Category Archives: Health & Fitness

Scientists May Have Finally Found A Way To Cure HIV

“This protection would be long term,” said first author Jia Xie.

The researchers, led by senior study author Richard Lerner, plan to collaborate with investigators at City of Hope’s Center for Gene Therapy to evaluate this new therapy in efficacy and safety tests, as required by federal regulations, before testing in patients.

“City of Hope currently has active clinical trials of gene therapy for AIDS using blood stem cell transplantation, and this experience will be applied to the task of bringing this discovery to the clinic,” said researcher John A. Zaia. “The ultimate goal will be the control of HIV in patients with AIDS without the need for other medications.”

“We at TSRI are honored to be able to collaborate with physicians and scientists at City of Hope, whose expertise in transplantation in HIV patients should hopefully allow this therapy to be used in people,” added Lerner.

The new TSRI technique offers a significant advantage over therapies where antibodies float freely in the bloodstream at a relatively low concentration. Instead, antibodies in the new study hang on to a cell’s surface, blocking HIV from accessing a crucial cell receptor and spreading infection.

Xie called it the “neighbor effect.” An antibody stuck nearby is more effective than having many antibodies floating throughout the bloodstream. “You don’t need to have so many molecules in one cell to be effective,” he said.

Before testing their system against HIV, the scientists used rhinovirus (responsible for many cases of the common cold) as a model. They used a vector called lentivirus to deliver a new gene to cultured human cells. This gene instructed cells to synthesise antibodies that bind to the human cell receptor (ICAM-1) that rhinovirus needs. With the antibodies monopolising that site, the virus cannot enter the cell to spread infection.

“This is really a form of cellular vaccination,” said Lerner.

Because the delivery system can’t reach exactly 100 percent of cells, the finished product was a mix of engineered and unengineered cells. The researchers then added rhinovirus to these cell populations and waited to see what would happen.

The vast majority of cells died in about two days. In dishes with only unengineered cells, the population never recovered. There was an initial die-off in the mixed, engineered/unengineered populations, too, but their numbers quickly bounced back. After 125 hours, these cell populations were back up to around the same levels as cells in an undiseased control group.

In essence, the researchers had forced the cells to compete in Darwinian, “survival-of-the-fittest” selection in a lab dish. Cells without antibody protection died off, leaving protected cells to survive and multiply, passing on the protective gene to new cells.

This success led the researchers to test the same technique against HIV

To infect a person, all strains of HIV need to bind with a cell surface receptor called CD4. So the scientists tested antibodies that could potentially protect this receptor on the very immune cells normally killed by HIV. “This research is possible because of the ability to select specialized antibodies from combinatorial antibody libraries,” said Lerner.


Again, their technique worked. After introducing cells to the virus, the researchers ended up with an HIV- resistant population. The antibodies recognized the CD4 binding site, blocking HIV from getting to the receptor.

The scientists further confirmed that these tethered antibodies blocked HIV more effectively than free-floating, soluble antibodies in experiments led by study co-authors Devin Sok of the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) and TSRI Professor Dennis R. Burton, who is also scientific director of the IAVI Neutralizing Antibody Center and of the National Institutes of Health’s Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID) at TSRI.

Joseph Alvarnas, M.D., director of Value-Based Analytics at City of Hope, explained how the TSRI technique could help patients, who, despite treatment with anti-retroviral drugs, still suffer from higher rates of diseases, such as cancers.

“HIV is treatable but not curable; this remains a disease that causes a lot of suffering. That makes the case for why these technologies are so important,” he said.

In addition to potentially collaborating with City of Hope, Xie said the next step in this research is to try engineering antibodies to protect a different receptor on the cell surface.

The study is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences




Supercharge healthcare with artificial intelligence

Pattern-recognition algorithms can transform horses into zebras; winter scenes can become summer; artificial intelligence algorithms can generate art; robot radiologists can analyze your X-rays with remarkable precision.

