Beer Can Now Make You Healthier

If you’re planning to lose your beer belly, you may want to think twice. This probiotic beer might change the game.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore recently announced that they’ve created a new beer infused with probiotics, or the sort of “good” bacteria that’s been shown to promote digestion and various other bodily functions.

The recipe, which took nine months to perfect, contains 3.5% alcohol. It undergoes an alternative fermentation process and contains a probiotic strain that regulates the immune system.

There’s been a huge increase in interest in probiotics lately with more and more people consuming things like fermented vegetables, yogurts, and kombucha.

Clearly, probiotics are becoming quite the fad. While we’re all dying to know when this new brew is hitting shelves, we can rest easy knowing the recipe has been patented.

Perhaps a cheers to this Singaporean group of geniuses?

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Tripod Dogs Can Now Get Prosthetics

From learning sign language to aiding baby cheetahs, I think it’s safe to say dogs make the world a better place. (Not to mention cuter) But some dogs need our help, too. With the amount of dogs needing prosthetics at a high, animal medical centers are doing what they can. OrthoPets in Colorado is now the biggest prostheses manufacturer for tripod dogs.

“We have about 20 different devices that we can fabricate,” said OrthoPets founder Amy Kaufmann. The procedure is multi-step and involves advanced computer scanning and 3D printing.

OrthoPets has worked on more than 13,000 animals from 35 different countries since 2003. And not just dogs; peacocks and llamas are among the animals they’ve built devices for.

While the devices don’t come cheap (they start at around $1,500) owners claim they are worth it.

“Clients are treating their pets as they would their child, and when they learn that they can do something to help their pet in the same way they would for their child, they choose to do it for their dog as well.”

Who says a dog isn’t a real baby?

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Potential Cure For Diabetes Involves Mice

Often the guinea pigs of science, mice have surely seen better days. However, in a recent study on treatment options for diabetes, the mice tested experienced no side effects. In fact, they may have led us to a cure.

The discovery, made at The University of Texas Health Science Center… increases the types of pancreatic cells that secrete insulin.

UT Health San Antonio researchers have a goal to reach human clinical trials in three years, but to do so they must first test the strategy in large-animal studies, which will cost an estimated $5 million.

Talk about cash for a cause! To achieve the cure, researchers used a therapy method called gene transferring.

A virus is used as a vector, or carrier, to introduce selected genes into the pancreas. These genes become incorporated and cause digestive enzymes and other cell types to make insulin.

The therapy regulates blood sugar in mice with extreme accuracy, which is something insulin hasn’t quite mastered. Gene transferring, however, replicates the characteristics of lost beta cells in diabetics.

So far, 2017 has been a milestone year for medical advancements. Alongside diabetes, treatments for ALS have also seen some improvements. So whether we’d like to think otherwise, a lot of medical breakthroughs wouldn’t be possible without our good old friend Mickey.

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Pain-Free Flu Shots For People Who Hate Needles

We’ve all been there. Dreading our turn at the clinic for a vaccination. Sweating profusely at the sight of the needle, which looks much bigger than you expected. Struggling to keep still as nurses administer the shot. Well, fear no more because the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have found a way to administer injections without the sting.

Instead of the usual injection, the researchers came up with a sticker patch that you can apply on yourself.

The patch comes with a hundred tiny hair-like microneedles located on its adhesive side. Unlike regular injections that go all the way through the muscle, the microneedles puncture and dissolve into the upper layer of the skin, delivering the vaccine in about 20 minutes.

The best thing about the microneedle patch is that you can do it yourself, which means you can kiss long lines goodbye! Administration is also quick and hassle-free.

“With the microneedle patch, you could pick it up at the store and take it home, put it on your skin for a few minutes, peel it off and dispose of it safely, because the microneedles have dissolved away,”

The microneedle patch is compact, easy-to-store, and portable, making it easily accessible to those in commercial and remote areas.

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Can Pig Brain Cells Treat Parkinson’s?

If you’ve ever seen “Splice” you can probably assume that the incorporation of animal DNA into human bodies is slowly becoming a reality. Zebrafish compounds have been used to manage metabolism. Squalamine in sharks have cured infectious diseases. Now, brain cells from pigs are being implanted into humans in the hopes of treating Parkinson’s Disease.

New Zealand biotech company Living Cell Technologies has developed a treatment for Parkinson’s disease using choroid plexus cells from pigs.

“It’s putting in a little neurochemical factory to promote new nerve cell growth and repair,”

While Living Cell Technologies have yet to see how this new technique stacks up to already existing treatments, they are hopeful for its success.

Assuming this treatment is effective, it may be extended to treat other neurological disorders such as Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s.

Successful treatments for Parkinson’s disease could help millions of people — up to one million in the U.S., and an estimated seven to 10 million around the world. About 60,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Parkinson’s annually.

Parkinson’s Disease sees the gradual loss of dopamine-making brain cells. Many cases of Parkinson’s remain mostly undetected.

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How Will Artificial Intelligences Shape The Future?

Day by day, doing work is made easier by various technologies such as household machines, virtual assistants, and the Internet. With people relying heavier on technology each year, we must ask ourselves how artificial intelligences will shape the future. Michael Hanuschick, Janet Baker, and James Kuffner provide their input.

