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Why Researchers Built the World's Most Expensive Karaoke Machine

Bioimag­ing Sci­ence and Tech. Group at the Beck­man Inst.(URBANA, Ill.) — Researchers at the Beck­man Insti­tute in Illi­nois have built the world’s most expen­sive karaoke machine in order to cap­ture the move­ment of the mus­cles used in singing.

Belt­ing out a tune involves more than 100 mus­cles in the chest, neck, jaw, tongue and lips, researchers noted. Using a super-quick imag­ing tech­nique, Aaron John­son, a fac­ulty mem­ber who moon­lights as a cho­rus singer, lay inside an MRI scan­ner and sang into a noise-canceling micro­phone as the machine snapped pic­tures at over 100 frames per seconds.

The words were pro­jected onto a screen at the top of the machine as the machine banged loudly in the back­ground,” said Brad Sut­ton, tech­ni­cal direc­tor of the lab who col­lab­o­rated on the study pub­lished in this month’s Mag­netic Res­o­nance in Med­i­cine.

Typ­i­cal imag­ing tech­niques only take about 10 frames per sec­ond, which isn’t fast enough to catch the com­plex inter­ac­tion between the tip of the tongue and a fleshy flap of tis­sue in the back of the throat known as the velum, Sut­ton explained.

What we demon­strate with this tech­nique is how var­i­ous mus­cles are involved in dif­fer­ent speech sam­ples and how we tran­si­tion from one type of sound to the next,” Sut­ton said.

The team pre­vi­ously recorded John­son singing a Christ­mas carol to study vocal coor­di­na­tion. This time around they chose the song “If I Only Had a Brain” from the Wiz­ard of Oz because it was less sea­sonal, John­son said.

Even though we weren’t study­ing what hap­pens in the brain dur­ing song, it’s obvi­ously a very promi­nent fea­ture on the video,” he said.

The study was more than just an over­priced karaoke night, the researchers stressed. It had an impor­tant prac­ti­cal pur­pose. John­son, who stud­ies speech in older peo­ple, said the infor­ma­tion can be used to under­stand how peo­ple can keep their voice mus­cles in top con­di­tion as they age.

We were able to mea­sure in real time the dif­fer­ent speeds of the var­i­ous mus­cles used in speech,” he said. “This can show us what we can do behav­iorally to improve the voice later in life.”

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

 

Woman Denied Bank Transaction Because Chemo Erased Her Fingerprints

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — After a rare side effect of chemother­apy left a woman with­out fin­ger­prints, she was denied a bank trans­ac­tion, accord­ing to a case study pub­lished in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Med­i­cine.

The woman, who is not iden­ti­fied by name, was 65 and had under­gone chemother­apy three times to fight stage IV triple neg­a­tive breast can­cer, accord­ing to the study. As a result, she devel­oped hand-foot syn­drome, a rare side-effect of cer­tain chemother­apy drugs, like capecitabine, that causes swelling on the hands and feet.

She was dis­tressed because she went to do the pro­ce­dure with the bank and also because she was plan­ning to travel to Europe and, you know, in the bor­der we need to use our fin­ger­prints,” said the woman’s oncol­o­gist, Dr. Yanin Chavarri-Guerra, who authored the study. “Those things were stress­ing her.”

Dur­ing the patient’s first round of chemother­apy, her hand-foot syn­drome was mild, accord­ing to the study. Dur­ing the third round, the hand-foot syn­drome symp­toms wors­ened, and she had to limit per­sonal care activities.

Chavarri-Guerra, who works at Insti­tuto Nacional de Cien­cias Med­icas y Nutri­cion, in Mex­ico City, Mex­ico, told ABC News she had never seen any­thing like it. She thinks patients will notice it more and more as they use their fin­ger­prints with smart­phones and as other tech­no­log­i­cal advances require fingerprints.

Hand-foot syn­drome can range from mild swelling and tin­gling to painful blis­ters, sores and cracked skin, accord­ing to the Mayo Clinic.

Any­where from 45 to 68.3 per­cent of peo­ple on the chemother­apy drug capecitabine develop hand-foot syn­drome, accord­ing to an arti­cle pub­lished in the Can­cer Inves­ti­ga­tion Jour­nal in 2002. It’s not clear how many of those peo­ple lose their fingerprints.

