New studies with topics ranging from vaping to insomnia provide important health and safety updates for consumers.

Your shoes can produce muscle issues

Researchers at Harvard University conducted a study to test the impact of the curve at the tip of your shoes, called a toe spring. Toe springs bend slightly upward on shoes, usually sneakers, and are intended to ease everyday footwear and comfort. According to the study, there has not been extensive research on the subject of toe springs, yet they have now been found to have possible negative effects on natural foot function.

To test this, the researchers created specially designed sandals for participants to wear, with simulated toe springs ranging from 10 to 40 degrees of curvature. They found that toe springs can lead to weakening of the foot muscles, greater susceptibility to plantar fasciitis, and altering of joint movement.

E-cigarettes are not used for intended purpose

JUUL, an e-cigarette company, has stated that their mission is to provide an outlet for individuals to quit smoking by vaping instead. However, a University of Utah Health researcher and his team have found that electronic nicotine delivery systems, vaping devices, are rarely used for this purpose. To learn more about how the devices are used, the team looked on Twitter for tweets from users discussing JUUL-related topics.

Of 11,556 tweets between July 2018 and August 2019, 1.43% (45 out of 3152 JUUL tweets) mentioned using JUUL as a method of quitting smoking, and only 6.85% (216 out of 3152 JUUL tweets) acknowledged the potential health effects of JUUL use.

“ Our findings suggest that a vast majority of Twitter users are not using JUUL to aid in smoking cessation nor do they mention the potential health benefits or detriments of JUUL use,” the researchers wrote.

Insomnia can be helped through neurotechnology

Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Health in North Carolina are testing a high-resolution, relational, resonance-based electroencephalic mirroring (HIRREM) system to measure brainwaves. The device uses sensors on the scalp that monitor brain activity, while software algorithms translate different frequencies into audible tones of varying pitch.

All of this happens in real-time and gives a glimpse into your brainwaves that are echoed back through the system’s earbuds, giving you a chance to see a mirror image of your brain. After testing participants with the HIRREM system, they saw reduction in insomnia symptoms more so than a placebo.

HIV preventative measures are often not prescribed

In research out of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, researchers spoke with 519 practitioners about their use of prescribing PrEP, a preventative HIV medication. PrEP is known as a leading medication to prevent HIV transmission to those who might not know they are vulnerable. However, in speaking to these practitioners, located in 5 major U.S. cities between March and May 2015, the study found that less than 10% of the more than 1 million people vulnerable to HIV are taking PrEP.

In circulating a paper survey, the researchers found that only 54% of these practitioners have ever prescribed PrEP, even though they are part of HIV-focused practices. The researchers encourage physicians to use these medications as a way of taking preventative action for those who may not know they are susceptible to HIV.

Lara Becker is a Medical Daily intern and a senior at The College of New Jersey studying Journalism/ Professional Writing and Communication Studies.