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Sunburn Indicator Strip Could Be a Real Lifesaver

iStock/Thinkstock(BELFAST, North­ern Ire­land) — One doesn’t nor­mally think of Ire­land as the sun and fun cap­i­tal of Europe but like any­where else, peo­ple do get sun­burned there.

That’s what might have spurred a Queen’s Uni­ver­sity Belfast chem­i­cal engi­neer­ing pro­fes­sor to come up with tech­nol­ogy that gives sun­bathers an impor­tant sig­nal about when to get out of the sun.

Dr. David Hazafy’s sun­burn indi­ca­tor is a strip of plas­tic that can be worn as a bracelet and adapts to one’s skin type.

The strip has what Haz­afy calls “smart” ink, which starts off as a blue color but then grad­u­ally becomes clear, a sign that the sun­bather has reached a point where ultra­vi­o­let light will start to burn the skin.

Haz­afy says the key to his inven­tion is a metal oxide pho­to­cat­a­lyst that har­vests ambi­ent sun­light, which in turn, “should warn peo­ple when they are receiv­ing too much of the UV com­po­nent of sun­light, and prompt them to seek shade.”

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Researchers: Schools Should Counsel, Not Suspend, Pot Smoking Adolescents

iStock/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) — The war on drugs is becom­ing less puni­tive and more sup­port­ive, at least at some schools in Wash­ing­ton state and Vic­to­ria, Australia.

Richard Cata­lano, a pro­fes­sor of social work at the Uni­ver­sity of Wash­ing­ton, says a study of 3,200 ado­les­cents has shown that hand­ing out sus­pen­sions to sev­enth and ninth graders who got caught smok­ing mar­i­juana didn’t do much to deter future use.

In fact, these kids were twice as likely to smoke pot dur­ing the fol­low­ing year in con­trast to schools where no sus­pen­sions were meted out.

Mean­while, schools that adopted poli­cies whereby stu­dents who used mar­i­juana were referred to coun­selors saw that these same young­sters were 50 per­cent less likely to smoke grass in the next year.

Cata­lano, who co-authored the study, says “We need to ensure that schools are using drug poli­cies that respond to pol­icy vio­la­tions by edu­cat­ing or coun­sel­ing stu­dents, not just penal­iz­ing them.”

The study also found that other meth­ods of deter­ring drug use, such as report­ing the stu­dents to police or expelling them, has no dis­cernible effect on their mar­i­juana smoking.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Average Doctor's Office Wait Time Dipped By a Minute in 2014

Mon­key Business/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The wait­ing is often the hard­est part at the doctor’s office as any­one who’s had an appoint­ment can attest.

The physi­cian review web­site says the aver­age wait time to see a physi­cian last year was an inter­minable 19 min­utes and 16 seconds.

But take heart, Amer­ica, that’s actu­ally one minute faster than 2013.

And why is that? Vitalis CEO Hey­wood Donigan cred­its the Afford­able Care Act boost­ing the num­ber of walk-in clin­ics from 1,200 in 2011 to the cur­rent level of 1,600.

Chances are wait times will drop even fur­ther, pro­vided the ACA remains in place, since Accen­ture puts the num­ber of these facil­i­ties at 3,000 within two years.

Of course, doctor’s office wait times usu­ally depend on the kind of care one is seek­ing. The longest aver­age wait is for pain spe­cial­ists at 23 min­utes and 15 sec­onds while it only takes 11 min­utes and 33 sec­onds on aver­age to see your friendly neigh­bor­hood psychologist.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


How to Cut White Rice's Caloric Content in Half

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — For much of the world, rice is the staff of life. Here in the U.S., it’s more of a side dish with white rice the pre­ferred vari­ety by most people.

How­ever, even a sin­gle cup packs 200 calo­ries, which in of itself isn’t ter­ri­ble, but com­bined with other food items on your plate can help you to put on unwanted weight.

Yet, a sim­ple method of mak­ing rice less caloric was dis­cov­ered by researchers from the Col­lege of Chem­i­cal Sci­ences in Sri Lanka who man­aged to con­vert some digestible starch into non-digestible starch.

Their method? Put a tea­spoon of coconut oil in boil­ing water, add a half-cup of non-fortified rice, cook for 40 min­utes and then refrig­er­ate for 12 hours.

What you don’t really need to know is that this cool­ing process rearranges the mol­e­c­u­lar struc­ture of the rice, mak­ing it harder to digest.

What you need to know is that this process reduces the calo­rie con­tent by 50 to 60 per­cent even if you reheat it. So, enjoy.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Manufacturer of Scopes Cited in Spread of LA 'Superbug' Releases Updated Disinfection Process

ChrisPole/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Olym­pus Amer­ica, the com­pany that man­u­fac­tures the duo­deno­scopes that were cited in the spread of a super­bug at a Los Ange­les hos­pi­tal in Feb­ru­ary, released an urgent safety noti­fi­ca­tion regard­ing updated clean­ing processes to ensure high lev­els of dis­in­fec­tion in between uses.