A sim­i­lar case study was pub­lished in 2009 in the jour­nal Annals of Oncol­ogy. A 62-year-old man iden­ti­fied only as Mr. S was under­go­ing chemother­apy to main­tain his remis­sion when he arrived in the United States on an inter­na­tional flight. The man was detained for four hours because he didn’t have fin­ger­prints and told to bring a note from his oncol­o­gist the next time.

Chavarri-Guerra said she doesn’t know whether her patient’s fin­ger­prints returned, but she said the woman is cancer-free, no longer on chemother­apy and pain-free.

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

 

Police Investigate Diet Pills Containing DNP in UK Woman's Death

West Mer­cia Police(WORCESTERSHIRE, Eng­land) — Police are inves­ti­gat­ing the death of a woman in the United King­dom after she took diet pills that she bought online, British author­i­ties said.

The West Mer­cia Police Depart­ment in west­ern Eng­land issued a warn­ing this week after Eloise Parry, 21, died on April 12, shortly after she took pills she had bought online to lose weight, accord­ing to police.

We are undoubt­edly con­cerned over the ori­gin and sale of these pills and are work­ing with part­ner agen­cies to estab­lish where they were bought from and how they were adver­tised,” Chief Inspec­tor Jen­nifer Mat­tin­son said in a state­ment. “We urge the pub­lic to be incred­i­bly care­ful when pur­chas­ing med­i­cine or sup­ple­ments over the Internet.”

Mat­tin­son said the coro­ner would release a cause of death after exam­i­na­tion and pointed out that sub­stances pur­chased from unreg­is­tered web­sites can be out of date or even fake.

The tablets that Parry is believed to have taken shortly before her death are being tested for a toxic sub­stance called dini­tro­phe­nol or DNP, police said. Gen­er­ally described as a yel­low, pow­dery sub­stance in med­ical lit­er­a­ture, dini­tro­phe­nol has been used as a black mar­ket weight-loss drug for decades, author­i­ties said.

The sub­stance is ille­gal for use in a diet drug or sup­ple­ment in the United States, accord­ing to a spokes­woman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Parry’s mother, Fiona Parry, recounted the details lead­ing up to her daughter’s death in a post on the police department’s website.

Fiona Parry said her daugh­ter became ill after tak­ing the diet pills but didn’t ini­tially real­ize the grav­ity of her sit­u­a­tion. Even after tak­ing her­self to a local hos­pi­tal, her daugh­ter said she did not ini­tially feel gravely ill, Fiona Parry recalled.

At this point she still seemed to be okay,” Fiona Parry said in a state­ment. “That all changed when the tox­i­c­ity report came back and it was clear how dire her sit­u­a­tion was. The drug was in her sys­tem, there was no anti­dote, two tablets was a lethal dose — and she had taken eight.”

Fiona Parry said as the drugs started to take effect in her daughter’s sys­tem, her body started to react. “She was lit­er­ally burn­ing up from within,” Fiona Parry said, describ­ing an accel­er­ated metab­o­lism that results in an extremely high body temperature.

The drug, still used in indus­trial set­tings, can cause a deadly meta­bolic reac­tion if ingested that causes a person’s body tem­per­a­ture to become dan­ger­ously high, accord­ing to Dr. John Ben­itez, man­ag­ing direc­tor for the Ten­nessee Poi­son Con­trol Cen­ter and Pro­fes­sor of Clin­i­cal Med­i­cine at Van­der­bilt University.

It’s going to act rel­a­tively quickly. [The pills] pro­duce acid the body can’t take care of,” Ben­itez told ABC News, explain­ing that the drug will poi­son the mito­chon­dria that help pro­duce energy in a body’s cells.

Accord­ing to U.S. Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, it’s used to man­u­fac­ture dyes, wool preser­v­a­tives and pes­ti­cide, among other things.

In the United King­dom, the Food Stan­dards Agency warned con­sumers to avoid any prod­ucts that con­tain the substance.

We advise the pub­lic not to take any tablets or pow­ders con­tain­ing DNP, as it is an indus­trial chem­i­cal and not fit for human con­sump­tion,” the agency said in a state­ment. “It can be extremely dan­ger­ous to human health.”

Ben­itez said the drug is not com­mon but he sees one to two cases a year, and that he knew of a patient who died last year after tak­ing the drug.

