Medical Week in Review 1.24.14

The weekend is here!  I am kicking off the weekend by attempting to unthaw the pipes behind my washer with a space heater.  Cross your fingers everyone, this could go very wrong.  What are you up to this weekend?  If you find yourself with a little free time, check out this week's more interesting medical headlines.

No more needles?  A new nanopatch may revolutionize vaccinations.  Mark Kendall of Vaxxas, the company behind the needle-less nanopatch explains

A muppet makeover aims to boost kid's health.  Research in South America reveals that showing characters like Bert and Ernie eating carrots and jumping rope helps improve kid's eating and exercise habits. 

Let there be light!  Researchers find that exposure to sunlight may be a factor in lowering blood pressure.  In people with mild hypertension, blood pressure tends to be lower in the summer than in the winter.  UVA exposure causes a release of nitric oxide from the skin into the bloodstream causing arteries to dilate accounting for the effect.

How many calories did you burn yesterday?  Probably not as many as an Olympic athlete.  Three Olympic hopefuls were given a Fitbit to track calorie expenditure.  Most athletes averaged above 4,000 calories on a training day while some even topped a 7,000 calorie burn.

Scientists invent a "machine" that helps women get promoted.  Women are known for having difficulty when it comes to touting their own achievements.  Placing a "noise box" in the room when asked to write about their accomplishments gave women something aside from themselves to blame when writing self-promotional essays. 

Are you a leg-crosser?  Sitting with your legs crossed can cause a bump in blood pressure as well as cause pooling of blood in the legs when veins are compressed.  Check out this and other lesser known health risks. 

There's at least one upside to cold weather.  Spending time in cooler temperatures promotes calorie usage.  Chilly weather initiates thermogenesis, a cold-induced heat production which burns fat stores.

The gap between life expectancy in rural and urban residents is growing.  According to a new study, city dwellers live longer than their rural counterparts.  This gap in life expectancy is due largely to chronic medical conditions like COPD and cancers as well as an increased number of accidents in rural areas. 

Enjoy life more and your body will age better says a new study.  People who enjoy life more walk faster and have better physical function than their pessimistic counterparts.  People with a low sense of well-being are three times more likely to experience problems in performing daily activities as a result of physical constraints. 

Have a wonderful weekend!