Cool Down: The Week in Health

Robo-nurses, standing desks, and wicked hangovers—all in this week's health headlines

By: Emily Leaman

Say hello to your new nurse. Photograph courtesy of Aethon
Well isn't this just the darndest thing. New robot nurses, called Tugs, are beginning to roll into hospitals across the country. The robots are essentially mechanical couriers; they can be programed to take medication from a pharmacy on the first floor, say, to a hospital wing on the sixth. That's exactly what Washington Hospital Center uses them for, USA Today reports, but other hospitals have used them to deliver meals to patients, too. The best part is, these little guys can "talk" to the elevators to get to the right floor, and they'll wait patiently for an empty one. Please, oh, please do yourself this favor: Watch the demo video here.

A study to be released in the May issue of the American Journal of Public Health found that kids who use standing desks at school burn an average of 17 percent more calories than kids seated at traditional desks. Teachers also reported that students who stood at desks were more alert and focused, and they exhibited less disruptive behavior than their seated peers. Researchers are thinking this could be a way to reduce obesity in kids and improve school performance—a win-win. You know we'd be for it—we're all about squeezing in some extra calorie burning wherever we can.

You know when you stare at a computer screen all day and your eyes get bloodshot and itchy? Well, now there's a name for it: computer vision syndrome, or CVS. According to Women's Health, it affects up to 90 percent of people who spend two or more continuous hours a day staring at a screen. There's still some debate over whether the damage is reversible, but to at least alleviate the day-to-day symptoms, experts recommend looking away from your computer every 20 minutes for 20 seconds at a point 20 feet away. That should be easy to remember—20-20-20. The point is to give your eyes a break by refocusing on a point that's further away.

A bit hungover from all the St. Patty's day frivolity? We're not here to judge, but you should know that as you age, hangovers actually do get worse. The older you get, the less able your body is to process alcohol, so the more severe your hangovers become. Which is to say, no, you're not imagining it—you really can't hold your liquor as well as you used to in college. So, um, here's to better judgment next time? We'll call that the silver lining.

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