A man who lost part of his arm in a car crash has been trying it out, after doctors attached it to him using special wires. By the end of the experiment he could wiggle the robotic fingers, make a fist and grab objects with his new hand. It’s called the Life Hand. It has cost £2m and has taken the team five years to build.
Testing the new technology
After losing his forearm in a car crash, 26-year-old Pierpaolo Petruzziello agreed to participate in a one-month medical experiment to test out a robotic hand that can be controlled by a patient’s thoughts. Now, doctors say that the test run was successful, and may open the door for major developments to come.
More progress to come
Unlike most other prosthetics, this robot hand wasn’t implanted directly into Petruzziello, but was connected with a series of electrodes that were attached to the nerve endings on his severed arm.
The Associated Press reports that, at a press conference, the medical team played video footage of the patient controlling the hand’s actions with his mind as the device sat next to him. During the experiment, he learned to wiggle his fingers, make a fist, and grab objects. Said Petruzziello, “It felt almost the same as a real hand… you can’t imagine what they did to me.” Neurologist Paolo Maria Rossini jokingly added, “Some of the gestures cannot be disclosed because they were quite vulgar.” (Awesome.)
See the video here
This experience is very helpful for patients who have suffered only partial loss of a hand or arm
Other similar thought-controlled prosthetic experiments have been successful in the past, but all of those only worked when a limb was completely severed. Scientists hope that this development may offer solutions for patients who have suffered only partial loss of a hand or arm. Although the project lasted only a month, it was still the longest that electrodes had remained connected to a patient’s nervous system.
Further challenges ahead
Doctors acknowledge that the next challenge is to develop a more durable device that can function for years on end. It’s clear, though, that the significance of this particular success shouldn’t be downplayed. There may still be barriers to overcome, but if prosthetic science progresses as rapidly as it has, it should only be a matter of time before someone smashes through them — with a robotic fist or otherwise.
Meditation can help you become smarter. So just breathe..relax and read this article
Everyone knows that meditation reduces stress. But with the aid of advanced brain scanning technology, researchers are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain, changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus and improve memory.
One recent study found evidence that the daily practice of meditation thickened the parts of the brain’s cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, attention and memory. Sara Lazar, a research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, presented preliminary results last November that showed that the gray matter of 20 men and women who meditated for just 40 minutes a day was thicker than that of people who did not. Unlike in previous studies focusing on Buddhist monks, the subjects were Boston-area workers practicing a Western-style of meditation called mindfulness or insight meditation. “We showed for the first time that you don’t have to do it all day for similar results,” says Lazar. What’s more, her research suggests that meditation may slow the natural thinning of that section of the cortex that occurs with age.
The forms of meditation Lazar and other scientists are studying involve focusing on an image or sound or on one’s breathing. Though deceptively simple, the practice seems to exercise the parts of the brain that help us pay attention. “Attention is the key to learning, and meditation helps you voluntarily regulate it,” says Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin. Since 1992, he has collaborated with the Dalai Lama to study the brains of Tibetan monks, whom he calls “the Olympic athletes of meditation.” Using caps with electrical sensors placed on the monks’ heads, Davidson has picked up unusually powerful gamma waves that are better synchronized in the Tibetans than they are in novice meditators. Studies have linked this gamma-wave synchrony to increased awareness.
A quick nap or meditation?
Many people who meditate claim the practice restores their energy, allowing them to perform better at tasks that require attention and concentration. If so, wouldn’t a midday nap work just as well? No, says Bruce O’Hara, associate professor of biology at the University of Kentucky. In a study to be published this year, he had college students either meditate, sleep or watch TV. Then he tested them for what psychologists call psychomotor vigilance, asking them to hit a button when a light flashed on a screen. Those who had been taught to meditate performed 10% better—”a huge jump, statistically speaking,” says O’Hara. Those who snoozed did significantly worse. “What it means,” O’Hara theorizes, “is that meditation may restore synapses, much like sleep but without the initial grogginess.”
