The seasonal lattes that contain more sugar than a can of COKE

As the season starts to change, many look forward to wrapping up and indulging in a festive latte from their favourite coffee shop.

Yet these delicious, warming drinks are secret sugar-bombs that can contain more sugar than a can of coke.

Below are three of the worst offenders, which could cause you to pile on the pounds if you over indulge in the upcoming festive season.

Costa's newly launched 'Bonfire spiced family' includes a latte, hot chocolate and cold coffee, all with 'rich caramel toffee' and 'crunchy caramel'. A small Bonfire hot chocolate made with whole milk contains a staggering 36.9g, or nine teaspoons, of sugar and 311 calories

Costa's newly launched 'Bonfire spiced family' includes a latte, hot chocolate and cold coffee, all of which are made with 'rich caramel toffee' and 'crunchy caramel'.

Although it sounds delicious, a small Bonfire hot chocolate made with whole milk contains a staggering 36.9g, or nine teaspoons, of sugar and 311 calories. This one drink alone therefore takes a person over their recommended daily sugar limit.

A standard-sized can of Coca Cola contains 35g, or eight teaspoons, of sugar.  

Starbuck's 'fall favourite' Pumpkin Spice Latte has notes of 'pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove', topped with whipped cream.

The drink can be prepared with a variety of different dairy-free milks, with a small almond 'mylk' variety being the least sugary with 20.6 grams, or five teaspoons, of sugar.

Opting for the large oat milk option, however, will have you consuming a staggering 48.9g, or 12 teaspoons, in that one drink alone.

Starbuck's 'fall favourite' Pumpkin Spice Latte contains notes of 'pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove', topped with whipped cream. Opting for the large oat milk option will have you consuming a staggering 48.9g, or 12 teaspoons, in that one drink alone

And Gregg's Pumpkin Spice Latte, which comes topped with a 'golden biscuit crumb', includes 31g, or seven teaspoons, of sugar, as well as 240 calories. 

A Costa Coffee spokesperson told MailOnline: 'The Bonfire Spiced Hot Chocolate is one of a range of drinks that we have launched as part of our autumn campaign. 

'All our barista-made drinks are made to order and customers can opt for skimmed milk, select from a range of no-added sugar syrups and choose smaller sizes if they wish. We only offer our Bonfire Spiced Hot Chocolate in our smallest Primo size.' 

A Greggs spokesperson added: 'Our limited edition Pumpkin Spice Latte caters for customers who want to enjoy an occasional seasonal treat.

'Our customers can of course choose to enjoy one of our healthier drink options instead should they wish to.'

Gregg's Pumpkin Spice Latte includes 31g, or seven teaspoons, of sugar, and 240 calories

Starbucks argued it has already cut its Pumpkin Spiced Latte's calorie content by 10 per cent and sugar by 13 per cent since last year, which includes naturally-occurring sugars found in milk.

A spokesperson added: 'Customers can also choose from many ways to lower the sugar and calories in their drinks, including choosing no whipped cream or enjoying our smallest size, Short. 

'We also make nutritional information available on our menu boards and website to help our customers make informed choices that are right for them.' 

This comes after research released earlier this found children in England have reached their recommended amount of added sugar for the year by the end of May.

Yet data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveals, on average, children are consuming 52g a day, which is the equivalent of five Cadbury's Freddo bars.

Over the course of a year, this amounts to roughly 19,050g of added sugar - more than double the recommended 7,850g.

