Bionic limbs, 3-D printed body parts, face transplants — modern medication is constantly blowing us away with game-changing health solutions that seemed impossible just 10 years ago. But scientists, doctors and entrepreneurs have also been softly uncovering solutions to the smaller questions:
- Isn’t there anything better for a pounding headache?
- What about for a runny nose?
- And why is there nothing nutritious in the vending machine?
Here are 3 promising health advances that help make healthy living so much easier.
The New Allergy Pill
Until this year, coping with seasonal allergies has meant a host of less-than-ideal options — from submitting to shots administered at the doctor’s office over the course of many months (a time-consuming process pursued by only about 5 percent of sufferers) to toughing it out with prescription or over-the-counter antihistamines. Now Oralair, a pill developed by scientists for a French drug maker, is providing relief for those allergic to grass.
Each capsule contains tiny amounts of five freeze-dried grass allergens; exposure to the allergens helps boost the body’s immunity, working in a similar way to the shots. The pill proved effective in a clinical trial published in 2012, in which people who took it daily reported a 28% improvement in symptoms and supplemental medication compared with those who took a placebo.
The Junk-Free Vending Machine
A typical vending machine snack can pack 245 calories and a whopping 14 grams of fat. But what if you could eat better on the go? Enter Farmer’s Fridge, a vending machine introduced in Chicago last fall that sells selections like kale salad, hummus with veggies, and Greek yogurt with berries.
Ingredients are carefully labeled in a recyclable BPA-free plastic jar devised to let in less oxygen, keeping the produce fresh longer–which means no wilted lettuce. Anything not sold by the end of the day is donated to local food pantries. “I want healthy options to be as convenient as possible,” says Farmer’s Fridge founder Luke Saunders, a manufacturer turned foodie who helps develop all the salad recipes. Saunders runs 20 kiosks in Chicago, in public spaces, hospitals, universities, offices, and apartment buildings. He plans to go national subsequently this year, so check FarmersFridge.com for upcoming locations.
The Migraine-Busting Headband
30% of women have at some point suffered a migraine, a condition that the World Health Organization has determined to be one of the 10 most disabling illness or disorders on the planet. And while there’s no cure, long-lasting relief may ultimately be here. In March, the FDA approved Cefaly, the first topical device for preventing headaches.
The Star Trek-esque headpiece, which relies on nerve stimulation technology that’s been used to treat knee pain for decades, targets the largest nerve in the brain thought to be responsible for transmitting pounding pain. An electrode in the center of the device sends electrical impulses to the nerve, altering its pain signals and prompting it to release feel-good endorphins.
While Cefaly may be helpful during an attack, it’s meant to be used as a preventive measure: Wearing it for 20 minutes every day may lessen the frequency of future migraines. It is available by prescription only; Cefaly retails for $299.
Effective Treatment for Migraines, Headaches, and other Head Pain
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