In med­ical case reports, peo­ple who have taken DNP have reported poten­tially fatal symp­toms, includ­ing extremely high body tem­per­a­ture, rapid heart rate and fast breath­ing rate, as their metab­o­lism soars.

Once a per­son takes the sub­stance, there is lit­tle med­ical staff can do, except admin­is­ter sup­port­ive care, includ­ing blood pres­sure sup­port, said Benitez.

Since the drug is rel­a­tively rare, Ben­itez urged both con­sumers and doc­tors to con­tact their poi­son con­trol cen­ter so they can help iden­tify lesser-known substances.

Usu­ally for diet pills, you’re think­ing what you find in phar­macy diet pills — again they’re not really typ­i­cally think­ing of DNP,” said Ben­itez, who said a DNP reac­tion can be mis­taken for menin­gi­tis or aspirin over­dose. “We can say don’t for­get about these weird things like DNP, this con­stel­la­tion of symp­toms … could be DNP.”

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

 

See Boy with "Iron Man" Prosthetic Hand Throw First Pitch at Game

WSYX-TV(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — A 5-year-old boy from Colum­bus, Ohio, threw the cer­e­mo­nial first pitch at a Colum­bus Clip­pers minor league base­ball game Tues­day while wear­ing a 3-D printed pros­thetic hand that resem­bles one worn by the movie char­ac­ter Iron Man.

The hand report­edly was given to the boy by a group of 13 Siena Col­lege stu­dents from Albany, New York. The stu­dents are part of the non-profit group e-NABLE, which was con­tacted by Jack Carder’s mom, Laura Carder, who wanted a fun pros­thetic hand for Jack, born with only a thumb and no fin­gers on his right hand, ABC News affil­i­ate WSYX-ABC 6 in Colum­bus reported.

Jack loves super­heros and his hand hasn’t stopped him from doing any­thing, his mom added.

He’s just an amaz­ing lit­tle boy,” Laura Carder told WSXY-ABC 6. “He loves sports, he plays T-ball, he plays soccer.”

The Siena stu­dents who made Jack’s Iron Man hand came out to Colum­bus and vis­ited Jack at his day­care facil­ity on Tues­day, where he received and tried out his new pros­thetic — com­plete with a glow-in-the-dark laser — in front of his class­mates and par­ents, WSYX-ABC 6 added.

The stu­dents gave the arm to Jack for free, and they spent 20 hours a week for a whole month to design and 3-D print the hand, WSYX-ABC 6 said, adding that they spent less than $50 to make the hand.

A spokes­woman for e-NABLE did not imme­di­ately respond to a request for addi­tional information.

Later that day, Jack went to a minor league game, don­ning a mini-sized Colum­bus Clip­pers uni­form, and he threw the first cer­e­mo­nial pitch while wear­ing his Iron Man hand.

ABC News was not imme­di­ately able to reach Laura Carder for addi­tional comment.

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

 

Girl Gets Liver Transplant Months After Twin Sister's Operation

Cour­tesy of Sick­Kids(TORONTO) — A 3-year-old girl is recov­er­ing from a life-saving liver trans­plant thanks to an anony­mous donor just two months after her twin sis­ter under­went the same operation.

Binh Wag­ner under­went the lengthy surgery some­time in the last month, accord­ing to offi­cials for the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren in Toronto.

There are not enough words to thank the amaz­ing and so unselfish donor,” Binh’s mother, Johanne Wag­ner, said on the family’s Face­book page.

Binh is recov­er­ing well, at her own pace,” Wag­ner wrote, say­ing that Binh had more com­pli­ca­tions than her twin sis­ter. “We are look­ing for­ward to all being reunited and lead­ing a health­ier life now, with both trans­plants finally behind us.”

The oper­a­tion took place after an anony­mous donor donated a por­tion of their liver to the tod­dler. Both Binh and her twin sis­ter Phouc needed liver trans­plants due to a genetic con­di­tion called Alag­ille syn­drome, which can affect the bile ducts in the liver.

Phouc under­went the same surgery ear­lier this year, with the girl’s father Michael Wag­ner as the donor.

Due to the nature of the liver, Wag­ner could only donate to one daugh­ter. In an effort to find another donor, the fam­ily turned to social media and the press to search for a liv­ing donor.