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September 14, 2018

Sources: Daily Mail

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  • Flu jab shortage sees 1.3m fewer over-65s vaccinated than last year as GPs turn elderly away 

    Flu jab shortage sees 1.3m fewer over-65s vaccinated than last year as GPs turn elderly away 

    vaccinated than at this time last year, it emerged yesterday.</p><p>Figures from Public Health England show that up until November 11 only 52 per cent of over-65s – around 5.2million – had received the vaccine.</p><p>This is well below the 65 per cent who had been vaccinated at the same point last year.</p><p>Meanwhile, nearly 69 per cent of GPs say they have experienced a shortage of the jab, according to a survey by doctors’ magazine Pulse, forcing them to turn away elderly patients as a result.</p><p>Only 52 per cent of elderly patients have received the jab while 69 per cent of GPs reported a shortage of the vaccine</p><p>Fluad - the new system - has sparked rows between NHS England and GPs</p><p>The survey of 650 GPs revealed only 20 per cent of practices had had no trouble securing the vaccine.</p><p>Problems have been blamed on the staggered roll-out of the new, more effective jab for over-65s, which has been released in batches.</p><p>NHS officials insist that by tomorrow the final batches will have been delivered to surgeries and pharmacists.</p><p>They claim this will mean 7.8million vaccines will have been sent out – more than enough to hit the 73 per cent vaccination rate seen last year, when 7.4million over-65s received the jab.</p><p>But GPs say insufficient supplies in September, October and earlier this month meant they could not vaccinate as many patients as they liked.</p><p>The fiasco over the new jab – called Fluad – has triggered a war of words between NHS England and GPs. Officials insist GPs were given plenty of notice of the phased supply system, but doctors say they were only told in February – four months after they usually place their orders.</p><p>Dr Marie Williams, a GP from Blackpool, said: ‘It has been a complete debacle, wasting practice and patient time.</p><p>‘To add insult to injury, patients have been complaining that it’s the practice’s fault when clinic appointments have been sent out in good faith and supplies ordered in plenty of time.’</p><p> Pharmacist Phil Hunt believes the jabs shortage has set the NHS up for another bad winter.</p><p>Mr Hunt, in the job for 46 years, usually receives stocks by September. This year, however, the jabs did not arrive at Stokes Croft Pharmacy in Bristol until early November.</p><p>Because of the delays, some patients are likely to completely miss out on the vaccination, he added. Warning that flu season was on its way, Mr Hunt, 69, said: ‘The proportion of people who have not been able to get their vaccines is large enough that I think we are potentially in line for a bad winter.’</p><p>Mr Hunt, pictured, said everyone he had vaccinated in the past week said they had been back and forth to their local health centre – but there were no supplies left.</p><p>‘I don’t think the quantity of people injected will be anything like as high as it has been in previous years,’ he added. </p><p>Dr Melanie Blackman, a GP from Wiltshire, told Pulse: ‘Failed delivery times – delayed by two weeks – resulted in us having to cancel or move 170+ appointments.’</p><p>Last winter the jab given to millions had little effect because one of the strains it targeted had already mutated.</p><p>Doctors hope the improved vaccine will stop a repeat of that – but the supply issues could hit the vaccination effort.</p><p>Dr Richard Vautrey, of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said: ‘Previously, many patients will have been used to receiving their vaccination on demand from their GP or pharmacist, but because of the phased delivery, this has not been possible this year.</p><p>'However, with the next delivery of vaccines expected this month, we have been assured that there are adequate supplies to vaccinate all those who need it.’</p><p>NHS England said: ‘This survey of little more than one per cent of GPs ignores the fact that this week, 100 per cent of vaccines will have been delivered by the manufacturer to those surgeries and pharmacists who placed an order on time, so the public can be assured that there is sufficient supply of the vaccine in stock for everyone to get protected.’</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 November 16, 2018
  • Why you should SUCK your baby's dummy to clean it

