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15 June 2017

Smart Contact Lenses

Sony is developing a smart contact lens which can record videos and play them back. Each contact lens can be controlled by the user’s deliberate blinks and it features autofocus, exposure adjustment and zooming capacities. 

It also features piezoelectric sensors which convert the movement of the eye into energy to power the lens.
The image capture and storage technology are embedded in the lens around the iris. Inbuilt storage allows the user to access these recordings and images easily within the lens. The design of the smart lens was revealed in Sony's patent.

Google and Samsung are also developing their version of the smart contact lenses which could also feature night vision and thermal imaging.

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03 April 2017

What is MCT Oil

what is mct oil

If you like following health journals or you read a lot of articles on how to improve your health then you may have already encountered MCT oil. But do you really know what it is?

What is MCT oil?

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which consist of medium-chain fatty acids. This basically means that in terms of chemical structure, its fats that make up the strings of carbon and hydrogen are only “medium” in length. Short-chain fats have less than six carbons in its strings, while long-chain fats have 13 to 21 – medium-chain fatty acids are right smack in the middle with 6 to 12 carbons in its strings.

There are three separate fatty acids that are identified as MCT. You have C6:0 or Caproic Acid, C8:0 or Caprylic Acid, and C10:0 or Capric Acid – all of these you can find in coconut oil.

Caproic Acid; while there’s not enough of it in coconut oil, is known for quickly converting into ketones (the result of the body burning fat for energy) and not turning into stored fat. C6 tastes bad and usually causes an upset stomach.

Caprylic Acid, a.k.a. Brain Octane is known for having powerful anti-microbial properties that can help the body maintain a healthy gut (which is a must in boosting the immune system), and support mood and mental health. Studies have also proven that Brain Octane is exceptionally effective in curbing cravings and this is why a lot of weight management products on the market these days feature C8 in their list of “super” ingredients.

As for Capric Acid, it’s not as high performing as Caprylic Acid – it’s definitely slower in terms of converting into energy, but it’s more affordable than C8.

Benefits of MCTs

  • They are used therapeutically for people with malabsorption problems, like Crohn’s Disease or a missing bladder.
  • They may be helpful in treating diabetes and hypertension because they support proper metabolic functioning.
  • They will allow you to increase the amount of carbohydrates you can eat while remaining in “ketosis.”

Other Sources of MCTs

  1. Palm kernel oil
  2. Full milk (from grass-fed cows)
  3. Butter
  4. Cheddar cheese
  5. Full-fat yogurt

How to Incorporate MCTs into Your Diet

  • Use MCT oil, an egg yolk, extra virgin olive oil, lime extract, and salt for your homemade mayo to use for sandwiches and salads.
  • Use MCT oil for salad dressings.
  • Add some to smoothies and other healthy drinks.
  • Use MCT oil as replacement for any recipe that asks for coconut oil.

MCT oil can do wonders for your overall wellness. If you wish to manage your weight, have more energy, concentrate better, and lower your risk of developing infectious diseases, MCT oil should definitely figure in your health regimen.

Author Bio: Chelsea Sawyer is a certified health coach. She has been helping many people in changing their behaviors to keep them focused on achieving their health and fitness goals. With great passion for writing, her hobbies include writing and sharing helpful techniques on various health topics. She visits sites like Bulletproof
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15 March 2017

Breastfeeding Diet – Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Eating well while breastfeeding is important for both mother and baby. While there are no clear-cut rules, guidelines or even a strict definition for what is considered a good breastfeeding diet, it still helps to be mindful of what you eat to ensure you and your child are getting sufficient nutrition during these critical years.

Nursing mothers often face the following eating dilemmas:

- It’s easy to miss meals – or more exactly, forget about self-care altogether – when you are caring for a baby.

- It’s hard to sit down for regular, proper meals when you have a baby attached to you most of the time.

- You feel thirsty and hungry all the time. No surprise, because it is estimated that you use 330 calories a day when you are breastfeeding (more than what you can burn if you run or mow the lawn for an hour).

