Location: Mexico and Costa Rica
Results: Wish you had blue eyes? It turns out that changing your eye color from brown to blue may not be all that complicated. An in-the-works procedure is currently doing it with low-level laser technology. “Contact lenses are temporary, and iris implants are extremely unsafe and have led to severe eye injuries, including blindness,” says Dr. Gregg Homer, chairman and chief scientific officer of Stroma Medical.
Significance: The treatment has yet to be approved in the United States. While Homer stands by its safety, that hasn’t stopped some critics from expressing concerns about its potentially unknown side effects. The main worry has been over the risk of developing pigmentary glaucoma; something Stroma says it has not encountered in its studies. The company reports that it has completed limited human study at this point, but that no adverse effects have been reported.
Location of study: U.S.
Results: Specially trained canines were able to detect thyroid cancer with 88 percent accuracy in a recent study. Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences worked with dogs that had already been trained in scent detection. They then took fresh tissue from patients who had the most prevalent form of thyroid cancer and introduced it to the dogs. When the animals were later presented with urine samples, they accurately detected the cancer-positive samples in 30 out of 34 instances.
Significance: Researchers say that having the ability to identify this type of cancer with such certainty represents a major advancement in the field. “We’ve all looked at it from a skeptical, scientific standpoint, but the data just keeps leading us to the fact that this has remarkable clinical potential,” Arny Ferrando, PhD, a professor and researcher in the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, says in a press release.
Location of study: Boston
Results: A recent study conducted by Boston Medical Center found that roughly 15 percent of toddlers in the area drink up to four ounces of coffee per day. Cultural influences seem to play the biggest role. According to researchers, young Hispanic children were most likely to drink coffee. What’s more is that girls also drank more than boys.
Significance: “Our results show that many infants and toddlers in Boston – and perhaps in the U.S. – are being given coffee and that this could be associated with cultural practices,” principal investigator Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, says in a press release. At this point, there are currently no U.S. guidelines in place for coffee consumption among children.
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