Category Archives: health devices

Tablets Are A Health Hazard

Not the tablets that are taken by mouth…but the electronic kind.

What Happens To Artificial Body Parts When You Die?

Never gave a thought to this before, but with the advent of synthetic joints, titanium plates, heart pacemakers, heart valves and other surgical implants, there must be an increasing number of dead bodies with non-human parts.. so what happens to them?

In the case of body burials, quite often these parts remain unretrieved. Such would be the case in artificial hips and other difficult-to-remove surgical implants. I do know that a serious attempt attempt is made to remove cardiac pacemakers from a dead patient in some hospitals.

In the case of cremated bodies, such parts are retrievable among the ashes. In fact, there are companies which recycle metal implants from cremated human bodies. That’s everything from steel pins to titanium hips and cobalt-chrome knees.  In the US alone, there are quite a few companies which even use magnets to sort out the metallic parts from the cremated remains.

One such company, Orthometals, has been in the business for 15 years and recycles 250 tons of body parts annually. The company works by collecting the metal implants for nothing, sorting them and then selling them – taking care to see that they are melted down, rather than reused.

Now, with the rising trend in cremation, largely to save space and cost (in the US 40% of bodies are cremated, but the figure is going up), The retrieval of body-parts is also increasing. Another reason given for the increase in cremation is socio-cultural. More and more families feel that, instead of visiting deceased relatives year after year, they would rather scatter the ashes and be left with no obligations after that.

 

And Now..Electronic Eyeglasses

Once in a while, wonderful blockbuster devices make their way into our lives..smartphones, iPads to name a few. And now… electronic eyeglasses are about to make its bow.

Soon to come - multifocal glasses that need charging

These glasses will be a major boon for those hitting their 40s, the time when longsightedness sets in. The usual remedy is to use bifocal lenses or no-line progressive lenses. But such glasses have a drawback: the lenses that magnify fine print also blur objects more than an arm’s length away when a wearer looks down, distorting the view when on a staircase, for example, or when swinging at a golf ball.

Enter the emPower glasses – spectacles  with an unusual insert in the bottom part of the lenses: liquid crystals, cousins to the familiar ones in LCD television displays. The crystals change how the lenses refract or bend light, just as varying levels of thickness do in traditional glasses. To call up reading power in the new glasses, users touch the side of the frame. Batteries in the frame send along a current that changes the orientation of molecules in the crystals. Touch the side of the frame again, and the reading power disappears. Turn it off to hit a golf ball; turn it on to read the scorecard.

Because they use batteries, they need to be recharged, in the same way as smartphones. Each charge lasts 2-3 days.

The glasses, made by PixelOptics in Roanoke, Virginia,USA, will be on the market in a few months.

The cost? about US$1,000 to $1,200,  including frames, lenses, coatings and charger. Not one for those who keep losing their glasses!

Don’t You Make Your Brown Eyes Blue

Opticians have warned that the current trend of young adults wearing colored contact lenses could damage their eyes. Inspired by Lady Gaga in her video “Bad Romance” (see below), thousands have now  bought these contact lenses from foreign websites for around USD 30, without an eye examination or a prescription. Popular with teenage girls and women in their twenties, they imitate the round, oversize eyes of Japanese anime characters.

Eye specialists worldwide are expressing concern that people are buying online without proper fitting as all eyes are not of the same shape and size.  The lenses could fit too tightly. That could decrease the amount of oxygen reaching the eye and if untreated, the blood vessels can grow through the line of sight, causing permanent vision impairment.

A bewildering range of lenses are available - but never buy them online

Other possible dangers include allergic reactions, corneal ulcers, corneal scarring and abnormal blood vessel growth in the cornea (which can cause permanent blindness).

Corneal Ulcers - the most dreaded complication of wearing contact lenses - can lead to permanent blindness

 

However, eye specialists seem not to be too concerned if these lenses are prescribed by opticians, after due examination and measurements have been undertaken.

The Doctor Will Now See Your Apps

Sceptics poo-poohed the advent of the iPad as a marketing gimmick, but when you consider more than 4 million have been sold and that PC sales are being affected, you know you’re on to a new tech wonder;.. I was impressed by the number of apps (short for applications) available for healthcare..and free too!

Top of the list and a must-have (and free!) is the layperson’s almanac on what condition he might be suffering from.

WebMD allows you to key in various data and comes up with a list of likely afflictions. Not only that, it allows you to see what drugs have been prescribed and what the possible effects (and side-effects) are. One customer review exclaimed “Helped save my wife’s life!”  but I would be happy if it would educate the patient what to expect before visiting the doctor.

Another useful app for diabetics (again free) is WaveSense Diabetes Manager, which allows you to fill in your glucose results, carb intake, and insulin doses. It then will plot a chart and graph to show your doctor at the next visit.

If you are keen on keeping track of the foods consumed and knowing the total calories consumed, then go for Go Meals. I was quite impressed with this one which fills you up with calorie values of foods, mainly fast foods at the moment though.

How about if you’re a blood pressure patient and wanted to impress your doctor with a graph tracking your BP readings? Take a look at Blood Pressure +Pulse Grapher Lite.

At the rate new apps are being offered, the iPad (and iPhone) looks like overwhelming the more traditional ones on the PC and Blackberry and will make iPad users have difficulty switching off. By the way, even when off, the iPad screen makes a good substitute for a vanity mirror!

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