New studies on topics from vaping to insomnia provide important health and safety updates for consumers.

Your shoes can cause muscle problems

Harvard University researchers conducted a study to test the influence of the curve at the top of your shoes called the toe spring. The toe springs bend up slightly on shoes, usually sneakers, and are designed to facilitate everyday footwear and comfort. According to the study, no extensive research has been done on toe springs, but it has been found that they may have a negative impact on natural foot function.

To test this, the researchers developed sandals specially designed for the participants with simulated toe springs between 10 and 40 degrees of curvature. They found that toe springs can weaken foot muscles, make them more susceptible to plantar fasciitis, and change joint movement.

E-cigarettes are not used for their intended purpose

JUUL, an e-cigarette company, has stated that it is their job to enable individuals to quit smoking by vaping instead. However, a University of Utah health researcher and his team found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, vaping devices, are rarely used for this purpose. To learn more about using the devices, the team searched Twitter for tweets from users discussing JUUL-related topics.

Of 11,556 tweets between July 2018 and August 2019, 1.43% (45 out of 3,152 JUUL tweets) said they used JUUL as a method of smoking cessation, and only 6.85% (216 out of 3,152 JUUL tweets) said it could be health-related Effects of using JUUL.

“Our results suggest that a large majority of Twitter users did not use JUUL to aid in smoking cessation, nor did they mention the potential health benefits or disadvantages of using JUUL,” the researchers wrote.

Insomnia can be helped by neurotechnology

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina are testing a high-resolution, relational, resonance-based electroencephalic mirroring system (HIRREM) to measure brain waves. The device uses sensors on the scalp that monitor brain activity while software algorithms convert different frequencies into audible tones of different pitches.

All of this happens in real time and gives a glimpse into your brain waves which are played through the system’s earphones so you can see a reflection of your brain. After testing participants with the HIRREM system, they found a greater reduction in insomnia symptoms than a placebo.

HIV prevention measures are often not prescribed

In a study from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, researchers spoke to 519 practitioners about their use of prescribing PrEP, an HIV preventive drug. PrEP is known as the leading drug in preventing HIV transmission to those who may not know they are at risk. However, speaking to these practitioners who were in five major US cities between March and May 2015, the study found that less than 10% of the more than 1 million people susceptible to HIV are taking PrEP.

In disseminating a paper survey, researchers found that only 54% of these practitioners have ever prescribed PrEP despite being part of HIV-focused practices. Researchers encourage doctors to use these drugs to take preventive measures for those who may not know they are susceptible to HIV.

Lara Becker is an intern at Medical Daily and a senior at the College of New Jersey. She is studying journalism / professional writing and communication studies.

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