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Earrings to Prevent Pregnancy? Scientists Are Developing Contraceptive Jewelry

It uses transdermal patch technology.

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A contraceptive earring patch is shown as it would be worn on a woman’s ear. The white contraceptive patch can be seen attached to the earring back and adhered to the back of the ear. (Credit: Mark Prausnitz, Georgia Tech)

Researchers say family planning for women could one day be as simple as putting on an earring.

A report published recently in the Journal of Controlled Release describes a technique for administering contraceptive hormones through special backings on jewelry such as earrings, wristwatches, rings or necklaces. The contraceptive hormones are contained in patches applied to portions of the jewelry in contact with the skin, allowing the drugs to be absorbed into the body, according to a press release from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Initial testing suggests the contraceptive jewelry may deliver sufficient amounts of hormone to provide contraception, though no human testing has been done yet. A goal for the new technique is to improve user compliance with drug regimens that require regular dosages. Beyond contraceptives, the jewelry-based technique might also be used for delivering other drugs through the skin, according to the release.

“The more contraceptive options that are available, the more likely it is that the needs of individual women can be met,” said Mark Prausnitz, a Regents Professor and the J. Erskine Love Jr. chair in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “Because putting on jewelry may already be part of a woman’s daily routine, this technique may facilitate compliance with the drug regimen. This technique could more effectively empower some women to prevent unintended pregnancies.”

Contraceptive jewelry adapts transdermal patch technology that is already used to administer drugs that prevent motion sickness, support smoking cessation, and control the symptoms of menopause, but have never been incorporated into jewelry before. Contraceptive patches are also already available, but Prausnitz believes pairing them with jewelry may prove attractive to some women – and allow more discreet use of the drug delivery technology.

“There is a lot of experience with making and using conventional transdermal patches,” he said. “We are taking this established technology, making the patch smaller and using jewelry to help apply it. We think that earring patches can expand the scope of transdermal patches to provide additional impact.”

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Postdoctoral Fellow Mohammad Mofidfar, Senior Research Scientist Laura O’Farrell and Prausnitz tested the concept on animal models, first on ears from pigs. Test patches mounted on earring backs and containing the hormone levonorgestrel were also applied to the skin of hairless rats. To simulate removal of the earrings during sleep, the researchers applied the patches for 16 hours, then removed them for eight hours. Testing suggested that even though levels dropped while the earrings were removed, the patch could produce necessary amounts of the hormone in the bloodstream.

If the technique ultimately is used for contraception in humans, the earring back would need to be changed periodically, likely on a weekly basis.

The contraceptive jewelry was originally designed for use in developing countries where access to health care services may limit access to long-acting contraceptives such as injectables, implants and IUDs. However, Prausnitz says the technology may be attractive beyond that initial audience.

“We think contraceptive jewelry could be appealing and helpful to women all around the world,” said Prausnitz.

This proof-of-concept research was supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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Blue Nile Names CEO from Outside Jewelry Industry

He brings nearly 20 years of executive leadership experience.

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Blue Nile CEO Sean Krell

Sean Krell

SEATTLE — Blue Nile, the largest online retailer of certified diamonds and fine jewelry, announced the appointment of Sean Kell as CEO.

Kell most recently served as CEO at A Place for Mom, America’s largest senior living referral service. He brings nearly 20 years of executive leadership in ecommerce, digital innovation, brand marketing, call center operations and product management across organizations such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Starbucks.

“Blue Nile revolutionized the consumer experience of purchasing diamonds and fine jewelry online,” said Kell. “The opportunity to deepen customer relationships and offer an extraordinary experience when shopping for the most cherished moments in their lives is an honor. I am excited to join the team and amplify our strategic priorities.”

Kell succeeds Eric Anderson, who has served as the company’s interim CEO since January 2019.

“As the engagement ring and fine jewelry industries continue to evolve, Sean’s leadership and strategic vision will elevate Blue Nile’s modern approach to becoming our customer’s jeweler for life,” said David Humphrey, a managing director at Bain Capital Private Equity and a member of the board of directors.

“Sean is a seasoned leader, and we are thrilled to have him as Blue Nile’s next CEO.”

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Jeweler Hit With Sledgehammer While Fighting Off Robbers (VIDEO)

Four suspects were arrested.

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A jewelry-store owner in Santa Monica, CA, was hit with a sledgehammer during a robbery, KABC-TV reports.

Three juveniles and an adult were reportedly involved in the smash-and-grab robbery at Heist Jewelry, which took place Thursday afternoon.

The owner pushed one of the suspects out of the store, and another suspect struck the owner with the sledgehammer, according to the report.

The suspects fled, leaving the owner with minor injuries.

Police soon found and arrested all four suspects.

The adult suspect was booed on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon, news outlets reported. The juveniles were booked on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a crime, robbery and assault.

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Power-Cutting Burglars Target Jewelry Stores in Northeast

The trend has spread to New Jersey and Connecticut.

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The Jewelers’ Security Alliance reports that power-cutting thieves have been targeting jewelry stores in the Northeast.

The latest incidents took place in New Jersey and Connecticut. The pattern has played out in many states, with burglars cutting jewelry stores’ power lines in order to disable alarm systems, but previously had occurred mainly in the West, Midwest and South.

These are the incidents the JSA reported in a bulletin to retailers:

Morris Plains, NJ, July 27

At 6:45 p.m. on a Sunday evening two males and one female cut the power to a retail jewelry store, but police reported they left without trying to get inside the store. The same gang was reported to have done the same thing at jewelry stores in Sparta, NJ, on July 26, 2019, and in Bedminster, NJ.

Darien, CT, Aug. 8

At 11:20 p.m. suspects turned the power off at a downtown jewelry store at the outside electrical box. The power interruption tripped the burglar alarm, and the suspects waited for the police response. On Saturday, August 10, the same suspects returned at 6:20 p.m. and again turned the power off. It is believed that the suspects again waited to observe police response, and to wait for the back-up battery to be exhausted. However, no entry was made to the store. 

Fairfield, CT, Aug. 11

Between 3:00 a.m. and 4:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 11, a retail jeweler received a call from his alarm company regarding the loss of power to his store. The jeweler discovered the electrical meter cover had been pried off the box. The police responded and no suspects were observed.

JSA reported in June that it was aware of over 50 cases in which burglars had cut power lines.

The burglars cut the power lines soon after a store has closed for the night, then wait nearby to see the response by the owner or police, according to JSA.

The burglars have not carried out safe burglaries at all of the stores.

 

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