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Doomsday

Death? There’s an App for That

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Want to know when you’re going to die? Try Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your days. Need to know whose been murdered in your neighborhood? Murder Map has you covered.

In case you hadn’t heard, death is pretty hot right now—well, in the App Store at least. Casting aside the zillions of “games” offering to predict the day you’ll bite the dust (5/8/2065, thanks for asking), apps are using the idea of our demise to make a quick $0.99, and freak us out a whole lot in the process. From Google Mapping graveyards to a funeral small-talk generator, the downright dark has never been so bleakly enthralling, and is slowly but surely gathering momentum.

Bad Doc

Is Your Doctor a Drug Dealer?

Zeljko Santrac/Getty

A recent medical journal suggests doctors regularly cave when patients ask for meds, even controlled substances like Oxycodone. Patients are looking more like customers, and doctors more like salespeople.

A recent medical article has demonstrated that doctors cave to their patients’ medication requests with regularity, even when controlled substances like Oxycodone are involved. It’s not that big a surprise really—the customer is always right, after all.The study serves as a reminder, though, of a venerable truth: the relationship between the doctors who diagnose and the drugs they prescribe is every bit as complex as the well travelled crisscross between Gwyneth and Chris —maybe even more so.

Robodoc

The No-Scar Hysterectomy

Anna Emilia/Getty

A new procedure for hysterectomies, done via robotic arm via a single incision, results in no scarring and little downtime. But the procedure has yet to gain the support of the medical community.

From the age of ten, I have dealt with debilitating periods. At times I was forced to wear diapers, hunched over in agony because I couldn’t find relief. Pop an Aleve or a Percocet for the pain? Yeah right. Aunt Flo was impervious to such futile attempts.When I was prepubescent, I thought girls who wished for their passage into womanhood were out of their minds. As the years passed, I envied women who nonchalantly mentioned their periods as nothing more than a minor irritation.

Bad Ideas

Gwyneth’s GOOP Guinea Pigs

Robert Daly

Starvation, snake venom, “oil pulling”—no wonder Chris Martin didn’t want to live with this woman.

When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced to the world on Tuesday that they were “consciously uncoupling,” we couldn’t help but wonder if Paltrow's notoriously strict lifestyle was to blame.In 2008, Paltrow founded her lifestyle website and brand GOOP, encouraging readers and fans to “invest in what’s real” and “nourish the inner aspect.” With a slew of overly-healthy recipes, pricey beauty treatments, and tough workouts, Paltrow quickly became recognized as the girl we love to hate with an “I’m better than you” attitude.

Big Bang

The Moment the Universe Blew Up

Keith Vanderlinde/National Science Foundation

Everyone’s talking about “inflation” and “primordial waves,” but what’s the big deal?

Within the first tiny fraction of a second after the Big Bang, the Universe blew up. At least that’s the basic idea behind the theory known as inflation.While the Universe is expanding today, its growth rate is relatively slow. If inflation is correct, however, things began with a lot more oomph: everything we see today went from a tiny bubble to a substantial size in less time than our most precise clocks can measure. Thanks to its ability to describe a lot of the appearance of the modern Universe, the theory of inflation has joined the Big Bang as part of the most widely accepted way scientists think about the origin of the cosmos.

Doc Talk

Autism’s Unsettling New Normal

Jim Young/Reuters

Autism spectrum disorders have increased by 30 percent in just two years. Doctors aren’t shocked by the statistics, but say early detection is more important now than ever.

Autism has been in the news a lot this past week. The big story is a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the prevalence of autism in the United States. Using data collected from both educational and health care sources, the CDC now reports that autism spectrum disorders (ASD), comprising autism, unspecified pervasive developmental delay (PDD-NOS) and Asperger disorder, have risen from one case for every 88 children in 2008 to one in 68 as of 2010.

Oil Pulling: Miracle or Mess?

Sukree Sukplang/Reuters

By Christine Yu for Life by DailyBurn Who would have thought that swishing oil in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes a day would be the cool thing to do. But it seems like everyone is “pulling oil” these days, from your favorite bloggers and magazine writers to your local news anchor. Thousands of people are posting videos on YouTube while they gargle and swirl oil in their mouths.Oil pulling is the latest trend to take the wellness community by storm, but it’s actually a traditional practice in Ayurveda — a holistic medical system from India that dates back 3,000 to 5,000 years.

Bad Trip

Are You Safe in Your Uber?

The Daily Beast

Private car services are popular among women who want to stay safe, but reports allege sexual harassment by drivers. Is it time to rethink services like Uber?

