Livin' on the MDedge

The enemy of carcinogenic fumes is my friendly begonia


Sowing the seeds of cancer prevention

Are you looking to add to your quality of life, even though pets are not your speed? Might we suggest something with lower maintenance? Something a little greener?

Indoor plants can purify the air that comes from outside. Researchers at the University of Technology Sydney, in partnership with the plantscaping company Ambius, showed that a “green wall” made up of mixed indoor plants was able to suck up 97% of “the most toxic compounds” from the air in just 8 hours. We’re talking about lung-irritating, headache-inducing, cancer risk–boosting compounds from gasoline fumes, including benzene.

Indoor plants can remove airborne toxic petrol fumes Fraser Torpy/University of Technology Sydney

Public health initiatives often strive to reduce cardiovascular and obesity risks, but breathing seems pretty important too. According to the World Health Organization, household air pollution is responsible for about 2.5 million global premature deaths each year. And since 2020 we’ve become accustomed to spending more time inside and at home.

“This new research proves that plants should not just be seen as ‘nice to have,’ but rather a crucial part of every workplace wellness plan,” Ambius General Manager Johan Hodgson said in statement released by the university.

So don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy air filtration system when a wall of plants can do that for next to nothing. Find what works for you and your space and become a plant parent today! Your lungs will thank you.

But officer, I had to swerve to miss the duodenal ampulla

Tiny video capsule endoscopes have been around for many years, but they have one big weakness: The ingestible cameras’ journey through the GI tract is passively driven by gravity and the natural movement of the body, so they often miss potential problem areas.

NaviCam capsule endoscopy system AnX Robotica

Not anymore. That flaw has been addressed by medical technology company AnX Robotica, which has taken endoscopy to the next level by adding that wondrous directional control device of the modern electronic age, a joystick.

The new system “uses an external magnet and hand-held video game style joysticks to move the capsule in three dimensions,” which allows physicians to “remotely drive a miniature video capsule to all regions of the stomach to visualize and photograph potential problem areas,” according to Andrew C. Meltzer, MD, of George Washington University and associates, who conducted a pilot study funded by AnX Robotica.

The video capsule provided a 95% rate of visualization in the stomachs of 40 patients who were examined at a medical office building by an emergency medicine physician who had no previous specialty training in endoscopy. “Capsules were driven by the ER physician and then the study reports were reviewed by an attending gastroenterologist who was physically off site,” the investigators said in a written statement.

The capsule operator did receive some additional training, and development of artificial intelligence to self-drive the capsule is in the works, but for now, we’re talking about a device controlled by a human using a joystick. And we all know that 50-year-olds are not especially known for their joystick skills. For that we need real experts. Yup, we need to put those joystick-controlled capsule endoscopes in the hands of teenage gamers. Who wants to go first?


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