Speaking Through Music

Through history, music has managed to transform the lives of people by means of success, healing, and a simple dose of good vibes. Whether you’re going through a break-up or lack shower tunes, music has got your back. Lately, researchers at the University of Plymouth have found that music has, once again, gone above and beyond, and is now being incorporated as an effective type of therapy.

Tailored music sessions could be crucial in transforming the lives of millions of people whose speech is impacted by learning difficulties, strokes, dementia, brain damage and autism, a new study suggests.

It could enable individuals and their families to feel less isolated or neglected within society, while enhancing their ability to communicate, both with each other and the wider world.

As a huge fan of the phrase “giving a voice to the voiceless” it came as no surprise to hear that music can successfully restore one’s motor skills.

“What we have shown is that music can give people a voice, allowing them to explore their creativity as well as communicating both pleasure and pain,” [said Jocey Quinn, professor at the university].

“We are pleased to see that the results of this study provide credible and robust evidence that demonstrates the wide social benefits of art and culture and hope this goes some way to making the links truly recognised.”

The University of Plymouth hopes that lessons will soon be implemented internationally.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Paw Pods: Eco-Friendly Pet Burials

The loss of a pet, no matter how prepared we think we are, is always more devastating than we’d expect. The feeling is often equivalent to coping with the death of a family member. While most pets are honored with the classic backyard burial, Paw Pods hopes to pave the way towards proper pet funerals–and in a sustainable manner, too.

The urns and pods from Paw Pods are all made from bamboo powder, rice husk, and corn starch, and are designed to be decorated with paint, markers, or other craft items as a way for grieving kids and adults to express their feelings through art, and then after burial, to fully biodegrade within 3 to 5 years.

What about fish? While a flush funeral is about as traditional as you can get, it might not do much good for your plumbing. But not to worry, Paw Pods has also considered pods for smaller animals.

Paw Pods offers the Fish Pod, which is fish-shaped, as a way for kids to “avoid the trauma of seeing a pet flushed down the toilet,” as well as a mini pod for small pets, medium pods for pets such as cats, birds, rabbits, and smaller dogs, and large pods for dogs and other bigger animals.

Also available are urns and memorial cards filled with perennial flower seeds for a nice garden touch.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Free The Tatas For A Cause

If you have been taking in your daily dose of tabloid drama, you’d know that braless celebrities are often a major point of conversation. Whether it’s Kendall Jenner or Britney Spears, the same sentiment remains–cover it up! While I don’t necessarily prefer to bare it all in public, I don’t always find myself scrambling back up to my apartment when I forget I’m not wearing a bra on the way to run a quick errand. Robyn and Michelle Lyle, masterminds behind the TaTa Top, don’t seem to think bras are necessary either.

The bikini top… made it look like the wearer was walking around topless, even though they weren’t.

“From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to use a sense of humor to shed light on some serious issues while simultaneously raising funds and awareness for two areas we are extremely passionate about: breast cancer awareness and women’s rights.”

TaTa Tops doesn’t only speak boldly, it forwards a sum of $5 on a rotating basis to a variety of groups that focus on research and breast education.

Robyn and Michelle wanted to do something that challenged the status quo and would draw attention to the sexism women face in America.

Will you bare it all for boobies?

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Mom’s Viral Post On Depression Breaks Stigma On Mental Health

I suffer from paranoid personality disorder and find that the worst piece of advice I’ve been offered was to, “Just be happy.” With frequent bouts of unrelenting mistrust and anxiety that are oftentimes sporadic and unexplained, “just be happy,” is not something I can do. My family, who are in-the-know, are generally supportive of the fact that I take medication–but often verbalize that I should no longer be on them, due to “how much I’ve improved.” Laura Mazza, the voice behind “Mum On The Run”, in a recent FaceBook post, reminded us that “it’s okay not to be okay.”

Mazza describes the multitude of reasons to take antidepressants. Depression and anxiety affect everyone differently; one person’s suffering may look completely different from another’s and no one should feel shame about it, yet shame is part of the stigma.

Mazza gets candid about antidepressants as form of treatment, and how beneficial they can be to those who need them.

Comparing the “invisibility” of mental illness to purely physical diseases and conditions may help everyone better understand that sometimes, medication is necessary for people to survive just like any other life-threatening condition.

In this day and age, asking for help seems a foreign language to us. But Mazza concludes her post by battling this notion of fear.

“You don’t have to be strong all the time. You don’t have to sweep it under the rug, and carry on smiling for everyone else. It’s not a problem to not be okay, it’s only a problem to pretend to be okay when we are not. So, you need to take antidepressants… and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.”

You never know what it takes to save a person.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

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?

