Health

12:50pm

Fri September 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Holy Bat Virus! Genome Hints At Origin Of SARS-Like Virus

Bats harbor many types of coronaviruses and were probably the original source of the new coronavirus that appeared in the Middle East.
iStockphoto.com

On the surface, the new coronavirus detected in the Middle East this month looks quite similar to SARS. It apparently causes severe respiratory problems, and can be lethal.

But with viruses, the devil is in their details — the genetic details.

Dutch virologists have just published the whole genome of the new coronavirus — all 30,118 letters of its code. And, the sequence reveals that the mystery virus is most closely related to coronaviruses that infect bats in Southeast Asia.

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11:00am

Fri September 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

For Best Toilet Health: Squat Or Sit?

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 12:50 pm

A contractor designed the Squatty Potty to help his mother get closer to the squatting position on the john.
Courtesy of Squatty Potty

We at Shots don't shy away from talking about poop, as Michaeleen Doucleff demonstrated last month with her post on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's investment in fake feces.

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7:50am

Fri September 28, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

'Cocaine For Snowblindness': What Polar Explorers Packed For First Aid

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 9:12 am

From left: Frank Wild, Ernest Shackleton, Dr. Eric Marshall and Jameson Adams head back to base camp after getting within 97 miles of the South Pole — closer than anyone had gotten before them — in January 1909.
Getty Images

So you're headed out to explore the frozen wilderness of the Antarctic, facing one of the most punishing climates on Earth. What kind of medical supplies do you strap onto your sledge in case of emergency, miles from any sign of civilization?

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3:56pm

Thu September 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Disease Detectives Catch Deadly African Virus Just As It Emerges

New viruses are popping up all over these days – Heartland virus in Missouri last month, a new virus in the same family as SARS in Saudi Arabia this month. And now, a never-before-seen hemorrhagic fever virus in central Africa.

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12:29pm

Thu September 27, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Medical Electronics Built To Last Only A Little While

An electronic circuit in its first phases of dissolution.
Fiorenzo Omenetto

Most engineers build things to last.

But a group of mechanical and electrical engineers are working on electronics that will break down in as little as a couple of days. On purpose!

The electronic circuits they're developing don't crash. It's more dramatic than that. They dissolve in liquid.

Sounds a little bit crazy, but circuits that work for a while then disappear could be pretty useful in medical devices implanted in the human body.

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