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Using Compression Socks to Alleviate Symptoms of Diabetes

by Raul Buman

One of the major health risks associated with diabetes is an increased risk of injury and infection in the feet. Excessive swelling caused by the pooling of blood in the feet, also called edema, is common among those suffering from diabetes. Venous or arterial ulcerations on the lower legs are also common among those suffering from diabetes. These open sores can become the site of dangerous infections if left untreated. Compression socks are often prescribed to help alleviate some of these symptoms by improving blood circulation in the legs and helping to prevent the sores and infections. They also help to prevent formation of deep vein blood clots in the legs which can come loose and become lodged in the lungs, causing pulmonary problems and potentially death. Most compression socks prescribed for diabetic patients have a moderate compression of 15 mmHg but stronger ones are available.

What Are Compression Socks?

Compression socks are made of elastic and are generally knee-high. The compression causes increased pressure on the leg which causes surface arteries and veins to compress. This compression causes an increase in arterial pressure by reducing the diameter of the arteries and increases the venous blood flow back to the heart and allowing less blood to pool in the feet. Most compression socks are tightest around the foot and ankle and then become looser towards the knee to maximize the circulation in the lower leg. These graduated compression socks are the most common type prescribed to diabetic patients. The correct sizing of compression socks is crucial for patients as socks that are too big are not effective in increasing blood flow and socks that are too small can cut off circulation to the feet and lower legs. Diabetic patients are instructed to put compression socks on first thing in the morning and to leave them on until they return to bed at night for maximum effectiveness.

Anti-Microbial Fibers

Socks made for and marketed to diabetes patients often have some sort of anti-microbial fibers and moisture wicking fibers woven in to help prevent infection. The anti-microbial fibers help keep bacteria away from open sores and the wicking properties of the sock help keep open sores dry and reduce the rate of bacterial growth. Compression socks are also made seamless to reduce any sort of rubbing or irritation caused by socks and seams moving around on the foot. The inherent tightness of the sock on the foot helps prevent blisters that could form with regular socks. The soles of these socks are created with extra padding to further reduce the potential for foot irritation or injury.

Compression socks can be used to treat a variety of ailments in addition of side-effects of diabetes. They are often worn by pregnant women who also suffer from edema frequently and by people who are bedridden after surgery to prevent the formation of blood clots in the legs due to inactivity. Those embarking on trans-oceanic airline flights where they will be sitting vertically without moving for many hours will also wear compression socks to reduce the risk of clot formation in the lower legs by increasing the blood flow through their calves and feet. Recently, athletes have also been using compression clothing to help muscle recovery after a hard workout by increasing circulation in the legs and arms.

Asteroid Mining Company Turns To Kickstarter For Funding

by Raul Buman

When it comes to business, the sky is no longer the limit.

Funded partially by Google Inc. and partially by crowdsourcing, a private company is ramping up an effort to begin mining the solar system’s many asteroids, an idea that not long ago was limited to the pages of science fiction but has blossomed in the current space-exploration environment of “smaller, faster, cheaper.”

Out of this world …
Bellevue, Washington’s Planetary Resources even has a plan to involve early investors by offering space on the side of its proposed space telescope to display pictures of donors who pledge $25. A remote camera would snap a photo of the telescope with the personalized picture with Earth in the background. The money raised with the photos would be used to further fund the telescope, which is projected to be deployed in 2015 and search for mine-able asteroids.

… or out of their minds?
For the amateur astronomer, a $200 pledge gives you the privilege of pointing the telescope at a heavenly object. Which is amazing, but it’s a long way from flying out to asteroids to start digging up water and precious metals and returning the goods to Earth, isn’t it?

That’s true, say scientists, but it is financially possible — whether it is economically viable is another matter. Cal Tech’s Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS) estimates that for “just” $2.6 billion, spacecraft could be landed on the giant rocks and commence mining.

The idea is not a new one — Russian rocket scientist Konstantin Tsiokolvsky first floated it in 1903 — and lifting off from an asteroid, even with a cargo bay full of ore and water, would be orders of magnitude less expensive than it would be taking off from the much more massive rock known as planet Earth.

Putting the “fun” in “funding”
Perhaps more immediately exciting is the “crowdfunding” that Planetary Resources is tapping in order (literally) to get their project off the ground. The company is using Kickstarter to solicit small donations from the innumerable people interested in space exploration, or just in the idea that a business future might be in the stars.

Planetary Resources is putting together a massive outreach program to excite and inspire everyone from kids who were too young to see a space shuttle launch to older folks who remember not only men walking on the moon, but also Alan Shepherd first opening space for the United States.

Engineers wanted
The outreach effort is also aimed at recruiting engineers with the right stuff to help shape the company’s technical platform for space mining. It could work — movies like Apollo 13 and HBO’s From Earth to the Moonportray engineers and scientists as true American heroes — and what young (or even old) engineer wouldn’t want to create new glory days for space exploration?

Of course, having founders of Google, actual astronauts, and explorer/filmmaker James Cameron as investors and advisers is exciting and promising in itself, something that Planetary Resources hopes will help convince fans into actual supporters of the project, dipping into their own pockets for $25, $200, or however much they feel they want to contribute to the future of (business)man in space.