It looks like your sperm count isn't the only thing you have to worry about when resting your laptop on your lap. According to medical reports, repeated exposure to hot running notebooks can lead to "toasted skin syndrome," which is a reddish-brownish rash that can also result from prolonged exposure to heating pads.
One of the most recent cases involves a 12-year-old boy who suffered the discoloration on his left thigh in a matter of months after playing PC games for a few hours each day.
"He recognized that the laptop got hot on the left side; however, regardless of that, he did not change its position," Swiss researchers said in an article published today in the journal Pediatrics.
According to an AP report, there have been at least 10 laptop-related cases reported in medical journals in the past six years. In every case, it's the same thing -- the laptop doesn't run hot enough to actually burn, but can cause permanent skin darkening. And in some rare cases, Swiss researchers say it can also cause damage leading to skin cancers.
Don't fret if your newborn just popped out of the womb sporting horns and a tail, that just means your router is firing on all cylinders. Or, as a British scientist and former naval microwave specialist warns, it would serve as proof that Wi-Fi leads to birth defects.
"When I realized these same frequencies and powers (as weapons during the Cold War) were being used as Wi-Fi in schools, I decided to come out of retirement and travel around the world free of charge and explain exactly what the problem is going to be in the future," Barrie Trower told Postmedia News in an Interview.
"Children are not small adults, they are underdeveloped adults, so there are different symptoms. What you are doing in schools is transmitting at low levels."
Even though Wi-Fi is generally considered safe, Trower contends that no scientific studies exist that deem prolonged exposure won't cause any harm.
"If you damage the DNA, there could be a genetic disorder from the child that is born from that lady when they grow up," Trower warns.
While Trower might be freaking out over Wi-Fi, Health Canada says everything is gravy.
"Based on scientific evidence, Health Canada has determined that exposure to low-level radio-frequency energy, such as that from Wi-Fi systems, is not dangerous to the public," the agency said in a statement.
Whether or not playing computer games should be classified as a sport remains a point of debate. Sure, you're not going to get anywhere near the same workout as you would by tossing a football or riding a bike, but is playing computer games really all that bad for you? Well, yes, says Dr. Dominic Micklewright from the University of Essex.
According to Micklewright, who is also the head of the Sport, Performance, and Fatigue Research Unit, computer gamers react to visual stimuli almost as fast as fighter jet pilots, but have the lung function and aerobic fitness of a heavy smoker in his sixties.
"Someone of this age should be much fitter, but perhaps this is the occupational hazard of the professional gamer who can spend around 10 hours a day in front of a screen," Micklewright said. "It is always difficult to say how these things will develop, but it could have long term health implications such as an increased risk of heart disease."
Micklewright was referring to a leading gamer in his twenties who appeared to be in good shape, at least physically. But tests proved otherwise, and according to Micklewright, this is why computer gaming shouldn't be considered a sport.
"Gaming shares some characteristics with sport because both are competitive, skill-based and governed by structured rules," he said. "But the main distinction which precludes gaming from being a sport is the lack of physical exertion."
As it turns out, swallowing a lithium cell battery isn't just bad for your diet, it can be deadly. So warns The New York Times, which tells the story of Aiden Truett, the barely one-year-old boy who stumped doctors with his illness before it was discovered that he had made a meal out of a flat, lithium battery, the same that are found in everything from watches to remotes.
The doctors put little Aiden under the knife and dug the battery out, but by then it was too late. The battery's current had already gone to work, setting of a chemical reaction burning holes in Aiden's esophagus and wreaking havoc on his aorta. Two days later Aiden was dead.
Aiden's death was rare, but not unprecedented. According to The New York Times, some 3,500 cases of button cell battery ingestion are reported to the poison control center every year. During the last six years, fewer than 10 have died as a result, but there's concern this might become a bigger problem as lithium cell batteries are now bigger and stronger than ever. Even when not fatal, swallowing a button battery can have surprisingly nasty effects, such as permanently damaging vocal chords.
"The injuries are so much more serious," said Dr. Toby Litovitz, director and lead author of both articles in Pediatrics. "It’s like drain opener or lye. It’s not something you want in the esophagus of your child."
Of those that are the most dangerous, parents should pay particular attention to button batteries that begin with the number 20 (stands for 20mm). Those numbered 2032 (as are often found in motherboards), 2025, and 2016 account for over 90 percent of serious injuries, NYT reports.
After hearing reports that workers are planning to sue Wintek for becoming sick allegedly due to exposure to a poisonous chemical at the company's China subsidiary, Wintek has begun laying the groundwork for its possible defense by saying it has already done everything it can, including getting medical treatment for the affected employees.
The issue involves some 44 workers at Wintek's United Win subsidiary who all claim they fell ill from a chemical, n-hexane, that was being used to clean screens for Apple's iPhone. The complaints date back to early August 2009, and since that time, Wintek says it is no longer using n-hexane.
In an announcement released through the Taiwan Stock Exchange earlier this week, Wintek also said that all affected workers have been examined and treated, and are now recovering and/or returning to work.
