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Study points to methods for safe drug dispensing via computer

Researchers have found that a new computer system that uses bar codes to safeguard patients’ medications will work successfully, but not without creating new, serious problems for nurses charged with patient care. “In general, we viewed the system as successful. There are no magic bullet solutions to human error in any setting, and even the best systems will require constant maintenance and flexible redesign after implementation,” said Emily Patterson, a research specialist in Ohio State’s Institute for Ergonomics.

Gelatin particles show promise in gene therapy for kidney disease

Researchers have successfully tested micro-sized gelatin particles that may one day deliver therapeutic genes to treat a type of kidney disease. The biodegradable gelatin particles are so small that at least 10 would fit on the period at the end of this sentence. Researchers believe such particles could carry therapeutic genes to the glomerulus, a tiny cluster of capillaries within the kidney that filters toxins from the blood. This filtration system becomes blocked when patients develop glomerular disease.

Listening to music while working out helps people with severe lung disease

Researchers believe that listening to music helped people with severe respiratory disease increase their fitness levels, based on the results of a new study. Subjects with serious lung disease who listened to music while walking covered an average of 19 total miles over the course of an eight-week exercise intervention study. In comparison, the group that didn’t listen to music only walked an average of 15 total miles ? 21 percent less – by the end of the study. That four-mile difference is significant, said Gerene Bauldoff, a study co-author and an assistant professor of nursing at Ohio State University. It suggests that participants in the music group may have felt less hindered by shortness of breath, the primary physical symptom of serious lung disease.

Health of Native Americans on decline before Columbus’ arrival

The health of indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere was on a downward trajectory long before Columbus set foot in the Americas, Ohio researchers say. The rise of agriculture is partly to blame as the demands of tending domestic crops encouraged people to settle in larger communities, where disease was more easily spread. The current research suggests that the overall health of the average person declined with the development of agriculture, government and urbanization.