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Quantum Lung

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Here at the _floss, we don't usually do product reviews or promote many items other than the goodies we sell in our store. It's just never been part of our brand. And that's a good thing. However, every now and then something comes along that inspires this blogger, at least, to break with our philosophy. Quantum Herbal Product's Lung Formula is just such a product. Ever have a cough you just can't get rid of no matter how many different formulas you try? One of those nagging, unremitting, half-a-year coughs? I tend to get one about every other year. I'd tried everything you can get your hands on over-the-counter, and nothing worked. I even tried alternative, gentle herbal stuff - nothing doing. Then someone suggested this really foul tasting Lung Formula by Quantum - I mean it couldn't taste any worse if they'd made it with asphalt.

But guess what? IT WORKS! (at least for me)

And not only does it work, it works pretty much the first time you use it. I'm not entirely sure how it works, since the only stuff in it is Mullein leaf, Chickweed, Lobelia herb and seed, Marshmallow root, Aloe Vera, Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, and a big bowl of gag-me-with-a-spoon-flavoring, but holy smokes does the formula make your cough take a powder. On the bottle, they suggest putting some drops in a little glass of water or juice, but I've found that squirting it directly under the tongue works more effectively, if you can withstand the taste undiluted. If you're going to try this, be sure to have a piece of chocolate or something ready to chase it down. Also be prepared for the little buzz you get from the grain alcohol that keeps the formula together.

A couple other words of wisdom: It doesn't work for everyone. I've given bottles of this stuff as gifts over the last couple years and people have reported mix results. For some, it works wonders as it does for me. For others, not so much. Still, there's nothing worse than a cough you can't shake - so I thought it important to get the word out. Lastly, please know that I have no connection to Quantum, nor did they approach me to write this post.

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Mario Tama, Getty Images
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technology
People With Limited Mobility Can Now Use Amazon Alexa to Control Exoskeletons
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Mario Tama, Getty Images

One of the challenges that comes with engineering exoskeletons that compensate for limited mobility is giving control to the people who wear them. Some systems use hand controls, while others can detect faint signals in the wearer’s muscles and respond accordingly. Now one exoskeleton startup is taking advantage of a technology that’s become mainstream in recent years: voice recognition.

As Engadget reports, Bionik Laboratories has integrated Amazon’s Alexa into its ARKE lower-body exoskeleton. The apparatus is designed for people with spinal chord damage or a history of stroke or traumatic brain injury that has hindered their movement below the waist. After strapping into the suit, wearers will now be able to use it just as they would a television set or stereo enabled with Alexa. Saying “Alexa, I’m ready to stand,” brings the joints to an upright position, and the command “Alexa, I’m ready to walk” prompts the legs to move forward. An Amazon Echo device must be within hearing range for the voice control to work, so in its current state the exoskeleton is only good for making short trips within the home.

Compatibility with Alexa isn’t the only modern feature Bionik worked into the design. The company also claims that ARKE is the first exoskeleton with integrated tablet control. That means if users wish to adjust their suit manually, they can do so by typing commands into a wireless touchpad. The tablet also records information that physical therapists can use to make more informed decisions when treating the patient.

Before the ARKE suit can be made available to consumers, it must first undergo clinical trials and receive approval from the FDA. If the tests go as planned Bionik hopes to have a commercial version of the product ready by 2019.

[h/t Engadget]

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iStock
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Health
German Doctors May Soon Prescribe Parasite Eggs
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iStock

People all over the world have started swallowing worms, and not because anybody dared them to do it. Now, according to Discover magazine, Germany may become one of the first countries to legalize this controversial treatment.

It’s called helminthic therapy: an intentional parasite infection that (theoretically) suppresses an overactive immune system.

For reasons scientists don’t fully understand, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions like asthma, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease are on the rise. Yet despite their prevalence, treatment options for some of these conditions are slim. After years of illness, many people reach a point where they’re willing to try anything; one study estimates that more than 7000 people have purchased parasites online to try at home.

Trials of the treatment have had mixed results. Some studies found that helminthic therapy may help people with Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis. Its efficacy in other conditions, like allergies, is less clear.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has classified helminthic therapy as an Investigational New Drug (IND). This means it can only legally be used by researchers in clinical trials. But just across the border in Mexico, there are providers and clinics specializing in the parasite treatment. Thailand has legalized helminthic therapy, too. Elsewhere, would-be consumers are out of luck.

That may soon change, as Germany’s Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety is currently considering allowing the use of a parasite called Trichuris suis. If the certification is approved [PDF], a liquid containing the worm’s eggs will be certified as a food ingredient. This particular species ordinarily infects pigs, and is short-lived in humans, a fact that proponents say should reduce or eliminate the risk of side effects.

Even if the government says helminthic therapy is safe, experts recommend using it like any other drug—that is, with medical supervision.

“Self-medication with any type of worm is not recommended,” Helena Helmby of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told New Scientist, “and it is important to remember they’re not in any way completely harmless, and may cause quite severe side effects if not monitored very carefully by a doctor.”

[h/t Discover]

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