New tech to help disabled people

Latest developments in the pipeline for those struggling with mobility, sight, hearing or speech Electrical stimulation Nine years ago, David Mzee was left paralysed by a gymnastics accident and told he would never walk again. Last week, he competed in a charity run during which he walked 390 metres, thanks to an CloudMinds, Meta looks like a cycling helmet and uses sensors and cameras to map its environs, sending information to a cloud server to be processed by AI technology. The information can be communicated through speech, helping blind people and those with visual impairments to navigate streets, recognise objects and negotiate traffic lights and crossings. Loud and clear: the cognitive hearing aid. Photograph: Columbia University Next-generation hearing aid A …

Chonky, fluffy, thicc: inside the internet’s obsession with fat cats on diets

More social media accounts are dedicating themselves to specific chonky cats and their weight-loss efforts Theyre chonky, theyre fluffy, theyre thicc and body pawsitive. Theyre round boys, floofs and absolute units. The new animal trend on the internet celebrates the rotund and plump, with social media users focusing on the adorableness of a cats rounded cheeks, a hamsters many rolls, a dogs rounded shape and a raccoons voluptuous volume. The Instagram account Chonky Animals has more than 409,000 followers while the Round Boys and Round Animals accounts top out at more than 455,000 and 487,000, respectively. The Facebook group, This Cat is Chonky, has more than 395,000 members and hundreds of new posts each day. The trend raises concerns about …

Scientists discover way to grow tooth enamel

Experts produce clusters of enamel-like calcium phosphate to crack age-old problem Scientists say they have finally cracked the problem of repairing tooth enamel. Though enamel is the hardest tissue in the body, it cannot self-repair. Now scientists have discovered a method by which its complex structure can be reproduced and the enamel essentially grown back. The team behind the research say the materials are cheap and can be prepared on a large scale. After intensive discussion with dentists, we believe that this new method can be widely used in future, said Dr Zhaoming Liu, co-author of the research from Zhejiang University in China. Tooth decay is extremely common: according to journal Science Advances, say they got around this problem by …

Patient’s death could be first in US linked to vaping, officials say

Illinois case forms part of investigation into illnesses in teens or adults who had used e-cigarettes US health officials are reporting what could be the countrys first death linked to vaping. The officials said on Friday that an adult patient in Illinois, who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping, had died and that they considered it the first death in the US linked to e-cigarettes. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received the report of the death on Thursday, the chief medical officer, Dr Jennifer Layden, said. Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 193 people in 22 states had contracted severe respiratory illnesses after vaping. However, they said a clear common cause of the …

After a breakdown, birdwatching brought me friendship, escape and a new love of nature

A childhood hobby gave me time to reflect, refocus and find myself again, following years of drug and alcohol abuse A decade ago, aged 22 and off my face on class A drugs and alcohol almost every day, I would never have seen myself where I am today and definitely wouldnt have dreamed that Bird Therapy that birds are consistent in a way that people rarely are and I stand by this. Too often, we are let down by those we believe care about us, but I know that if I look out of my kitchen window, my garden bird community will still be there. I also know that during spring, our returning breeding birds will travel across desert and …

‘No food should be taboo’: how to tackle your child’s weight without giving them a complex

A third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school. Heres how parents can help them forge good habits and avoid creating lifelong insecurities Jusna Begum lives near the South Bank in London with her four children, aged between one and 11. When a health visitor told her that her three-year-old girl was on the chubby side, Begum was surprised. I didnt think she was at all; I had felt like my children werent eating enough. She did, however, accept an invitation to join a six-week healthy parenting programme called 2% of those aged five to one-third of children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, yet many adults dont see …

‘The show needed to come back’: how Drake rescued the druglords of Top Boy

It was Britains answer to The Wire. But the gang drama was dead until the rapper stepped in and pitched it to Netflix. Its stars and writer talk grime, gentrification and Boris Johnsons Britain I told them I was on my way out to meet some singer called Drake, says writer Drake was a fan of Top Boy, Bennetts Channel 4 drama about the lives of drug dealers and residents on a fictional Hackney estate called Summerhouse. He had been recommended it while on tour and loved it so much, he began posting stills from the show on Instagram with clumsy attempts at London slang (real bod man). When he found out it had been cancelled, he decided to bring …

Why are thirtysomethings lonely? Because society doesnt value friendship | Arwa Mahdawi

Social media has been made the scapegoat for millennials reporting loneliness, but the cultural primacy in adulthood of career and family has much to answer for, writes Arwa Mahdawi Millennials arent just the poorest generation; they are also the loneliest. According to data from YouGov, while digital habits undoubtedly affect mental health, research hasnt provided conclusive answers regarding the relationship between the two. When it comes to loneliness, I have a feeling that the culprit isnt so much technology as the fact that many millennials are in their 30s, which is a natural time for friendship dynamics to change: people start focusing on advancing their careers and building families rather than socialising with pals. It feels as if we are …

