Automatic Touch-free Handwashing Machine Kills 99.9% of Germs in 12 Seconds

Havovi Cooper wrote . . . . . . . . .

A high-tech handwashing station that kills 99.9% of harmful pathogens could become a common fixture in the future.

The handwashing stations, invented over 30 years ago by the small Colorado firm Meritech, have recently become popular in grocery stores as awareness over good hygiene practices has grown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike traditional handwashing stations, the ones made by Meritech are fully automated, chief technology officer Paul Barnhill said. After placing your hands in the machine, 40 nozzles rinse them with water and soap. The process takes 12 seconds and is “100% touch-free,” Barnhill said.

“Every time somebody washes their hands, they may do it a little bit differently, and so they don’t necessarily always get the same effect,” he said.”By automating that process like so many other automations that we have throughout our life is that you’re really being able to change that behavior, being able to give you a scientific process very quickly, very easily, every single time.”

A 2013 study found that only 5% of people in public restrooms were properly washing their hands long enough to kill germs and bacteria, and 33% didn’t use any soap.

Before the coronavirus, handwashing stations like these were mostly used at healthcare facilities and food production facilities across the US that have higher hygiene standards, Meritech CEO David Duran said.

But due to the pandemic, public spaces like malls, schools, and restaurants are paying increased attention to hygiene guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that handwashing can prevent about 20% respiratory infections.

The new awareness has led to a spike in Meritech sales. Duran said the company’s seen a 200% increase from last year — “significant improvement in our demand,” he said.

The handwashing stations have been installed at the Astoria Co-op in Oregon, part of the National Co+op Grocers group that operates over 200 stores nationwide. While they’re still keeping Purell dispensers around the store, general manager Matt Stanley says the stations have been a huge hit with customers.

“I think it is a machine that people will start to see more in public now that the pandemic is here,” Stanley said. “We certainly want to minimize traffic to the bathroom, I think was part of it. And we also wanted it to be really front and center center. And something easy that people could do.”

The Meritech machines produced and assembled in the US cost between $3,000 and $27,000 for industrial-sized equipment. Barnhill hopes the high-tech handwashing bays could replace regular sinks in the future.

“I would love to have one someday after 28 years of working, but the system isn’t really designed for that right now,” Barnhill said. “But I do see an evolution of that equipment being designed in the future to where they could be used in a home.”

Source: Business Insider

Orange-yuzu Glazed Chicken with Wild Rice Salad


2 tablespoons orange juice and grated zest of 1/2 orange
2 tablespoons yuzu juice or naturally brewed ponzu
1/2 cup honey
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound haricots verts, or regular string beans, stem-ends trimmed
1 (6-pound) chicken, split, washed, and patted dry
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 red onions, cut into 1-inch slices
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
2 cups cooked wild rice


  1. To make the glaze, combine the orange juice, yuzu juice, and honey in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the mixture to a second small bowl and set both bowls aside.
  2. Fill a large bowl with water and add ice. Cook the beans in abundant boiling water until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes for haricots verts, 4 to 5 minutes for regular beans. Using a large strainer, transfer the beans to the ice water. When cold, drain the beans. If using regular beans, cut them into 1-inch lengths. Set the beans aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  4. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and brown, turning once, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a platter and pour out all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan and brush with the glaze. Transfer to the oven, bake for 10 minutes, and brush again with the glaze.
  7. Return the pan to the oven and bake until the chicken is done, 20 to 25 minutes in all. Transfer the onions to a large bowl.
  8. In a small bowl, blend the orange zest, mustard, the reserved 1/4 cup of brushing syrup and the yogurt.
  9. Add the rice and beans to the bowl with the onions. Add all but 2 tablespoons of the mustard-yogurt mixture and toss lightly. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Carve the chicken. Transfer the rice salad to four individual plates and place chicken pieces on top. Add a dollop of the remaining mustard-yogurt mixture to one side before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Simply Ming One-pot Meals

In Pictures: Food of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Hong Kong

Contemporary French Cuisine

The Michelin 3-star Restaurant

Common Treatment May Not Help Seniors with Underactive Thyroid

Rasna Kaur Neelam wrote . . . . . . . . .

The medication Synthroid (levothyroxine) is often used to treat a condition called subclinical hypothyroidism, but a new study suggests the treatment might be a waste of time.

For the study, researchers followed 638 people aged 65 and older with subclinical hypothyroidism, also known as mild thyroid failure. About half of the patients were given the medication, and half were given an inactive placebo.

After one year, there was no difference in symptoms between the participants who received levothyroxine and those who received the placebo, the investigators found.

“Levothyroxine is one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S.,” said lead study author Dr. Maria de Montmollin, from the University of Bern in Switzerland. But she believes doctors “should reconsider” offering the medication to older adults with the condition.

