127. Bionic Pancreas, Mental Benefits of Blue Spaces, Untethered Exoskeleton
127. Bionic Pancreas, Mental Benefits of Blue Spaces, Untethered Exoskeleton
A bionic pancreas could solve one of the biggest challenges of diabetes | MIT Technology Review (01:02)
In a recent trial, a bionic pancreas that automatically delivers insulin proved more effective than pumps or injections at lowering blood glucose levels in people with type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a serious condition that causes a person’s level of glucose, or sugar, to become too high because the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin
Needs to be monitored and requires insulin intake every day.
But maybe this bionic pancreas, which is a credit card-sized device called an iLet, could alleviate that constant monitoring
It monitors a person’s levels around the clock and automatically delivers insulin when needed through a tiny cannula, a thin tube inserted into the body.
Worn constantly, generally on the abdomen.
Determines all insulin doses based on the user’s weight, and the user can’t adjust the doses.
A Harvard Medical School team has submitted its findings from the study to the FDA in the hopes of eventually bringing the product to market in the US.
Provided 219 people with type 1 diabetes who had used insulin for at least a year with a bionic pancreas device for 13 weeks.
Compared their blood sugar levels with those of 107 diabetic people who used other insulin delivery methods
The blood sugar levels of the bionic pancreas group fell from 7.9% to 7.3%, while the standard care group’s levels remained steady at 7.7%.
Goal according to the American Diabetes Association recommends a goal of less than 7.0%
Duane Mellor, the lead for nutrition and evidence-based medicine at Aston Medical School, in Birmingham, UK, who was not involved in the study, provided a pro and con for this device:
“Being able to take carbohydrate counting out of the equation is a really big advantage, because it’s a burden … On the flip side, they have to relinquish control [of determining the insulin dose], which could be difficult for people who’ve had diabetes for a long time.”
The aim of the project is to democratize good glucose control, says Steven Russell, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who led the study:
“There are plenty of people who are struggling right now because they don’t have the right tools, and I think the iLet could help a lot of them have much better glucose control.”
Positive Childhood Experiences of Blue Spaces Linked to Better Adult Well-Being | Neuroscience News (09:37)
A new study on blue spaces from data pulled from the BlueHealth International Survey (BIS) including 18 countries, showcases the benefits
15,000 people across 14 European Countries and 4 other non-European countries/regions
Adults with better mental health are more likely to report having spent time playing in and around coastal and inland waters, such as rivers and lakes.
Mounting evidence shows that spending time in and around green spaces such as parks and woodlands in adulthood is associated with stress reduction and better mental health.
But not much info about blue spaces
Respondents between the ages of 0-16 were asked to recall their blue space experiences
how local they were,
how often they visited them,
how comfortable their parents/guardians were with them playing in these settings,
They found that individuals who recalled more childhood blue space experiences tended to place greater intrinsic value on natural settings in general, and to visit them more often as adults.
Associated to better mental wellbeing in adulthood
Valeria Vitale, Lead author and PhD Candidate at Sapienza University of Rome, talks on the findings:
“In the context of an increasingly technological and industrialized world, it’s important to understand how childhood nature experiences relate to wellbeing in later life… Our findings suggest that building familiarity and confidence in and around blue spaces during childhood may stimulate an inherent joy of nature and encourage people to seek out recreational nature experiences, with beneficial consequences for adult mental health.”
Scientists detect dementia signs as early as nine years ahead of diagnosis | MedicalXpress (15:14)
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have shown that it is possible to spot signs of brain impairment in patients as early as nine years before they receive a dementia-related diagnosis.
Found impairment in several areas, such as problem solving and number recall
The findings raise the possibility that in the future, at-risk patients could be screened to help select those who would benefit from interventions.
Maybe reduce their risk of developing one of the conditions,
Or could help identify patients suitable for recruitment to clinical trials for new treatments.
The issue with treatment for neurological disease is because these conditions are often only diagnosed once symptoms appear, whereas the underlying neurodegeneration may have begun years—even decades—earlier.
May be too late in the disease process to alter its course.