We have reached the point where pattern-recognition algorithms and artificial intelligence (A.I.) are more accurate than humans at the visual diagnosis and observation of X-rays, stained breast cancer slides and other medical signs involving general correlations between normal and abnormal health patterns.

Before we run off and fire all the doctors, let’s better understand the A.I. landscape and the technology’s broad capabilities. A.I. won’t replace doctors — it will help to empower them and extend their reach, improving patient outcomes.

An evolution of machine learning

The challenge with artificial intelligence is that no single and agreed-upon definition exists. Nils Nilsson defined A.I. as “activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.” But that definition isn’t close to describing how A.I. evolved.

Artificial intelligence began with the Turing Test, proposed in 1950 by Alan Turing, the scientist, cryptanalyst and theoretical biologist. Since then, rapid progress has been made over the last 75 years, advancing A.I. capabilities.

Isaac Asimov proposed the Three Laws of Robotics in 1950. The first A.I. program was coded in 1951. In 1959, MIT began research in the field of artificial intelligence. GM introduced the first robot into its production assembly line in 1961. The 1960s were transformative, with the first machine learning program written and the first demonstration of an A.I. program which understood natural language, and the first chatbot emerged. In the 1970s, the first autonomous vehicle was designed at the Stanford A.I. lab. Healthcare applications for A.I. were first introduced in 1974, along with an expert system for medical diagnostics. The LISP language emerged out of the 1980s, with natural networks integrating with autonomous vehicles. IBM’s famous Deep Blue beat Gary Kasparov at chess in 1997. And by 1999, the world was experimenting with A.I.-based “domesticated” robots.

Innovation was further inspired in 2004 when DARPA hosted the first design competition for autonomous vehicles in the commercial sector. By 2005, big tech companies, including IBM, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, were actively investing in commercial applications, and the first recommendation engines surfaced. The highlight of 2009 was Google’s first self-driving car, some three decades after the first autonomous vehicle was tested at Stanford.

The fascination of narrative science, for A.I. to write reports, was demonstrated in 2010, and IBM Watson was crowned a Jeopardy champion in 2011. Narrative science quickly evolved into personal assistants with the likes of Siri, Google, Now and Cortana. Elon Musk and others launched OpenAI, to discover and enact the path to safe artificial general intelligence in 2015 — to find a friendly A.I. In early 2016, Google’s DeepMind defeated legendary Go player Lee Se-dol in a historic victory.


Ahead of Elon Musk, this self-made millionaire already launched a company to merge your brain with computers

Silicon Valley titan Elon Musk has announced that he will be launching yet another company, Neuralink, which will focus on connecting the human brain to computers.

With his deep pockets and bold ambitions, Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, attracts attention whatever he tries. But Musk is not the first to experiment with neural prosthetics. In August, self-made millionaire Bryan Johnson launched a company that seeks to connect the brain with computer intelligence.

Johnson’s company, Kernel, a Los Angeles start-up with 20 employees, is working to make “chips” to insert in the human brain. These chips, which are actually neurotechological hardware designed to read and write neural code, will be used at first for individuals with diseases or deficiencies to restore normal brain function.


In the future, Johnson expects the technology to progress so that even healthy humans can get chips implanted in their brains — and become, in effect, superhuman.

Implanting computing power in the brain could help humans have near-perfect memory, read books instantaneously and communicate with other implanted humans telepathically, or without speaking, explains Johnson.


For the first generation of implantable neural prosthetics, a neurologist will have to surgically implant the computer chip into a person’s brain. The goal for the future, however, is to be able to implant chips into human brains laparoscopically and using other less invasive methods.

Johnson believes that our generation will be defined by the way we wrestle with the prospect of merging humans with machine technology.

“A generation’s time and place is defined by the debates they have. So, for example, we have civil rights and human rights and marriage rights and abortion rights. I think the coming discussion for our society will be evolution rights,” Johnson tells CNBC.

