The Morning Briefing: From diabetes to robotic surgery

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about recent health research and technological advances.

"The Morning Briefing" is SmartPlanet's roundup of must-read stories from the web. This morning we're reading about recent health research and technological advances.

1.) Researchers call for warning labels on energy drinks. After a report found a surge in toxicity levels amongst energy drink consumers, researchers from the University of Sydney and the NSW Poisons Information Centre are calling for warning labels to be displayed on the products. Reports of adverse reactions to energy drinks increased from 12 cases in 2004 to 65 in 2010 in Australia.

2.) University professor accused of fabricating health research. Dr Dipak Das, from the University of Connecticut, apparently fabricated data in studies into the effects of red wine on health -- totalling 145 instances over seven years. The allegations involve 26 articles published in 11 journals, many of which reported positive effects from resveratrol, an ingredient of red wine.

3.) Researchers bring to light new link between 'killer cells' and diabetes. 'Killer' cells, also known as T-cells, are found in the human body. Their usual function is to protect us from disease, but new research has suggested that they may be a root cause of Type 1 diabetes -- as the cells can inadvertently destroy cells that produce insulin.

4.) Recent bird flu research triggers panic. The development of a virus based on the bird flu pandemic, called by some tabloids the "Armageddon Virus", has caused widespread aftershocks among anti-terrorist authorities in the US. The US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity has asked the team that conducted the research not to publish all the details of how they did it.

5.) Seven open-source' robotic surgery platforms shipped to US universities. Robotic technology experts at the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Washington have completed a set of seven robotic surgery systems for use by major medical research laboratories within the United States. Once final tests are complete, five of the systems will be shipped to major universities across America.

6.) Research considers Medicare costs and citizen eligibility age. Those conducting research in to Medicare built a scenario in which the eligibility age -- current 65 -- would be increased by two months every year until it reached 67. Researchers found that overall Medicare expenditure would lower by 5 percent, but many people between the ages of 65 and 67 would end up paying more for health care over the course of their lives.

Photo credit: Adrian Clark/Flickr

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