucose but due to some inefficiencies with an enzyme necessary to run them, they eventually decided to use lithium ion batteries instead. The difference in this new technology is that it contains no biological components whatsoever. It can generate hundreds of microwatts which can be used to power “ultra-low-power” implants.

Location, Location, Location

One of the groundbreaking aspects of this new research is not only that the fuel cells are powered by glucose, but also its placement in the body. Before this study, any research done using glucose fuel cells relied on blood or tissue fluid. This research suggested using cerebrospinal fluid which basically is a sugar filled barrier that surrounds the brain. One reason is that this fluid basically contains no cells that would stimulate an immune response. The other reason is that it is so rich in glucose. Due to the relatively small amount of glucose needed to power these fuel cells, no adverse affects are expected to occur in the brain.

Research like this is very encouraging especially for those who have lost use of their limbs due to paralysis. However, it may be a few years before we see this research being used in practical medical setting. If you would like more information, you can read the MIT press release http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2012/glucose-fuel-cell-0612.html, or for a more technical experience you can find the published study at this link http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0038436.

 

Sleep Apnea Linked to Increased Cancer Risk

This is one of those articles that hits home on a very personal level for me. A New York Times article published May 20th, 2012 introduced two studies that show a possible correlation between sleep apnea and increased cancer risk.

CPAP Mask
Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissue surrounding the airway relaxes and collapses to obstruct the airway during sleep. Very often it will cause snoring and sometimes choking. The best way to diagnose sleep apnea is to do a sleep study. A few years ago my wife noticed that I would often stop breathing during the night and would gasp for air and make choking noises. I was completely unaware of my condition. I had a sleep study performed. They hooked me up to all kinds of probes to monitor my breathing, oxygen levels, and heart rate. In 2 hours I stopped breathing a total of 117 times. Needless to say, this is not ideal sleep.

Sleep apnea is an extremely dangerous condition. It has already been linked to increased hypertension and stroke. Now two studies are saying that it could lead to increased cancer risk. A Spanish study focused on low oxygen levels and how it might affect cancer risk. Of the thousands they studied, those whose oxygen levels were the lowest were most likely to receive a cancer diagnosis during the study period. A University of Wisconsin study found that people with moderate sleep apnea doubled the likelihood of death from cancer, while severe patients were more than four times likely to die from cancer.

There is still some debate about whether other factors such as weight and exercise could be other contributing factors to the cancer risk. However, coupled with the cardiovascular risks, sleep apnea is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly. Most of the time it is treated with a machine called CPAP (pictured above)  which means constant positive air pressure. You wear either a full face mask or a nose mask and it applies air pressure to keep your airway open while you sleep. It took me some getting used to it but now I find it is hard to sleep without it. A little aggravation to me is worth it compared to the negative affects of sleep apnea.

Low Trans Fat Diet Equals Better Brain Function in Elderly

An article by Joseph Brownstein  on Live Science, reports a new study indicates that living a low trans fat lifestyle leads to better brain health in the elderly. “Older people with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins B, C, D, and E in their blood do better on cognitive tests than those with lower levels”, according to the study. Not only that, the study also found that high levels of trans fats actually hurt cognition.

Rubens Study of an Old Man
Rubens Study of an Old Man Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Gene Bowman, an assistant professor of neurology at Oregon Health and Science University, headed up the study. It involved 104 people with the average age of 87. The study was a follow up to a former study to address the problem of people not remembering what they ate. Drawing blood allows for scientists to measure the dietary intake of people and eliminates common mistakes people make when filling out questionnaires . The study was meant to discover the role diet plays in the aging brain.

Feeding the Brain

Recent research is starting to show that there is a definite correlation between brain function and what we eat. Trans fats have been the target of scrutiny among heart researchers and now Bowman believes, “it’s not too much of stretch to think that they’re bad for the brain”. Not only did the presence of trans fats hurt cognitive function, but researchers found a correlation between trans fats and brain shrinkage. If the findings of this study are confirmed, this may give doctors another tool to determine whether patients may need to supplement their diets to decrease the chances of cognitive decline.

Sources of Trans Fats

Trans fats were once thought to be a good thing. They increased the shelf life of many products and addressed the shortage of butterfats in the early 1900’s. It didn’t take long before the negative affects of trans fats were seen. According to Wikipedia, studies were showing the negative affects on coronary artery disease as early as 1956.  Trans fats are dangerous because they raise “LDL” (bad cholesterol levels) in the blood. Not only that, they also lower “HDL” (good cholesterol) in the blood. As of January 2006, the FDA requires all food labels to list trans fats.

WebMD lists these food types on their website as potential sources of trans fat:

  • cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, and breads such as hamburger buns
  • some stick margarine and vegetable shortening
  • pre-mixed cake mixes, pancake mixes, and chocolate drink mixes
  • fried foods, including donuts, French fries, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells
  • snack foods, including chips, candy, and packaged or microwave popcorn
  • frozen dinners
In conclusion, this study barely scratches the surface of the affects of trans fats in brain aging and is not without criticism. For instance, one critic states that the study was done mostly on well educated white people. There is a call for a more diverse population to be studied. It does however, seem to fit in with recent research that diet has a definite affect on cognitive function in the aging brain.