This combination of exhaustion, hunger and time and logistical constraints is dangerous. It can lead to poor food choices and hard-to-break habits that can affect your health and your baby. The following are steps that can help you avoid this scenario:

Develop a meal plan. When you’re stressed, sleepless, having cravings and have limited mobility, reaching out for the nearest chips or glugging down a can of soda can become the easiest “solution.” Get away from this cycle by taking the time to plan your meals and make advanced preparation to enjoy easy but healthy choices and no-fuss, nutritious meals.

Great choices include combinations of the following:

- Fresh, whole fruits and vegetables (lots of the green leafy kind).

- Foods rich in calcium, such as milk, fortified tofu, almonds.

- Protein sources for energy, such as meat and eggs.

- Omega-3 sources, such as salmon and sardines, preferably wild-caught.

- Fiber-rich foods, such as whole wheat bread and rice.

Make “good” the easy choice. Make sure that in times of emergency (such as a late meal or a midday craving), you’ll have access only to good food. Keep water, natural fruit juices, coconut water, lemon water and other thirst-quenchers in the fridge and by your bedside so you stay hydrated all day and night. Make sure you have healthy and nutrient-rich snacks on hand, such as yoghurt, cut fruit, nuts and granola to graze on.

Know what you need to stay away from. For coffee, see if you can switch to decaf or at least limit yourself to two cups a day. For alcohol, a glass of red wine once in a while is often fine. If you are breastfeeding exclusively, be on alert for signs of allergy in your baby that may be due to your diet. If your baby frequently suffers from rashes, runny nose, watery stools and round-the-clock fussiness, take her to a pediatrician immediately.

Author Bio: Chelsea Sawyer is a certified health coach. She has been helping many people in changing their behaviors to keep them focused on achieving their health and fitness goals. With great passion for writing, her hobbies include writing and sharing helpful techniques on various health topics. She visits sites like Similac3Arabia

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18 February 2017

New Technologies For People With Visual Impairment And Blindness

During Low Vision Awareness Month, the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is highlighting new technologies and tools in the works to help the 4.1 million Americans living with low vision or blindness. The innovations aim to help people with vision loss more easily accomplish daily tasks, from navigating office buildings to crossing a street. Many of the innovations take advantage of computer vision, a technology that enables computers to recognize and interpret the complex assortment of images, objects and behaviors in the surrounding environment.

Here’s a look at a few NEI-funded technologies under development that aim to lessen the impact of low vision and blindness.

Co-robotic cane
Navigating indoors can be especially challenging for people with low vision or blindness. While existing GPS-based assistive devices can guide someone to a general location such as a building, GPS isn’t much help in finding specific rooms, said Cang Ye, Ph.D., of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Ye has developed a co-robotic cane that provides feedback on a user’s surrounding environment.
The co-robotic cane includes a motorized roller tip that guides the user.

Ye’s prototype cane has a computerized 3-D camera to “see” on behalf of the user. It also has a motorized roller tip that can propel the cane toward a desired location, allowing the user to follow the cane’s direction. Along the way, the user can speak into a microphone and a speech recognition system interprets verbal commands and guides the user via a wireless earpiece. The cane’s credit card-sized computer stores pre-loaded floor plans. However, Ye envisions being able to download floor plans via Wi-Fi upon entering a building. The computer analyzes 3-D information in real time and alerts the user of hallways and stairs.

The cane gauges a person’s location in the building by measuring the camera’s movement using a computer vision method. That method extracts details from a current image captured by the camera and matches them with those from the previous image, thus determining the user’s location by comparing the progressively changing views, all relative to a starting point. In addition to receiving NEI support, Ye recently was awarded a grant from the NIH’s Coulter College Commercializing Innovation Program to explore commercialization of the robotic cane.

