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A Harvard University-based research team, including a physicist from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, says that its research into the possibilities of developing quantum computers have led to a finding that may have more immediate application in medical science.
The team has found that a candidate ‘quantum bit’ has great sensitivity to magnetic fields, which hints that MRI-like devices that can probe individual drug molecules and living cells may be possible.
The candidate system, formed from a nitrogen atom lodged within a diamond crystal, is promising not only because it can sense atomic-scale variations in magnetism, but also because it functions at room temperature.
Most other such devices used either in quantum computation or for magnetic sensing can operate only after they are cooled to nearly absolute zero, which makes it difficult to place them near live tissue.
Diamond-tipped sensors may perform magnetic resonance tests on individual cells within the body — a sort of MRI scanner for the microscopic.

Fracture rates rising in Asia
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of fracture cases throughout Asia, finds a new study.
A new audit report released by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) showed that osteoporosis is a serious and growing problem throughout Asia.
It showed that the incidence of hip fracture has increased 2-to 3-fold in most Asian countries over the past 30 years and half of the world’s fractures will occur in Asia by 2050. According to the experts, widespread vitamin D deficiency and low calcium intake may be in part responsible for the alarming increase in osteoporosis.

‘Switch’ for kids' healthy eating
An intervention called the Switch programme has been found to be helpful in promoting fruit and vegetable consumption among children, and in lowering ‘screen time’.
Douglas Gentile, a psychology professor from Iowa State University, tested the programme that asks people to “Switch what you Do, View, and Chew”.
The researcher says that the programme offers promise for use in youth obesity prevention. Gentile said: “We tested Switch, a family-, school-, and community-based intervention aimed at changing the key behaviours of physical activity, television viewing/screen time, and nutrition.”
The Community component is designed to promote awareness of the importance of healthy lifestyles using paid advertising and unpaid media.
The School component reinforces the Switch messages by providing teachers with materials and methods to integrate key health concepts into the school day.
Finally in the Family component, participating families receive monthly packets containing behavioural tools to assist families in altering their health behaviours.

New fad that helps lose weight
A new drastic weight-loss fad has come up that involves the insertion of patches on the tongues, which in turn makes eating a painful experience.
The ‘Chugay Tongue Patch’ produces a “means of weight loss never before offered by other surgeons”.
The ‘patch’ is a mesh square about the size of a postage stamp, which, when surgically attached to the tongue, makes eating “very difficult and painful”.

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