Covid-19 Data Review: Cases Do Not Warrant Public Hysteria or Lockdowns

“What is the hardest thing of all? That which seems the easiest. For your eyes to see, that which lies before your eyes.”

– Goethe Continue reading

This Exercise Mistake Can Give You a Heart Attack

Many people wonder whether it is safe to exercise outdoors during cold weather, especially below freezing. Continue reading

Sniffing Can Help Communications and Steer Wheelchairs

A new health gadget will allow disabled persons steer their wheelchairs or communicate with loved ones through sniffing-inhaling and exhaling through the nose.

Professor Noam Sobel, engineers Dr. Anton Plotkin and Aharon Weissbrod, along with research student Lee Sela of Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Neurobiology created the new system which identifies changes in air pressure inside the nose’s nostrils. The gadget then translates these changes into electrical signals. The device was tested on healthy individuals as well as quadriplegics and the data showed that the device is easily learned.

Patients who have “locked-in syndromes” (unimpaired cognitive abilities while being completely paralyzed) have the ability to finally communicate with others and to even initiate communication. Caretakers the world over will rejoice once this technology spreads to common use. Many parents of paralyzed children have longed for the day to hear their child speak… and with the new sniffing technology, they may get that chance.

Even those patients on respirators can control the muscles involved in the soft palate to sniff. Researchers were able to devise a device that bypasses the airflow into the nostrils. About 75% of these patients were able to use the device. For the healthy patients, the device was favorable such as a mouse or joystick used to play video games.

One woman who had been locked-in for 18 years after a traffic accident says the device is easier to use than a blink-based device. About 13 patients were able to use sniffing to operate a computer and write messages. For most, it only took days to learn the device and how to sniff to operate.

Further fascinating results included the case of steering wheelchairs. After 15 minutes of practice time, a patient was able to navigate a route with sharp turns as well as a non-disabled volunteer. This could also lead to other uses such as for pilots or even surgeons. Because the device can detect in or out directions of sniffing, and long or short sniffs, there exists the possibility of creating a “language” with multiple signals.

The best news is that it’s relatively inexpensive to produce these devices. This means more people who need this device and are on disability income are more likely to afford them on their own. Insurance companies are also more likely to cover the device if it is cost-efficient.

Chronic Rhinosinusitis Patients Going for Alternative Medicine

ABERDEEN – An increasing number of patients are turning to complementary and alternative medical therapies to help treat the symptoms of chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS), revealed a new study.

In the study, the researchers aimed to explore the pattern of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) use in patients with a prior diagnosis of CRS at a rhinology outpatient clinic in Aberdeen, Scotland.

CRS is defined as a group of disorders characterized by inflammation of the mucosa of the nose and paranasal sinuses of at least 12 weeks duration.

In the study, the researchers provided questionnaires to 75 patients over a two-month period.

The questionnaire consisted of demographic information and whether they had ever used CAM from a list of 49 herbal and non-herbal alternative therapies (such as acupuncture, massage, aloe vera, and cod liver oil).

All the subjects were also asked why they used CAM, where they learned of CAM, whether they found it efficacious, and whether their general practitioner was aware they were using it.

It was found that 65 percent of patients had used CAM, while 30 percent of patients used it for chronic rhinosinusitis.

Women were significantly more likely to use CAM than men, according to the statistics.

Patients who were employed, married, and had university degrees were also more likely to use CAM and only 43 percent of CAM users had informed their doctor about the use of the therapy.

Researchers found that patients were shy about telling their physician about usage of CAM.

They suggested that clinicians should enquire as to all the medications being taken by patients, and the dangers of non- compliance with conventional medications should be emphasized to CAM users by their treating physician.

The findings were presented at the 2009 American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) Annual Meeting and OTO EXPO in San Diego.

Frequent Nasal Irrigation May Increase Infections

NEW YORK – New evidence suggests that daily nasal irrigation may increase the risk of sinus infections.

Nasal irrigation with warm saline has been promoted as way to cleanse the sinuses and help prevent infections. However, using this therapy too often may not be beneficial.

The latest study, presented at the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI) annual meeting, included 68 adults who used nasal irrigation frequently for one year and then stopped therapy for one year. The patients were compared to 24 control patients who did not discontinue nasal irrigation.

The researchers found that number of sinus infections decreased by 62.5 percent after the participants stopped using nasal irrigation. Additionally, after stopping nasal irrigation, they were 50 percent less likely to develop sinus infections than those who continued with daily therapy.

Mucus in the nose contains important immune system molecules that help the body fight against infections. Because nasal irrigation eliminates this mucus, the authors suspect that it may lead to an increased risk of infection.