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Internet helps elderly cope with loneliness

An Internet entrepreneur claims that elderly people would be less lonely if they were “plugged in” to the Internet.

Martha Lane Fox founder of Lastminute.com, now the Government’s “digital champion”, said that grandparents could speak to their families over Skype, could order groceries online and learn more about their favourite pastimes.

She said that keeping in touch with people over the Internet is not the same as face-to-face contact, but it was still better than being completely alone as many older people are.

Lane Fox made her comments to mark the launch of her new campaign to get more council housing residents online, the Daily Telegraph revealed.

The report by her campaign Race Online 2012 in association with 15 housing associations, called Digital by Default, cites research which found that as many as 1 million older people said that they are always or often lonely, while 3.1 million do not see family, friends or neighbours once a week.

Integrated 3-D imaging brings hope to facial injury victims
Researchers including one of Indian-origin have developed a new technique combining conventional medical imaging with 3-D modelling methods that could offer new hope to victims of serious facial injuries.

“This surgery is for patients with devastating injuries to the face, who have lost their ability to smell, eat and engage socially and have no other conventional treatment options,” Vijay S. Gorantla, administrative medical director of the Reconstructive Transplantation programme at UPMC, said.

Medical imaging plays a major role in the entire spectrum of face transplantation, ranging from patient selection, donor and recipient surgical planning, and postoperative assessment of returning motor and sensory function.

By combining information from multiple imaging exams and creating a sophisticated 3-D computer model, the researchers were better able to assess the facial structure and contours, the underlying bone, muscles, nerves and vessels, as well as the extent of damage.

Using sophisticated computer-modelling software, lead researcher by Darren M. Smith and Gorantla, along with Joseph Losee, M.D., integrated information from 3-D CT, CT angiography, MRI and high-definition tractography to create a 3-D model of the patient's head and neck anatomy.
 
Low-cal diet improves heart function in obese diabetics
A low-calorie diet eliminates insulin dependence and leads to improved heart function in obese patients with type 2 diabetes, a new study has claimed.

Diabetes is a chronic illness in which there are high levels of glucose in the blood, and type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, representing 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed cases among adults.

“Lifestyle interventions may have more powerful beneficial cardiac effects than medication in these patients,” Sebastiaan Hammer, the lead author, said.  Using cardiac MRI, the researchers analysed cardiac function and pericardial fat in 15 patients, including seven men and eight women, with type 2 diabetes before and after four months of a diet consisting of 500 calories daily.

Changes in the body mass index (BMI) were also measured for the study. The results showed that caloric restriction resulted in a decrease in BMI from 35.3 to 27.5 over four months. Pericardial fat decreased from 39 milliliters (ml) to 31 ml, and E/A ratio, a measure of diastolic heart function, improved from 0.96 to 1.2.

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