    Why you should SUCK your baby's dummy to clean it

    off the dirty ground and popping it in their own mouth to clean it.</p><p>But germophobe parents who would rather sterilise their child's pacifier or put it in the dishwasher may be raising their child's risk of allergies.</p><p>Mothers who suck a dummy clean after it gets dirty have children with fewer antibodies linked to asthma, food and dust allergies, a study found. </p><p>That may be because parents transfer their own bacteria to their child's mouth, helping to boost their immune system.</p><p>Germophobe parents who would rather sterilise their child's pacifier or put it in the dishwasher may be raising their child's risk of allergies</p><p>Researchers led by the Henry Ford Health System asked 128 mothers how they cleaned their children's dummies before taking blood tests from the infants.</p><p>Lower levels of immunoglobin E (igE) antibodies were found in the children whose parents used their own mouths instead of tap water or sterilisation.</p><p>Lead author Dr Eliane Abou-Jaoude said: 'We know that exposure to certain micro-organisms early in life stimulates development of the immune system and may protect against allergic diseases later.</p><p>'Parental pacifier sucking may be an example of a way parents may transfer healthy micro-organisms to their young children.' </p><p>Baby wipes increase children's risk of developing life-threatening food allergies, research suggested in April 2018.</p><p>Immune reactions to everyday produce like nuts, eggs and soy may be brought on by a 'perfect storm' of baby wipes, dust and food exposure, a study found in a 'major advance'.</p><p>Researchers believe this is due to an ingredient in soap found in baby wipes, known as sodium lauryl sulphate, lingering on infants' skin and disrupting its protective fatty barrier.</p><p>In youngsters with genetic mutations that predispose them to allergies, this disruption could lead to immune reactions if they are, for instance, kissed by a sibling with peanut butter on their face, according to the US researchers.</p><p>The scientists recommend parents reduce their youngsters' food allergy risk by washing their hands before touching them and rinsing off excess soap after baby wipe use.</p><p>Around one in 13 children in the US suffer from at least one food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research &amp; Education. </p><p>Lead author Professor Joan Cook-Mills, from Northwestern University, said: 'I thought about what are babies exposed to.</p><p>'They are exposed to environmental allergens in dust in a home.</p><p>'They may not be eating food allergens as a newborn, but they are getting them on their skin.</p><p>'Say a sibling with peanut butter on her face kisses the baby. Or a parent is preparing food with peanuts and then handles the baby. '</p><p>Professor Cook-Mills then investigated skin studies that assessed the impact of soap, saying: 'I thought "oh my gosh!' That's infant wipes!"' </p><p>Among the 128 mothers interviewed for the study, around one in eight sucked their child's dummy to clean it. </p><p>Slightly more than two in five chose to sterilise, boil or steam the pacifier, or to put it in the microwave or dishwasher.</p><p>The vast majority, 72 per cent, hand-washed their child's dummy by rinsing it under a tap or using washing up liquid.</p><p>Researchers wanted to see if there was any difference in igE, which is triggered when children have allergic responses to triggers like milk, peanuts, dust mites or pollen.</p><p>Taking blood from babies at birth, six and 18 months old, they found significantly lower levels of these antibodies in 18-month-old children whose mothers sucked their pacifier. There was no difference between dummies sterilised or hand-washed.</p><p>The authors, whose study is being presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology in Seattle, suggest healthy mouth bacteria passed on from adults may be responsible.</p><p>This backs up the 'hygiene hypothesis' which suggests children should be exposed to bugs to reduce their risk of allergies. </p><p>Those brought up in the countryside tend to have lower rates of asthma, which is commonly triggered by allergies.</p><p>Dr Edward Zoratti, a co-author of the study from Henry Ford, said: 'We found that parental pacifier sucking was linked to suppressed IgE levels beginning around 10 months, and continued through 18 months.</p><p>'Further research is needed, but we believe the effect may be due to the transfer of health-promoting microbes from the parent's mouth. </p><p>'It is unclear whether the lower IgE production seen among these children continues into later years.' </p><p>Dr Abou-Jaoude said: 'Although we can't say there's a cause and effect relationship, we can say the microbes a child is exposed to early on in life will affect their immune system development.'</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 November 16, 2018
  • Revealed, the top precautions allergy sufferers use when dining out

