“Quick & Healthy” offers some highlights from the world of health and wellness that you may have missed this week:
- IBM announced that it would be putting its state-of-the-art Watson supercomputer to use in the battle against cancer. The advantage and innovation of Watson, made famous when it bested two human competitors at Jeopardy, is its ability to process mountains of raw data to arrive at specific solutions to particular problems. In this case, it means Watson will analyze reams of genomic data from patients fighting cancer to find the best treatments.
- An unprecedented outbreak of avian flu is ravaging turkey farms in the American Midwest. The virulent H5N2 virus has spread to poultry farms in 14 states, leading to mass culling and euthanasia of the affected stock.
- We’ve got smartphones, smartcars, smartwatches — soon you could have smart dishware that can tell you when you’re consuming too many calories. (Americans clearly need someone to tell them.) The SmartPlate is a wi-fi-enabled piece of crockery that scans and weighs the food placed on it — identifying the amount and nutritional value (or lack thereof) of its contents.
- A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) finds that only one-fourth of 133 countries surveyed have a comprehensive plan to combat antibiotic-resistant pathogens, otherwise known as “superbugs.” Among the disquieting report’s key findings is that countries are less than diligent at monitoring for these novel strains and that rampant overprescription of antibiotics has continued, despite public warnings that this contributes to emergence of bacteria that cannot be killed with available drugs. A previous WHO report stated that the “post-antibiotic era — in which common infections and minor injuries can kill — is a very real possibility for the 21st century.”
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