An EKG Machine That Can Attach To Your Cell Phone!

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the United States.

It accounts for 1 in 4 fatalities, partially due to the difficulty in detecting. The main way of detecting heart disease now is by having your cardiologists order a test using a bulky EKG machine which is time consuming and expensive.

Some ex-Googlers got together and decided to do something about this.

Introducing the AliveCor Kardia.  This $99 sensor is about the width of 2 sticks of gum and can be attached to the back of your phone or simply kept in your wallet.  Hold 2 fingers on the sensor for 30 seconds and you have a medical grade EKG reading.  That’s cool!

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Image: qmed.com

But what really is the game changer is what AliveCor Kardia does with the data.  In order to prevent doctors from getting bombarded with calls from patients who think they may have gotten a bad EKG reading, AliveCor developed multi-layered algorithms and neural networks to create a fingerprint for each heart.

By placing your fingers on the pad every morning for 30 seconds for about a month(like brushing your teeth), AliveCor Kardia can create a profile for your heart.  So basically, your heart shows the same profile day after day, then one day the reading looks slightly different do to a change in how your heart’s electrical system is firing.  AliveCor Kardia will be able to detect this change and let you know to see a cardiologist.

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Source: Wired.com

Right now, AliveCor has FDA clearance identify atrial fibrillation, a common early warning of stroke. “The most common arrhythmia, the one that we need to detect, doesn’t need all 12 EKG leads,” says CEO Vic Gundotra. The size of the unit can be kept small because it is looking for specific data only.

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AliveCor Kardia available on Amazon.com

 

 

Feature Image: AliveCor.com

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Scientist Discover How To ‘Upload Knowledge To Your Brain’

If you are thinking “Whoa…This sounds like the Matrix”, that is because this sounds like the Matrix!

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From the Telegraph, researchers at HRL Laboratories in California, claim to have found a way to amplify learning via electrode-embedded head caps.

To really oversimplify the process: As the brain learns new information or skills, the brain actually alters by forming new electric connections in specific areas. HRL Laboratories has found a way to map these connections and assist to re-create them in another person.

For their test, they studied the electric signals in the brain of a trained pilot and then fed the data into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an aeroplane in a realistic flight simulator.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities and learnt the task 33 per cent better than a placebo group.

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Image: neuroelectrics.com

“Our system is one of the first of its kind. It’s a brain stimulation system,” explained Dr Matthew Phillips.

“The specific task we were looking at was piloting an aircraft, which requires a synergy of both cognitive and motor performance.

“When you learn something, your brain physically changes. Connections are made and strengthened in a process called neuro-plasticity.”

I remember watching Neo download Kung Fu in the Matrix at the theater, then heading back to the dorm to cram for my QMM Statistics exam I had the next morning, thinking how much I wished I could download that boring information.

While there is a bit of a leap that needs to be taken between what HRL has discovered and Neo dodging bullets, it is one heck of a first step!

A Crazy Amount Of Kids Are Going To The E.R. For Drinking Hand Sanitizers

Per IFLscience, a new report from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDCP) found over 62,000 cases of kids under the age of 12 falling ill due to drinking hand sanitizers.  92 percent of these cases involved alcohol based sanitizers which can really tear up your insides more than non alcohol based sanitizers.

When I first heard of this, I assumed these were mostly toddlers who smelled the fruity scents of the sanitizer and thought it might be juice.  But this was not always the case.

At least 906 cases were of children between 6 and 12 years old who may have been intentionally misusing the product for the alcohol. Really!?! BuzzFeed news did a report about this same issue back in 2012 where they found that a full bottle of hand sanitizer contains the same alcohol content as 5 hard liquor shots. In the same report, Albuquerque Police Department Deputy Chief Paul Feist said when mixed with 26% Listerine, hand sanitizer makes a “strong cocktail.”

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Courtesy Buzzfeed.com

So if you have young ones in the house, you may want to consider keeping only unscented hand sanitizers around.  If you are a young but old enough to be reading this, there are lots of other things you can do that are way more fun than whatever buzz you might get off downing a hand sanitizer.  Like Nintendo!

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Available on Amazon.com

Feature image courtesy IFLscience.com

 

Women With Larger Behinds Are Smarter And Healthier (Per Oxford University Study)

Much like Sir-Mix-Alot, I have always preferred women with curves.  I thought it was simply because I find curves to be more feminine, but maybe it is because I have always found smarter women more attractive as well…

A new study led by Oxford University professors have found a correlation between lower body fat and higher intelligence. The distribution of fat to the lower body (not just body fat overall) is the key however.

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The study gets more involved, but as the priest in Spaceballs put it, the “short, short version” is that women with higher levels of lower body fat tend to have higher levels of Omega 3 acids.  These acids help improve cognitive abilities, brain function and overall mental condition.

Having the “pear” shape body also means the body fat is being stored further from the heart, arteries and liver.  This reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease. Women with “Apple” shaped bodies store the fat more in the midsection of the body and show higher levels of cholesterol.

Amazon.com Omegaboost Omega 3 Fish Oil 120 Capsules 1250mg – Softgel Lemon Flavored Health Personal Care
Omega 3 capsules available on Amazon.com

Feature Image credit: curiousmindmagazine.com

 

5 Things To Do To Raise ‘Good’ Children Per Harvard Psychologists

Raising a child today is obviously a lot different than when our parents raised us.  Much of the change, both for better and worse, can be traced back to technology.

It is easy to use television and tablets as babysitters when we are busy or just want our children to be quiet at the table.  But do we hamper the development of their social skills when we do this?  Or worse yet, are we teaching them that their parents are easily replaced with pieces of technology?

With the world having changed so much in the past few decades, how do we know if we are raising are children to be well rounded adults someday?

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Curious Mind Magazine has an interesting article about what Harvard Psychologists believe are the 5 key things to raising a well adjusted child in these times. I listed the 5 keys below with my interpretation of what they represent.

While some of these seemed like common sense elements to me, as my grandfather used to point out, “common sense and common decency are becoming uncommon”.

  1. Spend quality time with your children:  We are talking about playing their favorite games, asking about their day or reading a bedtime story. Not being in the same room staring at separate tablets.
  2. Let your kids see a strong morale role model and mentor in you: Let your children see honesty, humility and decency from you. If your children grow up watching you hold the door open for elderly people, they will be more likely to do so in their future
  3. Teach your children to care for others and set high ethical expectations: If your children take on a responsibility, such as a member of an athletic team or paper route (do kids still do that?), make sure they understand how quitting would affect others. Help them talk out the pro’s and con’s of their actions
  4. Encourage kids to practice appreciation and gratitude: To me this boils down to people defining a “spoiled child” differently. To my definition, regardless of material possessions, a “spoiled child” is defined by their attitude to what they have versus what others have. If a child has a ton of possessions, but is appreciative and thankful, they are not spoiled. The opposite also holds true.
  5. Teach them to see the big picture: Help them understand how their actions affect others. This is a huge element to me.  As we look at world politics today, I think so many of our problems boil down to people’s narrow minded view of “how does this affect me” and trying to label all topics as black & white. Teach your kids to see that not all issues are straightforward and must be looked at from multiple points of view. The correct answer is often gray and compromise should not always be looked at as a sign of weakness. (Hear that politicians?)

These are obviously my interpretations of the 5 elements the Harvard psychologists determined and does not represent their interpretations.

Please review the study yourself and comment with what you think.

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Lil’ G-Man’s First Cold & Geeky Daddy’s 1st Encounter with Fridababy’s NoseFrida

So Lil’ G-Man had his first day at daycare the other day.  He received a “great” on his report card and I was proud of my wife for not crying as we dropped him off for her first 8 hour stretch away from him.

And of course he came down with a cold the next day.  We know that all baby’s get sick at daycare. It is just part of being in a new environment with other little ones that drool over everything that they come into contact with.  I just did not think he would get sick after his very first friggin’ day!

I felt so bad for Lower Case G. Fortunately no fever, but all stuffed up, sneezing, coughing and making these sad little whimpery type sounds….

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Grayson trying to sleep it off

Obviously, at only 4 months old, NyQuil, Allegra Decongestant and even Grandpa’s Cough Syrup are all options that are off the table. My wife told me that there is a magical product called a “NoseFrida” that “everybody swears by” that I should run out and get.

So, with 20% off coupon in hand, off to superstore Buy Buy Baby I went. (Quick Geeky Daddy Hack: Always keep a set of Buy Buy Baby coupons in the car as well as the diaper bag so you are always prepared.  If you are like me, then you get a new one in the mail like every 3rd day…)

I purchased the NoseFrida and a box of hygiene filters and sped back to the manor like the superhero I thought I was.  Once home, we unpackaged the product, grabbed our stuffed-up bundle of joy and my wife said “Are you going to suck the snot out or should I?”

With a dumbfounded look on my face, I responded, as composed and evenly as I could, “What the heck are you talking about!?!”

Once the shock wore off and I examined the package in my hand, I realized what I had gotten myself into.  The way the NoseFrida works is ingenious yet fairly simply at the same time.  Much like an invention Richard Dean Anderson would come up with on a Macgyver re-run.

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NoseFrida by Fridababy

 

The tapered end of a plastic tube rest against the baby’s nostril and the opposite end has a bendable straw attached that the adult sucks on. A filter separates the two ends preventing any baby snot from finding it’s way into the adult’s mouth.

If you think the thought of this process sounds disgusting, that is simply because the thought of it is. 

However, my little mini-me was uncomfortable and in distress so daddy needs to man up and be the best darn “snotsucker” I could be.  Neither Lil’ G-Man or myself enjoyed the process but the honest answer is….this product is a winner!

Literally within a few seconds we had both his nostrils clear!  He was breathing clearly for the next couple hours, much happier and able to latch and feed perfectly.  We did need to repeat the process about every 4 hours or so, but I was honestly extremely impressed with the results. You do want to do a shot of saline spray in each nostril and it is not easy. You do need to suck on the straw pretty hard.

It is very important to replace the hygiene filters with each use (the product is pre-packaged with 4).  You want to make sure that filter is working like the security of a high priced celebrity VIP club and not like the security working the TSA line at Metro Airport. (i.e. very porous)

My recommendation to you is don’t wait till your baby is sick to pick up a NoseFrida. It is an inexpensive remedy that is easy to store in a small medicine cabinet with no shelf life concerns to worry about.

You can click the link below to have a NoseFrida with 20 additional filters shipped directly from Amazon.

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NoseFrida with 20 additional filters

New Study Shows Pregnant Women Should Avoid Licorice

If you or your partner are expecting, be careful which junk food you binge on while binge watching your favorite shows.

A new study published by the American Journal of Epidemiology has shown that large amounts of licorice (or liquorice depending on where you are from) consumed during pregnancy could result in lower cognitive reasoning, decreased memory capacity and a higher risk of ADHD problems for the baby.  It also showed that puberty started earlier and advanced further in girls.

The main complications appear to be from the chemical Glycrrhizin, which is contained in licorice, and has been previously known to cause high blood pressure and shorter pregnancies in humans.

The Detroit Free Press has a further in depth article on the subject HERE.

Normally Geek Daddy makes light and adds humor to the articles and topics we discuss on our site, but the health of babies is a serious topic.  Anytime we can pass along information that can help keep children safe, we will.

As always, please feel free to comment with any additional information you would like to add.