Livin' on the MDedge

A very strange place to find a tooth


Brains get a rise out of Viagra

A lot of medications are used off label. Antidepressants for COVID have taken the cake recently, but here’s a new one: Viagra for Alzheimer’s disease.

Illustration of the brain as puzzle pieces ©roberthyrons/
Investigators who analyzed insurance claims data from over 7 million individuals found that the erectile-dysfunction drug sildenafil (Viagra) was tied to a 69% lower risk of Alzheimer’s.

Although there’s no definite link yet between the two, neuron models derived from induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with Alzheimer’s suggest that sildenafil increases neurite growth and decreases phospho-tau expression, Jiansong Fang, PhD, of the Cleveland Clinic, and associates said in Nature Aging.

Their research is an attempt to find untapped sources of new treatments among existing drugs. They began the search with 1,600 approved drugs and focused on those that target the buildup of beta amyloid and tau proteins in the brain, according to the Daily Beast.

Since sildenafil is obviously for men, more research will need to be done on how this drug affects women. Don’t start stocking up just yet.

Omicron is not a social-distancing robot

COVID, safe to say, has not been your typical, run-of-the-mill pandemic. People have protested social distancing. People have protested lockdowns. People have protested mask mandates. People have protested vaccine mandates. People have protested people protesting vaccine mandates.

illustrated robot says hello neo tam/Pixabay

Someone used a fake arm to get a COVID vaccine card. People have tried to reverse their COVID vaccinations. People had COVID contamination parties.

The common denominator? People. Humans. Maybe what we need is a nonhuman intervention. To fight COVID, we need a hero. A robotic hero.

And where can we find such a hero? The University of Maryland, of course, where computer scientists and engineers are working on an autonomous mobile robot to enforce indoor social-distancing rules.

Their robot can detect lapses in social distancing using cameras, both thermal and visual, along with a LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor. It then sorts the offenders into various groups depending on whether they are standing still or moving and predicts their future movement using a state-of-the-art hybrid collision avoidance method known as Frozone, Adarsh Jagan Sathyamoorthy and associates explained in PLOS One.

“Once it reaches the breach, the robot encourages people to move apart via text that appears on a mounted display,” ScienceDaily said.

Maybe you were expecting a Terminator-type robot coming to enforce social distancing requirements rather than a simple text message. Let’s just hope that all COVID guidelines are followed, including social distancing, so the pandemic will finally end and won’t “be back.”


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