Bionic Man: Controls Artificial Leg with his Thoughts

 Bionic Man: Controls Artificial Leg with his Thoughts

For the first time ever, doctors have developed an artificial leg that is controlled by the person’s thoughts. And it happened here at the Rehabilitation Institute Of Chicago (RIC).

“So I move my leg out, push the toes down and bring my toes back up,” said Zac Vawter, the first man in the nation to have a so-called bionic leg.

He is able to make these movements just like people with a fully functioning leg do: With his thoughts.

In 2009, Vawter lost his right leg from above the knee down in a motorcycle accident. His bionic leg allows him to bend his knee and move his ankle. “It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s neat. It’s intuitive. It puts energy into me walking and moving around.” With a regular prosthetic leg, movement like this isn’t possible.

So how does this all work?

Two nerves in Vawter’s leg were rewired to his hamstring muscle.  Those nerves communicate with the sensors inside the prosthetic leg socket. The sensors send a message to a computer. “So when he thinks about straightening or bending his knee, this computer can detect that and tell the knee to bend or to straighten,” Dr. Annie Simon, Biomedical Engineer at the RIC.

A team, headed by Dr. Levi Hargrove, spent four years perfecting the technology Vawter is using. “He’s giving back so much,” Hargrove said. “He’s taken a less than ideal situation and made the most of it and he’s helping potentially, millions of people.”

Vawter, a software engineer, knew about RIC’s bionic research. He never thought one day, that technology would be used to help him walk. Bionic Man: Controls Artificial Leg with his Thoughts

“RIC is really pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with prosthetics and it’s exciting to contribute to that and to help them push forward into new areas of research,” Vawter said.

RIC research is funded through an $8 million grant from the U.S. Army with a goal of creating better prosthetic limbs.

More than 1,200 soldiers have had lower limb amputations from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.



NY 5 year old girl, saves mom’s life

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 A 5-year-old Long Island girl is credited with saving her mother’s life.

Authority’s say Jillian Given was “calm and collected” when she dialed 911 and told a dispatcher her mother was diabetic and had passed out.

Jillian told the dispatcher she was 5 years old and had tried to call her father but didn’t get him.

The incident occurred on Sept. 16.

She said her mother, Elisabeth Given, was breathing but not awake.

Nesconset fire department assistant chief John Martins tells Newsday he’s never seen a 5 year old “as well-versed and as calm as she was.”

Given is a registered nurse and diabetes educator. She says she had coached Jillian on emergencies.

The family on Wednesday thanked officials who responded to Jillian’s call.


5 Exercises You Should Never Do

 5 Exercises You Should Never Do

1. Behind-the-Head Lat Pulldowns

In the “old days,” people were actually taught to pull the bar behind their heads when doing a lat pulldown exercise—and many people still do that today. Bad idea. The problem? Only people with extremely flexible shoulder joints can do this behind-the-head movement safely, and even they have to be very careful about not hitting the back of their necks with the bar. In addition, almost anyone who spends their days deskbound is likely to have rounded shoulders or poor posture—a symptom of poor shoulder flexibility (among other things), making this exercise a no-no.

Good Pulldown w 5 Exercises You Should Never DoThe Alternative: You can still work your lats without the risk of behind-the-head pulldowns by pulling the bar down in front of you. Sit with your spine straight, abs pulled in, and then lean your torso back slightly, keeping your spine straight. Pull the bar down towards your chest, but not below your collar bone.

bad squat2 w 5 Exercises You Should Never Do2. Squats or Leg Presses with Deep Knee Bends
Whether you’re doing basic squats on your own or using a leg press machine, it can be very dangerous to bend your knees too deeply. The Problem? When your knees bend too deeply, your spine cannot maintain proper alignment. When that happens, the pelvis tilts and the lower back begins to take over, increasing the risk of strain to your lower back muscles or damage to spinal discs. In addition, bending your knees too deeply can injure or damage your knees, especially if you have knee problems.

good squat w 5 Exercises You Should Never DoThe Alternatives: Squats and leg presses are generally safe and effective when done properly. But you should never bend your knees or hips more than 90 degrees during these exercises. Here’s an example of proper form when doing a leg press machine, but this can apply to squats with a barbell, and the sled machine, too.