We found our­selves to be very lucky that we qual­i­fied right away,” Johanne Wager pre­vi­ously said of her hus­band being a match, even though the twins are adopted and not his bio­log­i­cal daugh­ters. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor.”

After the fam­ily made their story pub­lic, Johanne Wag­ner said they received hun­dreds of mes­sages from peo­ple who pledged to apply to be a donor.

The fam­ily has been in and out of hos­pi­tals and doc­tors’ offices since the girls were first adopted from Viet­nam in 2012. Johanne Wag­ner has been doc­u­ment­ing the twins’ strug­gle on Face­book and her web­site, show­ing the smil­ing girls as they deal with doc­tors and nurses.

We knew they were very ill,” Johanne Wag­ner said of the twins when they were first adopted. “Those girls knocked on our doors and they were sup­posed to be with us, and it just took a dif­fer­ent path. As soon as we heard about them, we knew they were part of our family.”

Both girls and their father con­tinue to recover from their oper­a­tions. Binh is still recov­er­ing at the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren in Toronto, accord­ing to the family’s Face­book page.

Phuoc was able to return home last month.

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

 

Girl Gets Liver Transplant Months After Twin Sister's Operation

Cour­tesy of Sick­Kids(TORONTO) — A 3-year-old girl is recov­er­ing from a life-saving liver trans­plant thanks to an anony­mous donor just two months after her twin sis­ter under­went the same operation.

Binh Wag­ner under­went the lengthy surgery some­time in the last month, accord­ing to offi­cials for the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren in Toronto.

There are not enough words to thank the amaz­ing and so unselfish donor,” Binh’s mother, Johanne Wag­ner, said on the family’s Face­book page.

Binh is recov­er­ing well, at her own pace,” Wag­ner wrote, say­ing that Binh had more com­pli­ca­tions than her twin sis­ter. “We are look­ing for­ward to all being reunited and lead­ing a health­ier life now, with both trans­plants finally behind us.”

The oper­a­tion took place after an anony­mous donor donated a por­tion of their liver to the tod­dler. Both Binh and her twin sis­ter Phouc needed liver trans­plants due to a genetic con­di­tion called Alag­ille syn­drome, which can affect the bile ducts in the liver.

Phouc under­went the same surgery ear­lier this year, with the girl’s father Michael Wag­ner as the donor.

Due to the nature of the liver, Wag­ner could only donate to one daugh­ter. In an effort to find another donor, the fam­ily turned to social media and the press to search for a liv­ing donor.

We found our­selves to be very lucky that we qual­i­fied right away,” Johanne Wager pre­vi­ously said of her hus­band being a match, even though the twins are adopted and not his bio­log­i­cal daugh­ters. “[We’re] relieved but we need one more donor.”

After the fam­ily made their story pub­lic, Johanne Wag­ner said they received hun­dreds of mes­sages from peo­ple who pledged to apply to be a donor.

The fam­ily has been in and out of hos­pi­tals and doc­tors’ offices since the girls were first adopted from Viet­nam in 2012. Johanne Wag­ner has been doc­u­ment­ing the twins’ strug­gle on Face­book and her web­site, show­ing the smil­ing girls as they deal with doc­tors and nurses.

We knew they were very ill,” Johanne Wag­ner said of the twins when they were first adopted. “Those girls knocked on our doors and they were sup­posed to be with us, and it just took a dif­fer­ent path. As soon as we heard about them, we knew they were part of our family.”

Both girls and their father con­tinue to recover from their oper­a­tions. Binh is still recov­er­ing at the Hos­pi­tal for Sick Chil­dren in Toronto, accord­ing to the family’s Face­book page.

Phuoc was able to return home last month.

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

 

How to Make Perfect Breakfast Smoothie for Healthy Skin

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A break­fast smoothie can be the ulti­mate beauty food pick-me-up, and it can also be great for the skin.

You def­i­nitely are what you eat. And if you start your day with a beauty smoothie … not only will you feel bet­ter that day, but you’ll notice a dif­fer­ence in your skin,” said Bobbi Brown, makeup guru and edi­tor in chief of Yahoo Beauty.

Brown appeared on ABC’s Good Morn­ing Amer­ica Wednes­day as part of the Yahoo Your Day col­lab­o­ra­tion to give view­ers the scoop on how to make a blended smoothie in their kitchens.

