Jan 09
Guns for the Disabled

A controversial pistol designed for the disabled and elderly has not been given approval to be covered by Medicare. The so called “Palm Pistol” is not a medical device according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The manufacturer of the Palm Pistol says it is ideal for seniors, disabled or others who may have limited strength or manual dexterity. The single shot 9mm pistol is shaped like an oval that fits in the palm of the hand. The barrel sticks out through the fingers. Instead of pulling a trigger it is fired by pushing down a button with the thumb.

"Medicare will not cover it because there is no approved category for weapons," said Medicare spokesman Peter Ashkenaz.

Happiness may be infectious: study

It may seem obvious but, being happy is influenced by the happiness of the people you are surrounded by a study has found. Researchers reported in the British Medical Journal that rather than happiness being just an individual experience or choice, it’s dependent on the happiness of others around them, but the context of those people makes a difference.

Live-in partners who become happy increase the likelihood of their partner being happy by 8%. Similar effects were seen for siblings who live close by (14%) and neighbours (34%). Work colleagues did not affect the happiness level, which shows that the type of relationship is more important that the time that people spent together.

Breathing exercises help in asthma

Simple breath training can improve the quality of life of asthmatics. The so called ‘breathing retraining’ did not cure the asthma but helped to make it easier to live with.

A study published in the journal Thorax describes how patients with mild to moderate asthma were given three sessions of physiotherapist-supervised breathing exercise training. The training involved explanation of the possible effects of ‘‘dysfunctional breathing’’ such as over-breathing, mouth breathing and upper chest breathing and encouragement to do breathing exercises similar to the Papworth method for at least 10 min each day.

After six months, the patients who did the breathing exercises had a significantly better asthma-related quality of life, as measured in terms such as anxiety and perception of asthma control. However there was no change in the actual functioning of the lung, and there was no improvement in lung inflammation.

The study authors said the improvement in quality of life is something doctors should take note of, even though it would not mean reducing the need to prescribe anti-inflammation drugs.

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