Health:

Science Proves These Quirky Activities Create Better Athletes

Our bodies react to different stimuli and activities in surprising ways — ways that scientists and trainers continue to probe in an effort to understand the human body better, and mold the greatest athletes of the future.

Below are some of the most surprising activities that can boost athletic performance.

Squeeze with your left, not with right

In perhaps one of the strangest studies ever conducted — one from which you would expect absolutely no conclusive or meaningful results to come — it was discovered that clutching something in your left fist (or even just clenching your empty left fist) increased athletic performance in pressure situations and prevented “choking.”

Clenching the right fist rendered the opposite result, however. It had a negative impact on athletic performance.

The reason behind this surprising result is that the left hemisphere of the brain, which is devoted to rumination (in other words, potentially over-thinking during critical moments), becomes activated when the right fist is clenched, and that may increase tension and introspection. By contrast, clenching your left fist activates the right hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with movement and motor functions, thereby improving physical functioning.

Sniff some jasmine

We know scents can have a powerful psychological effect on the body. It has recently been discovered that certain scents can even improve concentration and athletic performance.

A study of six Major League baseball players suggested that the ones who sniffed a jasmine-scented armband before each swing during batting practice greatly increased their hitting performance compared to those who sniffed an unscented armband.

The results showed that any activity involving hand-eye coordination or precise muscle movements could be enhanced by surrounding oneself with the sweet smell of jasmine.

Believe in something positive

Many athletes swear by visualization and positive reinforcement techniques to improve their performance, and science has backed them up on at least one aspect of this belief. In an experiment reported in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, white basketball players were better at shooting free throws after watching videos that portrayed white basketball players as the best free throw shooters.

Caucasian players who watched videos that depicted black players as the best shooters experienced a decreased performance. The study showed that believing in one’s own ability to perform a task, even when that belief stems from nothing but a generality regarding their race, can have a positive effect on performance.

So if you’re an athlete who’d like to fill your trophy cases with trophies and awards, consider sniffing some jasmine, filling your mind with positive reinforcements, and clenching a ball in your left hand when the pressure begins to mount.

Health:

How Technology and Physical Therapy Work Together on the Road to Recovery

Technology isn’t just for kids who want to play games or adults who want to keep up with the latest on social media. It’s for everyone and everything — especially for the health industry.

In ways most people cannot even imagine, technology makes it possible for those who thought they’d never walk, talk, or regain motor functions again to do just that.

In the medical industry, technology is used for everything from diagnosing injury and disease to surgery and organizing patient records. Technology also plays a significant role in physical therapy, by helping patients overcome their trials.

Physical therapy and the iPad

You might use your iPad for shopping, game playing, or browsing social media, but you may not know that physical therapists use iPads to help patients with speech problems learn to articulate their words.

Use of the iPad in speech therapy has been shown to promote healing at a faster rate. Patients who’ve suffered illness or injury that resulted in speech problems learn to communicate faster and with more accuracy.

Electrical therapy

Another way technology has improved physical care is through the use of electrical therapy. This involves the placement of small tech devices on patients’ hands and legs during physical therapy.

Therapists use this to stimulate the muscles and help the patient regain use and control of appendages. The technology has proven highly successful and is now being utilized in more physical therapy applications than ever.

Technology and physical therapists

No matter how much technology a physical therapy specialist has at his or her discretion, nothing replaces the stellar therapist. Patients need emotional support: a therapist who is willing to listen and has confidence and enthusiasm in the process of therapy.

If your therapist doesn’t show this kind of attitude, it may be time to replace him with one who does. Without a knowledgeable and capable therapist, all the technology in the world is unlikely to help.

While it might seem as if technology can take the place of caregivers, it simply cannot. As beneficial as it is, it simply can’t furnish the emotional, human factor involved in physical therapy.

Technology is one of the main reasons that so many people live longer their ancestors. While a healthy lifestyle helps, technology has made it possible for those who shouldn’t be here to survive and prosper. Life-saving techniques cannot be performed without the proper technology, which makes it invaluable to the medical profession.

