Research Funded by Coca-Cola Says Its Drinks Don’t Exacerbate Obesity Epidemic Aug26

Research Funded by Coca-Cola Says Its Drinks Don’t Exacerbate Obesity Epidemic...

The average American adult drinks about 500 cans of soda each year. That’s about 52 pounds of sugar being consumed in soft drinks alone. If a person drinks only one soda per day for a year — nearly half the average — they’d still guzzle down more than 35 pounds of sugar. Consequently, one soda per day for a year can lead to a weight gain of 15 pounds. Studies have also identified sodas as key contributors to other such chronic health conditions as type-2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Coca-Cola, however, says its drinks don’t cause obesity. Or at least the studies funded by Coca-Cola do. The New York Times reports that the beverage behemoth has donated millions over the past several years to the Global Energy Balance Network, a nonprofit organization focused on redirecting America’s obesity conversation from caloric consumption to exercise habits. In other words, Coca-Cola has been funding research that says people can keep eating and drinking whatever they want — they just have to exercise more. “Coca-Cola’s agenda here is very clear: Get these researchers to confuse the science and deflect attention from dietary intake,” Marion Nestle, a New York University professor of nutrition, told the New York Times. Most nutrition journals require researchers to disclose where their funding came from, for transparency’s sake. The studies Coca-Cola has sponsored almost invariably report sugary drinks have no links to diabetes, question the validity of the studies that do make this claim, and — as is the case with the Global Energy Balance Network — find that increasing activity is the most important part in fighting obesity. Analyses of studies that Coca-Cola or its trade association has funded shows that they’re 83% more likely to produce results suggesting that consuming soda...

New Study Finds Hope for Paralysis Treatment with Electrical Muscle Stimulation Aug25

New Study Finds Hope for Paralysis Treatment with Electrical Muscle Stimulation...

A new form of non-invasive spinal cord stimulation is giving hope to millions of paralyzed people who yearn for a day where treatment doesn’t involve painful surgeries. According to Neurology Advisor, the technology, known as “transcutaneous stimulation,” uses electrodes placed on the lower back to deliver electrical currents to the spinal cord. It is the first proven example of non-invasive spinal cord stimulation to allow paralyzed people to make “step-like movements” while suspended in air. “These encouraging results provide continued evidence that spinal cord injury may no longer mean a life-long sentence of paralysis,” said Roderic Pettigrew, director of the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH. “It’s a wonderful example of the power that comes from combining advances in basic biological research with technological innovation.” The treatment is also good news for those seeking back pain relief through electrical muscle stimulation. The cervical spine supports the full weight of your head, which can be up to 12 pounds, and back pain is often the result of spinal problems. The hope is that these non-invasive treatments will offer the same promising results to people aren’t paralyzed, but who nevertheless experience debilitating pain. The news hits close to home for many Utah residents who struggle from or know somebody with paralysis. According to the Deseret News, similar technology enabled a Utah man to stand up on his own after being paralyzed for five years as the result of a car accident. At the beginning of the study, movements in the subjects were noted to be involuntarily only. However, as the treatment progressed, the subjects could make voluntary movements with their legs, eventually enabling them to move voluntarily without stimulation at the end of the study. “It’s as if we’ve reawakened some networks so...

Researchers Look to Explore Stem Cell Possibilities for Spinal Cord Injuries Aug20

Researchers Look to Explore Stem Cell Possibilities for Spinal Cord Injuries...

Researchers at Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center are currently exploring new forms of therapy that would use stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. According to News-Medical.net, Rush is the second research center in the country to undertake stem cell research for spinal cord injuries. If successful, the therapy would inject a population of cells, derived from human embryonic stem cells, into a patient’s spinal cord where the injury took place. Stem cells would support nerve cells in the spinal cord and allow them to function better. This would give patients improved sensory and motor function throughout their bodies, potentially even preventing paralysis. For patients with spinal cord injuries, this would be life-changing. Currently, there are no treatment methods available that can reverse the damage of a spinal cord injury — even though more than 12,000 people suffer these injuries annually, with 1.3 million Americans living with a spinal cord injury every day. “These injuries can be devastating, causing both emotional and physical distress, but there is now hope,” said Dr. Richard G. Fessler, professor of neurological surgery at Rush University Medical Center. “This is a new era where we are now able to test whether a dose of stem cells delivered directly to the injured site can have an impact on motor or sensory function.” These spinal treatments would only be effective within the first 14 to 30 days of injury. In the future, Fessler explained, stem cell therapy could be used to treat conditions like multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). “Finding a cure for spinal cord injuries is the Holy Grail of spine surgeons,” says James R. Rappaport, MD, Sierra Regional Spine Institute. “Stem cells hold great promise as they have been proven successful in curing animals with paraplegia. This...

