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The robotic arm controlled by the mind and tips to avoid a hangover this Christmas

A round-up of the health news headlines on Monday 17 December

Reality and science-fiction are overlapping more than ever after a paralysed woman controled a robotic arm with her mind.

The BBC reports how Jan, 53, who is paralysed from the neck down was able to complete simple tasks with the robotic arm.

The study, published in the Lancet, involved placing brain implants in the motor cortex of her brain.

A hundred of tiny needles on each sensor picked up the electrical activity from individual brain cells that were then transformed into commands for the arm.

Jan was diagnosed 13 years ago with spinocerebellar degeneration, a genetic condition that has left her unable to move her arms or legs.

Since the experiment was done in a lab it is not yet clear whether the arm could be used for day to day tasks. Researchers are now finding a way to attach the arm to Jan’s wheelchair.

The BBC also reports that a number of pharmacists in London have been caught selling drugs to people without a prescription.

In a an Inside Out report seven pharmacies sold prescription drugs for as much as £200 to investigators who had no prescriptions for the drugs.

Those pharmacists who were convicted face a maximum of two years in prison and an unlimited fine.

The documentary has led to a call to the government to crack down and overhaul pharmacy regulations.

Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said:”People will be shocked to see pharmacists acting like small time drug pushers.” Meanwhile the Department of Health insists it is concentrating its effort on prescription drug abuse.

Finally in the Guardian Dr Dillner gives out a few tips for the Christmas party season to avoid a hangover.

A recent article in the BMJ found that none of the fabled cures, including hair of the dog and green tea, have any evidence showing that they work.

Instead the best cure is prevention. Drinks to avoid are ones that are high in cogners, which are added for taste and appearance, such as red wine and whiskey. Instead sticking with ones with more ethanol, such as gin and vodka, reduce, but don’t remove, the likelihood of having a hangover.

Other tips include eating dry toast to reverse the drop in blood sugar level and staying away from paracetamol and aspirin as they will irritate your stomach.

 


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