As a society, humans will have to decide whether it is acceptable to opt for genetic or neurological enhancement once the technology becomes available. Also, we will have to debate how those rights are managed and how technology is distributed. What will be legal? Who can access the new technology first?

Johnson expects the conversation to break on national borders. Some countries will allow genetic enhancements and others will not.

“There’s a general reluctance for humans to adopt certain forms of enhancement,” says Johnson. For example, when plastic surgery first became technically possible, it was largely feared and relegated to the fringes. Now, however, cosmetic surgery is commonplace, says Johnson. “I think we will see the same thing happen as we gain more powerful forms of enhancements in genetics and neurological enhancement and physical augmentation.”


To launch Kernel, Johnson, now 39, contributed $100 million of his own money. That’s not money he was born with. In his early 20s, Johnson struggled.

“I was broke. And I had two kids at home and I couldn’t pay my bills. I was up to my eyeballs in debt and I couldn’t find a job. I applied for 60 jobs. Nobody would hire me. Nobody would even give me an interview,” he says.

At the time, Johnson emailed 50 wealthy individuals introducing himself, saying that he was a hard worker, smart and hungry for a chance. He got no responses.

Finally, Johnson found a job selling credit-card processing door-to-door. He was paid on commission. He pounded the pavement and broke all previous selling records, he says. He also came up with an idea for a business.

“I just found this broken industry in payments and I thought there’s this amazing opportunity to build an exceptional company,” he says. Johnson went on to found and launch Braintree, a credit-card processing company, which he grew and sold to eBay in 2013 for $800 million.

Financially liberated, Johnson was driven by his desire to make an impact on the world. He decided that unlocking the brain was the most noble and challenging goal.


“I arrived at the conclusion that human intelligence was the most consequential technological advancement ever — that everything we are, everything we seek to become, everything we create is a result of our brain,” says Johnson. And our brains are fundamentally the same as they were a couple thousand years ago, he says. “On the other hand, we have this form of intelligence we have given birth to in artificial intelligence, which is improving very rapidly.

“And there’s this huge potential to co-evolve with our technology.”


While it may take people a while to get used to the idea of implanting chips in the brain, Johnson expects that when the idea normalizes, the demand will be enormous.

“The market for implantable neural prosthetics including cognitive enhancement and treatment of neurological dysfunction will likely be one of, if not the largest, industrial sectors in history,” says Johnson, in a Medium post he wrote announcing his own investment in the company. He expects Kernel to raise $1 billion from private and public sources.

And while Kernel is not making any money yet, Johnson says if even one product goes on the market, it could mean billions of dollars in sales.

In the past two decades, Johnson has gone from broke and unable to land an interview to working in the same space as Elon Musk, arguably one of the world’s most influential inventors.

As for competing with Musk, though, Johnson isn’t worried. “I couldn’t be more excited that Neuralink will join Kernel in this extremely challenging and promising pursuit,” says Johnson. “The neurotech industry will be one of the largest to ever emerge. I’m happy others will be pushing the field forward as well.”


Would you trust your life to an ‘autopilot’ robo-doctor?

I am in an aeroplane crossing the Atlantic Ocean as I write this. We took off from Heathrow Airport more than three hours ago. By now, it’s likely the plane’s captain and crew are not physically in control of the aircraft. Something as complex as flying a metal tube packed with more than 300 living souls at 12,000 meters and 900kph is left to a computer and a set of algorithms. The autopilot.

Such a device is badly needed in our hospital wards. Critical patients needing 24/7 intensive care could certainly benefit from data-based approaches that could leverage on state-of-the-art analytics and AI.

