Monday, August 31, 2009

Mediterranean diet beats low fat for diabetes

In a first long-term study, researchers examined the effects of a Mediterranean diet, compared to a low fat diet for diabetes control. The results showed that eating a Mediterranean diet was superior to eating a typical low fat diet for diabetes management.

The study explored obese individuals newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, examining need for medication and weight loss, and whether eating a Mediterranean diet is effective, safe and sustainable for diabetes treatment.

Over a four-year period, 215 overweight diabetics were assigned to eat either a low carbohydrate Mediterranean type diet, or a typical low fat diet. Both groups received nutritional counseling at the start of the study, and bi-monthly for the next three years.

Diabetics lost weight on the Mediterranean diet, decreased some markers for heart disease, and fewer of the study participants required medications to control blood sugar.

Compared to those eating a low fat diet, only forty four percent of the group given a Mediterranean diet required diabetes medication, compared to seventy percent of diabetics give a low fat diet.

The study authors concluded that a Mediterranean diet seems to be preferable to a low fat diet for controlling blood sugars, and delaying the need for medication to control blood sugar in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics. A caution of the study, is that diabetic food intake was self-reported. The study adds to the list of health benefits associated with consuming a Mediterranean diet.

Diet the key to disease prevention

A healthy Mediterranean diet could greatly reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and diabetes, according to the Director of UniSAs Sansom Institute for Health Research. More info at


Monday, August 24, 2009

Sabril Approved to Treat Infantile Spasms

Boston (DbTechNo) - The FDA (Food and Drug Administration ) have just approved a drug to treat infantile spasms in children.

The drug, Sabril is made by H Lundbeck A/S and is approved for children as young as 2 and is also approved for use by adults.

Sabril is the first drug to be approved in the US for treating infantile spasms.

Infantile spasms generally present during the first 8 months of life and can be very hard to handle due to their frequency.

The drug is already approved in other countries to treat the condition.

It will however come with a blackbox warning because of vision problems that have been documented in clinical studies of it.


TEA Party protests health care reform plan

TEA Party members railed against proposed health care reforms Saturday at a busy intersection in Scottsdale.

They came from all over that morning, thinly crowded on the four corners of Scottsdale and Camelback roads.

  • Government can't rein in health care costs
  • Obama protests, rallies heat up Phoenix
  • Obama looks West, to Web in health care fight

Holding anti-health care reform signs, soliciting car honks; the tenor of the shallow sea of signs the same.

Except for one counterprotester, apparently the only one within shouting distance. The man would only give his first name as he stood alone, wearing a Yankee baseball team shirt, a handgun on his hip, holding a contrary sign.
TAKING A STAND: Protesters surround the intersection of Camelback and Scottsdale roads in Scottsdale on Saturday to show their opinions on health care reform.

Josh, who explained he would only give his first name because of the type of work he does, said he was a Democrat among a sea of non-Democrats, touting health care reform, but not reforms over his right to bear arms.

“Part of my passion as a Democrat is the right to bear arms,” Josh said.

A veteran, and from a long family history of veterans, the man who was very much alone in the small crowd of protesters said he believed in fighting for the less fortunate.

“I am a firm supporter of health care for every American,” he said.

Someone nearby noticed that Josh had what looked like a picture of Hitler on his sign, which boasted a contrary message to the many signs surrounding it — a construction-paper cacophony of anti-health care reform themes.

Josh’s sign simply read: “Teabaggers — Fail.”

There were a lot of stats on his board, pasted or taped methodically; some of the pages had sentences that were highlighted. But nearby protesters took issue with a picture on his large board — what they saw as an unfair comparison of their group to Nazis.

“Why do you have a picture of Hitler on your board?” one woman asked from a distance.

Josh just smiled. The Phoenician stood very much alone in the lively morning crowd, but he had a gun.

Moving in closer than anyone, an older man, Jim Johnson of Chandler, pointed to the sign.

“Why are you comparing the TEA Party to Nazis?” asked Johnson, much the armed man’s senior, regarding the party that stands for Taxed Enough Already.

“I’m not,” Josh replied.

Upon closer examination, the large, illustrated sticker on the board was actually of Obama, rendered graphically in red and blue — wearing a Hitler mustache.

Johnson just scratched his head — confused, smiled.

