258,000

That’s how many Americans die of sepsis each year. Sepsis is an aggressive immune response to infection, in which the body injures its own organs. Sepsis is on the rise, hospitalizing millions each year, costing billions, and is fatal if not treated quickly. Infection is usually bacterial, and often begins in the lungs, stomach, and gut, but can also arise from improperly cleaned scrapes. Symptoms include fever, pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath.


Needless Needles

The 415 million people worldwide who have diabetes may no longer need to prick their fingers to test their blood sugar. A study in Nature Nanotechnology illustrates the effectiveness of a patch that monitors glucose in sweat, which closely resembles glucose levels in the blood — eliminating the need for painful pokes. The patch needs to be tested further, but it’s a promising step in the fight to control diabetes.


Beading Obesity

The fight against obesity has a new potential weapon: beads. At a scientific convention, a preliminary study introduced a treatment called bariatric arterial embolization (BAE), which uses microscopic beads to block blood flow to the upper part of the stomach, where the hunger hormone is produced. Blocking this region is also why gastric bypasses work, and why dieting can fail. The treatment resulted in weight reduction in all five patients, without surgery complications, and with a much shorter recovery time.


Can You Drink Too Much Water?

Yes, if your goal is drinking until urine is clear, rather than satisfying your thirst. In rare cases, kidneys can become overworked and stop excreting water efficiently, dropping sodium levels dangerously. When this happens, cells can burst, causing problems in the brain and elsewhere. Let thirst be your guide — this highly developed mechanism tells you accurately when you need water. This doesn’t apply to children at an amusement park however, whose thirst mechanism is temporarily disabled by insanity.