For instance, a wise intensive care unit (ICU) nurse once told me: “Don’t get sick, but if you do get sick, don’t do it at night.” Data suggests evenings and weekends are not a good time to fall ill due to an increase of the patient’s risk of death. If our healthcare professionals had their capabilities augmented like the pilot in charge of my plane (who is able to rest now, so he can be 100 per cent focused during the approach and landing), we could not only get sick anytime without an increased risk of dying, we would also improve patient outcomes and decrease overall costs for the healthcare system. Just consider the upcoming shortage of medical professionals in the NHS and in the US, and the fact that medical errors are already the third-highest cause of death in the US (after heart disease and cancer) with 251,000 deaths in 2013.

Many healthcare organisations are working on potential AI applications. Research groups such as the Stanford Vision Lab are devoting efforts to the general use of AI in healthcare, and startups such as Etiometry in Boston and Better Care in Barcelona are focusing on critical care hospital units. Etiometry’s goal is to develop a predictive analytics platform to improve the quality of care in the ICU. Better Care is focusing on a software platform to capture biomedical data around the ICU patient – incorporating medical knowledge and algorithms. This is also an area of focus for companies such as Google, IBM and Qualcomm.

In the ICU, data from a patient is extensive and complex. But AI deals well with complexity. Based on a patient’s data, an AI platform could ensure the most basic mission of the ICU team (“keep the patient alive”): provide descriptive analytics for “what is going on”, predictive analytics for “what’s going to happen” and prescriptive analytics for “what shall you do”.

The first layer with descriptive analytics would help them understand “what is going on” with a specific patient within the context of thousands of other patients with that same condition. Crunching all that data in real time is an example of a skill set that is not yet available to human beings. The second layer would allow them to allocate resources according to “what’s going to happen” and the progressing complications of patients who are fighting for their lives. Finally, as the presence of AI in the ICU becomes the norm, the availability (and quality) of data would allow for the use of prescriptive analytics as a complement to trial and error that is still predominant when managing critical patients.

Of course, hospitals are not ready for this yet. Just consider that, in 2016, most world-leading hospitals still had no internet access in their operating rooms. Furthermore, doctors have historically been reluctant and conservative when it comes to the introduction of new technologies. To some extent, technology companies have also made the mistake of suggesting that AI will replace doctors – and no trade group likes to feel threatened. We cannot expect healthcare professionals to be free from error. It has been their creative thinking and diligent care that has driven our healthcare systems to greater heights. It has also been their human problem-solving that has allowed us to develop novel medical technologies, contributing to increased life expectancy.

The first step should be in complementing our doctors, not replacing them. Just imagine an ICU room with three screens reporting 20 essential parameters in real time – both invasive and non-invasive monitoring – along with data coming in from the labs, imaging tests and the discrete measurements and clinical observations made by healthcare professionals. The potential in this scenario is not just to mimic the doctors, but to perform tasks that no doctor can manage. If we are able to develop systems that enhance their capabilities and allow them to provide their patients better care, we will be in a win-win situation for healthcare professionals, patients and taxpayers.


Healthy ‘Alkaline Acid Diet’ found to be Effective even in Chemotherapy, Research Suggests!

The alkaline acid diet is the newest trend among Hollywood celebrities today. This diet is also known as alkaline ash diet or alkaline diet, which can help you to easily lose weight while staying healthy. What’s more surprising is that this diet will also help you to refrain from having a serious problem like cancer and arthritis, research suggests.

There are a lot of studies on how effective this alkaline acid diet is and the concept of this is that the more you eat acid-forming foods like meat, wheat, refined sugar and processed foods, the higher the possibility that your body produces acid, which tips your pH balance out.

Drinking alcohol and coffee and smoking tobacco can also affect the level of acid in our body. On the other hand, eating alkaline-forming foods like vegetables and fruits can help you to maintain healthy balance life.

Balancing your pH through alkaline acid diet could lead to various health benefits. In a journal published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institute of Health, with the right supplementation of alkaline in the body it could improve chronic low back pain, treat diabetes and osteoarthritis. While some studies found that this kind of diet can make chemotherapy drugs more effective.

