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Magnets to prevent heart attacks

Temple University researcher has discovered that human blood can be made thin by subjecting it to a magnetic field, thereby reducing the risk of damaging blood vessels and heart attacks.

After testing the technique on engine oils and pipelines, Rongjia Tao, professor of physics at Temple University is applying the magnetic field in reducing the viscosity of human blood in the circulation system.

Tao explained that since red blood cells contain iron, a person’s blood viscosity could be reduced by 20-30 per cent by subjecting it to a magnetic field of 1.3 Telsa (about the same as an MRI) for about one minute.

“By selecting a suitable magnetic field strength and pulse duration, we will be able to control the size of the aggregated red-cell chains, hence to control the blood's viscosity,” said Tao.

“This method of magneto-rheology provides an effective way to control the blood viscosity within a selected range,” he added.

Soon,test to detect risk of blindness

AMD is a progressive disease that could be significantly minimised with lifestyle changes, so early detection is crucial, explained eye specialist Beatrix Feigl.

One in seven Australians over 50 years old is affected by AMD and about half are genetic carriers of the disease.

There is currently no way of determining if people are at risk of going blind from AMD.

But Dr Feigl has spent two years conducting sensitive vision tests on 50 people with a genetic predisposition to AMD who are currently showing no clinical signs of the condition, reports News.com.au.

She noticed small visual impairments in some of the patients, indicating it may be possible to spot early signs of the modifiable disease. “It's a significant finding in so far as... there is no test available and usually doctors perform clinical tests when there are signs,” Dr Feigl said.

Moderate to intense exercise keeps brain healthy

A study has revealed that older people who regularly exercise at a moderate to intense level may be less likely to develop the small brain lesions, sometimes referred to as ‘silent strokes’. The study involved 1,238 people who had never had a stroke. Participants completed a questionnaire about how often and how intensely they exercised at the beginning of the study and then had MRI scans of their brains, an average of six years later, when they were an average of 70 years old.

A total of 43 per cent of the participants reported that they had no regular exercise; 36 per cent engaged in regular light exercise, and 21 per cent engaged in regular moderate to intense exercise. The brain scan showed that people who engaged in moderate to intense exercise were 40 per cent less likely to have the silent strokes than people who did no regular exercise.

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