The younger man didn’t explain, except to say, “It’s irrelevant whether it’s Democrats or Republicans.” He said legislators and leaders need to work together to ensure equal health care reforms in the country.

A woman standing nearby who only gave her first name, Vera, said she had come from Germany, but was an American citizen who had lived abroad.

"What Washington is trying to do is create socialized medicine, and I don’t want the same system as France, Germany or Canada,” she said.

While Vera was for reform, she wasn’t buying the current plan, she said.

“I implore everyone to read what they are proposing; this concerns your freedom,” she said.

Vera’s sign had a quote from Hitler extolling the government’s right to control health care, and said that was where America was heading.

Tim McBride, a member of the Army on leave in his home state, wore a gun on his hip and held a sign that said in fewer words that he did support reform, but not the current plan.

“Not socialism,” said McBride. “But we do need more efficient health care.”

Elsewhere in the state, there were reports of demonstrations in support of the current health care reform proposal.

In parts of Flagstaff and Tucson, members of the Health Care for America Now held door-to-door information drives Saturday to explain the merits of the current health care reform proposal, according to the group.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Macs get fixes for noisy 7200RPM HDDs and Bluetooth improvements

Apple has released new update for fixing issues in MacBook Pros with 7200RPM HDDs and Bluetooth

issues. The hard drive update takes care of the noise when the hard drive platter's disc spins. This update is majorly for the drives shipped with MacBook Pro in June.
The Hard Drive Firmware update 2.0 (3.71 MB) is available for download form here. Follow the instructions for firmware update mentioned the updater application.

The Bluetooth update 2.0.1 (1.78MB) promises better Bluetooth performance with Apple Mighty Mouse and Apple Wireless Keyboard in the Macs with Broadcom chipset based Bluetooth. All unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models as well as all other Macs included in 2009 have Broadcom chipset based Bluetooth module.

This Bluetooth Update 2.0.1 can be downloaded from here.

For more information visit

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Netscape Founder Backs Next-Gen Browser - Rockmelt

The browser wars have gotten livelier with new entries and updates, with Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and Apple's Safari all scrambling for attention. But a warrior from the first browser war is apparently gearing up for battle once more. Netscape founder-turned-investor Marc Andreessen is backing a new company, Rockmelt, that is developing a next-generation Web browser, according to the New York Times.

Like Google's approach with its Chrome browser, Rockmelt is optimizing the Web browser for the current demands of the Internet, such as running Web-based applications or Web apps.

"There are all kinds of things that you would do differently [today] if you're building a browser from scratch," Andreessen told the New York Times earlier this year. Rockmelt was founded by Eric Vishria and Tim Howes, both of whom were executives at Opsware, a company co-founded by Andreessen and sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2007.

Few details are available about how Rockmelt's browser is different. The Times reports one interesting tidbit: Rockmelt's Website reportedly posted a privacy policy, since removed, that mentioned some sort of Facebook integration. The policy said you could "use a Facebook ID to log into RockMelt." It's not clear what this means, but I wonder if Rockmelt plans to store your Facebook credentials as an automatic login feature for Facebook Connect-enabled Web sites. Andreessen, it should be noted, serves on Facebook's board, but the Times says Rockmelt and Facebook are not working together on the Web browser.

Netscape is widely credited as the browser that helped popularize the Web during the early to mid-90s. In response to Netscape's popularity, Microsoft developed Internet Explorer and has bundled IE with copies of Microsoft Windows ever since (a practice that is now under scrutiny in Europe).

Netscape and Microsoft quickly developed a rivalry known as the first browser war. Microsoft ultimately won that battle, which effectively ended with Netscape being sold off to AOL and Internet Explorer becoming the dominant Web browser worldwide. Netscape then languished under AOL, before it was eventually spun off into an open-source project that led to the development of the popular and innovative Web browser Mozilla Firefox.

Considering that most browsers today can claim only marginal popularity, breaking into the Web browser market may be difficult for Rockmelt. In fact, Mozilla Firefox is really the only threat to Internet Explorer's still impressive dominance. The latest numbers from metrics firm Net Applications gives IE 68% of the worldwide browser market, with Firefox coming in a distant second at just under 23%. Other well-known browsers, including Chrome, Safari, and Opera, combine to make up less than 9% of the remaining browser market.