Without technology in physical therapy, the process of recovery is long and arduous. Even with it, some injuries and illnesses involve so much damage that patients will spend years in therapy working to recover; but technology can speed up the process.

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last update: September 20, 2014

Health:

A Breakdown of Healthcare Tech Jobs

Neonatal

One of the only industries that remains strong in the job market regardless of the state of the economy is health care. It doesn’t matter how much money people are spending on products and services – when they’re sick, they’re sick.

Continue reading A Breakdown of Healthcare Tech Jobs

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Prosthetics Gets Real. Ultra-Real.

Freaky Prosthetic Scanner

As health science goes, prosthesis technology is one that creeps many people out. It’s hard for most of us to imagine being without a limb and the way that science is able to make them realistic and usable is amazing while oddly offsetting at the same time.

If you’re one of those people who gets freaked out by prosthetic limbs, do not continue reading this article.

Continue reading Prosthetics Gets Real. Ultra-Real.

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Robots for Humanity Do More Than Scratch an Itch

Robots for Humanity

For decades, robots have been used by people to assist with simple tasks. They work well in industry to automate processes and are exceptional for missions in conditions or circumstances too dangerous for humans, such as on Mars or on bombing runs. One organization is bringing new technology to the disabled to help them normalize their lives.

Continue reading Robots for Humanity Do More Than Scratch an Itch

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Radioactive Tuna: An Interactive Guide to Sushi’s Biggest Question

Sushi

Sushi-lovers of the world, be afraid. Be very afraid. Or not?

This graphic by our friends at Mint breaks down the dangers of biting into raw, tsunami-induced radioactive fish. You may not need a lot of wasabi after all.

Continue reading Radioactive Tuna: An Interactive Guide to Sushi’s Biggest Question

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Injection Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives Annually

If recently injured patients with serious bleeding were to receive a cheap, widely available and easily administered drug to help their blood to clot, tens of thousands of lives could be saved every year, according to a paper published on-line today by The Lancet.

Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), UK, revealed that results from a trial show that early administration of tranexamic acid (TXA) to patients with recent, severe bleeding injuries saves lives, with no evidence of adverse effects from unwanted clotting.

The trial, named CRASH-2, was a large, randomised trial involving over 20,000 adult patients in 274 hospitals across 40 countries, and was funded by England’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Technology Assessment programme. This is the first trial of TXA in injured patients, although smaller trials have shown that it reduces bleeding in patients undergoing major surgery.

TXA is an off-patent drug, manufactured by a number of different companies. The cost per gram is about £3 ($4.50).

The drug helps by reducing clot breakdown. Although this would be advantageous in patients with severe bleeding, doctors were worried that TXA might increase the risk of complications, such as heart attacks, strokes and clots in the lungs. The results of this large trial show that TXA reduces death from bleeding without any increase in these complications.

Continue reading Injection Could Save Tens of Thousands of Lives Annually

Health:

Insulin Peptide May Point to a Solution for Type 1 Diabetes

Researchers at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have identified the precise protein fragment, or peptide, that can trigger diabetes in mice. The finding, published in the June 15, 2010, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, supports an emerging theory about the origins of autoimmunity, and may lead to new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in humans.

“Our findings contradict conventional wisdom, which suggests that insulin peptides that are well presented to the immune system trigger diabetes,” said John Kappler, PhD, Professor of Immunology at National Jewish Health. “We believe, however, that the peptide we identified triggers diabetes precisely because it is so poorly presented to the immune system.”

The immune system tries to delete all T cells that might cause autoimmune disease. During development in the thymus, immature T cells are exposed to “self” protein fragments, which are part of the organism. T cells that recognize and bind to them are destroyed. This process, however, is not foolproof, and autoimmune T cells do occasionally escape.

Continue reading Insulin Peptide May Point to a Solution for Type 1 Diabetes

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