Experts suggest that this alkaline acid diet is ranked as 31st best diet. The general rule for this diet is strictly 80 percent alkaline intake and 20 percent acid products. When practiced and applied in every meal can associate with healthy living.

However, even though it could be the best alkaline diet, without taking a step to be physically fit it won’t be effective as expected. It might give you a balanced pH and healthy lifestyle, but once decide to do physical activity it improves your energy level and lowers the risk of heart diseases.


Alkaline water without having to leave your house

“Drinking enough water isn’t really enough,” Mike Wingenbach said. “You have to drink the right kind of water. Water that will help buffer acid, remove toxins and is easily absorbed by your body.” As an independent retailer of one of the best home alkaline water systems on the market, Wingenbach knows a thing or two about the benefits of having alkaline water in your home.

LivingWater is a countertop unit that hooks up to your faucet, providing acid-buffering alkaline water for drinking and cooking right in your kitchen. The acidic water is also good for cleaning without chemicals and watering plants.

So what exactly does drinking alkaline water do for your body? “When you drink alkaline water regularly, you’re helping your body to hydrate itself as well as flush out toxins and waste products,” Wingenbach said. “If you’re trying to lose weight, you may get a boost there as well. Overall, there’s no better way to help stay healthy.”

The unit works by using two filters. “The first filter is a carbon and sediment filter, which removes unpleasant tastes and odors,” Wingenbach said. “The second filter is a carbon and food grade calcium sulfite filter to ensure proper mineralization of the water using good calcium.”

The LivingWater unit is easy to install to your existing faucet and doesn’t require any special plumbing. “Having a LivingWater is like owning a limitless supply of alkaline, ionized, healthy water,” Wingenbach said. “You get pH-balancing, healthy alkaline water for drinking and cooking, strong alkaline water for washing vegetables, and acidic water for cleaning.” LivingWater has eight different pH levels, ranging from 4.0 acidic water to 10.0 alkaline water.

“I see a lot of interest in alkaline water locally,” Wingenbach said. “I see people lugging around and filling up 5-gallon jugs at the local water depots. With the LivingWater, you make an initial investment but it will end up paying for itself after a few years. And you don’t have to leave your house to get the best tasting and healthiest water available.”

Wingenbach is a believer because he has had his own LivingWater machine for nearly seven years. “All you need to do is replace the filters once a year,” he said of the maintenance required.  The filters are easy to remove and can be replaced with a simple twist and lock design. “The LivingWater can last 10 years. I personally am so glad I made the investment. I really think I feel better today than I did 25 years ago.”

He believes so much in the product that he has a proposition for buyers. “I will assist in setting up the living water machine,” Wingenbach said. “Try it for 10 days and see for yourself. If you decide it’s not for you, you can return the machine for a full refund, no questions asked. There is zero risk to you. “

The LivingWater retails for $2,199.00, and comes without any worry about complicated or intense maintenance. “LivingWater is designed for easy maintenance,” Wingenbach said. “It has an automatic cleaning cycle every 12 minutes of use.” The unit also comes with a five-year limited warranty.

Now through April 30, 2017 Wingenbach is offering readers of The Coast News $100 off the price of the unit as well as free maintenance for one year, free shipping, a replacement filter set and a complete cleaning kit. 

For more information, visit or call Mike Wingenbach at (760) 612-1667.

Alkaline water: Should you make the switch?

It doesn’t seem enough to high five ourselves for getting eight glasses of water down the hatch these days. Now it seems we ought to ensure our water has the appropriate pH so we don’t accidentally tip our body into an acidic state.

Alkaline water, aka ionized water, is getting plenty of attention in the natural health sector. Its proponents claim the fact it has a pH of around 9 could not just increase our but even prevent cancer and diabetes.

(If you forgot high-school chemistry, pH is a measure of acidity or alkalinity. On the pH scale of 1 to 14, 7 is the pH of pure water; every whole value below that is increasingly acidic, and every whole value above it is more alkaline”. A healthy human body has a pH of a little over 7.) 