UK Biobank collected data from a battery of tests including problem solving, memory, reaction times and grip strength, as well as data on weight loss and gain and on the number of falls.
UK Biobank is a biomedical database and research resource containing anonymized genetic, lifestyle and health information from half a million UK participants aged 40-69.
Allows for the ability to go back at previous medical history to see if there were signs of neurodegeneration
First author Nol Swaddiwudhipong, a junior doctor at the University of Cambridge, said,
“When we looked back at patients’ histories, it became clear that they were showing some cognitive impairment several years before their symptoms became obvious enough to prompt a diagnosis. The impairments were often subtle, but across a number of aspects of cognition …
This is a step towards us being able to screen people who are at greatest risk—for example, people over 50 or those who have high blood pressure or do not do enough exercise—and intervene at an earlier stage to help them reduce their risk.”
Offshore wind turbine prototype breaks world record; 359 megawatt-hours within 24 hours | Interesting Engineering (20:10)
One of the world’s biggest wind turbines has recorded a remarkable renewable energy production total, reining in a massive 359 megawatt-hours within 24 hours.
Enough energy to power around 18,000 households yearly
Siemens Gamesa, a Spanish-German wind engineering company that manufactures wind turbines for onshore and offshore services, noted that their SG 14-222 DD has broken the record for most power produced by a single turbine in one day.
SG 14-222 DD now equals the 14-MW nominal capacity of GE’s biggest Haliade-X turbines and only just trailing behind the giant 15-MW Vestas rigs and the world’s outright offshore champion, the “monstrous” MingYang 16 MW.
The turbine achieved the milestone just ten months after it produced its first electricity and delivered it to the grid at the test center in Østerild, Denmark.
14 megawatt (MW) offshore wind turbine with a capacity of up to 15 MW with the “Power Boost”
728 feet (222-meter) diameter rotor
354-feet-long (108-meter-long) B108 blades which can be recycled,
A swept area of 419,792 square feet (39,000 square meters).
The company wrote the following on the turbine:
“With every new generation of our offshore direct drive turbine technology – which uses fewer moving parts than geared turbines – component improvements have enabled greater performance while maintaining reliability. We are able to reduce the time to market of the SG 14-222 DD thanks to standardized processes and a fully developed supply chain. Enabling high-volume production at low risk. The serial production is planned for 2024.”
Stanford exoskeleton breaks out of the lab to offer 30-lb walking boost | New Atlas (29:32)
Scientists at Stanford University have been working on an ankle exoskeleton designed to make walking easier.
View to one day helping people with impaired mobility
first untethered version for use beyond the lab
Their ankle exoskeleton prototype is adjustable in the level of assistance with the max offering a boost akin to taking off a 30-lb (13-kg) backpack.
In research published last year, the team demonstrated a version of the device that could increase a wearer’s walking speed by around 40%.
Previous iterations of the ankle exoskeletons involved complicated laboratory setups with wires, treadmills and external motors.
Important for gathering motion data and rapidly testing and fine-tuning the systems to offer the optimal level of assistance
The new exoskeleton is a motorized boot that applies torque at the ankle, in doing so performing some of the function of the calf muscle, helping the user push off with each step.
Sensors are built into the boot to monitor movement
Uses machine learning algorithms to adapt the level of assistance based on the way the person walks.
Takes about an hour of walking for the exoskeleton to become accustomed to the user
Team leader Steve Collins, discusses the speed boost they saw:
“Optimized assistance allowed people to walk 9% faster with 17% less energy expended per distance traveled, compared to walking in normal shoes … These are the largest improvements in the speed and energy of economy walking of any exoskeleton to date. In direct comparisons on a treadmill, our exoskeleton provides about twice the reduction in effort of previous devices.”
The team is now looking to test it out on older adults and disabled subjects, and are also working on versions that improve balance and joint pain.
Team member Patrick Slade, on this point said:
“I believe that over the next decade we’ll see these ideas of personalizing assistance and effective portable exoskeletons help many people overcome mobility challenges or maintain their ability to live active, independent, and meaningful lives.”