Firms jumping on the opportunity
Not surprisingly, given those results, a growing number of corporations—including Deutsche Bank, Google and Hughes Aircraft—offer meditation classes to their workers. Jeffrey Abramson, CEO of Tower Co., a Washington-based development firm, says 75% of his staff attend free classes in transcendental meditation. Making employees sharper is only one benefit; studies say meditation also improves productivity, in large part by preventing stress-related illness and reducing absenteeism.
Another benefit for employers: meditation seems to help regulate emotions, which in turn helps people get along. “One of the most important domains meditation acts upon is emotional intelligence—a set of skills far more consequential for life success than cognitive intelligence,” says Davidson. So, for a New Year’s resolution that can pay big dividends at home and at the office, try this: just breathe.
In this article we’ll just explain basic facts your need to know if you’re going to do weight lifting.
Why should I lift weights?
There are a lot of good reasons, especially if you’re a woman. Between the ages of 35 and 40, most women start losing bone mass, which can result in osteoporosis , the “brittle bone” disease. Weight training can help prevent that loss, or even reverse it. It also has more immediate benefits. Lifting weights can improve your balance and range of movement, help prevent exercise-related injuries, and help you lose weight and keep it off. After the first several months of training, you can also expect to see a 20 to 40 percent increase in your muscle strength, which translates into a lot less huffing and puffing when you carry the groceries, mow the lawn, or play sports.
What does a typical weight-training workout involve?
A good routine takes about 30 minutes, working all your muscle groups for a few minutes apiece. Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up activity, such as walking, jogging, or cycling; that gets the blood pumping to both your upper and lower body. Do a few light stretches as well.
The main portion of the workout is a series of exercises called repetitions. These exercises may vary depending on your strength and lifting power, but a good workout will include all ten of your body’s major muscle groups:
Should I use weight machines or free weights?
Either one is fine — or try both. Weight machines position your body specifically to work one muscle or muscle group. Machines are considered the most foolproof method for beginners, almost guaranteeing that you use the correct form, which helps prevent injuries.
Free weights are hand-held weights such as barbells and dumbbells. They allow you a greater variety of exercises and — when you learn to do them right — can give you an even better workout than machines. If you think about it, a machine keeps the weight in balance, while it’s up to you to stabilize a barbell while you’re lifting it. That means you use more muscles and get a more thorough workout. A good weight-lifting plan will usually incorporate both weight machines and free weights.
What’s the best weight-lifting technique?
It depends on your goals, but the key word for a safe and beneficial weight-training program is moderation. The most common mistake that beginners make is trying to lift too much too soon.
Beginners should start by lifting less weight for 10 to 15 repetitions, then progress to lifting more weight for 8 to 12 reps. Don’t hold the weight aloft for more than a few seconds. A good rule of thumb is to hold the weight in position for two counts, then slowly lower it for three to four counts. For most exercises, exhale when you lift, and inhale while you lower the weight. Generally, you’ll want to do three sets of repetitions for each muscle group.
When lifting, always bend from your knees. Move in slow, controlled movements; bouncing or jerking can hurt you. So can going too fast or trying to hold a weight too long. Rest in between sets, or if you’ve been working your chest muscles, do a leg exercise while your pectorals get a break. In general, you should exercise to the point of fatigue but not pain. If you notice any swelling or inflammation in your muscles or joints after lifting, ease up.
Work larger muscle groups, such as the back and chest, before moving on to smaller groups such as biceps. Smaller groups support larger ones and will fatigue earlier if they are exercised first, not giving the larger groups an effective workout. For the same reason, it’s smarter to work muscle groups first before performing any muscle-isolating exercises (do leg presses before you do specific hamstring exercises).
How often should I lift weights?
Plan to lift two or three times a week, giving your muscles at least 48 hours rest between workouts. Don’t work the same set of muscles on consecutive days; your body needs time to rebuild between weight-lifting sessions. For the most complete workout, you should run, walk, or swim on days you don’t lift.
Do I need a trainer or should I lift on my own?
If you’re new at weight training, it’s a good idea to hire a trainer for at least one or two sessions. Rates vary between $25 and $100 per hour, but the money is worth it. A one-time investment gives you access to a professionally recommended, safe, and effective lifting program.
