IMAGINE GETTING a shot or giving blood without pain. SonoPrep, a device recently approved in the US, may make it possible.
Currently, doctors apply topical anaesthetics like lidocanie to patients – kids in particular – before inserting needles or catheters. But these drugs can take an hour or more to numb the area. Often, that’s too long for doctors to wait, so they skip it. That’s a problem, especially for patients who get multiple shots a day, or for those who fear needles.
SonoPrep sends ultrasound waves into the skin. The waves create microscopic pathways through the skin. Then a doctor applies lidocaine, which seeps in quickly. “This device could make a big difference,” says American anaesthesiologist John Abenstein. “None of us like to hold children down for injections.”
For now, SonoPrep is approved for lidocaine, but someday it might be used for needle-free vaccines.
FAT BUT FIT?
Being overweight ups heart disease risk, and exercise cuts risk. But a team of American doctors wondered which is more important: losing weight or hitting the treadmill. They studied 906 women suspected of having heart disease, and asked them about their daily activity: Could they walk up a flight of stairs? Jog a short distance?
Most of the women were overweight or obese, but it didn’t matter. Obese women who weren’t active were 50% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke or die in the next four years than more active obese women.
Some obese women are fitter than others, but they’re still at risk for heart disease. “The message is not that it’s okay to be fat if you’re fit; it’s that all women need to exercise,” says study author Timothy Wessel, a cardiologist. “If you work on becoming fit, you’ll lose weight.”