Home Health


So, someone tells you there exists a brain chip that would make a paralyzed person regain his mobility… what would you say? Well, you might think that this someone has lost his marbles, or that he seems really affected by Felicity Smoke’s recovery in the latest episodes of Arrow. However, you’d be misinformed if you thought that microchip implants still only existed in sci-fi shows, and Ian Burkhart is a living, breathing, and moving example of that.

Ian Burkhart, 24, has been paralyzed for the last 5 years, after he dove into shallow waters. He is what science would call a quadriplegic. However, Burkhart has recently regained partial use of his right hand due to a microchip implant in his brain. He has been part of a study by the Ohio State University for the past 2 years. For the first time ever, this study uses electronic sensors to send signals from the brain to the muscles, which has allowed Burkhart to hold or pour a bottle, pick up a stick, and even play Guitar Hero.

According to the Newsweek, the neurosurgeon and co-author of the study, Ali Rezai, thinks this technology will give quadriplegic patients much needed hope in the possibility that they can improve their motor functions and hand movements. The process includes a surgery to implant the flexible chip into the patient’s brain. This chip detects electrical activity in the brain when the person thinks of moving their hand. Then, the chip sends signals to a computer, which in turn transmits electrical pulses that stimulate the muscle.

The scientists on the study hope that this technology will be evolved into a wireless system that directly connects to the brain’s signals. This would greatly improve the function and quality of life of paralyzed people and those with disabilities. They also hope that this technology would soon enough be available for patients to use from their own homes.


No, this is not a hoax to get you eating vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, or whatever new fad dieting trend is out there. I mean, why would someone pull off such a cruel joke when it comes to your life’s sustenance like, say, a Whopper or a Big Mac? But you and I both know that fast food is stock full of the fakest ingredients anyone could eat, despite us living in complete denial and continuously stopping for drive-through at KFC, day in and day out. So, is it really that shocking that scientists have found new evidence of some more chemicals in fast food? We don’t think so…

A recent study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives journal observes whether fast food or its packaging carries these plasticizers. The tested people showed high levels of a type of industrial plasticizer, called phthalates, in their urine after 24 hours of eating fast food. According to the scientists, these results point towards the food containing these chemicals. Consumer advocates of this material have long been advising the industry to avoid using them; however, this proves to be close to the impossible as these plasticizers are used in numerous products like cosmetics, detergents, vinyl flooring, and more to make the product more durable. Furthermore, finding phthalates in foods is the most unnerving and dangerous finding yet!

Moreover, traces of phthalates has also been found in processed meats and dairy products, and scientists attribute these findings to one of three reasons, either due to leaching from packaging, or to machinery during processing, or to gloves of workers.

The EPA has shown great concern in regards to these findings. They think phthalates in foods pose high risk on human health, and they have even classified it as “probable human carcinogen”. And while the scientists can’t prove that the elevated phthalates in the human urine was due to the fast food, they assure us that “the association is strong”.

I wonder how much financial loss will fast food monsters, like McDonalds, will suffer from these findings… probably none, as people won’t be taking this seriously!


Despite the obvious advancement of science in the cancer industry, and despite the many breakthrough findings in cancer this year alone, humanity still suffers from this lethal diseases that has and will still claim the lives of millions. But billionaire, entrepreneur, philanthropist Sean Parker, who is co-founder of Napster and Facebook’s first president, has set a $ 250 million plan in motion to accelerate the development of an effective cure for cancer.

According to Gizmodo, he plan involves founding the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in San Francisco, which includes 40 research labs and 300 researchers that have joined Parker’s initiative from 6 major cancer research centers, including New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering, Stanford Medicine, and the University of California; many more are expected to join soon. Parker urges the country’s top scientists to take part in this great plan and share the research openly for the sake of development. The institute will be managed by Parker himself, who promises to have a very hands-on role, and will include a staff of 50. This would facilitate patenting inventions and licensing them.


The institute will focus on cancer immunotherapy, a treatment that has shown the most positive results so far, which aids the body’s immunity in killing the cancer cells. The research will focus on 3 major points which are modifying immunity cells so they would target tumors, boosting the response to the available immunotherapy treatments, and identifying other ways to attack cancer tumors. Immunotherapy seems to be the future of cancer treatment. It aims to improve the body’s immunity through either helping it work harder to destroy cancer or boosting it with synthetic proteins. So far, results of this therapy have been very positive, showing a significant increase in survival rates and even cancer-free periods. It also has increased effectiveness of 20 to 30 % when combined with traditional treatments like chemotherapy.

In other regular labs available today, research efforts are concealed and kept secret, and all labs compete with each other in a business market. However, Parker’s institute will focus on collaboration among all the centers and scientists; much like the music sharing website Napster, the institute aims to share the findings freely among all its centers. Parker says he wants his institute to be a hub for sharing critical cancer research, and that the findings won’t just go into publishing journals, but will be pushed to be translated into real therapies for people to use. A breakthrough discovery at one center will be shared with all the others without the hassle of Intellectual Property and bureaucracy.

After losing his friend, film producer Laura Ziskin who passed away of breast cancer 3 years ago, Parker has been frustrated by the gruelingly slow progress in the search for a cancer cure. He urges scientists to share their findings and borrow from each other’s labs. Moreover, the collaborating labs will go on with their private researches; however, their funding will increase and they will have and give access to other resources.