We don't remember there ever being a healthy heart logo plastered on the side of our Atari 2600 consoles growing up, but had there been, perhaps we logged a lot more time playing Adventure, Pitfall, and Pac-Man. Maybe we can make up for lost time because hey, there's something to be said about playing videogames in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
Don't believe us? Just ask the American Heart Association, which has teamed up with Nintendo to promote healthy living through active-play videogames, as the organization explains it. No need to twist our arms, we're all in.
"Our two organizations come from different worlds, but we share a common goal," said Clyde Yancy, M.D., president of the American Heart Association. "Showing people accessible ways to stay active has been a part of our mission for decades, but our research tells us nearly 70 percent of Americans are getting no regular physical activity. As an organization we are looking for ways to change this. Nintendo has demonstrated clear leadership in active-play video games with the popularity of the Wii system, and I’m confident that together we can encourage Americans to become more physically active."
As part of this totally awesome campaign, consumers will see the American Heart Association brand on boxes for the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort titles for the Wii starting this summer. And what better way to stay healthy during summer break than to toss a virtual Frisbee or wakeboarding from your recliner?
Kenneth Crocker is in the books as the first person ever to undergo remote heart surgery, which was performed at the Glenfield Hospital in Leicestershire to correct an irregular heartbeat, UK's Daily Mail reports.
A 3-foot robotic arm shoved a thin surgical tube into the 70-year-old patient's body while the surgeon sat in a separate room controlling the delicate procedure with a remote control, steering the tube through a vein into the heart. By performing the procedure remotely, the surgeon was isolated from dangerous levels of radiation from the more than 250 X-rays to monitor the location of the probe for up to eight hours.
"I've been very excited about the operation for weeks," Crocker explained. "It's a little bit of extra magic being the first in the world. I tried cardioversion, which is electric shock therapy, and different medicines to get rid of the problem but so far nothing has worked. I've seen the robotic arm and it's an impressive piece of kit. I'd like to shake hands with it after when I'm cured but maybe that won’t be possible."
Given the success of the surgery, Dr. Ng, the surgeon who performed the operation, said the technique could be used to treat up to 50,000 Britons diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat each year, potentially reducing strokes and heart failure.
Samsung said it plans to pony up for independent reviews following reports that toxic materials used in to make chips might have caused some its employees to get cancer. Even though government investigations conducted in 2007 and 2008 found no problems at the Samsung plants, the chip maker said this week that 22 of its employees who worked at its plants had been diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma. Ten of them died of cancer between 1998 and 2010.
"We are deeply sorry about the loss of love ones... and we've actively cooperated on epidemiologic investigations, which concluded there were no leaks of radiation," Cho Soo-in, president of Samsung's memory division, told reporters. "But I feel we should have done this (communicated with the public) in the first place to stop speculation from growing."
The chip production lines in which the 22 workers served and later developed illnesses have since been converted into chip test lines and LED production lines. These lines occasionally receive visitors, including those from high-profile politicians, all of which must wear full-body dust-proof attire.
Looking to shed a few lingering holiday pounds? The Withings Wi-Fi scale might be just what you're looking for. To help keep you accountable, Withings on Thursday announced it has teamed up with the Google Health service, making it a piece of cake (mmm, cake) to maintain and and update an online health profile in real time.
"It's exciting to be one of the early hardware devices to integrate with the Google Health service," said Cedric Hutchings, Withings General Manager. "Keeping your doctors and caregivers informed on all aspects of your health is important in maintaining a consistent health plan, so being part of Google Health's effort to make this possible is thrilling."
Google's Health service hasn't received a ton of media attention, and in case you're not familiar with it, you're able to organize your health info all in one place, including your medical records from doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. You can then share this profile with your doctor.
As for the scale itself, it measures weight, lean and fat mass, and calculates your body mass index (BMI) and uploads that info to a secure webpage. It also comes with Twitter integration which, when enabled, will tweet your weight and how far you have to go to reach your goal.
If you’re the paranoid type, these new charts from The Environmental Working Group may be just what you’ve been looking for. They rate cell phones based on how much radiation they put out when placed to the ear. Cell phones emit radio-frequency radiation whenever you are using voice or data. This radiation is non-ionizing, but some groups claim there is a connection between cell phone use and cancer.
Among all phones the Samsumg Impression from AT&T had the lowest radiation output. It was closely followed by the Moto RAZR V8 for CellularOne. The Motorola MOTO VU204 and T-Mobile myTouch 3G both had the highest radiation levels. In the smartphone field, the Nokia 9300i had the lowest levels, and the Kyocera Jax S1300 was tied with the myTouch 3G for the highest.
If you don’t go in for the cell phone/cancer theory, the list may still be of some use. Just switch the ‘best’ and ‘worst’ labels, and consider the charts a measure of relative signal strength. Even if you are somehow giving yourself cancer, you’ll have really great signal while doing it. So,does cell phone radiation concern you?