Entries in Apple (6)


iPad Owners Prefer Broken Nose over Shattered Screen?

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A root canal is a painful experience, but according to many iPad owners, not as painful as breaking an iPad.  A new survey finds 32 percent of iPad owners say accidentally breaking their device would be more painful than having root canal.

Forty percent say accidentally breaking their iPad would be more painful than getting in a minor car accident.

Sixteen percent of respondents say breaking their Apple device would hurt more than breaking their nose, while ten percent say it would be more painful than getting fired from their job.

The Brainshark Inc. survey involved 1,320 iPad owners.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Open Heart Surgery of the Future

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- More than half a million people in the U.S. undergo heart surgery every year. It has become a common and mostly successful surgery, where surgeons open the chest wall to get to your heart, cutting through the upper part of a patient’s breastbone to get there.

For the past 75 years these surgeons -- many who now do more than one surgery a day -- have been using an ancient-looking hand crank that winds open the chest, bit by bit -- a tool that requires some muscle by the surgeon.

Chuck Pell, the chief scientist at Physcient, a new surgical device company based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., talked to ABC News while at the 2011 TEDMed Conference on innovation in science and medicine. He explained that not only is the hand crank technology just plain old, but the cranking can really damage the tissue in the chest wall. A surgeon can break the sternum or ribs, damage cartilage or cause long term back pain.  

So Pell’s company set out to solve this problem.  Physcient has created a motorized retractor, i.e., a robot, to open the chest wall that a surgeon operates from a hand-held battery-powered controller. The device creates a smooth movement so that it is a lot less damaging to the chest tissue.  Pell describes it as “anti-lock brakes” for chest retraction.

As the chest opens, the smart device senses when the tissue is tearing and stops until the tissue settles. The prototype is currently on an iPhone interface and seems very simple to use (meaning it won’t require surgeons hours of training like many other robotic- surgery-assist tools). But that’s not the way the product will be presented in operating rooms. Pell says that Apple actually discourages the medical community from using the iPhone during surgery because it doesn’t believe the phone is precise enough for something so important.  

As for the cost, Pell said it would run a hospital about $500 per use, but he anticipates a huge cost savings by not having to treat other problems that arise from potential tissue damage in the long-term. The device still has a way to go -- it has only been tested on pigs. Sheep are next, and then, finally, humans. It will be about 18 months before the robot is submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for approval.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Apple a Day May Keep Stroke Away

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(AMSTERDAM) -- An apple a day could do more than just keep the doctor away. Dutch researches have found that eating many fruits and vegetables with white flesh, such as apples and pears, may protect against stroke.

While past studies have linked high consumption of fruits and vegetables with lower stroke risk, this Dutch Morgen study is the first to examine a color based correlation.

The color of the edible portion of fruits and vegetables indicate the presence of certain beneficial chemicals found in plants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids.

These findings seem to counter the popular belief that the most healthy fruits and vegetables are actually those that are rich in color inside and out.

The researchers tracked fruit and vegetable intake based on the color of the largest edible portion of food: green, orange/yellow, red/purple and white. After analyzing data collected from 20,069 individuals ages 20-65 during a 10 year period, the investigator documented 233 strokes among the participants.

They found that although there was no relationship between stroke risk and brightly colored fruits and veggies, people who consumed more white produce daily, had a 52 percent lower risk of stroke than those who ate less than the equivalent of an apple a day. On average, every 25 grams of white fruit eaten daily was directly associated with a 9 percent lower stroke risk.

One of the weaknesses of the study, however, is that the documented eating habits were based off of individuals' own recollections of consumption, so the data may be questionable.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Steve Jobs' Cancer Treatment in Switzerland Experimental, Effective

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Recent media reports have begun to shed more light on Steve Jobs' medical condition and the treatment he's believed to have sought overseas.

According to Fortune magazine, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple, Inc, who is currently on medical leave, flew to Switzerland in 2009 to receive a treatment for neuroendocrine cancer that isn't yet approved in the U.S.  The Wall Street Journal reported Jobs also had a liver transplant that year.

Fortune said it learned about the unpublicized trip to Switzerland from former Apple director Jerry York, who died in 2010.

In 2004, doctors found that Jobs had a pancreatic neuroendocrine islet cell tumor, which is very different from the more well-known pancreatic cancer that took the life of actor Patrick Swayze in 2009.

Neuroendocrine cancers affect cells throughout the body that secrete hormones.  The tumors can cause the secretion of either too much hormone or not enough.  They are relatively rare, but more and more new cases are being diagnosed, and experts attribute that trend to better recognition of these tumors.