    Revealed, the top precautions allergy sufferers use when dining out

    eld of hidden ingredients which could cause a life-threatening reaction.</p><p>But scientists have revealed a list of things sufferers can do to reduce their chances of having an attack.</p><p>By surveying people with food allergies experts found those who used the most allergy-avoidance strategies were least likely to suffer a reaction.</p><p>And taking 15 separate precautions was the magic number – people who used that many managed to avoid ever having reactions.</p><p>Speaking to the waiter and ordering food with simple ingredients were the most popular methods used by allergy suffers.</p><p>While other, less obvious, methods included ordering the allergy-sufferer's food separately, and sticking to chain restaurants.</p><p>Research being presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology revealed the methods for avoiding reactions.</p><p>And of a total of 24 strategies suggested, scientists found people who used 15 of them were able to avoid having allergic reactions during the study.</p><p>'We found when those with food allergies used more strategies in a restaurant, the result was fewer reactions,' said Dr Justine Ade, the study's author.</p><p>'People who used an average of 15 strategies when eating out tended to avoid having a severe allergic reaction.'</p><p>Experts suggest a particularly effective strategy is checking a restaurant's ingredients before you go, but they suggest taking multiple precautions.</p><p>Co-author and allergist Leigh Ann Kerns added: 'Checking ingredients in the dishes that the restaurant offers ahead of time and finding strategies that work for you or your child can help to minimize the risk of reactions.'</p><p>The full list of strategies, of which the researchers recommended using 15 to avoid every having a reaction, was:</p><p>The most commonly used method for avoiding reactions was speaking to the waiter on arriving at the restaurant, which 80 per cent of the 39 people in the survey did.</p><p>Also in the top five were ordering food with simple ingredients (77 per cent), double checking food before eating it (77 per cent), avoiding restaurants with a higher likelihood of contamination (74 per cent) and reviewing the ingredients on the restaurant's website beforehand (72 per cent).</p><p>The least used strategy was placing the food allergy order separately, which 23 per cent of people did.</p><p>Also in the bottom five were using a card explaining your allergies (26 per cent), not eating at restaurants (39 per cent), eating at chain restaurants (41 per cent), and going in off-peak hours (44 per cent).</p><p>There were 19 cases during the study when people had an allergic reaction while eating in a restaurant.</p><p>The researchers noticed people who had the reactions were taking precautions and became motivated to use more after they had suffered the reaction.</p><p>Dr Ade added: 'Those who did experience an allergic reaction were using an average of only six strategies at the time of their most severe reaction.</p><p>'Those same people increased their average number of strategies to 15 after experiencing a severe reaction.'</p><p>A food allergy is when a person's body reacts in an unhealthy way to a certain type of food. Although they are often mild, reactions can be serious enough to cause death.</p><p>The reactions happen when the immune system mistakenly thinks proteins in a particular food are a threat to the body, and begins to attack them.</p><p>Most foods could cause an allergic reaction in theory, but the most common ones are milk and dairy products, nuts, eggs, fish, fruit and shellfish.</p><p>Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching in the mouth, throat or ears, an itchy red rash (also known as hives), swelling around the eyes, lips and tongue, and vomiting. </p><p>In extreme cases allergies can cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life threatening state in which people can find it difficult to breathe and may faint.</p><p>The best way of treating a food allergy is to avoid the food which is known to cause it, and antihistamines – such as hay fever tablets – can help to alleviate mild reactions.  </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 November 16, 2018
  • Model Brooke Hogan, 26, shares her health and beauty secrets

