New Product for Acid Reflux

For people with terrible heartburn – a solution may actually be available. A bracelet-like device has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012 to help gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD).

The new device, called the LINX device, is a magnetic bead that has to be implanted around a muscle at the bottom of the esophagus.

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have now concluded that LINX should be considered as a first-line treatment for acid reflex.

As Dr Robert Ganz, chief of gastroenterology at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and associate professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota, said: ‘This study demonstrates the LINX procedure provides significant and durable improvement in heartburn, regurgitation, PPI independence and quality of life. Patients can now have a relatively simple procedure to restore their sphincter function and avoid the invasiveness required in fundoplication procedures. In my view, LINX represents the next generation of anti-reflux treatment.”


Is Your Plate Keeping You Fat?

spaghetti-709337_640You know that diet that you’re always about to start? How about if we told you that you really don’t have to diet – you simply have to change your portion size and a few eating habits. This is the latest finding from Cambridge academics. Their 387 page report showed the most conclusive evidence to date that we simply eat too much food – we eat what we are given even if we don’t need that much.

Here are some tips for portion control:

  1. Reduce the size of the plate or bowl that you have in front of you. This can reduce food intake by 159 calories a day according to the scientists.
  2. Drink one to two glasses of water before starting each meal.
  3. Eat a salad before you eat other items at your meal to signal to your brain that you’re full.
  4. Use smaller tableware as well and this will mean that you put less food into your mouth as you eat.

These tips certainly can’t hurt, and they just might set you on your way towards a smaller pants size in your future!

A Cure for Seasickness?

cruise-114152_640Do you feel queasy and sick when you are on a boat? Obviously, you can simply avoid going boating, going on cruises, and looking for whales. But if you still want to be able to enjoy these activities, then an answer may be on the way for you. Scientists at Imperial College London are developing a device that offers a mild electric shock to the scalp to get rid of the feeling of nausea. Believe it or not, their device will plug into a mobile phone and deliver a short shock to the head with electrodes.

They are hoping that the device will be sold to the public in pharmacies within the next five to ten years. As lead researcher Dr. Qadeer Arshad said, “We are confident that within five to 10 years people will be able to walk into the chemist and buy an anti-seasickness device. It may be something like a TENS [transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation] machine that is used for back pain. We hope it might even integrate with a mobile phone, which would be able to deliver the small amount of electricity required via the headphone jack.

In the study that they’ve done, volunteers wore the electrodes for about ten minutes on their heads. They did so while sitting in a chair that simulates the feeling of the sea.

As Co-author Professor Michael Gresty said, “The problem with treatments for motion sickness is that the effective ones are usually tablets that also make people drowsy. That’s all very well if you are on a short journey or a passenger, but what about if you work on a cruise ship and need to deal with motion sickness whilst continuing to work?
The scientists say that they have gotten a lot of interest from many avenues including the military. As Dr Arshad said, “From other studies we also have evidence that stimulating the brain in this way can enhance attention and concentration. This aspect is of great interest to the military and we imagine that other groups such as students and people who spend long periods playing computer games will also want to try it out.”


Drip-Proof Ice Cream? Maybe So

ice-cream-770994_640We all know the feeling. We buy a delicious ice cream cone, and before we can even take three bites, it’s dripping down our arms. What is an ice cream lover to do? Now, thanks to researchers at the Universities of Edinburgh and Dundee, we might have an answer to that question. They have found a naturally occurring protein that can be used for ice cream that makes it more resistant to melting. It has a smooth consistency as a result of the air, fat and water that bind together and stays frozen longer.

The protein is called Bs1A and it clings to fat droplets and air bubbles. Project lead Professor Cait MacPhee of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics and Astronomy said, “We’re excited by the potential this new ingredient has for improving ice cream, both for consumers and for manufacturers.”

It’s also possible that this protein will allow for the creation of ice cream and other frozen items that are lower in saturated fat. As McPhee told the BBC, “By using this protein we’re replacing some of the fat molecules that are currently used to stabilize these oil and water mixtures.”

It’s also possible that it will lower costs for storage, as warehouses and ice cream delivery trucks won’t have to be kept as cold.

For those of you salivating with the thought – you may need to keep your expectations in check for a bit. They don’t expect the ice cream to be ready for the market for another three to five years.