Healthy Bits: October 2014

By AFM Staff – October 1, 2014

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Researchers from the University of California San Diego presented information at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society that they have designed a sensor that detects and responds to the lactate present in sweat. The device, in the form of a temporary tattoo, is worn on the upper arm and measures the electrical current generated while exercising. The research team also created a “biobattery” that removes electrons from lactate via an enzyme, which is then accepted by the cathode. “The current produced is not that high,” said Wenzhao Jia, Ph.D., “but we are working on enhancing it so that eventually we could power some small electronic devices.”

In an interesting side note, the most avid exercisers produced the least amount of power. Researchers attributed this to the fact that fitter individuals took longer to reach fatigue, the point at which the process of glycosis is engaged and lactate production increases.

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Impact Location Affects Concussion Severity

A recent study from the American Academy of Pediatrics investigates how the location of impact could affect concussion severity. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, is one of the first to focus on how location of impact can yield different concussion outcomes.

Researchers used data from the National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study to calculate rates and circumstances of concussions that occurred during football as a result of player-to-player collisions.

The team observed that most concussions of this type (44.7 percent) occurred on the front of the head, while 22.3 percent occurred on the side of the head. Based on where the impact occurred, the number and type of symptoms, symptom resolution time, and length of time before returning to play did not vary significantly.

But the data revealed that more football players whose concussions resulted from top-of-head impacts lost consciousness than those whose impacts were located elsewhere on the head. Eight percent of players with top-of-head concussions experienced loss of consciousness, compared with only 3.5 percent of those with impacts on other areas.

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Fist Bumps for Health

A hearty handshake has been a staple of American greeting, but a study published in The American Journal of Infection Control suggests that this practice needs to change. British researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales conducted a test that measured the transmission of a bacterium found in the human intestines and discovered that a handshake shared about twice as many germs as a high five or fist bump; the stronger the handshake, in fact, the more likely it was to transfer germs. A fist bump consistently produced the lowest transference. 

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