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Social Studies

Would you pump your stomach to lose weight? Add to ...

A pump to lose weight?

“It’s a stomach-turning idea – but an alternative to gastric bypass surgery, detailed in a U.S. patent application, could let overweight people eat and drink as much as they want and still lose weight,” says the New Scientist. “The idea is to surgically install a valve into a patient’s stomach and through their abdominal wall. This allows them to pump out some of their food 20 minutes after they eat. The system, built by Aspire Bariatrics of Philadelphia, is now in clinical trials. It has helped people lose an average of 20 kilograms in a year, and some nearly twice that.”

Teacher fears young kids

“A former high-school teacher is accusing school district administrators of discriminating against her because of a rare phobia she says she has: a fear of young children,” reports Associated Press. “Maria Waltherr-Willard, 61, had been teaching Spanish and French at Mariemont High School in Cincinnati since 1976. Waltherr-Willard, who does not have children of her own, said that when she was transferred to the district’s middle school in 2009, the seventh- and eighth-graders triggered her phobia, causing her blood pressure to soar and forcing her to retire in the middle of the 2010-2011 school year. … Patrick McGrath, a clinical psychologist and director of the Center for Anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders near Chicago, said that he has treated patients who have fears involving children and that anyone can be afraid of anything. ‘A lot of people will look at something someone’s afraid of and say there’s no rational reason to be afraid of that,’ he said. ‘But anxiety disorders are emotion-based. … We’ve had mothers who wouldn’t touch their children after they’re born.’ ”

Helicopter pet parents

“Pet owners are increasingly turning to technology to keep track of, or find, their house pets,” reports The Boston Globe. “Devices such as infrared cameras and night vision monoculars that can ferret out a hidden pet are being used to supplement more established social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter to keep animals safe. … Bob Vetere, president of the American Pet Products Association, said electronics represent a growing part of the $56-billion (U.S.) that consumers spent annually on their pets. And he expects sales to grow. ‘We are helicopter parents and we hover over our kids all the time and now we are hovering over our dogs and cats,’ he said.”

Feeding Fido by phone

A new invention means pet owners can now feed their animals when they’re away – by smartphone, reports Orange Co. UK. “Carlos Herrera has developed a wireless pet feeder that owners can control from their cellphone to ensure their animals never miss a meal. Called the Pintofeed, it not only dispenses food, either on schedule or by phone command, but also monitors your pet and sends alerts. Owners can be updated on their pets’ feeding routine by text, e-mail, Facebook or Twitter message.”

Boomers go to restaurants

“Historically, baby-boomer consumers and older customers have been less likely than younger peers to visit dining establishments,” says the Los Angeles Times. “But that’s changed since the recession, according to the NPD Group research firm. In the last five years, greying patrons have grabbed an increasing share of restaurant traffic, with more visits to every segment of the restaurant industry than before the downturn. So-called millennials under age 35, however, have started staying away, according to Tuesday’s report.”

Thought du jour

“I got the blues thinking about the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”

D. H. Lawrence, English author (1885-1930)

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