Experts say the treatment Jobs underwent is an experimental procedure called peptide receptor radionuclide therapy (PRRT).  It involves delivering radiation to tumor cells by attaching one of two radioactive isotopes to a drug that mimics somatostatin, the hormone that regulates the entire endocrine system and the secretion of other hormones.

Specialists who treat neuroendocrine cancers say PRRT is very effective, but because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn't yet approved it, patients who want the treatment typically head to Europe for it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Docs Say Steve Jobs Likely Dealing with Pancreatic Cancer

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Nearly two years since receiving a new liver and fighting a rare form of pancreatic cancer, Steve Jobs, the co-founder and chief executive of Apple Inc., announced to his employees Monday he will take an indefinite leave of absence from the company to focus on his health.

While Jobs did not address specific health reasons, many experts say it's likely that his leave is related to his ongoing treatment for pancreatic cancer.

"I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can," Jobs wrote in the latest message to his team.

Jobs, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, initially underwent surgery to remove the tumor. A few months after announcing a leave of absence in January 2009, Jobs had a liver transplant.

Experts say the length of his survival is mainly because he had a slow-growing, rare cancer called a pancreatic neuroendocrine islet cell tumor. While experts say neuroendocrine cancers are known to spread to the liver, Jobs remained private about his condition and the reason behind his transplant.

Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where Jobs underwent his transplant, confirmed that Jobs is no longer a patient at the hospital and declined to comment to ABC News about Jobs' transplant.

"You hear the term pancreatic cancer and you immediately think Pavarotti or Patrick Swayze, but this is a completely different animal," Dr. Andrew Warshaw, surgeon-in-chief at Massachusetts General Hospital, told MedPage Today and ABC News.

"For adenomas, the timeline is very short. The pace of progress with neuroendocrine cancers can be many years, even with metastatic disease. It has a different biology," said Warshaw.

Only six percent of patients with any form of pancreatic cancer live longer than five years, according to the nonprofit organization Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

Neuroendocrine tumors are slow-growing, but frequently metastasize to the liver. Researchers say that appears to be what happened to Jobs, who underwent a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., in April 2009.

Dr. Richard Alexander, a surgical oncologist at the University of Maryland who specializes in pancreatic cancer, said this is a very rare treatment, and is usually a last resort when the metastasized cancer doesn't respond to treatments such as chemotherapy.

Dr. David Metz, a gastroenterologist at the University of Pennsylvania who conducted a 2005 literature review on liver transplant for neuroendocrine tumor metastases, said survival is variable: "Some recur in a year; others, a few years after surgery."

Data in his report noted a 52-percent survival rate two years after liver transplantation -- but he cautioned that accurate outcome data are hard to come by because the procedure is so rare.

If the tumor has recurred, Alexander said treatment options would include chemotherapy or embolization, although performing surgery "on a transplanted liver is high-risk."

Patients who undergo transplants are typically put on immunosuppressant medication to help their bodies accept the new liver. However, suppressing the immune system can allow cancer cells to grow more quickly, said Alexander.

Warshaw said patients who get immunosuppressants can respond very differently to regular cancer treatments.

"All bets are off" for understanding what type of treatment will be successful, Warshaw said.

Still, it is not clear why Jobs is taking this leave, his third since 2004. Aside from tumor recurrence, he could also be dealing with organ rejection or a possible hormone imbalance if the tumor is active.

In general, Metz said neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors are a relief "because patients stick around for a long time and we can use various modalities to treat them. The downside is that the likelihood of 'curing' people once they've metastasized is very low."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Stressed? There's an App For That

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Awareness, a new iPhone app launched just last week, allows the ever-stressed -- particularly at holiday time -- to find psychological solace.

The "pocket therapist" application is "like an angel sitting on your shoulder," sounding a gentle chant to remind you to get in touch with your feelings -- anywhere, the developer says.

Ronit Herzfeld, a holistic therapist from New York City, said her creation can help users discover inner peace in the routine of their daily lives.

So far, 550 buyers have downloaded the application, and her developers are working on a new version for Google's Android that could be available in February.

For $3.99 the user is reminded by up to 25 gong tones a day to take a deep breath and assess their mental state. The application asks how you are feeling and, based on your mood, it plays up to 20 videos with instructions on how to alleviate the stressors.

The application also color-codes feelings: red is anger and yellow is fear. A pie chart can show how often you feel those emotions and charts your emotional state and associated triggers over a day, month, week, and year.

The iPhone is not meant to take the place of therapy, said Herzfeld, but for the "ordinary person" it can act as a "diary of feelings" where they can track their behavioral responses to different emotional states such as drinking, binge eating, or overworking.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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