Tag Archives: medical

Has The Star Trek Tricorder Finally Arrived?

16 Apr
*SQUEEEEE*
OMG OMG OMG OMG
I want it.
I want it now.
Live long and prosper, fellow nerds

By Frank SimonsPosted 2012/04/13 at 4:56 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 13, 2012 (Reuters) — Starships, warp speed, transporters, phasers. Think “Star Trek” technology is only the stuff of fiction? Think again.

Dr. Peter Jansen, a PhD graduate of the Cognitive Science Laboratory at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has developed a scientific measurement device based on the tricorders used by Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy and other space adventurers on the classic TV series that has spawned numerous spin-offs in more than 45 years.

“Star Trek inspired me to be a scientist” said Jansen, who has been formally working on his tricorder prototypes since 2007, but toying with the idea of making a functioning device since he was “a kid in high school.” The 29-year-old Jansen’s school days spanned the late 1990s when “Star Trek: Voyager” was on the air. It featured his favorite tricorder, a model with screens on top and bottom. The first tricorder appeared on the original show’s initial episode in 1966, when Capt. Kirk swaggered toward audiences with his phaser weapon holstered to his side but a tricorder in his hand. The hand-held devices for data sensing, analysis and recording, have been a part of “Star Trek” ever since. But if Jansen, a self-confessed “addicted maker” of things, is successful at developing, testing and bringing his instrument into the public, the tricorder may not be just the stuff of “Star Trek” prop rooms. It may be used for real. Jansen said his tricorder can take atmospheric measurements, or ambient temperature, pressure or humidity. It can take electromagnetic measurements to test magnetic fields, and it can make spatial measurements of distance, location, or motion.

 Fascinating, as Spock might say.

Jansen thinks of his tricorder as a “general tool” — a kind of “Swiss Army Knife” — with practical uses in building inspection, for instance, where it might help taking temperature and humidity readings or be a distance sensor to measure rooms. It resembles the device carried by countless “Away Team” members in “Star Trek – The Next Generation” – his favorite of the “Star Trek” shows, he notes.

NO SCIENCE FICTION

No independent group has yet verified his claims for the device which, he said, is one reason for placing his designs on a public website as an “open source” that technology makers can utilize to test and tinker. Jansen has posted schematics and designs of his first and second prototypes, the Mark 1 and Mark 2, for anyone to see and build. Jansen expects to have his latest version, the Mark 4, produced for “about $200.”

Everything you need to build one is online at www.tricorderproject.org, according Jansen. He hopes others will follow his lead.

While it may sound like the stuff of science fiction, Jansen isn’t the only one to take notice of just how useful a real functioning tricorder would be – especially as a medical tool. Telecommunications giant Qualcomm Inc this year launched the “Tricorder X-Prize Contest” with the slogan “Healthcare in the palm of your hand.” Qualcomm hopes to motivate developers with a $10 million prize to make medical tricorders a reality.  Wanda Moebus of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, who is not affiliated with Jansen or Qualcomm, told Reuters the X-Prize “is really cool,” but cautioned that making a real medical tricorder device “would have to be measured on its safety and effect, like all other medical technologies.” Jansen said he has been approached by “a couple of teams” about the X Prize, but added that his prototypes are more for science research than medical tools.

Besides, he said he already is on to his next frontier, making a sort of “replicator,” another “Star Trek” device that will create 3D objects and foods that are dimensional copies of real items. Jansen’s “replicator” is a 3D printer, which in itself is not really new, but the scientist thinks about it in terms reminiscent of “Star Trek’s” famous prologue. It’s “like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Jansen said.

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Black Tea = Happy Heart

14 Mar

Black Tea Is Shown To Lower Blood Pressure


Western Australian tea drinkers are helping build evidence that black tea may aid in maintaining cardiovascular health — with local researchers showing three cups of black tea daily lowers blood pressure by 2 to 3mmHg.

Lead author Jonathon Hodgson from the University of Western Australia’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology says many studies have looked at black and green tea in relation to heart and vascular disease outcomes.

“Meta-analyses of these studies indicate that drinking more tea, compared to drinking less or no tea, is associated with about a 10 to 20 per cent lower risk of heart disease and stroke,” Prof Hodgson says.

Seeking to investigate if this association was causal, the team from UWA and researchers from Unilever, conducted the first human intervention study to look at black tea and blood pressure outcomes.

“There have been a number of human intervention studies looking at effects on vascular function, with reasonably consistent findings that tea can increase the relaxation of blood vessels — an outcome linked with blood pressure and risk of heart disease,” he says. “This was the first large study specifically designed and powered to look at blood pressure as the primary outcome.”

Ninety-five Australian participants aged between 35 and 75 were required to drink three cups of black tea or three cups of a placebo, with the same flavour and caffeine content as the tea, daily for six months. Using 24-hour blood pressure measurement taken at the end of the trial, the group found a reduction in the systolic and diastolic blood pressure of the tea-drinkers of between 2 and 3mmHg.


According to Prof Hodgson, while a reduction of 2 or 3mmHg is not large, it is still a valuable effect when combined with other interventions.

“If you put the effect of tea together with other dietary and lifestyle changes, such as weight loss or reduced salt and alcohol intake, you might get up to a 10mmHg reduction in blood pressure without drug therapy,” he says.

The group believe high flavonoid levels in black tea cause an increase in nitric oxide, a compound that acts on cells in blood vessel walls to cause relaxation, blood vessel dilation and, ultimately, a reduction in blood pressure. According to Prof Hodgson, the findings also show promise for those who prefer to not drink tea.

“You can get the same benefits if you eat enough of other flavonoid-rich foods such as apples, plums and red grapes — no tea required.”

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Quite a bit of research has been done over the years demonstrating the benefits of tea. So if the mood strikes you today, here is a handy dandy tea brewing chart. Drink tea and enjoy a happy heart ^_^

Skin Cell Gun Rocks My Damn Socks Off

13 Mar

Watch it. Watch it now! It’s incredible, and will hopefully save countless lives.