One afternoon in late September, I opened the Uber app and requested a ride. For the unitiated, Uber is a hugely popular app that allows people to summon a private car with a few taps of their fingers. Since launching in 2009, the company has expanded to 34 countries, mainstreaming on-demand private transportation.I met the Uber at the corner of the street where I live near Lincoln Center in New York City, and asked the driver to take me across town.

Snap Diagnosis

Diagnostics On the Go

The Daily Beast

With Colorimetrix, a new smartphone app, medical treatment is just a photo away.

Imagine this. You feel a bit under the weather, so you reach into your medicine cabinet and grab a standard urine test strip. After using it, you take a photo with your smartphone’s camera. In an instant, a smart app analyzes the strip and gives an accurate medical report, which can be immediately emailed to a doctor, who can prescribe the right medication. No more going to the doctor—medical care could soon be available in your pocket!This is the scenario that a team of researchers from the University of Cambridge is working towards.

Dr. Glass

Saving Lives With Terminator Tech

EPA/Landov

Google glass has a new, happy home: the emergency room. Should we reconsider it as medical technology?

When Google Glass hit the streets a few months ago, the buzz wasn’t all good. As with any new device, fears came up about privacy, security, the fear of looking like a dork, and piracy.But in a Boston hospital, it seems Google Glass is saving lives.In late December of 2013, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston began testing Google Glass with four emergency room physicians. In January, they expanded it to ten additional staff members.

Shocking?

Why Did Autism Surge 30%?

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control shows the epidemic is bigger than previously thought. What happened?

One in 68 children in the U.S. are identified with autism spectrum disorders, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control. This estimate is 30 percent higher than the prevalence reported in 2012. CDC says that since the previous estimate of 1 in 88 children identified with ASD, the criteria used to diagnose, treat, and provide services have not changed.The CDC report estimates that there are 1.2 million Americans under the age of 21 with autism.

Hooking Up

Foursquare for Sex

Demi Cambridge/Getty

A new sex tracking app, Nipple, made waves with its controversial ad at South by Southwest, but will it really teach us anything new or useful?

Scissoring for less than five minutes without orgasm with “Hunky,” a non-binary gendered Indian person from Cyprus, while using Nutella, earned me 110 points. At least according to the sex-tracking app, Nipple, it did. Titillated? Shocked? Confused? You're not the only one.In the age of the Quantified Self Movement where it’s taken for granted that we track our locations, exercise routines, and diets, Nipple has entered the app scene to monitor our sexual exploits.

PREVENTION NATION

All Hail Mandatory Vaccinations!

The Daily Beast

With its recent decree that all children must be vaccinated, little ‘ole Croatia is setting the global standard for intelligent, evidence-based public health.

This week, Croatia moved far ahead of the United States and countless Western European countries in the realm of public health. They weighed the evidence for and against mandatory vaccination of children, summarizing the problem as follows: “The child's right to health is more than the rights of parents to the (wrong) choice.” (Attention non-Croatians: The above summary comes courtesy of Google Translation, which renders the text intelligible if a little stiff, as if an old-school 007 bad-guy were speaking).

Head Games

Naval Academy Football Death

United States Naval Academy

Navy football player Will McKamey passed away this week after three days in a coma. He’s not the first football player to die of brain trauma, and sadly, he won’t be the last.

The year was 1893 and a Navy football player named Joseph ”Bull” Reeves was warned by his doctor that he would suffer “instant insanity” or death if he suffered another head injury.Reeves responded by going to an Annapolis shoemaker. The result was the leather headpiece that Reeves wore as the world’s first football helmet during the Army Navy game of 1893. He survived to become an admiral known as the Father of Carrier Aviation.In the meantime, football helmets evolved in an attempt to minimize the damage that players suffered when they inevitably received blows to the head.

Follow Your Gut

Sorry Docs, Leaky Gut Is Real

Getty

For decades, “leaky gut syndrome” was passed off as quackery. But new research shows it is indeed real, and may be the cause of asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and more.

Jane* was barely 40-years-old when her asthma caused her to turn blue and stop breathing. She was saved with chest compressions and weeks of intensive care. A year later, it happened again, causing the emergency medical system to convulse into action once more. For the next two years she was in-and-out of the hospital monthly for wheezing and shortness-of-breath—until I took over her care.Following standard medical guidelines, I put her on a ludicrous amount of pharmaceuticals—and I managed to keep her out of the hospital for a year.

Better. Faster. Stronger.

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Lincoln Center, NYC | APRIL 3-5, 2014

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The Women in the World 2014 Agenda

The fifth annual summit hits New York's Lincoln Center stage April 3-5, 2014. Hear stirring true stories that stretch from war zones to Washington, and learn how you too can get involved. Watch LIVE on The Daily Beast starting today at 6:30PM EST!