Robotic glove finds door handles, small objects
In the process of developing the co-robotic cane, Ye realized that closed doorways pose yet another challenge for people with low vision and blindness. “Finding the door knob or handle and getting the door open slows you way down,” he said. To help someone with low vision locate and grasp small objects more quickly, he designed a fingerless glove device.
Ye’s fingerless glove uses a camera to detect small objects such as door handles.

On the back surface is a camera and a speech recognition system, enabling the user to give the glove voice commands such as “door handle,” “mug,” “bowl,” or “bottle of water.” The glove guides the user’s hand via tactile prompts to the desired object. “Guiding the person’s hand left or right is easy,” Ye said. “An actuator on the thumb’s surface takes care of that in a very intuitive and natural way.” Prompting a user to move his or her hand forward and backward, and getting a feel for how to grasp an object, is more challenging.

Ye’s colleague Yantao Shen, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno, developed a novel hybrid tactile system that comprises an array of cylindrical pins that send either a mechanical or electrical stimulus. The electric stimulus provides an electrotactile sensation, meaning that it excites the nerves on the skin of the hand to simulate a sense of touch. Picture four cylindrical pins in alignment down the length of your index finger. One by one, starting with the pin closest to your finger tip, the pins pulse in a pattern indicating that the hand should move backward.
An array of small, cylindrical pins prompts users to position their hand to grasp a desired object.

The reverse pattern indicates the need for forward motion. Meanwhile, a larger electrotactile system on the palm uses a series of cylindrical pins to create a 3-D representation of the object’s shape. For example, if your hand is approaching the handle of a mug, you would sense the handle’s shape in your palm so that you could adjust the position of your hand accordingly. As your hand moves toward the mug handle, any slight shifts in angle are noted by the camera and the tactile sensation on your palm reflects such changes.

Smartphone crosswalk app
Street crossings can be especially dangerous for people with low vision. James Coughlan, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute have developed a smartphone app that gives auditory prompts to help users identify the safest crossing location and stay within the crosswalk.

The app harnesses three technologies and triangulates them. A global positioning system (GPS) is used to pinpoint the intersection where a user is standing. Computer vision is then used to scan the area for crosswalks and walk lights. That information is integrated with a geographic information system (GIS) database containing a crowdsourced, detailed inventory about an intersection’s quirks, such as the presence of road construction or uneven pavement.

The three technologies compensate for each other’s weaknesses. For example, while computer vision may lack the depth perception needed to detect a median in the center of the road, such local knowledge would be included in the GIS template. And while GPS can adequately localize the user to an intersection, it cannot identify on which corner a user is standing. Computer vision determines the corner, as well as where the user is in relation to the crosswalk, the status of the walk lights and traffic lights, and the presence of vehicles.

CamIO system helps explore objects in a natural way
Imagine a system that enables visually impaired biology students to explore a 3-D anatomical model of a heart by touching an area and hearing “aortic arch” in response. The same system could also be used to get an auditory readout of the display on a device such as a glucose monitor. The prototype system, designed with a low-cost camera connected to a laptop computer, can make physical objects – from 2-D maps to digital displays on microwaves – fully accessible to users with low vision or blindness.
The CamIO system consists of a laptop computer and a camera and enables users to explore any 3-D or 2-D object. By holding a finger on an object, users prompt the system to provide audio feedback.

The CamIO (short for camera input-output) , also under development by Coughlan, provides real-time audio feedback as the user explores an object in a natural way, turning it around and touching it. Holding a finger stationary on 3-D or 2-D objects, signals the system to provide an audible label of the location in question or an enhanced image on a laptop screen. CamIO was conceived by Joshua Miele, Ph.D, a blind scientist at Smith-Kettlewell who develops and evaluates novel sound/touch interfaces to help people with vision loss. Coughlan plans to develop a smartphone app version of CamIO. In the meantime, software for the laptop version will be available for free download. To watch a demonstration of the CamIO system.

