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This week on HealthFarm
September 18, 2021 • 4 min read
SMART TOILETS: Health monitoring sizes up human waste
-- Cameras and machine learning identify potential health issues
Wearable fitness trackers and watches track your health – smart toilets could be next on the job.
Researchers are testing cameras and other sensors in toilets to measure vital signs, screen for chronic illnesses, and even diagnose Covid-19.
A team at Stanford has lifted the lid on a toilet fitted out with a suite of technologies, including motion sensing and other devices to assess the health of human deposits.
Collected data can be automatically sent for analysis to a digitally-minded healthcare provider of your choice.
But how will sensors identify individual toilet users?
Researchers say that, like fingerprints, everyone has a unique “anal print” (their words).
Stanford has partnered with Korean toilet maker Izen on a prototype ready for clinical trials by the year-end.
EXERCISE: Blood test could identify best type of exercise
-- Blood proteins suggest how physiology is likely to react to workouts
We know exercise is great for health and longevity.
But while plenty of data explains how and why exercise is beneficial, predicting how our bodies will respond to certain exercise has remained a mystery – until now.
A new study of more than 650 men and women provides useful clues to determine the type of exercise best suited to our physiology.
Specifically, researchers identified 102 proteins in the blood that tended to predict people’s physical responses to exercise.
Higher and lower levels of these molecules predicted the extent to which someone’s aerobic capacity would increase, if at all, with a certain type of exercise.
Someone whose bloodstream protein signature suggests they might gain little fitness from a moderate aerobic exercise, for instance, might gain greater benefit from higher-intensity workouts or resistance training.
METABOLISM: Peaks at age one, tanks after 60
-- Stop blaming middle-age spread on waning metabolism
Metabolism – the rate at which we burn calories – peaks much earlier and starts its inevitable decline later than we think, a new study has found.
Researchers analysed the average number of calories burned by more than 6,600 people, ranging in age from one week old to 95 years, as they went about their daily lives.
Pound-for-pound, infants had the highest metabolic rates of all.
Energy needs shoot up during the first 12 months of life, with babies burning 50% more calories for their body size than adults.
After the initial surge in infancy, a person’s metabolism slows by about 3 percent each year until their 20s, when it levels off, with little to no change until the age of 60.
Then it’s all down hill.
By the age of 90 metabolism drops to a level around 26% lower than the rate recorded in mid-life.
HEALTH TECH: Elon Musk’s brain-machine interface
-- Neuralink raises another $205 million to go beyond MindPong
Elon Musk is best known for pushing the limits of transportation.
A recent capital raise of $US205 million for his brain-machine interface company, Neuralink, could establish his reputation in an entirely new field.
Institutional and corporate investors, including Google Ventures, are backing Musk’s technology ambitions to shunt signals from neural links in the brain to the body’s motor/sensory neuron clusters.
The development could enable people to use their neural activity to operate computers and devices. For example, someone with paralysis could use a smartphone or a computer without having to use their thumbs.
Musk has tested his brain-machine interface on a nine-year-old macaque monkey called Pager.
Scientists implanted a Neuralink interface in the monkey’s brain, allowing it to move a cursor on a computer screen.
Musk believes Neuralink has the potential to treat a wide range of neurological disorders to restore sensory and movement function, and even how we interact with each other and the world.