Children Who Are Picky Eaters Are More Likely to Have Mental Health Issues Later On Aug13

Children Who Are Picky Eaters Are More Likely to Have Mental Health Issues Later On...

There are a ton of weird things out there that can make people feel depressed. Take, for example, interior design — one study found that 14% of people said that their home furnishings actually make them feel gloomy. White bread and rice can, as new research suggests that they could increase the risk of depression in older women. And picky eating? A new study published in the journal Pediatrics suggests that picky eating isn’t a normal behavior, and could hint at future mental health issues. Kids who are selective eaters are more likely to develop anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to the study. Lead researcher Nancy Zucker said that about 3% of kids suffer from severe selective eating to the extent that they can’t dine out at restaurants. These children are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression or social anxiety in comparison to the kids who’ll eat anything, according to the study’s findings. Even children who are moderately picky eaters — the ones who have about 10 foods that they’ll never have a problem eating — are at an increased risk of anxiety and ADHD, but not to the extent that they can be diagnosed with a disorder. Duke University researchers note in their paper that although it’s not clear how or why picky eating may be linked to these conditions, it could be that picky eaters have heightened sensory experiences overall are also more sensitive to the food they eat. In other words, picky eating and mental health issues could be two issues caused by the same problem. “They have a stronger sensitivity to the world outside and to how their body feels,” said Zucker. “That sets them up to have more vivid experiences —...

How the New Google Glass App is Helping Those With Autism Aug12

How the New Google Glass App is Helping Those With Autism...

Autism is a neural development disorder that affects individuals’ cognitive understanding; common characteristics of the disorder include difficulty with eye contact, social communication, and understanding others’ emotions. Dr. Ned Sahin, a Boston scientist and entrepreneur, wants to help change how people with autism see the world. In July, Sahin released the “Brain Power System,” a software application for Google Glass devices that aims to help people with autism improve their eye contact and conversation, and have better social interactions. “Brain Power” simply adds enhancements to the pre-existing Google Glass system, a wearable eyewear technology that has had limited prototypes available since 2013. To help teach the wearer to maintain eye contact, the software “coaches” and encourages them whenever eye contact is made. When the wearer looks at another person, the app also shows them what emotion they are feeling. For individuals with autism, this will be a revolutionary and vital tool for engaging in conversation and understanding emotional contexts within conversations. The software can even soothe the wearer by playing soft music during times of stress or panic. Since individuals with autism often have difficulty communicating their needs, this can often lead to increased levels of stress and will result in panic attacks or fits. Those with autism are also prone to wandering, which can prove dangerous when they are out of sight of a parent or caretaker and in an uncontrolled or unsafe environment. To combat this, Sahin offers parents a remote visual camera that allows them to speak to their children directly through the Google Glass software, and allows them to see from their child’s perspective. Dr. Sahin’s new software has the potential to change the way people with autism see the world, making it easier for them to navigate social situations...

Research Claims Texting Can Alleviate Pain Aug07

Research Claims Texting Can Alleviate Pain...

Pain is a serious problem, affecting more American citizens than heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined. A recent report from Fusion.net thinks that there might be a very unique cure for pain: texting. According to a new study from the Clinical Journal of Pain, a supportive text message received by patients with chronic pain significantly lowered their pain levels. Lead author of the study Jamie Guillory, a researcher with RTI International, told Fusion that “just receiving two messages a day that included simple, encouraging phrases was enough to decrease perceived pain levels in chronic pain patients.” However, the study has a catch. It works much better for patients that have a large social circle, like people who are married. Guillory points out: “Married participants had higher perceived levels of social support at the beginning of the experiment, which is consistent with previous studies that show married people to have easier access to social support and larger support networks.” In the 67 study participants, ages 30 to 80, receiving text messages did not effect those who were single, divorced, or widowed nearly as intensely. That being said, it did still work. Guillory clarifies: “Our findings suggest that similar messages sent by friends or loved ones could also have pain attenuating effects.” The study main finding is that a display of emotional support from a loved one can substantially help to alleviate pain. These kinds of connections not only decrease the physical pain itself, but also the patient’s perception of the pain as well, as documented through surveys throughout the day of their pain levels. Guillory has also published a study claiming that patients undergoing surgery require less pain treatment while actively texting. Texting actively distracts the brain from focusing on the pain, and using that...