Alkaline water is created by running water through an “ionising” machine that contains electrodes that are said to re-align your water in a bid to remove toxins and increase the pH.

The idea of drinking alkaline water or following an alkalizing diet is that the Western diet is highly acidic, which makes for a breeding ground for infection and disease.

If we can take steps to make our bodies more alkaline, such as by drinking alkaline water, then they say we’ll be in a much healthier state.

According to Choice, drinking alkaline water won’t harm you — but it probably won’t actually make any difference to your internal pH, given our bodies are experts at keeping our pH between 7.35 and 7.45 no matter what we eat or drink.

“If the blood pH goes above this range (that is, more alkaline) the lungs help regain control by retaining carbon dioxide (you breathe more slowly) and thereby increasing the carbonic acid levels of the blood, while the kidneys increase excretion of bicarbonate in urine, making it more alkaline,” Choice writes on its website.

Kara Landau, the Travelling Dietitian, agrees that our bodies have clever systems in place to support healthy metabolic function.

“On the whole, I would recommend people first and foremost simply try to drink adequate water and fluids, to remain hydrated,” she told Coach.

“This is of vital importance for our bodies to function at their peaks, and ultimately leave us feeling energised and able to take on the day.”

Landau says that different types of water have slight variances in mineral content so some individuals might choose to prioritise alkaline water.

“As an example, alkaline water is often higher in calcium and potassium, which someone who is looking to increase bone mineral density or improve their blood pressure may be looking to obtain,” she says.

“It is worth noting however, that that there will be ample alternative food sources that are denser options of these micronutrients that could easily be incorporated into your diet.”

Naturopath Emma Tippett from Empowered Health believes our bodies function optimally when we’re not too acidic, but she says there are a lot of contributing factors towards such a state.

“I look at things that cause acidity and inflammation in the body, such as processed foods, lots of sugar and lots of refined grain products,” she says.

“That’s why we tell people to eat lots of green veggies because they help to keep the body in a more alkaline state.”

Tippett says alkaline water will never be the be-all and end-all of a healthy body, but having it can’t hurt.

“Stress, drinking and smoking are going to put the body into a more acidic state,” she points out.

Tippett has a water alkalizing machine in her clinic which adds minerals back into the water, but says that filtering water is all most people need to worry about in order to get as clean a source as possible.

“It’s definitely going to be beneficial to have more minerals in our body and it’s just another source that we can take in for [optimal] nutritional status,” she says.

“But if you’re going to alkalize your water and eat lots of sugar and no veggies, you’re probably not going to get the full benefit.” 


Kegel exercise

Pelvic floor exercise, also known as Kegel exercise, consists of repeatedly contracting and relaxing the muscles that form part of the pelvic floor, now sometimes colloquially referred to as the “Kegel muscles”. The exercise needs to be performed multiple times each day, for several minutes at a time, for one to three months, to begin to have an effect.

Exercises are usually done to reduce urinary stress incontinence (especially after childbirth) and reduce premature ejaculatory occurrences in men, as well as to increase the size and intensity of erections.

Several tools exist to help with these exercises, although various studies debate the relative effectiveness of different tools versus traditional exercises.

They were first described in 1948 by Arnold Kegel.

Factors such as pregnancy, childbirth, aging, being overweight, and abdominal surgery such as cesarean section, often result in the weakening of the pelvic muscles. This can be assessed by either digital examination of vaginal pressure or using a Kegel perineometer. Kegel exercises are useful in regaining pelvic floor muscle strength in such cases.

Urinary health

Pelvic floor exercise is the recommended first-line conservative treatment for women with urinary incontinence of the stress, urge, or mixed types. There is tentative evidence that biofeedback may give added benefit when used with pelvic floor muscle training.

Pelvic prolapse

The symptoms of prolapse and its severity can be decreased with pelvic floor exercises. Effectiveness can be improved with feedback on how to do the exercises.