Alzheimers blood test could predict onset up to 20 years in advance

US researchers say blood test can be 94% effective in spotting those at risk of the disease A blood test that can detect signs of Alzheimers as much as 20 years before the disease begins to have a debilitating effect has been developed by researchers in the US. Scientists at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis in Missouri believe the test can identify changes in the brain suggestive of Alzheimers with 94% accuracy, while being much cheaper and simpler than a PET brain scan. The results of the study, which was published in the journal Neurology on Thursday, represent a potential breakthrough in the fight against the disease. Right now we screen people for clinical trials with …

Top hospital urged to drop lawsuits against patients over unpaid bills

Activists rally against Johns Hopkins hospital in Baltimore, which has filed more than 2,400 lawsuits against patients and employees Campaigners are calling on one of Marylands largest hospitals to drop more than 2,400 lawsuits against patients for unpaid medical bills. A revealed that Johns Hopkins hospital (JHH), one of the biggest hospitals in the state, filed more than 2,400 lawsuits against patients for not paying their medical bills, the median cost of which was $1,438. Hundreds of people hospitals in the United States, JHH gets tax breaks for its status as a not-for-profit hospital. Although not-for-profit hospitals suing its patients for medical debt is controversial, it is not new. No one tracks how often not-for-profit hospitals sue their patients. The …

100m bacteria a day keep the doctor away, apple research suggests

Study finds organic apples have more diverse and balanced bacterial community The impact of an apple a day in keeping the doctor away may be partly down to the beneficial bacteria it carries and their subsequent colonisation of your gut, according to scientists. A study has found that a typical apple carries more than 100m bacteria. Some of these microbes are important in maintaining a published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology.

As a psychiatrist, if I had severe depression Id choose ECT | Mariam Alexander

Electroconvulsive therapy is one of the best treatments available, says NHS psychiatrist Mariam Alexander It might come as quite a surprise to learn that, as a psychiatrist, if I ever had the misfortune to develop severe depression, my treatment of choice would be electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Why? Well, to put it simply, ECT is the most rapid treatment for severe depression that we currently have to offer with a recent study in the BMJ One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, this is understandable. But things have moved on a great deal since then. Indeed, if youre looking for a b word to describe the process of contemporary ECT, top of my list would be boring the use of a general …

Migrant children held in Texas facility need access to doctors, says attorney

Inhumane conditions for detained children amount to emergency public health crisis, says attorney who visited center Hundreds of children at a migrant detention center in Texas are being held in inhumane conditions that amount to an emergency public health crisis and should be allowed immediate access to doctors, according to an attorney who gained rare access to the facility. Elora Mukherjee, the director of Columbia Law Schools immigrant rights clinic, was one of six attorneys to visit the detention center in Clint approach the media. Mukherjee noted that seven children have died in federal immigration custody or shortly after being released, compared to no such deaths in the 10 previous years. We were extremely concerned that more children might die …

‘Living joyously is a radical act’: why America’s gay bars still matter

Fifty years after Stonewall, and with Trump trying to roll back LGBTQ rights, Dominic Rushe visits three gay bars in different states and finds them as vibrant and vital as ever The gay bar is in trouble. Fifty years after the Stonewall Inn in New York became the symbol for a new wave of gay activism, the three horsemen of the gay bar apocalypse gentrification, assimilation and technology have hollowed out their numbers. Rising rents have shuttered gay bars; more straight venues are accepting of gay patrons; and dating is something people now do with their phones. Even the term gay bar looks a little tired as the LGBTQ community finally comes to terms with its many rainbow stripes. Bare …

‘Are a cow’s farts the worst for the planet?’ Children’s climate questions answered

What are young people most worried about? We put their queries to the experts How long until the climate crisis causes irreversible damage? Ewoenam Tetteh and Faith Otasowie, both 15, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex You are obviously both smart and thoughtful kids, so I will be blunt and tell you that climate change is already causing big changes in our world. You can see this in the melting of the ice sheets in the Arctic and Antarctica, in the rising temperatures in cities around the world, in the changes in how much rain we get, and, perhaps most importantly, in the extinction of many plants and animals that are not able to adapt. One of the most important ideas to grasp about …

How do we combat the global measles revival? Its a matter of trust | Charlie Weller

Our report shows that lower vaccination rates are linked to a lack of trust in institutions in general, not just in science, says Wellcomes Charlie Weller Theres no vaccine against distrust in vaccines. Millions of children in the world used to die each year from infections like measles. Now, thanks to routine immunisation programmes, they dont. But just because we hardly see these infections in the UK any more, it doesnt mean we can be complacent. Although nearly all British parents vaccinate their children, one in five people in the UK arent convinced that vaccines are safe, according to the worldwide spike in measles last year was largely due to sharp increases in just 10 countries. Most, like Yemen and …