Baker is skeptical about the developing AI, but concludes that proper use of technology is all about awareness:

“Powerful technologies will be used and abused… We must be aware and take active roles in advancing our capabilities and protecting ourselves from harm––including the harm from escalating prejudices we foster by isolating ourselves from differing ideas (e.g., with polarized news feeds) and productive discourse about them.”

Kuffner believes that AI exists for the better:

“AI will enhance and augment the human experience. Historically, humans have formed strong bonds — even relationships — with their automobiles (machines).”

Hanuschick thinks AIs can effectively handle small tasks, while the bigger ones must be dealt with by us:

“Jobs based on fairly simple and repetitive tasks will probably continue to disappear, but anything more complex is likely to be around for quite some time. I haven’t seen evidence that a true AI, with the ability to understand and reason, will be seen in our lifetimes.”

Many fear that AIs will eventually replace the human workforce, but others are optimistic that they will complement our vision for the future. And while AI’s customizable looks may be the least of our worries, who wouldn’t want a robot version of Brad Pitt?

Do you think AIs will benefit our community?

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Color-Changing Tattoos Can Save Your Life

Most tattoo enthusiasts spend months to years contemplating the perfect design. I, on the other hand, take hours to decide whether to do Chinese take-out or cold pizza for dinner. And while body art is aesthetic and meaningful–can it be practical? MIT certainly thinks so. New color-changing ink technology can indicate changes in the body’s blood sugar and sodium levels.

Using a liquid with biosensors instead of traditional ink, scientists want to turn the surface of the human skin into an “interactive display.”

So far, the team has developed three different inks that shift color in response to changes in interstitial fluid.

The three inks measure glucose, pH, and sodium, which is a breakthrough for diabetics. For those on a strict diet (or simply nerds in the health data department), monitoring intakes and bodily adjustments has never been easier.

Unfortunately, the bio-sensing tattoos are still being tested and no human trials have been announced.

So far, DermalAbyss is only in the proof-of-concept stage, and there’s no indication of when it might become a real product.

Pigs, on the other hand, are seeing some luck.

The researchers have tested the inks on patches of pig skin, using injections to change the levels of the fluids to be detected.

Would you get a color-changing tattoo?

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Artificial Vision: The World’s First Synthetic Retina

Throughout the years, there have been quite a number of breakthroughs in the areas of health and science. With the help of in-ear aids, the previously deaf have the ability to ear. Those who’ve experienced the loss of a limb can function with the use of prosthetics. While extensive surgeries have attempted to aid the blind, only recently has there been a development in assistance for the visually impaired. An Oxford student has successfully created a synthetic retina.

The study could revolutionize the bionic implant industry and the development of new, less invasive technologies that more closely resemble human body tissues, helping to treat degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa.

[Oxford student] Vanessa Restrepo-Schild led the team in the development of a new synthetic, double layered retina which closely mimics the natural human retinal process.

Miss Restrepo-Schild said: … “I hope my research is the first step in a journey towards building technology that is soft and biodegradable instead of hard and wasteful.”

Miss Restrepo-Schild has filed a patent for the technology and the next phase of the work will see the Oxford team expand the replica’s function to include recognizing different colors.

Further testing and clinical trials will resume in the near future. Research regarding the human body continues to improve economically and in efficiency.

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Hero In Disguise: OB-Gyn Delivers Baby Gorilla

Every now and then, we hear about unlikely heroes on the Internet. Some have pulled kittens out of pipes. Others have dove into canals to save dogs. But OB-gyn Rebekah McCurdy has gone above and beyond, delivering a baby gorilla at the Philadelphia Zoo via C-section.

[Philadelphia Zoo] wanted someone on standby in case any of the [primate] pregnancies became complicated.

For a while, these precautions proved unnecessary… But when Kira, the second female gorilla, went into labor last Thursday, things took a different turn.

While obstetric gynecologists are trained to deliver infants, non-human offspring require a different kind of attention.

Gorillas are clearly very different from humans. Their pelvis is both wider than ours, and larger relative to the baby. The babies are also proportionally smaller.

Still, gorillas are among our closest relatives, and their reproductive parts are similar enough to ours that McCurdy could easily apply all of her experience despite never having dealt with a non-human patient before.

McCurdy is unimaginably proud of her newest achievement.

To have delivered a western lowland gorilla—a critically endangered ape with fewer than 100,000 individuals left in the wild—was an “incredible privilege,” [says McCurdy].

“It wasn’t until afterwards that it really hit me. Oh my, I believe I just delivered a gorilla.”

McCurdy herself was also 28 weeks pregnant during the surgery, making her a true supermom.

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New Machines Turn Sign Language Into Text

Technology continues to shape the way we perceive and interact with one another, often improving our daily lives. We have created machines to help us hear, see, and move. Now, KinTrans, a Texas-based start-up has created a device to allow the deaf to communicate better with those who do and do not understand sign language.

KinTrans uses a 3D camera to track the movement of a person’s hands and body as they sign words. A sign language user can approach a bank teller and sign to the KinTrans camera that they’d like assistance, for example. The device then translates these signs into written English or Arabic for the teller to read.

The translation also works inversely–typewritten replies can be translated into signs.

Around 70 million people sign as a first language and there are more than 100 different dialects used around the world.

“It’s great to see innovative technology being developed that could really transform the lives of sign language users,” says Jesal Vishnuram at Action on Hearing Loss.

The technology is still in its early stages, but developers promise that with further research, machines will soon be readily available to the public.

 

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