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Category Archives: health and fitness

Jumping out of a plane and soaring like an eagle while wearing a wingsuit isn’t for the faint of heart. But trying to hit a stationary target atop a mountain while flying at 120 miles per hour requires a whole other level of bravery, and maybe a dash of crazy? Whatever it takes, Miles Daisher makes it look like it’s a stunt he’s tried a thousand times before. 

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The latest surgeon general’s reporton the health effects of smoking — issued at the 50th anniversary of the pathbreaking 1964 report — offers astonishing new evidence of just how much harm tobacco is causing. Despite the many gains in reducing risks over the past half-century, researchers keep finding new and insidious ways in which smoking is harming the smokers themselves and nonsmokers who breathe in toxic fumes.The report, issued last Friday, finds that cigarette smoking kills even more Americans than previously estimated (about 480,000 a year, up from 443,000), and is a cause, though not necessarily the major cause, of even more diseases than previously recognized, including liver and colorectal cancers. These add to the long list of other cancers caused by smoking, as well as rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments. The report newly identifies exposure to secondhand smoke as a cause of strokes.The report estimates that smoking costs the United States between $289 billion and $333 billion a year for medical care and lost productivity, well above the previous estimate of $193 billion.Most shocking, the report finds that today’s smokers have a much higher risk for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than smokers in 1964, despite smoking fewer cigarettes.It reports that the risk of developing adenocarcinoma of the lung, the most common type of lung cancer, has increased substantially over the past several decades because of changes in the design and composition of cigarettes. These include ventilated filters that lead to more puffing of noxious materials and blended tobaccos that contain carcinogenic nitrosamines.There is no doubt who is to blame for this mess, the report says. It is the tobacco industry, which “aggressively markets and promotes lethal and addictive products,” continues to recruit youth and young adults as new customers, and has “deliberately misled the public on the risks of smoking cigarettes.”

Google’s come a long way from web search and email, but every now and again the company still manages to announce a product or service that will take us totally by surprise. The company last night announced that its latest endeavor is a smart contact lens aimed at those suffering with diabetes. This contact lens will help diabetes patients by removing the need to constantly check blood sugar via a prick of the finger. Google hopes to use miniature chips and an antenna thinner than human hair to measure tear glucose. 

After exploring one possible compound I was quite relaxed and sleepily inebriated for an hour or so, then within minutes of taking the antidote I was up giving a lecture with no impairment whatsoever.Nutt says the new as-of-yet-undetailed booze compounds work by more specifically targeting subsystems of the neurotransmitter system that produces the familiar relaxing feeling in response to taking in a few cocktails: “So in theory we can make an alcohol surrogate that makes people feel relaxed and sociable and remove the unwanted effects, such as aggression and addictiveness.”

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The FitnessSHIRT captures several cardio-related metrics and sends them wirelessly to a mobile device or PC.(Credit: Fraunhofer IIS)There’s an old Swedish saying that cyclists often like to paraphrase: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. Now, a new smart shirt seems to suggest that, indeed, clothing has the potential to not only affect how we weather the weather, but how we maintain our health, too.The FitnessSHIRT, which was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen, Germany, may be available sometime in the next year. It uses conductive textile electrodes integrated into its material to capture cardio activity — including breathing, pulse, and changes in heart rate. The shirt employs an elastic band designed to sense chest movements associated with breathing.

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With all the hoopla over smartwatches, Google Glass, and wearable computing, you’d think the revolution had already happened. Still, the holiday shopping season is getting near. Should wearables be on your list?

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A new five-year pilot study has shown that lifestyle changes, like an improved diet, exercise, and stress management, may help reverse aging processes at the cellular level. But as exciting as this finding is, we’re still far from the proverbial fountain of youth.

The study, which now appears in The Lancet Oncology, was conducted by a pair of heavy hitting scientists, namely Dean Ornish — who’s made a career of demonstrating the benefits of comprehensive lifestyle changes in diet, exercise, stress management, and social support — and Elizabeth Blackburn, who won the Nobel Prize for her discovery of telomeres and their relation to the aging process.

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That Saturday morning, 100 days ago from today, I got out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. I looked at myself in the mirror and stood on the bathroom scales. The needle swung round and pointed to 20st 1lb (281lbs / 127.5kg). I’d stood on the scales at the pub the night before as part of my self-deprecation (a ‘guess my weight’ bet – they lost). On those pub scales the needle hit the stopper. My weight had literally gone off-the-scale.

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Bugs that lurk in the guts of slim people could be turned into radical new therapies to treat obesity, according to a new study.The claim follows a series of experiments which found that the different populations of bacteria that live in lean and overweight people caused mice to lose or gain weight.

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