Avatar Kinect for Healthcare

While the developers are diving into the recently released Kinect SDK for PC after a slew of Kinect hacks since its launch, Microsoft Research has developed a great adaptation of Avatar Kinect for healthcare implementations.

avatar-kinect-for-healthcare

The concept prototype was demoed by Craig Mundie at Pacific Health Summit in Seattle last week. The goal of the Pacific Health Summit is to connect science, industry, and policy for a healthier world. Incidentally, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a partner at the event.

Craig talked about the advances in technology that help drive revolutionary changes in healthcare around the world. He illustrated several examples from the healthcare industry that extend resources beyond the traditional health facilities and the ones that help analyze patient data. Microsoft has worked with the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. to undertake a study to uncover patterns in the data and calculate risk factors for patients from massive amounts of clinical data.

The futuristic prototype health-care application that Craig demoed is based on Avatar Kinect. Avatar Kinect is a soon-to-be released virtual conferencing technology for Xbox using Kinect’s motion sensor originally  shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011. Craig’s demo had a hypothetical example of a support group for people with diabetes, meeting virtually using the technology. Avatar Kinect allows you to create your cartoon-style representations of people with realistic facial expressions and motions controlled in real time through natural movement and speech.

Although the demo looked awesome, Craig Mundie did not divulge any dates or timelines to bring this product to the healthcare industry.

Deadly New E.coli Strain That Causes Kidney Failure Spreading Through Europe and America

It’s a bacterium wrecking havoc again! The all-too-common E.coli strain is again responsible for creating the panic of an epidemic across Europe and maybe extending to countries like India, which have been kept on high alert. The E.coli strain is a Shiga toxin producing strain and it has already infected 1800 people across 12 countries, with the toll rising. The bacteria causes acute renal failure, due to a condition medically known as haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

India has been put on high alert, following the alarm from Europe. All Indian ports have been asked to monitor any imported grains, vegetables and fruits from anywhere in the world. Germany was the first to report an incident, followed by Austria, Denmark, Norway, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain, Spain, Czech Republic, Netherlands and the United States. The bacteria has claimed 17 lives so far in Europe.

E.coli is a bacterial species known for fast reproduction rates and its ability to mutate with other resistant strains of bacteria to produce superbugs‘. The current strain produces a toxin that causes infection in the various parts of the gastrointestinal (stomach and intestines) system, extending into the hepato-renal (liver and kidney) system. The HUS is characterized by renal failure, aneaemia, and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), reports WHO. Symptoms are gastrointestinal in nature, mostly severe bloody diarrhoea, but without fever.

Currently, there is no cure for the bacteria. WHO says that this strain this strain of E coli “is a unique strain that has never been isolated from patients before. It may also be more virulent than many other isolated strains.

Fatality is not the real fear, with only an estimated 3-5% of the patients dying. We recommend that if you experience any of these symptoms diarrhoea, even mild go to a doctor. The bacteria needs a 3-4 day incubation time before becoming really deadly, so it’s best to prevent than to cure.

WHO has not pressed the panic button just yet, but the spread of the bacteria is alarming. There is also a chance that it may mutate into something deadlier!

Stay safe.

Ticking Timebomb: WHO Warns of Excessive Drug Use Against Microbes

WHO sounded alarm bells about Anti Microbial Resistance (AMR) this past World Health Day on April 7th and the warning is not early. This was writ large for a long time. Excessive prescription of antibiotics and, that too, in high doses are making microbes change faster than the speed of drug research. WHO warned of an imminent ‘pre-antibiotic age’, when we will be stuck with a large number of different, but ineffectual, antibiotics.

WHO poster for 2011 World Health Day

The threat is especially severe for diseases that spread through the air, water or vector agents. It has long been predicted that TB will develop resistance and the conventional drugs will not work in normal doses. Very high doses may harm the patient more that the bacteria itself, or may have some severe side-effects.

Bacterial strains, like Escherichia coli (E.coli), have already been observed developing medicinal resistance at conventional antibiotic doses. E.coli can mutate with amazing speed. They can go through about 20 generations in four hours, given an aerobic (i.e. oxygen-rich) environment and enough food (glucose). Scientists have observed that about 200 generations are enough for a potentially deadly strain to develop, a feat that E.coli can achieve in 2 days.

E Coli
Escherichia coli (E.coli)

Many antibiotics adhere to the bacterial cell wall and slowly break it down. Bacteria change (or, rather, evolve) their cell wall composition slightly  disallowing the adhesion, thus become immune. A greater fear is the crossing of genes amongst different bacterial strains producing a strain to which the human immune system has no response. This happened in the case of SARS, although that was a virus at work. E.coli has frequently been observed to cross with highly resistant Salmonella strains.

Multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains are also emerging at an alarming pace. A staggering 440 000 cases of MDR-TB are reported annually causing 150 000 deaths in 64 countries worldwide, according to WHO.

WHO says

AMR threatens a return to the pre-antibiotic era — Many infectious diseases risk becoming uncontrollable and could derail the progress made towards reaching the targets of the health-related United Nations Millennium Development Goals set for 2015.

The first response to this threat is the judicial prescription of drugs by medical practitioners. WHO called upon all who have any stake holding in the medical practice and requested for more responsible behavior. Citizens are also responsible for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Just as prevention is better than cure, an immune system is a better defense than any antibiotic.