    Model Brooke Hogan, 26, shares her health and beauty secrets

    nly dream of.</p><p>Between travelling around for shoots and representing brands in campaigns, the model knows all too well what to do to ensure she's always ready for the cameras.</p><p>Here, the Australian blonde offered a glimpse into her life, as she shared her secrets to beauty, fitness, food and travel, as well as her styling tips on channelling her look this summer.</p><p>Australian model Brooke Hogan has offered a glimpse into her life, as she shared her secrets to beauty, fitness, food, travel and her tips on channelling her look this summer</p><p>'I eat differently every single day but I have a very balanced diet and eat all types of foods,' she explained. </p><p>'I try and steer clear of processed sugars and full cream milk, as it doesn't agree with my stomach and skin.'</p><p>Every morning when she wakes up, she drinks a glass of warm water with lemon before she has breakfast.</p><p>'I usually have porridge and berries or eggs on toast for breakfast. Lunch is usually a healthy chicken salad or wrap and dinner is always some kind of vegetables or salad with meat or fish. My go-to dinner would be salmon, broccolini, sweet potatoes and roast tomatoes,' she said.</p><p>'It's important to remember your skin is an organ and you need to feed it with the right nutrients to make it glow,' she revealed.</p><p>'Simple things like a balanced diet, lots of water and enough sleep is the key to looking after your skin.</p><p>'You need to be consistent and diligent with your regime and make sure you are using quality products that are not full of nasty chemicals. </p><p>'One tip I have learnt is to cleanse twice at night to ensure you remove every little bit of makeup. I also make sure I always wear sunscreen, especially with our harsh Aussie sun. Hawaiian Tropic is my go-to – they just launched their Silk Hydration SPF 50+ range here.'</p><p>Between travelling around for shoots and representing brands in campaigns, the model knows all too well what to do to ensure she's always ready for the cameras</p><p>From pilates to high intensity workout, Brooke said she enjoys mixing up her fitness routine every week.</p><p>'Exercise for me is my time for myself and I choose to take this time to really zone out, refresh and re-energise my mind and body,' she said. </p><p>'I love pilates both physically and mentally and also love high intensity workouts. I exercise around four to six times a week depending on if I am travelling or not.'</p><p>'My body responds well to anything that makes me sweat - I love running and cardio based workouts that really get my heart rate going. I think it's really important to mix up your workouts so you don't get bored.' </p><p>When she's juggling a busy schedule, Brooke said she would always find time to squeeze in a walk or a 10-minute stretch on the floor just to get her body moving.</p><p>'My style is quite minimal and simple. I wear lots of denim and like to stick to outfits that I feel comfortable in,' she said. </p><p>'I definitely wouldn't say I am a "girly" girl but my go-to summer outfit would be a little wrap dress - easy to dress up or down and perfect with a pair with sneakers or sandals. I really love animal print at the moment too; it's everywhere.'</p><p>From pilates to high intensity workout, Brooke said she enjoys mixing up her fitness routine</p><p>As a model travelling to all parts of the world, Brooke knows all too well how to pack light for the journey. </p><p>'Don't over pack - there is nothing worse than an overfilled suitcase especially if you want to buy some goodies while you're away,' she said.</p><p>'Drink lots of water when you're on the aeroplane and buy a worldwide adapter so you don't get stuck with a dead phone or camera.'</p><p>'It depends if I am shooting or not. I always try and start my day by getting up early and moving my body,' she said. </p><p>'I set my alarm for around 6:15am and walk to pilates around 7am. I always get a coffee straight after (almond milk latte), and then I walk home, make breakfast and put on the morning news while looking at my to do list.</p><p>'I write a to-do list every night before I go to bed so I know what I need to do the next day. If I am shooting or have a meeting/event then I get myself prepared and organised for the day.</p><p>'If I am not shooting then I do lots of different things such as emails on my laptop, life admin, I go to the gym/go for a walk, catch up with family/friends etc.</p><p>'I find that when I am on my laptop, hours can pass without me even realising so when I am working from home I always try and make a conscious effort not to sit in one spot for too long and get my body moving.</p><p>'I usually have dinner around 6:30pm with the aim of getting to bed no later than 9pm. I will have an hour off my phone with the intention of being asleep by 10 latest.'</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 November 16, 2018
  • Take a bath to lower your blood sugar

