Health Updates 27 July 2012

  • Body language of triumph will be on display at Olympics: “As Olympians take to the world stage in London this week, watch the body language of the gold medalists for clues to their feelings of triumph and pride.  Those athletes who throw their arms above their head, clench their fists and grimace — a universal expression of triumph – are not to be confused with those expressing price by tilting their head back, holding our their arms from their body and smiling, researchers say.  ‘We found that displays of triumph include different behaviors to those of pride, and occur more immediately after a victory or win,’ David Matsumoto, a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, said in a university news release.  ‘Triumph has its own signature expression that is immediate, automatic and universal across cultures’.  One of the differences between triumph and pride is seen in the face, Matsumoto said.  ‘When someone feels triumphant after a contest or challenge, their face can look quite aggressive,’ he said.  ‘It’s like Michael Phelps’s reaction after winning the 2008 Olympics.  It looks quite different to the small smile we see when someone is showing pride.’  In conducting the study, the researchers showed people from the United States and South Korea pictures of judo athletes from 17 countries who had just won a medal match  at the 2004 Olympics in Athens….The participants consistently labeled the pictures of grimacing  or yelling athletes with their arms raised and fists clenched as triumph.  Meanwhile, the photos of athletes with their arms out at their sides, hands open and head tilted back were labeled as pride.  The athletes in the “pride” photos, the researchers pointed out, were also smiling.  The study also showed that expressions of triumph occurred, on average, four seconds after the athletes won a match.  Displays of pride, however, occurred an average of 16 seconds after the match ended.  Expressions of triumph are an immediate reaction of a person’s success, the study’s authors explained.  Expressions of pride, on the other hand, come later since they reflect how the athletes feel about themselves.  ‘Watch that immediate reaction in the first few seconds after an athlete has won their medal match –no matter what the sport is — and you’ll see this triumph response from athletes all around the world, regardless of culture,’ Matsumoto said.  Expressions of triumph, the authors concluded, may have played a role in evolution by helping people in early societies, demonstrate their status or dominance.  The study will be published in the September issue of the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.  (HealthDay)
  • Sleep apnea market to double in 5 years: “The global sleep apnea market is expected to be worth $19.72 billion by 2017.  A new report by Dallas-based MarketsandMarkets projected that is a more than double increase from 2011 when the market was estimated to be $7.96 billion.  The US is the largest market for sleep apnea products, followed by Europe and then Asia.  Broadly divided into diagnostic devices and therapeutics devices, the sleep apnea market is witnessing intense competition.  The report found that the market is dominated by Philips Respironics and ResMed, which cumulatively account for 70% of the market.  Other prominent players include Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, Natus Medical, DeVilbiss Healthcare, and Weinmann Medical Devices.  One thing notable about the sleep apnea market is that ‘segment rivalry is high as there are a few well-established firms and several small firms with similar product offerings,’ according to the report.  An example of smaller firms vying for the same market is in the neuromodulation space where three device startups are developing implantable therapeutic devices that treat obstructive sleep apnea.  All three are striving to provide an alternative to the gold-but-cumbersome standard in treating the condition: CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks….Obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of sleep apnea, is potentially a lucrative market to chase with 84% of sleep apnea patients being diagnosed with the condition.  Globally, 100 million people are thought to have the condition, with an overwhelming 80% of them remaining undiagnosed.” (Arundhati Parmar, MedPage Today)
  • Illegal ‘bath salts’ mimic cocaine in the brain: study Street drugs called ‘bath salts’ have a similar effect in the brain as cocaine and carry the same risk for abuse and addiction, a new study in mice has found.  Bath salts are synthetic stimulants that have become increasingly popular among recreational drug users in recent years.  (The substances have nothing to do with the crystals you might sprinkle in a bathtub).  In the new study of adult mice, University of North Carolina researchers found evidence that the effects of the bath salt mephedrone on the brain’s reward circuits are comparable to similar doses of cocaine.  The mice were implanted with brain-stimulating electrodes and trained to run on a wheel in order to give themselves a reward, which was  direct stimulation of the brain pathways involved in reward perception.  The technique, called ‘intracranial self-stimulation’ has been used in experiments since the 1950s, according to researchers.  Prior intracranial self-stimulation studies have shown than one of the characteristics of addictive drugs is to make self-stimulation more pleasurable….The findings support the idea that mephedrone and other bath salts may have a significant addiction risk….On July 9, President Barak Obama signed a law banning bath salts containing mephedrone or another stimulant, MDPV, in the United States. (
  • Gun Safety: “One-third of all families in America that have children also have guns, and more than 40 percent of them don’t keep their guns locked up.  Children younger than eight can’t tell the difference between a real gun and a toy, and 3-year-olds are strong enough to pull the trigger on a real gun.  Children and teens commit more than half of all unintentional shootings.  Here are some things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe:
    • Teach children that they shouldn’t touch guns and that if they see a gun, to leave it alone and tell an adult.
    • If your children play in another home, talk to the parents about gun safety.
    • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
    • Always store guns unloaded.
    • Lock guns in a rack or safe, and hide the keys or combination.
    • Store ammunition away from guns and keep it locked.
    • Don’t keep guns in your home if someone in your family has a mental illness, severe depression, or potential for violence.” (MedlinePlus)

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