High-powered prisms, periscopes for severe tunnel vision
People with retinitis pigmentosa and glaucoma can lose most of their peripheral vision, making it challenging to walk in crowded places like airports or malls. People with severe peripheral field vision loss can have a residual central island of vision that’s as little as 1 to 2 percent of their full visual field. Eli Peli, O.D., of Schepens Eye Research Institute, Boston, has developed lenses constructed of many adjacent one-millimeter wide prisms that expand the visual field while preserving central vision. Peli designed a high-powered prism, called a multiplexing prism that expands one’s field of view by about 30 degrees. “That’s an improvement, but it’s not good enough,” explained Peli.

In a study, he and his colleagues mathematically modeled people walking in crowded places and found that the risk of collision is highest when other pedestrians are approaching from a 45-degree angle. To reach that degree of peripheral vision, he and his colleagues are employing a periscope-like concept. Periscopes, such as those used to see the ocean surface from a submarine, rely on a pair of parallel mirrors that shift an image, providing a view that would otherwise be out of sight.

Applying a similar concept, but with non-parallel mirrors, Peli and colleagues have developed a prototype that achieves a 45-degree visual field. Their next step is to work with optical labs to manufacture a cosmetically acceptable prototype that can be mounted into a pair of glasses. “It would be ideal if we could design magnetic clip-ons spectacles that could be easily mounted and removed,” he said.

Source: National Eye Institute (NEI)
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13 February 2017

The 7 Anti-inflammatory Herbs You Should Be Taking

Many chronic diseases can be attributed to inflammation at the cellular level in one or more systems in the body. As such, reduction of inflammation is often viewed as key to the optimal functioning of the body as well as other benefits like mental clarity, energy boost, enhanced immunity and more.

There are several strategies that can be utilized to reduce inflammation. One of these is through diet. Grass-fed meats, cruciferous vegetables, egg yolks, and omega-3 rich fish are some of the foods that are known to reduce inflammation.

Apart from these, there are anti-inflammatory herbs that you may want to add to your diet. The beauty of these herbs is that you only need a small amount of these due to their potency. As an added benefit, you can make your meals more delicious.


Turmeric has been used extensively in both Indian and Chinese medicine for a diverse variety of ailments ranging from arthritis to liver disease.

Scientific studies reveal that this herb has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal and anticancer properties.

Some experts are touting that turmeric has properties that can help ward off or even cure chronic diseases.

Cayenne pepper

The compound known as capsaicin gives peppers, including cayenne pepper, their spicy taste and medicinal properties. Generally speaking, the spicier the pepper is, the higher its level of capsaicin is. 

Cayenne pepper is used extensively in creams and ointments for pain relief. The spice has figured prominently in Indian, Chinese and Native American medicine.

Cayenne pepper, in particular, contains flavonoids and carotenoids which help protect against cellular damage, which in turn can lead to inflammation and diseases. It can also aid in weight loss.


Ginger is another spice that has been used to treat a diverse number of conditions.

The spice contains ginerols, shogaols, and paradols which can reduce inflammation. These compounds have been used in the production of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The compound 6-ginerol, in particular, can inhibit the production of the free radical known as peroxynitrite which can cause both pain and inflammation.


Cinnamon is known to lower blood sugar in diabetics. But apart from that, the spice also has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which aid in minimizing cellular damage as well as lowering the risks for some chronic diseases.

The spice can also inhibit proteins that are associated with immune, growth and cell death problems. Furthermore, it helps prevent blood platelets from clumping. It can also help in stopping abnormal cell growth.


Clove contains a compound that is similar yet more potent to a compound contained in cinnamon that also helps protects against inflammation. 

The compound known as eugenol can block the enzyme which causes inflammation. The spice is also rich in antioxidants.


Sage contains carnosic acid and carnosol which are associated with several health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. 

In some studies, it was revealed that sage can help in protecting against neurological conditions like Alzheimer's. It can also help lessen anxiety while improving both memory and concentration. It also has anti-oxidant, anticancer, antifungal and antibacterial properties.


Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid which gives the herb anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Like sage, rosemary can help remove the free radical known as superoxide which can cause chronic inflammation. 

The herb is also rich in flavonoids, including apigenin, which can inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the pancreas, and diosmin, which helps prevent hemorrhoids.

Author Bio: Chelsea Sawyer is a certified health coach. She has been helping many people in changing their behaviors to keep them focused on achieving their health and fitness goals. With great passion for writing, her hobbies include writing and sharing helpful techniques on various health topics. She visits sites like BulletProof

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09 February 2017

The Rising Trend of Glaucoma in Southeast May Lead to Increased Cases of Blindness in The Region

A new wave of worry has enveloped the southeast with the discovery that half of its active population may go blind if nothing was done to check the rising trend of glaucoma and other eyes related diseases ravaging the zone.

It was gathered that about ten years ago, a group of ophthalmologists embarked on a study in Nigeria for the eyes and came up with the startling revelation that the southeast has the highest prevalence of severe visual impairment and glaucoma when compared with other zones in the country.

The study indicated severe visual impairment of two per cent in young people between the ages of 40 and 42 years and glaucoma blindness of 1.2 per cent among Igbos; stressing that it was the highest when compared with other zones of the country.

Since the study was conducted, experts said that measures taken to check it had not yielded the desired results, stressing that rather than reducing, further recent studies conducted indicated that the trend is on the increase, raising fears that the zone’s active population may be visually depressed.

Perturbed by the growing trend, ophthalmologists in the southeast, who gathered in Enugu last week in what was described as “Southeast Ophthalmologists Forum” to brain storm on the development said that time had come for stakeholders, governments among others to take a holistic approach that would save the active population of the zone from going blind.

Speaking at the forum organized in conjunction with Pfizer Nigeria, President, Ophthalmologist Society of Nigeria (OSN), Prof. Sebastine Nwosu, stated that the gathering followed the discovery that several efforts by groups and individuals have not yielded the required dividend, stressing that the figures obtained showed that southeast was still endangered.

He said: “As eye people, when we got this result, we were very uncomfortable and we felt that we really need to do sometime about it, otherwise our training will be in vain. So we felt we could come together to look at this and ask the question on why it is so and not just to ask the question but what are we going to do about it and as doctors if we fail to do anything we will have failed. So the essence of the meeting is to think about all the result we have and how we can solve the problem.”

Given the statistics about the disease, he said that “severe visual impairment of persons of over 40 years is two percent and the highest in the southeast, the Glaucoma blindness in the southeast is 1.2 percent compared to other zones where they have zero percent,” adding that Glaucoma blindness is commonest in all parts of southeast.

“It is like one out of every 100 people here have Glaucoma and in other places it may be one out of 500 people. You can see how bad it is for us. The disease that affects the back of the eye is the commonest in the southeast and this one is about one percent. When we say among the Igbos; there are some Igbos in the Delta, Rivers and Kogi and it is about eight percent. Many people that move about in Enugu are blind and for all these there are many causes, but the one caused by glaucoma is commonest here than any other part of Nigeria and the bad thing about the blindness caused by the glaucoma is that if you don’t catch it early enough, the person becomes permanently blind. It is unlike blindness caused by cataract, which could also be treated. This blindness doesn’t come with symptoms; it doesn’t cause pain. It is a dangerous disease,” he said.

On why the prevalence, Chairperson, Southeast Ophthalmologists Forum and former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), Prof Rich Umeh, stated that the thinking of the forum was that the disease is genetic.
“It is difficult to know, but we think it is genetic. It is not out of what we eat or lifestyle but may have a genetic basis. We will do more research to find out why we are worst hit. But the simple approach is to go for regular eye check up at least once in a year, otherwise we may have more blind people in this part of the country,” she said.