Look for a trainer who is certified through an agency such as the American Council on Exercise or the American College of Sports Medicine. Make sure you and the trainer are compatible and that he or she has experience working with any special needs you have. If you decide not to hire a trainer, you may want to invest in a good instructional video or book that can illustrate lifting techniques for you. One good bet: Body Shaping With Free Weights: Easy Routines for Your Home Workout by Stephenie Karony and Anthony L. Ranken.
Will weight lifting make me look like a he-man?
It’s unlikely. Women can’t produce the testosterone necessary for that kind of bulk, and men have to work out for hours every day to get a body like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s. How much muscle you build, and where, is largely a matter of genetics and body type. If you have concerns about how weight training will change your body’s shape, consult a trainer about which weight-lifting exercises will best meet your goals.
What Is Blood Sugar?
Your blood sugar level, or blood glucose level, refers to the concentration of sugar (in the form of glucose) in your blood. The unit of measurement is millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
Why is there sugar in the blood?
Every time you eat food, your body has the task of breaking that food down into a useable form of energy it can use to keep you functioning properly. All foods are (generally) made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber and water. Carbohydrate rich foods give your body its main form of energy. They get broken down into glucose and move into the bloodstream where they are absorbed by cells for use or storage. Glucose, or “blood sugar”, is likened to “the gasoline that is essential to make your car run”.
Why would i need to manage my sugar blood levels?
Your body needs a constant supply of carbohydrates during the day and you should be aware of your blood carbohydrates levels.
During the day there are two types of problems that can occur that are carbohydrate related.
a) your blood does not have enough carbohydrate during the day : your body will start break down the fat that you have stored to produce carbohydrate. This is done at the expense of releasing toxins which are not good for you. This is also tapping in your body mass and the fat stored in your muscles.
b) you blood has too much carbohydrate : Probably after a big meal or you’ve eaten too much sweets. Your blood now has too much sugar which risks to harm your body, so Insulin is released in your blood to bring down sugars to an acceptable level. Producing insulin is a tiring experience and during this time you will feel sluggish.
Why Blood Sugar Levels Change During The Day
Your blood sugar levels vary during the day/night. The direction it varies (up or down) is due to a number of factors such as those listed below:
1. Eating food : As the carbs in food break down, glucose is released into the bloodstream ready to be absorbed by cells. Increased glucose in the bloodstream = higher blood sugar level.
2. Exercise : Exercise provides many benefits to your body, including burning excess sugar and reducing insulin resistance (by making cells more receptive to insulin, so rather than requiring more insulin to facilitate glucose uptake, the insulin you already have becomes a bit more effective). However the effect on blood sugar depends on the type of exercise, the duration of exercise, glucose and insulin levels before you start exercising.
During long, intense workouts the body may release adrenaline which counteracts the efforts of insulin. The normal process for blood sugar would be to be absorbed by cells (via insulin) for utilization or storage. Adrenaline causes the glucose to be redirected to where it is required for use immediately rather than for storage. Read more here.
3. Your physiology : The fitter you are the better. More specifically, if you have a greater muscle to fat ratio, you will burn energy at a faster rate and therefore be more effective at reducing your blood glucose level. Also, muscles do not rely on insulin to absorb/use blood glucose – same goes for the brain.
(My sister gave me this great analogy – imagine a small muscle and a large muscle contracting at the same time. Which one would use/burn more energy to contract? The big one, simply because it is a bigger muscle!)
4. Emotions : Stress increases your blood glucose level. It also causes some people to forget to take their medication, turn to comfort foods, overeat and therefore introduce a higher than normal amount of glucose in the blood.
5. Sleeping : People often talk about “dawn phenomenon” with regard to diabetes, where your blood sugar level spikes in the mornings as a result of the body releasing hormones which increase insulin resistance (perhaps). The cause of this is unknown. However, another explanation could be a slow metabolism of dinner from the night before. Some research also suggests that not getting enough sleep causes the liver to produce/release more glucose, hence increasing your blood sugar levels.
6. Medications : Obviously, the medication you take regulates your blood sugar level and therefore your readings during the day, depending on when you took the medication.