Today’s top health stories: 19 January

Device allows deaf people to ‘hear with their tongue’

Image source: GizMag

A new device allows deaf people who are unable to receive a cochlear implant to ‘hear’ sounds via electrical impulses sent to their tongue.

The mouthpiece takes sounds from a microphone attached to the ear and converts them to electical signals. The signals are then sent to the tongue’s nerve-endings via Bluetooth. After practice and wearing the device for a period of time, users will learn to interpret the electric signals as sounds as the brain rewires itself.

John Williams, associate professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Colorado, led the research after developing tinnitus and wanted to create a cost-effective alternative to cochlear implants.

Source: The Telegraph


Late-night alcohol encourages restless sleep

Image source: Medical Daily

The University of Melbourne has proven that drinking alcohol shortly before going to sleep impacts upon sleep quality and can impair cognitive functions the following day.

Confirming what many people already had anecdotal evidence for, researchers took 24 people and found that the 12 who drank alcohol before going to sleep failed to enter the REM phase of the sleep cycle, which is associated with the deepest and most restful period of sleep.

As well as reducing the chance of a good night’s sleep, the study found that alcohol before sleeping impacted upon mental processes the following day, such as memory and the comprehension of information.

Source: The Independent


Those in stressful jobs could have an increased risk of stroke

Image source: iNew Media

A pool of 14 previous studies has found that people who are in demanding or highly stressful jobs are more likely to have a stroke compared to those who are in more serene employment.

Although job stress had previously been linked to the increased likelihood of a heart attack, this is the first time a connection has been made between job stress and stroke.

The merging of multiple studies meant that data on 200,000 adults was used to come up with the conclusion.

Source: Reuters