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

3D Bioprinting: A New Toothy Trend

Though a relatively young concept, 3D printing has become the biggest trend of the decade–from building furniture to human body parts, it seems the possibility of a 3D-printed anything could eventually be on the market. This is because 3D printing is exponentially cheaper than using traditional machinery.

While I wouldn’t mind 3D printing an entirely brand-new wardrobe (in fact, I’d probably love it), I’ve always been somewhat of a skeptic when it comes to artificial organs. Most recently, 3D printing has been incorporated in creating blood vessels for alternative root canal treatments.

The findings are expected to have impact on root canal treatments which currently involves removing the tooth’s infected pulp and replacing it with a substance known as gutta-percha. This thermoplastic material is similar to rubber and is used to fill the inside of the tooth but cannot restore function since it removes the blood vessels.

The new approach uses pre-vascularized pulp-like tissue to promote dental pulp regeneration and allow for a better long-term treatment.

In layman’s terms, it is now possible to engineer blood vessels into extracted teeth.

Fabrication of artificial blood vessels can be a highly effective strategy for fully regenerating the function of teeth.

The dental industry holds much promise for 3D printing, although not typically on a biomedical sphere, as some see the technology as the future of crown production.

The Dubai Dental Authority plans to begin 3D printing teeth by the end of the year.

Remember kids–brush three times a day!

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

New Electric Cargo Bike Revolutionizes Small Package Deliveries

Living in a city plagued by daily traffic jams, I often prefer to take my bike on errands. Granted, it’s a Nashbar AL1, nothing fancy but a perfectly practical performance hybrid. While I am wholly accustomed to throwing convenience store goodies into my trusty backpack, a cargo accessory would be much appreciated. Boy has the internet answered my prayers.

A Kickstarter project was recently launched in the hopes of funding CERO One, an electric cargo bike.

The CERO One is referred to as a compact cargo bike, as its physical dimensions and weight are well within reason for a standard bicycle, and it incorporates a space-saving handlebar twist function for storage in tight spaces.

To further tease your inner tech geek, there is a 93-mile-per-charge riding range on the dang thing!

The company offers three options for cargo space — a small basket, a large basket, and a platform — any of which can be mounted on either the front or the rear racks, depending on the cargo.

Oh, and it’s kid-friendly, too.

An optional Yepp Maxi Child Seat can be mounted to the rear rack without requiring an adapter, and so can panniers, although maybe not at the same time.

With only $6,000 of its $50,000 goal pledged, the CERO One has a long way to go–but I’m already saving up for it.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Deaf Dog Learns Sign Language

As the owner of a senior dog with hip dysplasia, I have learned to adapt to the hassle of frequent visits to the vet and having to haul all 28 kilograms of my retriever-spitz mix Charley up the stairs every evening. Charley, who is perfectly functional in all other aspects (save for faltering vision in her right eye), is a handful. So hearing about Blue, a hard-of-hearing pit bull who learned sign language in only a few months, had me speechless.

Cops discovered [Blue] chained to a fence, abandoned and freezing, on West 170th Street in Washington Heights.

“At first we thought she was just scared and confused,” said Victoria Wells, the senior manager of behavior at the ASPCA rescue center. “But then we noticed whenever someone opened Blue’s kennel, she’d sleep right through all the commotion.”

“Any dog with a good sense of hearing would have been startled,”

In an attempt to boost Blue’s chances of finding a forever home, seven behavior specialists from the ASPCA trained Blue to understand signing.

First, Blue learned the “thumbs-up” signal.

Twenty-five other signals followed —come, sit, watch, stay… and lie down.

The ASPCA treats ten to twenty deaf dogs each year. According to them, Blue is ready for adoption.

Now if only I could get Charley to quit doing her business on the couch…

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

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.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends:

Traveling Made Easier: Genius Earpiece Translates Foreign Languages As You Speak

The hassle of communicating in foreign countries has been a common struggle for many tourists. Ever tried to order a burger and ended up with dessert instead? You wouldn’t be the first one–but Lingmo International’s translation earpiece hopes you are the last.

The Translate One2One uses IBM Watson’s natural language understanding technology to understand both the words and context being spoken, before purportedly delivering a near-instant translation.

Translate One2One is incredibly multi-lingual.

The device can translate conversations across English, Japanese, French, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, German and Chinese.

Past translation devices have not always demonstrated accuracy, making conversation more difficult.

“Anyone who’s traveled will have found themselves in a similar scenario of incorrect translation, while realizing the social benefit of being able to converse across cultures,”

The device’s technology can even recognize dialects and slang phrases. Take that Google Translate!

The earpiece is now available for $179. Customers can also download an app version of Translate One2One.

--> Help make the world a better place by sharing this story with your friends: