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Water-Saving Toilet Requries Strong “Squat Muscles”

A team from Arizona State University decided to redesign the toilet, brazenly removing the seat and forcing the user to apply yoga techniques while flexing a variety of muscles. Perhaps the old fashioned among us, can choose to multitask on the commode with a bit of some light reading. No doubt some of our readers can do that, some yoga, and chew gum at the same time.

ASU reports:

The Flo toilet is an ergonomic, sustainable design concept for baby boomers that functions like a squat toilet. Designers maintain that using the Flo toilet is akin to yoga – by building and strengthening abdominal and back muscles. Only one-half to one gallon of water is used for flushing and The Flo reuses water from hand washing. To flush water from the tanks to the toilet, the Flo employs an electromagnetic ball valve. Go With the Flo also is free of mechanical parts. The toilet is fully self-sustaining and independent of electric power.

ASU press release:Industrial product design wastes away the competition …

(hat tip: Gizmodo via Core77)

Youngest Patient Fitted With Carbon Fiber Leg Prostheses

GAZ_ELLIE_1_E16_SUBMITTED_v01.jpg.display.jpgA five year old British girl who had her outer limbs amputated due to meningitis (meningococcemia with meningitis accompanied by gangrene of the extremities would be our guess) has received a new pair of legs.

The high tech carbon fiber pair is of the variety commonly seen on competitive Special Olympics athletes, some of whom run faster than old fashion legged people. Ellie’s parents say that she already walks twice as fast as her previous conventional prosthetic pair.

We believe that medical devices will greatly improve Ellie’s life in the future, and hopefully she can one day receive a proper pair of Deka arms.

More from Echo UK…

(hat tip: Gizmodo)

*This post was originally published at Medgadget.com*

Understanding Why We Scratch An Itch

Although scratching has been everyone’s favorite method of removing an itch for thousands if not millions of years, scientists have not been able to uncover the neurological mechanism of this action. Now a team of University of Minnesota researchers used the long-tailed macaques as subjects in an experiment that showed that the nerves being scratched send different signals to the spinal cord and then to the brain depending on whether there’s an itch in the area. In addition to being a peculiar finding, this may lead to the development of stimulation devices that address acute itching, pain, or other nociceptive phenomena.

From the abstract in Nature Neuroscience:

Spinothalamic tract (STT) neurons respond to itch-producing agents and transmit pruritic information to the brain. We observed that scratching the cutaneous receptive field of primate STT neurons produced inhibition during histamine-evoked activity but not during spontaneous activity or activity evoked by a painful stimulus, suggesting that scratching inhibits the transmission of itch in the spinal cord in a state-dependent manner.

Abstract in Nature Neuroscience: Relief of itch by scratching: state-dependent inhibition of primate spinothalamic tract neurons

Image: joyrex

(hat tip: AP)

*This blog post was originally published at Medgadget.com*

Washing Machine Triggers Defibrillator Shock

An interesting case of electrical interference has been reported by Danish physicians in the New England Journal of Medicine. A patient with an implanted cardiac defibrillator was taking a shower when he got zapped twice for no apparent reason. The physicians, speculating on the cause of the events, sent an electrician to the man’s house to see if some type of electromagnetic interference could have been at fault. Turns out that a self-installed washing machine didn’t have its ground cable connected, turning house wiring into the washing machine’s private radio station.

More about the story at Discover Health News

Article extract in NEJM: Inappropriate ICD Shocks Caused by External Electrical Noise

**This blog post was originally published at Medgadget.com**

Army’s Historic Image Collection Going Online

The US Army’s National Museum of Health and Medicine stores a gigantic digitized archive of prints and photos from the Civil War to Vietnam. The head archivist of the museum now started a project to make the collection available to the general public through Flickr. The initial set so far contains about 800 images, but thousands more should be coming soon.

More from Wired Science blog…

Link @ Flickr

Images: Top: Base Hospital #33. Portsmouth, England. Patient with jaw bridgework. Dental laboratory. World War 1.

Side: Soldier and horse with gas mask. World War 1.

**This post was originally published at Medgadget.com**

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