bad extension w 5 Exercises You Should Never Do3. Seated Leg Extensions
This is a very popular exercise for targeting the muscles on the front of your thighs (quadriceps). The Problem? This exercise poses major risks to the knees. Lifting heavy weights in this position (with all the resistance focused at your ankles), is not what the knee was designed to do. If you have any kind of knee problem, or use a too much resistance during this exercise, you can easily run into big trouble.

good sled w 5 Exercises You Should Never DoThe Alternatives: Simple squats and lunges, with or without added weight, will work your thigh muscles naturally, safely and effectively. If you want to expand on these exercises (to develop explosive force for sports like soccer, basketball, or volleyball, for example), try sport-specific plyometrics. If you can’t do lunges and squats because you lack the leg strength, start with simple ball squats or modified “mini” lunges, and only lower yourself part way, gradually increasing your range of motion as you get stronger.

Bad Adduction w 5 Exercises You Should Never Do4. Inner and Outer Thigh Machine Exercises
These machines are pretty popular in most gyms. Both involve sitting with your knees bent in front of you. The adduction machine is designed to target the muscles of the inner thighs, and the abduction machine helps target the outer thigh muscles. The Problem? Using your inner and outer thighs to lift weight while in a seated position puts you at risk of straining these relatively small muscles and aggravating lower back and hip problems. In addition, your inner and outer thigh muscles are designed to support movement, not to be prime movers like they are in these types of exercises.

good adduction w 5 Exercises You Should Never DoThe Alternatives: The best way to target these muscles safely is with body weight exercises, such as standing adduction, standing abduction, lying adduction andabduction exercises, Pilates exercises, or similar movements that use resistance bands or the cable cross machines. Always start with a weight you know you can handle, and add resistance gradually.

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Portable devices save lives in sudden cardiac arrests

2013 June 25 tech2 Portable devices save lives in sudden cardiac arrests Nimit Ahuja, a 35-year old software professional, was shopping at a mall when he suddenly collapsed. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. He had suffered from what doctors call a sudden cardiac arrest.

Cardiologists say young lives like these can be saved if there are facilities like Automated External Defibrillators (AED) available at public places in India. An AED is a portable device that can automatically diagnose a sudden cardiac arrest and help save life with the press of a button. It sends an electric shock to the heart to restore its normal rhythm and bring a person back from the verge of death.

“An AED, if used during a cardiac arrest within the first 4-6 minutes, can save more than 95 percent of lives,” Bipin Kumar Dubey, director, department of cardiology in the Rockland group of hospitals, told IANS.

“There should be at least one AED available at all public spaces like shopping malls and airports. The government should make it mandatory for builders to set up at least one AED in all public buildings,” he said.

Doctors said Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death and account for greater than 50 percent of cardiovascular deaths in India. More than 660,000 deaths occur every year in India alone as a result of SCA.

The SCA is a condition in which the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. If this happens, blood stops flowing to the brain and other vital organs.

Experts said people who have heart disease are at a higher risk for SCA. SCA can however happen in people who appear healthy and have no known heart disease or other risk factors like hypertension.

Ram E. Rajagopalan in the department of critical care medicine in Sundaram Medical Foundation of Chennai said if an AED is used on a patient suffering with a sudden cardiac arrest his chances of survival will grow by more than 60 percent.

“We definitely need the common man to be aware of what an AED is, as anyone anywhere with access to an AED can save a life,” Rajagopalan told IANS.

Lamenting that very few people know how to respond to emergency situations like SCAs in India, Anil Bansal, chief cardiologist at Columbia Asia Hospital in Gurgaon, said people have to be trained to use an AED.

“The need of the hour is to make AED devices available at all public spaces and to train people on how to use them,” he added.

A recent study in medical journal Lancet said that by 2010, 60 percent of the world’s heart patients would be in India.

As per World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, mortality due to cardiac causes has overtaken mortality due to all cancers put together across the world.

Source : Zee News

Ten worst cities for people with fall allergies

Wichita ranked No. 1 in the 2013 Fall Allergy Capitals report, out Tuesday from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The report compares the most challenging U.S. cities to live in for people with fall allergies.

The primary allergy trigger this fall will be ragweed pollen, says the not-for-profit organization, based in Landover, Md. It says outdoor mold also will be a problem because it continues to grow and is likely to be spread by fall weather and wind patterns.

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The foundation looked at the 100 most populated, consolidated metropolitan statistical areas in the continental USA. The ranking is based on pollen scores, number of allergy medications used per patient, and number of board-certified allergists per patient. The report was sponsored by Dymista, a prescription nasal spray for relief of allergy symptoms.