Sexual function

In 1952, Dr. Kegel published a report in which he stated that the women doing this exercise were attaining orgasm more easily, more frequently and more intensely: “it has been found that dysfunction of the pubococcygeus exists in many women complaining of lack of vaginal feeling during coitus and that in these cases sexual appreciation can be increased by restoring function of the pubococcygeus”.

Health effects for men

Though most commonly used by women, men can also use Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises are employed to strengthen the pubococcygeal muscle and other muscles of the pelvic diaphragm. Kegels can help men achieve stronger erections, maintain healthy hips, and gain greater control over ejaculation. The objective of this may be similar to that of the exercise in women with weakened pelvic floor: to increase bladder and bowel control and sexual function.

Urinary health

After a prostatectomy there is no clear evidence that teaching pelvic floor exercises alters the risk of urinary incontinence (leakage of urine).

Sexual function

A paper found that pelvic floor exercises could help restore erectile function in men with erectile dysfunction. There are said to be significant benefits for the problem of premature ejaculation from having more muscular control of the pelvis.

Mechanism of action

The aim of Kegel exercises is to improve muscle tone by strengthening the pubococcygeus muscles of the pelvic floor. Kegel is a popular prescribed exercise for pregnant women to prepare the pelvic floor for physiological stresses of the later stages of pregnancy and childbirth. Kegel exercises are said to be good for treating vaginal prolapse and preventing uterine prolapse in women and for treating prostate pain and swelling resulting from benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostatitis in men. Kegel exercises may be beneficial in treating urinary incontinence in both men and women. Kegel exercises may also increase sexual gratification, allowing women to complete pompoir and aid in reducing premature ejaculation in men. The many actions performed by Kegel muscles include holding in urine and avoiding defecation. Reproducing this type of muscle action can strengthen the Kegel muscles. The action of slowing or stopping the flow of urine may be used as a test of correct pelvic floor exercise technique.

It is now known that the components of levator ani (the pelvic diaphragm), namely pubococcygeus, puborectalis and ileococcygeus, contract and relax as one muscle. Hence, pelvic floor exercises involve the entire levator ani rather than pubococcygeus alone. Pelvic floor exercises may be of benefit in cases of fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse conditions e.g. rectal prolapse.

  1. Bridgeman, Bruce; Roberts, Steven G. (2010-03-01). “The 4-3-2 method for Kegel exercises”. American Journal of Men’s Health. 4 (1): 75–76. doi:10.1177/1557988309331798. ISSN 1557-9891. PMID 19477754.
  2.  “MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Kegel exercises”. 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  3. Dumoulin C, Lemieux MC, Bourbonnais D et al 2004 Physiotherapy for persistent postnatal stress urinary incontinence: a randomized controlled trial. Obstetrics and Gynaecology 104:504-510

Who says baby food can’t be delicious and healthy?

My sweet granddaughter Coraline loves to eat. Can you tell? And her daddy Keegan loves to cook for her now that she can have solid foods. They’re a good team in the kitchen. In this picture, she’s “helping” him make some puréed veggies. You’ll find a recipe at the end of this post. (Yes, that’s a bottle of wine in the background. Neither cook is imbibing and it’s not an ingredient in any baby food recipe.)

“I’ve always really enjoyed cooking, especially for others,” Keegan told me. “Watching Coraline enjoy a home cooked meal brings us so much joy. I also think the whole process really connects her to the food she is eating. It starts with the grocery shopping. Coraline makes a trip to the store every Sunday morning where she is shown and handed all of the foods that go into her meals. I think it’s so important for people to understand where their food is coming from. It’s also significantly less expensive than purchasing baby food in jars or pouches.”

At the moment, she’s discovered something she seems to like a lot. Tofu. They cut firm tofu into small cubes (less than 1/2-inch) and lay them out in front of her.

