Fujitsu facial imaging technology measures pulse

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http://www.sys-con.com/node/2582171

A Fujitsu research lab has developed software that can accurately measure a subject’s pulse using the small digital cameras attached to smartphones and tablets.

The technology is based on the fact that the brightness of an individual’s face changes slightly as their heart beats, due to their blood flow. Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around the body, absorbs green light, so analyzing the change in color of parts of the face reveals their heart rate.

As most image sensors capture pixel information in red, blue and green, they have the ability to detect hemoglobin built in. Fujitsu’s technology keeps track of specific regions of the face over time to take pulse measurements.

A move toward aggregating health data from various devices and apps

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http://gigaom.com/2013/03/15/tictrac-emerges-to-help-make-health-tracking-more-mainstream/

It seems that every day a new app or device promising the ultimate in health or fitness monitoring enters the market.  A startup has created a personal analytics dashboard which gives people a big picture view of their own aggregated data and underlying patterns, helping them make sense of the numbers.

Ultra thin sensors printed on skin to monitor health

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http://www.biometricupdate.com/201303/super-thin-wearable-sensor-monitors-health-transmits-data/

Eliminating the elastomer backing makes the device one-thirtieth as thick, and thus “more conformal to the kind of roughness that’s present naturally on the surface of the skin,” says John Rogers at the University of Illinois. It can be worn for up to two weeks and can measure temperature, strain, and the hydration state of the skin, and also be used to monitor wound healing.

NFL and GE partner to study the brain

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/11/us-nfl-concussion-idUSBRE92A0UT20130311

The National Football League and GE announced a $60 million effort to speed up research into brain injuries and the development of new technologies to help protect the brain from traumatic injury to benefit athletes, the military and the broader public.

The initiative includes a $40 million research program into imaging technologies to improve diagnoses and an additional $20 million pool of funds open to researchers and businesses trying to improve the prevention, identification and management of brain injuries.

Researchers explain the goals of a new brain-mapping project

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http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512141/the-brain-activity-map/

A proposed effort to map brain activity on a large scale, expected to be announced by the White House later this month, could help neuroscientists understand the origins of cognition, perception, and other phenomena. These brain activities haven’t been well understood to date, in part because they arise from the interaction of large sets of neurons whose coordinated efforts scientists cannot currently track.

An article published Thursday in Science online expands the project’s already ambitious goals beyond just recording the activity of all individual neurons in a brain circuit simultaneously. Researchers should also  find ways to manipulate the neurons within those circuits and understand circuit function through new methods of data analysis and modeling.

Brain stimulation might help some functions and hurt others

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http://www.technologyreview.com/news/511916/brain-boosting-technique-might-help-some-functions-while-hurting-others/

Electrically stimulating the brain may improve memory, but impede with a person’s ability to react without thinking.

The approach has previously been shown to enhance various brain functions, including working memory and attention, and is being used to help stroke patients regain lost language and motor skills (see “Repairing the Stroke-Damaged Brain”). But until now, little research had been done on whether improving performance on one task would come at the detriment of others.

The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence

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http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0057873

Increased sugar consumption leads to increased diabetes prevalence. One solution is to reduce sugar consumption, but this is difficult to implement in a western diet. It is best to combine the consumption of  high fiber foods such as oatmeal, oat bran, beans and legumes with the consumption of high sugar foods.

Computer modeling may help soldiers, athletes, avoid concussions

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http://hub.jhu.edu/2013/03/07/concussion-research-impact

Johns Hopkins engineers have developed a powerful new computer-based process that helps identify the dangerous conditions that lead to concussion-related brain injuries.

Professor K.T. Ramesh led a team that used a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, together with a computer model of the head, to identify injured axons, which are tiny but important fibers that carry information from one brain cell to another. These axons are concentrated in a kind of brain tissue known as “white matter,” and they appear to be injured during the so-called mild traumatic brain injury associated with concussions. Ramesh’s team has shown that the axons are injured most easily by strong rotations of the head, and the researchers’ process can calculate which parts of the brain are most likely to be injured during a specific event.