CART can reduce asthma severity

Asthmatics can improve their conditions by changing the way they breathe, say experts.
Thomas Ritz and Alicia Meuret, Southern Methodist University, have developed a four-week programme to teach asthmatics how to better control their condition with the help of new breathing techniques.
During an attack, sufferers tend to hyperventilate, breathing fast and deep against constricted airways to fight an overwhelming feeling of oxygen deprivation. This makes the problem worse by lowering the body’s carbon dioxide levels, which restricts blood flow to the brain and can further irritate already hypersensitive bronchial passages. It makes them even more vulnerable to future attacks.
Rescue medications that relieve asthma symptoms do nothing to correct breathing difficulties associated with hyperventilation.
As part of a four week programme, Ritz and Meuret use their biofeedback-based Capnometry-Assisted Respiratory Training (CART) to teach asthma patients to normalise and reverse chronic overbreathing.
A hand-held device called a capnometre measures the amount of CO2 exhaled. Using this device, patients learn how to breathe more slowly, shallowly and regularly.

You are who you eat with

Watching your weight? Beware of skinny friends with big appetites, for thin pals who eat a lot could put your waistline at risk.
That’s the conclusion of a new study, which examined how other peoples’ weight and food choices influence how much we eat.
“Obesity is obviously a tremendous public health concern,” said researchers Brent McFerran, Darren W Dahl (both University of British Columbia), Gavan J Fitzsimons (Duke University), and Andrea C Morales (Arizona State University).

Scarless gall bladder surgery

Using a pioneering technology, surgeons at The Methodist Hospital in Houston are removing gall bladders through a single incision in the belly button to prevent scarring for patients with gall stones.
In fact, the breakthrough technique called single incision laparoscopic surgery (SILS) also ensures that patients undergo less pain during recovery.
Traditional laparoscopic cholecystectomies, or gall bladder removals, involve four half-inch or smaller incisions that may leave scars.
“Our patients like this single-incision surgery because they’re left with essentially no visible scars. Also, they can go home just hours after the procedure is completed,” said Dr Brian Dunkin.
But SILS is at the forefront of the push towards minimally invasive surgeries, which hold the promise of less scarring and potentially less pain in recovery.
The biggest advantage of SILS is that it uses only one access point, through the patient’s belly button, ultimately resulting in the potential for no visible scar.

Warming might cause tsunamis

Some of the world’s top geologists have warned that if global temperatures continue to rise, Britain might see deadly tsunamis like those that have hit Asia, head towards it in the future.
According to reports, geologists have warned of tsunamis in Britain to huge avalanches in the Alps and volcanic eruptions in Germany, if global warming continues to rise.
They say that evidence from the past reveals that times of dramatic climatic change are characterised by heightened geological activity.
For example, 10,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, melting ice and rising sea levels triggered a significant rise in volcanic activity.

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