    Take a bath to lower your blood sugar

    ers blood sugar levels, research suggests.</p><p>Indulging in a warm soak for an hour triggers the release of a chemical that combats inflammation in the same way as exercise.</p><p>Taking some time out in the tub also releases a substance that lowers blood pressure, the study also found.</p><p>Relaxing in a hot bath both improves inflammation and lowers blood-sugar levels (stock)</p><p>Researchers from Loughborough University analysed ten sedentary, overweight men after they either sat in a 38°C (100.4°F) bath or rested for an hour.</p><p>Blood samples were taken before, immediately after and two hours post the immersion to test the men's glucose and insulin levels, as well as to look for markers of inflammation.</p><p>Heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature recordings were also taken every 15 minutes during the bath.</p><p>The men who had the hot bath were then asked to have ten more at home over two weeks before undergoing additional blood tests.</p><p>Results showed that just one hot bath raises levels of the inflammatory chemical IL-6 in the bloodstream. This also increases during exercise, which triggers an inflammatory response.</p><p>Peaks in IL-6 are then followed by the release of substances that combat unhealthy levels of inflammation. </p><p>Taking hot baths could be a better way of treating depression than exercising, a study found in October.</p><p>People who go to a spa for an hour twice a week show better improvements in their mental health than those who work out regularly.</p><p>Experts suggested this could be because it restores the body's natural temperature rhythm over the course of a day, which can be disrupted in depressed patients.</p><p>Regular bathing is faster-acting and easier than exercise, scientists said, and the study showed people are more likely to continue with it over the long term.</p><p>Researchers from the University of Freiburg in Germany tested the effects of thermal baths on 45 people with depression. The research was published on the website bioRxiv. </p><p>A single hot soak also triggered the release of nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and therefore decreases blood pressure. </p><p>After the men's daily at-home baths, their blood sugar and insulin levels were lower while they were fasting and resting.</p><p>The study was published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.  </p><p>The researchers, led by PhD student Sven Hoekstra, believe a bath could 'improve aspects of the inflammatory profile and enhance glucose metabolism in sedentary, overweight males'.</p><p>They added a hot soak 'might have implications for improving metabolic health in populations unable to meet the current physical activity recommendations'.</p><p>A person may be unable to exercise if they have suffered an injury, an asthma flare-up or a concussion.</p><p>The participants did, however, report feeling uncomfortable during the hour-long bath, which may be due to the temperature of the water or the amount of time they spent in it.</p><p>Around one in four adults worldwide suffer from high blood pressure. </p><p>If it is consistently high, this puts an extra strain on the heart, which has been linked to a higher risk of a heart attack, heart failure and stroke, as well as kidney disease and even dementia. </p><p>Inflammation has been linked to everything from asthma and coeliac disease to Crohn's and even organ transplant rejection.  </p><p>This comes after research released earlier this month suggested exposure to blue light lowers a person's blood pressure.</p><p>After 14 healthy men were exposed to blue light for just half-an-hour, their blood pressure levels were reduced just as much as with medication, according to a study by the University of Surrey and Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf.</p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 November 16, 2018
  • 'Could scientists turn thoughts into speech? Hope for paralyzed patients to 'talk' again

    'Could scientists turn thoughts into speech? Hope for paralyzed patients to 'talk' again