An interactive map of the 100 cities is available at, along with resources for patients and doctors.

After Wichita, the highest-ranked cities are Jackson, Miss., and Knoxville, Tenn.

The top cities are “places where ragweed thrives,” says Mike Tringale, vice president of external affairs at AAFA. “In addition, there is some crossover — some grasses are still pollinating.”

A couple of major metropolitan areas jumped in the ranking. Dallas climbed from No. 26 last fall to No. 18 this fall, and Detroit moved up nine spots, to No. 19.

“Ragweed grows in urban areas, such as in cracks in sidewalks, along sides of roads and on roofs of buildings,” Tringale says.

“AAFA encourages the approximately 40 million Americans who suffer from seasonal allergies to learn more and consult an allergy specialist for proper diagnosis and treatment of seasonal allergy symptoms,” he says.

The ranking is not meant to get people packing their bags, he says. “Don’t move; improve. Improve your understanding of your diagnosis and your treatment. Improve your knowledge about how to avoid allergy triggers and reduce allergens in your home.”

“Allergies are bad everywhere,” says Michael Kaliner, medical director of the Institute for Asthma and Allergy, which has offices in Chevy Chase and Wheaton, Md. “If allergies are left untreated or treated with the wrong medication, it can cause some serious complications.”

Top 10 worst cities for fall allergies

1. Wichita

2. Jackson, Miss.

3. Knoxville, Tenn.

4. Louisville

5. Memphis

6. McAllen, Texas

7. Baton Rouge

8. Dayton, Ohio

9. Chattanooga, Tenn.

10. Oklahoma City


A Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger

Some people as old as 80, the researchers say, begin to show neurological patterns of people in their 20s.

Brain scientists have discovered that swerving around cars while simultaneously picking out road signs in a video game can improve the short-term memory and long-term focus of older adults.

AnnLinsley A Video Game Makes Old Brains Act Younger

  Cognitive scientists say the findings, to be published Thursday in the scientific journal Nature, are a significant development in understanding how to strengthen older brains. That is because the improvements in brain performance did not come just within the game but were shown outside the game in other cognitive tasks.

  Further supporting the findings, the researchers were able to measure and show changes in brain wave activity, suggesting that this research could help understand what neurological mechanisms should and could be tinkered with to improve memory and attention.

  The research “shows you can take older people who aren’t functioning well and make them cognitively younger through this training,” said Earl K. Miller, a neuroscientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who was not affiliated with the research. “It’s a very big deal.”

  The study highlights an emerging field in which researchers are trying to better define and even expand the limits of attention, which is seen as crucial to performance, memory and intelligence. Previous studies, done at the University of Rochester and focused more on young people, show that heavy use of certain off-the-shelf, intense shooting games can lead to improvements in a user’s ability to ignore distractions, and even learn.

  Daphne Bavelier, who led that research, cautioned that the field was young, and that brain training could have side effects, like changing how the brain functions for the worse.

  “We know we can rewire the brain, but the challenge is how to do it properly,” she said. “We’re in the primitive age of brain training.”

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1 in 500 patients wakes up on operating table

One of the most disturbing surgical complications is also frighteningly common: As many as 1 in every 500 patients wakes up on the operating table and is at least dimly aware of what’s happening, according to a new survey of doctors.

The findings, published in the British Journal of Anesthesia, noted most patients say they are not distressed by the experience because they feel no pain and are not fully awake or aware of the circumstances.

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But lead researcher Jaideep Pandit, an Oxford University anesthetist, said it happens far more frequently than past research has suggested. One reason: Only 1 in 15,000 patients who can remember at least some aspects of an operation mentions the experience to the doctor afterwards.

The experiences recalled by the patients: Vague awareness of conversations among the staff in the operating room and even the knife on their skin (but no pain).

“The difference between the incidence of one in 500 and one in 15,000 suggests that even in the rare cases where patients are experiencing awareness, in most cases, the sensation is a ‘neutral’ one,” Pandit told the Independent on Sunday.

“What we are possibly seeing is a third state of consciousness — dysanaesthesia — in which the patient is certainly aware of events but not concerned by this knowledge, especially as they are not in pain.”

He added that problems in the way the anesthetic is given or even by genetic variation among surgical patients may cause some to react differently to the drugs.

For the survey, Pandit polled more than 7,100 anesthesiologists at 329 British hospitals.