The new process, which con­sists of “revised man­ual clean­ing and high level dis­in­fec­tion pro­ce­dures,” should be imple­mented “as soon as pos­si­ble,” the com­pany says. Olym­pus rec­om­mends using a small bris­tle clean­ing brush to clean the scopes. The com­pany antic­i­pates ship­ping these brushes to facil­i­ties by May 8. “Until your facil­ity has received the brushes, you should con­tinue to clean the…duodenoscope in accor­dance with the orig­i­nal clean­ing instructions.”

The new process also includes “addi­tional recess flush­ing” and “for­ceps ele­va­tor raising/lowering steps” dur­ing pre­clean­ing and man­ual clean­ing. Facil­i­ties are addi­tion­ally advised to flush the scopes with alcohol.

The com­pany says that the updated pro­ce­dures were reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Ebola Patient at NIH Upgraded from Critical to Serious Condition

Photo by Andrew Councill/MCT/MCT via Getty Images(BETHESDA, Md.) — A patient being treated for the Ebola virus at the National Insti­tutes of Health Clin­i­cal Cen­ter in Bethesda was upgraded from crit­i­cal to seri­ous con­di­tion, the NIH said Thursday.

The NIH still did not share any addi­tional details about the patient, who was admit­ted on March 12. The patient was vol­un­teer­ing at an Ebola treat­ment unit in Sierra Leone when they tested pos­i­tive for the disease.

The patient is the sec­ond to receive treat­ment at the NIH Clin­i­cal Cen­ter. The first, Dal­las nurse Nina Pham, con­tracted the dis­ease while treat­ing Thomas Eric Dun­can. Pham was the first per­son to catch Ebola on U.S. soil in con­nec­tion with the out­break in West Africa. She was admit­ted to the NIH facil­ity in Octo­ber and later released Ebola-free.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


CDC Unveils New Anti-Smoking Ads Featuring Real Smokers

Credit: James Gathany/Centers for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion have launched a new set of anti-smoking ads fea­tur­ing real smok­ers who are liv­ing with the long-term health effects of smok­ing and sec­ond­hand smoke exposure.

The “Tips From For­mer Smok­ers” cam­paign was first launched in 2012. “Since its launch,” the CDC says, “the Tips cam­paign has fea­tured com­pelling sto­ries of for­mer smok­ers liv­ing with smoking-related dis­eases and dis­abil­i­ties and the toll that smoking-related ill­nesses have taken on them.”

In Sep­tem­ber 2013, the Lancet med­ical jour­nal pub­lished an arti­cle say­ing that the Tips cam­paign has moti­vated about 1.6 mil­lion smok­ers to attempt to quit smok­ing, with at least 100,000 U.S. smok­ers expected to quit per­ma­nently as a result of the campaign.  

The CDC posted videos fea­tur­ing 27 real peo­ple on their web­site. “I smoked and got mac­u­lar degen­er­a­tion,” a woman named Mar­lene says in one of the videos. “So I don’t see very well.”

After describ­ing the first time she received one of the med­ical pro­ce­dures she goes through as a result of her dis­ease, Mar­lene says she “went home and I felt mis­er­able, and I said to myself, ‘Why the hell did I ever smoke?’”

I would never have smoked if I knew that I was gonna be going through this,” she says.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Blind Hawaii Woman Gets Bionic Eye to See Again

Fuse/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) — A Hon­olulu woman who went blind two years ago will soon be able to see again thanks to her new bionic eye.

Sur­geons at the Eye Surgery Cen­ter of Hawaii implanted the device on Tues­day into a 72-year-old Japanese-American woman who had gone blind two years ago due to an incur­able hered­i­tary dis­ease called retini­tis pig­men­tosa, said Dr. Gregg Kokame, who per­formed the oper­a­tion. He told ABC News the hos­pi­tal was not iden­ti­fy­ing the woman by name, but that she was the first per­son to receive the implant in the Asia Pacific region.

She’ll actu­ally start to see motion, actu­ally start to see some­body walk into the room and be able to see dif­fer­ent shades of grey,” Kokame said, explain­ing that she was totally blind and could per­ceive only some light before the four-hour surgery.

Kokame and his team implanted a micro­elec­trode array on the sur­face of the woman’s retina that con­nects wire­lessly to a pair of glasses with a cam­era, he said. The glasses process images and trans­mit them to the implant, which then sends that infor­ma­tion to the woman’s optic nerve and onto her brain.

The device will not help the woman to see color or fine detail, but as the soft­ware advances, he said the implant will still be able to com­mu­ni­cate with it.

The woman will heal for two weeks before Kokame and his team can turn the device on for the first time. He said she’ll be able to see her loved ones first because he’s sure they’ll want to be right there with her.

She was in very good spir­its,” he said. “She’s a very pleas­ant, very strong lady. She’s look­ing for­ward to hav­ing the implant turned on.”

The device, which is approved by the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion, costs $144,000, but it was cov­ered by Medicare for this patient, Kokame said.

Fol­low @ABCNewsRadio
Copy­right © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.