Parker’s initiative seems promising; he thinks that a cure will surely be found faster this way, despite it needing a lot of hard work and even more funding. Furthermore, Parker’s plan is the most driven effort to combat a disease, since Bill and Melinda Gates turned their efforts towards combating malaria.


Yes, you read that right. According to CBS News, marriage is your Kevlar against cancer…or so to speak. A study conducted by author Scarlett Lin Gomez of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, results showed that married cancer patients – well, patients in long-term relationships, really – had a higher chance of survival than single patients. Mind you, the study point at a relationship between marriage and prognosis; that is not to say it relates to the cause-effect.

The study found that single men with cancer had a 27% increased death rate than married men, and single women with cancer had a 19% increased death rate than married women. Another study conducted 10 to 15 years ago came out with similar results. In order to figure out the reason behind this shocking different, doctors looked at the financial factors that one gains in marriage. The health insurance and higher socioeconomic status neighborhoods that married people benefit from seemed to have very small impact on the results. In another attempt, the study observed around 800,000 adults in California who had cancer between 2000 and 2009, then followed up with them till 2012. This study took into account the benefit of combined income and health insurance that married people had the benefit of. And yet again, this financial factor seemed to have little effect.

Hence, just like the prior studies a decade ago, the results found were pointing more and more towards the actual love and emotional bond that spouses share. Spouses are the driving force when it comes to visiting the doctor often, taking medication properly, and receiving nourishing meals. Not to mention that such a partner played a great role in easing off the tremendous stress and fear that a cancer patient feels. It’s the helping caregiver that improves a cancer patient’s survival chances.

This is not to say that single people are doomed! But the study shows that social support is vital for cancer patients, and hence one should look for this among family and friends. It also shows doctors that the psychosocial resources should also be considered when treating a cancer patient as they have quite the impact when combined with the proper physical treatment.

These findings, however, are by no means unique to cancer. Several studies have shown the health benefits of living in a sort of deep and meaningful relationship as it increases one’s quality of life all over!

However, these findings differed when studying different racial and ethnic groups. According to a companion study to the previous one, whites seemed to benefit more of the marriage bond, compared to Hispanics, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. Also, US born cancer patients among the latter groups seemed to enjoy the benefits more than the native born ones; the study suspects this may have to do with a better understanding of the US health care system.


Though this study has faced much disputed over the years, scientists are still going through with their research to prove that the benefits may outweigh the drawbacks. According to Fox 8 Cleveland, the US Preventive Services Task Force published on Monday updated recommendations regarding aspirin. According to the new findings, taking low-dose aspirin daily may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.

However, these recommendations are restricted to the 50-59 age group who have a high risk of cardiovascular disease. These patients would witness a drop in their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and colon cancer if they took aspirin daily. As for people between 60 and 69, they may find benefits from aspirin as well, but they should consult with their physicians first in order to study the consequences. Also, the research doesn’t give enough evidence to the benefits regarding people younger than 50 and older than 69.

This is the first time the task force releases such recommendations for people between the age of 50 and 59. The last time they issued recommendations was in 2009, and since then, more evidence has emerged that has lead them to issue better recommendations. Furthermore, the 2009 study had been studying the different effects that this treatment would have on men and women; however, since then, the research has shown that men and women react to the treatment in the same manner.

Moreover, the task force stressed that this recommendation is not for people that have high risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, and it is for people that have 10 years life expectancy or more, and are willing to take aspirin daily for 10 years or more.

However, this year’s findings are by no means definitive. In 2015, a study published by the Annals of Internal Medicine found that the daily use of low-dose aspirin reduced the risk of colon cancer. However, another study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology in the very same year claimed that this ‘preventive measure’ actually increased the risk of serious problems, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers, by as much as 60% in the studied patients.

The scientists that issued the latest recommendation insist that the benefits outweigh the risks for men and women of age 50-59, with 10-year life expectancy, and more than 10% risk of cardiovascular disease. However, as both sides of the issue have been studied and shown to be true, people are advised to check with their physicians prior to starting this preventive measure in order to make sure they fit the category.


We understand why many of you guys may have reservations about pointy and sharp tools coming within close proximity of your penises. We get it. We seriously do. However, scientists think that this specific penile injection will be quite welcomed by you!

According to Bustle, a new method of male birth control called Vasalgel has taken over the news recently, promising men their shared of the burden when it comes to deciding whether they do or don’t want to have a child. Having been successfully tested on two very promiscuous species, rabbits and baboons, it is now ready to be tested on the third species in the queue. Human males can expect the testing to start this year and onto next year, and producers are hoping the product will be ready for launch in 2018.


So how does this weird contraption that threatens the peace of your penis work? Well, the gel is injected into your vas deferens – you know, that tube where your sperm swim around – and it stops the semen from going through. However, unlike a vasectomy, this method is reversible. The gel worked for almost a year in the tested animals, and could be removed with an injection of sodium bicarbonate solution. Yes, that’s baking soda, if your little chef was curious.

Vasalgel has received quite the positive feedback from males, as there is nothing reversible and highly reliable for men in the birth control sector. Up till now, it’s been the women who have had to take the precautions with several options available from IUDS, to the pill, to the patch, etc. and with all the methods having some form of hormonal side effect or drawback. However, for men, the options range from a vasectomy, to condoms, to… well, yeah, that pretty much covers it.

So Vasalgel comes as good news to the many guys out there that wish ti have control and are willing to share the responsibility, without fear of breaking a condom… or a body organ.