Brown detailed the ingre­di­ents in her smoothie.

Water, coconut water, which is hydrat­ing, coconut milk, which is the per­fect oil for your skin and your hair, choco­late pro­tein pow­der,” she said, not­ing that kale or spinach and frozen berries may also be added. “To me, that’s … the per­fect break­fast in the morning.”

Frozen fruits and veg­eta­bles can be used, Brown said.

They’re quick. They’re just as nutri­tious. You don’t have to wash them. And they also make the smoothie thicker, because it’s ice,” she said.

Brown and GMA’s Mara Schi­av­o­campo hit the kitchen to whip up their own smoothie. Their smoothie included water, coconut milk and pro­tein pow­der — about two scoops per serv­ing, Brown said.

She also added cacao, kale, ice, a banana and berries.

There’s noth­ing bet­ter for your skin than … berries,” Brown said, adding that berries were not only high in fiber but full of vit­a­mins that are good for the skin.

They also added hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are great, because they make every­thing creamy. They’re also high in pro­tein. And they have beau­ti­ful omega fats in it,” Brown said. “And then I could put any­thing in from flax seeds to coconut, lit­tle bit of bee pollen … if you are some­one that likes things sweet, you could put a lit­tle bit of ste­via in it, a lit­tle bit of honey.”

List of Ingre­di­ents in Brown’s Smoothie:

  • Water
  • Coconut milk
  • Two scoops pro­tein pow­der per serving
  • Lit­tle bit of cacao nibs
  • Ice
  • One banana
  • Hand­ful of berries
  • Kale leaves
  • One scoop hemp seeds
  • Optional Ingre­di­ents
  • Flax seeds
  • Coconut
  • Bee pollen
  • Ste­via
  • Honey
  • Agave

Blend it all and enjoy!

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

 

How to Make Perfect Breakfast Smoothie for Healthy Skin

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A break­fast smoothie can be the ulti­mate beauty food pick-me-up, and it can also be great for the skin.

You def­i­nitely are what you eat. And if you start your day with a beauty smoothie … not only will you feel bet­ter that day, but you’ll notice a dif­fer­ence in your skin,” said Bobbi Brown, makeup guru and edi­tor in chief of Yahoo Beauty.

Brown appeared on ABC’s Good Morn­ing Amer­ica Wednes­day as part of the Yahoo Your Day col­lab­o­ra­tion to give view­ers the scoop on how to make a blended smoothie in their kitchens.

Brown detailed the ingre­di­ents in her smoothie.

Water, coconut water, which is hydrat­ing, coconut milk, which is the per­fect oil for your skin and your hair, choco­late pro­tein pow­der,” she said, not­ing that kale or spinach and frozen berries may also be added. “To me, that’s … the per­fect break­fast in the morning.”

Frozen fruits and veg­eta­bles can be used, Brown said.

They’re quick. They’re just as nutri­tious. You don’t have to wash them. And they also make the smoothie thicker, because it’s ice,” she said.

Brown and GMA’s Mara Schi­av­o­campo hit the kitchen to whip up their own smoothie. Their smoothie included water, coconut milk and pro­tein pow­der — about two scoops per serv­ing, Brown said.

She also added cacao, kale, ice, a banana and berries.

There’s noth­ing bet­ter for your skin than … berries,” Brown said, adding that berries were not only high in fiber but full of vit­a­mins that are good for the skin.

They also added hemp seeds.

Hemp seeds are great, because they make every­thing creamy. They’re also high in pro­tein. And they have beau­ti­ful omega fats in it,” Brown said. “And then I could put any­thing in from flax seeds to coconut, lit­tle bit of bee pollen … if you are some­one that likes things sweet, you could put a lit­tle bit of ste­via in it, a lit­tle bit of honey.”

List of Ingre­di­ents in Brown’s Smoothie:

  • Water
  • Coconut milk
  • Two scoops pro­tein pow­der per serving
  • Lit­tle bit of cacao nibs
  • Ice
  • One banana
  • Hand­ful of berries
  • Kale leaves
  • One scoop hemp seeds
  • Optional Ingre­di­ents
  • Flax seeds
  • Coconut
  • Bee pollen
  • Ste­via
  • Honey
  • Agave

Blend it all and enjoy!

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