Scientists teach lab-grown brain cells how to play Pong, Video games may affect kids’ heart rhythms, and more health news

When a fracture can be deadly

Researchers studying fractures in older adults found a higher death rate when those fractures were closer to the center of the body and also when patients had particular underlying health issues.

This information could help doctors because it highlights the patients who may require more intensive medical care after a fracture.

“This is an important study that could really change the way in which we provide medical treatment to older adults,” said lead study author Jacqueline Center, head of the Clinical Studies and Epidemiology Lab for the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia.

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Could video games trigger dangerous heart rhythms in kids?

Playing video games may seem sedentary, but it can be enough to trigger life-threatening heart arrhythmias in certain vulnerable children, a new report finds.

Researchers in Australia pulled together reports of 22 children and teens who suffered heart rhythm disturbances while playing video games. In many cases, the children suddenly blacked out, with some going into cardiac arrest — which is fatal without immediate emergency treatment.

Four kids, all teenage boys, did die.

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Your e-bike is no match for real biking

That e-bike might make hilly rides a lot more fun, but it’s not improving your fitness the way a good old-fashioned bicycle would, a new study shows.

People riding e-bikes are 44% less likely to reach weekly targets for physical activity than those on regular bicycles, according to a report published online Oct. 12 in BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine.

That’s because they ride their e-bike less often, and when they do it’s less physically demanding, the researchers found.

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Group of brain cells in dish can play computer game Pong

Scientists have taught a brain cell culture living in a laboratory dish to play the vintage table-tennis video game Pong.

It’s the first demonstration that a collection of lab-grown brain cells can be taught to perform goal-directed tasks, the Australian researchers report.

They call the culture of 800,000 brain cells “DishBrain,” and they next plan to see how medicines and alcohol affect its Pong skills.

“DishBrain offers a simpler approach to test how the brain works, and gain insights into debilitating conditions such as epilepsy and dementia,” said Dr. Hon Weng Chong, chief executive officer of biotech start-up Cortical Labs.

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