“We have continued to do studies in the southeast segmentally and it was discovered that the figures kept recurring. We may have more blind people. Studies have been done, the data was analyzed and we moved into action, like going to the radio to educate people, moving into rural areas to treat people, we thought that with these interventions, the prevalence would have come down but the issue is on the rise. We discovered that most in the young and old people. That is why we called our colleagues together to brainstorm on whether we can change strategy. The intervention has been very little. We want to do a kind of organized outreach, organized sensitization so that it will be synchronized. We will not prevent people from getting Glaucoma but if we catch them early, we will prevent them from getting blind because there is treatment for it. There is surgery, there is… we need to partner with our policy makers, to create awareness among others. If people have their eyes checked early enough it will be taken care of,” she added.

Director Corporate Affairs, Pfizer Nigeria and East Africa region, Margaret Olele, said the forum was part of the contribution of the company to reduce the burden of Glaucoma and other eyes related diseases, especially in the southeast zone.
She said: “Pfizer is committed to contributing positively to patient care in our communities whilst exploring more opportunities with relevant stakeholders to reduce the burden of Glaucoma. The Glaucoma Symposium is designed to update health care professionals on the latest advances in medical and surgical management of Glaucoma. It highlights insights in Glaucoma management, medications, surgical techniques and the burden of Glaucoma in Sub- Saharan Africa and Nigeria.”

Source:  TheGuardian
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05 February 2017

There Will Be Global Epidemic of Blindness If We Continue To Spend Hours Staring At A Screen

Warn hours spent staring at screens ‘will rob millions of their sight decades early’

Experts warn we face a global epidemic of blindness if we continue to spend hours staring at a screen. The high-energy light emitted from digital screens is causing irreversible damage to our eyes by deteriorating the retinas.

Damage to the retinas – the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye – is the biggest cause of central blindness. And a new report warns: “It is now clearer than ever that we are facing a global epidemic of sight loss – particularly for the millions of children who are exposed to digital screens earlier than ever.”

Lead researcher Dr. Celia Sanchez-Ramos said: “It is paramount for adults and parents to act now and protect themselves from further damage.” Currently, there are approximately 900 million devices and children use them without eye protection such as a protective screen or glasses.

The study, conducted at University Complutense of Madrid in Spain, analyzed and compared the results of two previous studies. The first exposed the retinas of rats to tablet screens emitting white LED light, one group with filters and the other group without filters.

After three months of exposure to white LED light, the rats exposed to tablets without filters experienced approximately a 23 percent increase in retinal cell death, which can lead to a loss of vision. The rats that were exposed to tablets filtered with Reticare, the only eye protector based on scientific data, experienced no retina cell death. Additionally, the study showed exposure to LED light from tablet screens favors the expression of genes that promote cell death and the enzymes involved in causing cell death. These effects are largely reversed by using the appropriate filter on tablet screens.

LED screens found in most electronic devices can irreversibly damage the retina and may even lead to partial blindness. In extreme cases, it could even lead to macular degeneration, which causes dark patches to appear in the center of the field of vision.

Source: DailyMailUK Online
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29 December 2016

Eye tribe for Oculus eye-tracking software acquired by Facebook

Facebook Inc.’s Oculus has acquired The Eye Tribe, a company that tracks eye movement in virtual reality to improve the experience.
Oculus confirmed the acquisition of the Copenhagen-based startup, without stating a price. The acquisition was reported earlier Wednesday by TechCrunch.

Eye Tribe is the latest in a series of tech acquisitions this year for Oculus. Facebook is especially interested in eye tracking because the company wants to take the lead in social interactions in VR. The ability to follow eye movement makes it easier to understand people’s expressions and let them communicate effectively with each other in a virtual world.

For example, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is interested in helping people watch basketball games together, have board meetings, travel to foreign countries and take selfies in virtual reality.
Facebook isn’t alone in focusing on the importance of eye tracking to VR. Alphabet Inc.’s Google acquired Eyefluence, another startup working on eye-tracking technology, in October. The search giant is investing in virtual reality as it aims to integrate its media services, like YouTube and its app store, into the nascent technology.

Source: TheGuardian
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