    translate the thoughts of patients who have lost their speech into words. </p><p>Technology has made leaps and bounds to bridge the rift that forms between mind and body when one (or both) are damaged by disease. </p><p>Amputees can now be fit with futuristic mind-controlled body limbs; bionic eyes give sight to the sightless, cochlear implants allow the deaf to hear. </p><p>Restoring speech, however, presents unique challenges and has mostly remained in the realm of science fiction and the (mostly) pseudoscience of telepathy. </p><p>Ambitious scientists scattered across the world are on the brink of changing that with implants that act as 'brain-computer interfaces' that may soon be able to broadcast the voices inside a speechless patients' heads.   </p><p>Researchers at Columbia University and Northwell Health are using electrodes on volunteers' brains to learn the electrical impulse language of the brain so they can translate it and give speech back to paralyzed patients (file) </p><p>Up until his death in March, British cosmologist Stephen Hawking was one of the most influential and famous thinkers, teachers and speakers of the last century. </p><p>But for the last 30 years of his life, he had no voice. </p><p>Computer assistance allowed the brilliant astrophysicist to go on to speak all over the world nonetheless. The voice of 'Perfect Paul' - an early synthesized speech tool with an American accent designed for telephone prompt responses - became Hawking's signature tenor. </p><p>Synthetic voice technology improved, but Hawking stuck with Paul's slightly halting speech. He did, however, progress through various control mechanisms.  </p><p>Once his thumb could no longer choose letters, an innovative system that picked up on the subtle twitches of his cheeks allowed Hawking to go on communicating. </p><p>But Perfect Paul never did read Hawking's brilliant mind directly. 'Speaking' meant a letter-selection process that - even with the latest and greatest predictive text technologies - would always undoubtedly be slower than the great scientist's natural speech and meditations on the history of time. </p><p>ALS-stricken Stephen Hawking used a computer-assisted communication device that translated his thumb or facial movements into words - but it didn't read his mind</p><p>Now, neuroscientists and engineers at Columbia University and Northwell Health in New York are mapping the brain's private language so that they may soon be able to translate the voice inside our heads. </p><p>Different regions of the brain communicate with one another through a combination of electrical impulses and chemical messengers.  </p><p>Listening and speech are centered in Broca's area, which is responsible both for the brain's voice and the 'mind's ear,' as well. And Wernicke's area controls our word choices. </p><p>This would be life-changing to patients with paralysis from injuries, ALS or locked-in syndrome.  </p><p>ALS often eventually attacks the bulbar neurons, which control the motor function or movements involved in the physical act of speaking.  </p><p>Loss of that function doesn't mean that language is lost altogether - we just need to learn to understand the brain's language. </p><p>So Dr Nima Mesgarani, an electrical engineering professor is listening in on brain chatter using implanted electrode strips, according to Stat News. </p><p>His electrodes record the electrical cracks and snaps in the brain, and sends them to a computer that then tries to make heads or tails of them. </p><p>Just like any other language, Dr Mesgarani's computer needs to keep learning more and more of the brain's electrical vocabulary. </p><p>So Dr Mesgarani has partnered with Dr Ashesh Mehta and his volunteers, epileptic patients who are allowing the scientists to implant their brains with the electrodes during surgeries to find the source of their seizures.  </p><p>The more patients they implant, the better they'll know how to identify words. </p><p>The first step is to learn what our brain's electrical activity looks like when we say 'yes' or 'no' to ourselves. </p><p>We are still a long way off from translating complex thoughts, however, and these will likely remain locked away in the mind for some time to come.</p><p>But neither they nor the handful of other scientists working on similar medical technologies are the only ones interested in brain-computer interfaces. </p><p>Facebook, Elon Musk's Neuralink, and other technology companies have launched similar research and development efforts - with less philanthropic purposes in mind. </p><p>In 2017, Facebook announced its own goal of making a Face Brain, so to speak, that promises thought-to-text technology, so the Internet never has to miss out on a single thing you think. </p><p>The Facebook team has insisted that thought-to-text is no longer science fiction, but Dr Mesgarani and Dr Mehta are taking a more measured approach. </p><p>The five patients they recruited then had to painstakingly repeat numbers and stories until the doctors had recorded their brains' electrical impulse patterns. </p><p>These signals were then fed into a kind of medical synth, to see if they'd come out like language or gibberish. </p><p>Dr Mesgarani and Dr Mehta got something in between. </p><p>Most prior systems had only produced 'words' that were about half-and-half nonsense and comprehensible. The new brain translator was about 75 percent 'intelligible.' </p><p>'We have a good framework for producing accurate and intelligible reconstructed speech from brain activity,' Dr Mesgarani told Stat. </p><p>And that's 'a step toward the next generation of human-computer interaction systems … for patients suffering from paralysis and locked-in syndrome.'       </p><p> The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline. </p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p>Your comment will be posted to MailOnline as usual.</p><p>Do you want to automatically post your MailOnline comments to your Facebook Timeline?</p><p> We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.</p><p>Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday &amp; Metro Media Group</p>

    1 November 16, 2018

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