Health Highlights: Dec. 5, 2013

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Nelson Mandela Dies at 95

Nelson Mandela, who endured 27 years in prison until he was released and eventually became South Africa's first black president, has died at the age of 95.

"Our nation has lost its greatest son," South Africa's current president, Jacob Zuma, said in a televised address to the country Thursday night, the New York Times reported. "His humility, his compassion and his humanity earned him our love."

Mandela became a symbol of the struggle against a government-sanctioned system of racial segregation and discrimination known as apartheid. Freed from prison in 1990, he became president of South Africa in 1994 and served until 1999. Throughout his imprisonment and the long anti-apartheid struggle, Mandela's insistence on peaceful, non-violent protest galvanized supporters within and outside South Africa.

Mandela largely withdrew from public life in 2004 and had not been seen in public since 2010, when the World Cup was held in South Africa, the Times reported. He had also been hospitalized several times over the past year.


Microsoft Designing 'Smart Bra' to Help Women Avoid Overeating

A "smart bra" that would monitor a woman's heart activity in order to track her moods and prevent her from overeating is being developed by researchers.

Studies have shown that people tend to desire calorie-rich foods when they're bored, stressed or discouraged. When sensors in the bra detect heart signals indicating such emotions, they would send a warning message to the woman's smartphone to caution her against bad food choices, CNN reported.

Why did the researchers at Microsoft and a U.S. and U.K. university decide to use a bra?

"First, we needed a form factor that would be comfortable when worn for long durations," they wrote in a research paper published online, CNN reported. "The bra form factor was ideal because it allowed us to collect (electrocardiogram data) near the heart."

The team said more research is needed before a smart bra is actually a viable product. For example, the sensors need to be charged every three to four hours, which limits how long the bra can be worn.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

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