Rockmelt likely has a difficult fight ahead, but it's always interesting to try new browsers and Andreessen's endorsement will no doubt draw some interest to Rockmelt's entry. The new Web browser is in only early stages of development, but to keep tabs on Rockmelt you can sign up for e-mail updates at the company's Website.

For more information visit

Monday, August 10, 2009

Virtual textbooks turning the page on education for students

The sound of students flipping through textbook pages may soon be a thing of the past.

Instead, university and college students may be using their index fingers to silently scroll through virtual textbooks they've downloaded to their iPod Touch or iPhone .

They will highlight with a swish and make notes with a few taps, thanks to a new application available through the iTunes store.

More than 7,000 post-secondary textbooks from 12 large publishers - including John Wiley & Sons Inc., McGraw Hill Higher Education and Nelson Education - can now be downloaded though CourseSmart LLC for about half the cost of the printed versions.

The textbooks cover courses offered in Canada and the United States.

"Textbooks right now are very much a print business, but more and more students are aware that they have a choice," said Frank Lyman, executive vice-president of CourseSmart.

"I don't think it's the end of the print textbook business. But for a lot of students out there, this is a better way to learn and study, and it's a better fit for their lifestyle.

"It really is taking off very broadly."

CourseSmart, created in 2007 by a handful of publishers, already has hundreds of thousands of users throughout North America.

Students subscribe to the service, paying a fee to access digital textbooks through their laptops and cellphones.

With the addition of the free iTunes app, which went live late Sunday night, CourseSmart subscribers can now also use their portable Apple touch-screen devices.

"We think it's safe to say most of the core textbooks are available," said Lyman.

While Lyman wouldn't disclose exact figures, he said the California-based company's sales are up 600 per cent over the same period in 2008.

The digital textbooks look exactly the same as their print counterparts, with charts, graphs and page numbers intact, so students don't get lost when directed to specific sections.

Nicholas Osborne, a fourth-year computer science student at Ottawa's Carleton University, said he'd consider switching to digital textbooks, especially since he's now paying between $50 and $200 a textbook.

The iPhone owner said he already uses the device for "pretty much everything. In some ways it has replaced a lot of my computer use. I use it for music, e-mail, browsing, Twitter, Facebook, organizing my life with calendars," he said.

"I like the format of a physical book - being able to write notes on the pages, having diagrams, charts - I'm not sure how these would translate into an iPhone version, but given that in many of my courses textbooks are something I only reference a couple of times per term, it certainly would be a worthwhile sacrifice."

McGill University Prof. Morton Mendelson said he wouldn't be surprised if his students took to virtual textbooks.

"People my age, of course, like to read a book, like to hold a book," said Mendelson, the Montreal university's deputy provost for student life and learning.

"Students will be using the technology available to them, and that will change as time passes."

Mendelson also noted the digitized books are a greener way of viewing course material. "University students are so intent on raising environmental issues," he said.

The key question, he said, is "does it benefit learning?

"Students have a wide variety of learning styles, so students have to find out what works better for their learning styles."

Lyman said post-secondary institutions have been positive about the transfer of texts to the digital format.

"Most institutions are accepting that (students) want a variety of ways to access their materials," he said. "It's at an early stage and it will be interesting to see how many institutions take a proactive approach."

For more information visit

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The 20 blind peoples test drive student-designed car

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Several blind people were able to get behind the wheel of a new high-tech vehicle designed by Virginia Tech engineering students.

The 20 blind people took turns maneuvering the retrofitted dune buggy Friday in a parking lot at the University of Maryland. The test drive capped a National Federation for the Blind summer camp for 200 blind youth from across the country.
Blind student Addie Hagen, 16 (right) drives around a University of Maryland parking lot with Virginia Tech graduate Gregg Jannaman in College Park, Md., Friday, July 31, 2009. She is wearing headphones for verbal instructions to turn right or left and a vest that vibrates to various degrees that advises her to apply the brakes. She receives input from sensors on the vehicle. (AP Photo/The Washington Post, Gerald Martineau)

Virginia Tech was the only university to take on a 2004 challenge from the federation to build a vehicle that could let blind people drive.

The buggy they designed uses a laser sensor to figure out the road ahead. A special vibrating vest worn by drivers communicates speed & warns when to stop. And a headset relays voice commands signaling which way to turn.


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