“It took a few days,” said Keegan, “but she eventually started to get the hang of it. Tofu is nice because it mashes up fairly quickly once Coraline starts chewing on it. I think we’ve both been surprised at how much she seems to enjoy it. Big smiles are common. I think she’s pretty proud of herself.”


Why Former Tech Execs Are Leaving Google And Twitter To Start Health Care Companies

When Stephanie Tilenius, a former senior executive at eBay and Google, decided to start a health-coaching app, many in her network were incredulous. “Everyone thought I was crazy,” she recalls. “Some people loved that I wanted to do something to help others, but a lot socially ostracized me.”


For many entrepreneurs, the health sector offers an enticing opportunity–with strings attached. It’s an estimated $3 trillion market and is still dominated by a cadre of traditional players. But many in the technology sector have shied away from the industry after witnessing many high-profile failures and realizing that change doesn’t happen quickly. “Silicon Valley operators and investors see that health care needs better technology,” explains veteran health IT consultant Ben Rooks. “But they learn quickly that health care isn’t about radical disruption; it’s about slow evolution.”

Despite the challenges, a small but growing group of former technologists from companies like Google and Twitter are in it for the long haul. In many cases, their motivations are deeply personal: A family member lost to chronic disease, or a brush with the broken health care system. I spoke to four former tech executives about their reasons for moving into health care, the cultural differences between the two sectors, and the challenges they’ve faced along the way.

“Because patients deserve better than a seven-minute visit.”–Stephanie Tilenius, former VP of commerce and payments at Google and former GM and VP at eBay and PayPal

Stephanie Tilenius started her career at e-commerce companies like eBay and PayPal, and eventually ascended the ranks to become a senior vice president at Google. But prior to joining eBay in 2001, she spent a few years at an online drugstore called PlanetRx. That early experience in health care had a lasting impact on Tilenius. When her father got sick, she felt an even stronger pull to quit her steady tech job to make an impact in the sector. “My father had multiple chronic conditions and went from doctor to doctor,” she recalls.

These days, she is the CEO of a startup called Vida, which provides virtual care for patients with chronic ailments. Before starting the company, Tilenius reflected on her father’s need for “continuous care,” which would involve all of his care providers communicating with him and each other between office visits. Tilenius believes his heart attack could have been avoided, or at least delayed, if he had received better care than a “seven-minute visit, in which all his doctors would all just tell him to change his diet.”

Unlike many of her peers in health tech, she made a point of working closely with medical centers that were already developing clinically validated programs for treating patients with chronic disease like diabetes, depression, and hypertension. She started Vida to make these programs more accessible by shifting some of the components online, and connecting patients with virtual health coaches to inspire long-term behavioral changes.

At first, many friends and acquaintances in her network couldn’t understand why she’d leave a successful career in tech to start a health company that would likely grow and monetize at a slow pace. “People didn’t understand why I would leave a senior role and money on the table,” she says. “In Silicon Valley, it’s about hypergrowth, and if you’re not doing that, then there’s something wrong.” Likewise, many in health care were skeptical about technologists moving into their own complex sector. Tilenius believes that she’ll ultimately show her detractors on both sides that new platforms will emerge in health care, starting with mobile and cloud, and that companies like Vida will be at the forefront. Ultimately, she asks, “Don’t you want us crazy Googlers to help people by building companies and taking risks?”


“It’s a quest for purpose.”–Katie Jacobs Stanton, former VP of global media for Twitter, and Othman Laraki, former VP of product management at Twitter and former product manager at Google

For Othman Laraki, the CEO of Color Genomics, the migration of technologists to health care is inevitable as the so-called “internet generation” ages and their priorities change. Laraki’s company offers a $249 test to screen people for gene mutations associated with various cancers. Laraki says he left a job in product management, in part because he learned that he is a carrier of one of these mutations. He also found through his research that those with an early awareness of their disease risks can take proactive and preventative steps. “Color started with a simple question,” he recalls. “Is this test something that could benefit my family as well as other families out there?”