The Check-Up: Today’s Top Health Headlines
• What if you could power your cell phone just by walking around? That’s the question University of Wisconsin researchers recently pondered—and answered—when they came up with a way to generate electricity from human motion. The BBC reports that researchers have created a device to be worn in a shoe that leverages a principle known as “reverse electrowatting,” in which the movements of tiny beads of liquid are converted into an electrical current. The device could power up phones wirelessly by “making radio contact with remote base stations.” Guess this just gives you one more reason to move around a little.
• In today’s “really awesome discovery” salute, researchers at Northwestern University say they have found the underlying cause of ALS—all three forms of it—which could greatly aid efforts to find a treatment that works. Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a neurodegenerative disease in which motor neurons in the spinal cord and brain are killed off, eventually rendering sufferers completely paralyzed. In the current study, researchers determined that the problem lies in how proteins are recycled and repaired in neurons; for ALS sufferers, the process malfunctions, and the proteins can’t properly repair themselves. Understanding this hiccup could lead to effective treatments, researchers say. And as if the news couldn’t get any better, they add that their discovery may also be applied to other neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
• Yesterday, the FDA approved the use of Botox to treat overactive bladder, specifically in patients with neurological conditions. According to MSNBC, “A single injection of Botox into the bladder can relax it and increase its storage capacity, with the effect lasting for about nine months.” I’m wondering if they’ll make use of the Ouchless Botox Needle. I imagine the patients wouldn’t object.
• Um, you guys? Don’t fake an illness, okay? It could land you in jail.