Subclinical hypothyroidism is a common condition that impacts 3% to 8% of the general population. It’s more common in women, and prevalence increases with age.

For those who have the condition, a hormone called thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, is mildly elevated. Hormones made directly from the thyroid, called T4 and T3, are normal.

If severe enough, the elevation of the TSH hormone seen in this condition can cause tiredness, weak muscles, memory loss, depression, dry skin and hair, and more.

Participants in the study were diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism by having their TSH hormone levels measured two times at least three months apart. They were included in the study if their TSH levels were elevated both times.

Next, over the course of one year, some participants received the medication levothyroxine and others received the placebo. The researchers paid close attention to a group of participants they called the high-symptom burden group, a group determined by two self-reported quality of life surveys and a test of participant hand strength.

At the end of the study, the researchers determined that participants in the high-symptom burden group improved similarly, regardless of if they had taken levothyroxine or the placebo pills. It is unknown why this occurred, but the authors said it may represent the natural course of the disease.

Do these results mean patients taking levothyroxine for subclinical hypothyroidism should stop their medication?

Not quite, said Dr. James Hennessey, an endocrinologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who reviewed the study.

Hennessey believes that levothyroxine can still be useful in the right patients. For example, levothyroxine can be used to avoid the negative impact on the heart sometimes caused by elevated TSH.

Study author de Montmollin agreed. “It is possible that some patients with very severe symptoms would still benefit from levothyroxine,” she said. “It is advisable that all patients contact their treating physician and discuss the treatment with them.”

Hennessey said the key to treatment is proper diagnosis. Symptoms like tiredness and weak muscles may occur naturally in older patients and are not always related to a thyroid problem. Additionally, to get an accurate diagnosis, he believes that more than the two elevated TSH blood tests used in the study may be needed.

Finally, he said it is important to use an age-adjusted TSH range for normal. This takes into account that TSH increases naturally with age. Because the TSH values from the study are not age-adjusted, it is possible that these values may be considered close to normal for people in this age group.

The study authors said that their research does not support routine treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism with levothyroxine. However, experts like Hennessey noted that more research may be required to determine the appropriate use of levothyroxine in specific populations.

The report was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Source: HealthDay

More Intense Blood Pressure Control May Lower Irregular Heartbeat Risk

Aggressively treating high blood pressure might reduce the risk of a type of irregular heartbeat, according to a new study.

Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, can lead to stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular complications. The condition is on the rise, with an estimated 12.1 million Americans expected to have it in 2030. The most common modifiable risk factor for AFib is high blood pressure, which affects 46% of U.S. adults.

The study, published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension, sought to find out if intensively lowering a person’s blood pressure to normal might prevent them from developing AFib.

The study included 8,022 people who had high blood pressure and were at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, but who didn’t have AFib. Half underwent aggressive treatment with different levels of medicines aiming to lower systolic blood pressure, the top number in the measurement, to below 120. The other half underwent treatment to lower blood pressure to below 140.

During five years of follow-up, 88 people in the aggressive-treatment group developed AFib, compared to 118 in the standard-treatment group. That translated to a 26% lower risk of AFib for those whose blood pressure was treated aggressively.

“Our results present a path for prevention of AFib in people with hypertension,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Elsayed Z. Soliman, director of the Epidemiological Cardiology Research Center at Wake Forest School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

He said the findings are particularly meaningful because there’s currently no specific medication available to prevent the heart rhythm disorder in people with high blood pressure.

“As the population ages, the number of people with AFib is expected to double,” Soliman said. “Management of AFib risk factors is of the utmost importance, especially high blood pressure because of the increasing number of people who have it.”

He said the study was limited by the technical constraints of the electrocardiogram, a test used to diagnose AFib that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat. “It’s an elusive disease. … We probably missed some cases of AFib,” Soliman said.

He’d like to see future studies examine whether aggressive blood pressure lowering also can reduce “downstream complications of AFib, such as stroke, heart attack and heart failure.”

Dr. Mina Chung, who was not involved in the research, called it “an important study.”

“There are a lot of observational studies that show associations of AFib with hypertension, but this is one of the first randomized studies to demonstrate that if you lower blood pressure through intensive measures, an AFib endpoint is lower,” said Chung, a cardiologist and director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Translational Functional Genomics.

In addition to lowering their blood pressure, people can do a number of things to lower AFib risk, said Chung, who led the writing of an AHA scientific statement about AFib prevention published in March.

“The data,” she said, “supports trying to lose weight for those who are overweight or obese, screening for and treating obstructive sleep apnea, and working toward 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.”

And now, she added, “there are stronger data supporting more aggressive control of blood pressure.”

Source: American Heart Association

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