Saturday, 3 October 2015

First UK Patient Receives Stem Cell Treatment for Sight Loss


UK Patient – First to Receive New Stem Cell Treatment

A patient in UK has become the first to receive new stem cell treatment in savings her sight. The woman who had suffered from age related macular degeneration – AMD underwent a procedure known as retinol pigment epithelium at Moorefield’s Eye Hospital in London.

The eye cells derived from stem cells during the operation were utilised to replace the damaged AMD cells behind the retina which had formed a patch over the problem area. As per The London Project to Cure Blindness, the patient did not face any complication till date.

However the team behind the operation are unable to state if it was a true success till her recovery of being further examined in December. Macular degeneration is the cause of 50% of all cases of visual impairment in the developed countries and generally tends to affect those crossing the age of 50.

Around 25% of over 60s in the UK have been suffering from some type of degeneration which is likely to increase. Several of the patients suffering from AMD tend to find that their central vision gets affected while the vision around the edges seems to remain normal. There are two kinds of AMD namely, wet and dry.

Two Types of AMD - Wet/Dry AMD

Wet AMD is due to abnormal blood vessels which leak in the centre of the retina, while dry AMD is more common and takes place when the retinal cells tend to become too thin.

The operation seems to be a part of a broader trial which looks at the safety as well as the success rates of retinol pigment epithelium in persons suffering from wet AMD. However, learning from trials has given rise to the ability to treat patients suffering with dry AMD too.

It is said that ten more patients are likely to receive the treatment in the next 18 months and if their operations tends to get successful, the ground-breaking stem cell treatment could be utilised on a wider scale for AMD patients in the UK.

According to retinal surgeon professor, Lyndon Da Cruz from Moorfields Eye Hospital, who had performed the first surgery, states that `there is real potential that people with wet age related macular degeneration would benefit in the future from transplantation of these cells’.

Ability to be one of the First Extensive Application in Healthcare- UK

Professor Pete Coffey of the University College London Institute of Ophthalmology, co-leading the London Project to Cure Blindness adds that, they are very pleased to have reached this stage in the research for a new therapeutic approach.

Though they have recognised this clinical trial focuses on small group of AMD patients, experiencing sudden severe visual loss, they hope that many patients could benefit in the future. If the operation tends to be successful, it would represent a most important breakthrough for the Project, which is a partnership between Moorfields Eye Hospital, University College London, the National Institute for Health Research and Pfizer.

The involved organisations are hopeful that the stem cell trials would be sent to a regulatory review board for testing its efficacy and safety.

Though the application of stem cell technology has been explored in research environments for several years, covering all things from engineering new liver cells to making burgers, this treatment tend to have the ability to be one of the first extensive application in the healthcare in UK.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Neurosurgeon Who Uses a 3D Printer before Operating

3D Print

3D Printer – Prior to Surgeries

A paediatric neurosurgeon, Ed Smith at Boston Children’s Hospital often tends to remove tumours and blood vessels which have grown in tangled shapes. He compares his surgeries as a type of defusing a bomb type surgery. He gets started with his work by utilising an unusual tool, a 3D printer.

Earlier, hospital techniques utilised standard imaging to print a high resolution copy of the child’s brain, tumour etc. Smith tends to examine it for hours and gradually develops a nuanced perceptible feel for the challenge. He comments that he can hold the problem in his hand and can rehearse the surgery several times he wants to.

At the time of the operation, Smith tends to keep the printed brain next to him for his reference. It seems to be powerful as a visualisation tool that it has condensed the length of his surgeries by an average of 12%. His work enables one to view 3D printers in a new way and most of the time; they seem to be inclined as tiny artisanal factories.

 These could be useful for turning out one-off products and niche objects, a desktop sized industrial revolution. The 3D printer’s intellectual influence could turn out to be like an inkjet printer. Usually documents are printed to array them on the desk and to ponder over them and to show them to others.

Understand Data/Resolve Issue

Smith tends to use it in a similar way by printing the way one would print an email or a document, to understand the data and resolve the issue. Smith states that `doctors have long used MRIs and CT scan to help visualise tumours, but when the visualisation is physical, it has haptic impact which screens do not.

That is the reason why architects build scale models of their buildings. By peering around a structure one does not get what’s going on. You see these spatial relations and depth of field which are not possible on-screen’.

 This tends to work better for brains. NASA astronomers had printed a model of a binary star system in order to help visualise its solar winds and they discovered various thing which were not fully appreciated according to Thomas Madura, a NASA visiting scientist. 3D prints could also be appropriate for accessibility providing the blind with a new way to grasp astronomy.

3D Printing – A Regular Part of Process

Smith had stated that 3D printing has become a regular part of their process and is also a tool which enables them to educate their junior colleagues as well as trainees which is safe without putting the child at any risk. The tech would need to be improved to actually unlock the power of 3D printers.

 If the need to use physical documents the way paper is used, looking at them for a while and then tossing them aside, material needs to be recycled and even biodegradable. Moreover, our intellectual culture to evolve would also be needed.

There could be several types of uses for 3D data. Courts tend to use to print forensic evidence which the juries could handle. 3D printers are not just factories for products; on the contrary they are factories for thought. 3D printing makes the procedure much shorter and improves on the accuracy of the surgeries.

Worried About Domestic Violence? What You Can Do Today


Domestic violence is a serious issue that affects a lot of people in the United States. What’s even worse is that domestic violence isn’t just about the adults involved – it often escalates and brings children into the mix. Even if they aren’t hurt physically, domestic violence can damage children emotionally in very severe ways.

While you may not be able to fix domestic violence overnight, there are some things you can do to prevent it from escalating and getting to your children. Use these tips to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of domestic violence.

Have a Plan

When you’re worried about domestic violence all the time it can be hard to think straight. In fact, many people who are facing abuse start behaving erratically themselves simply because they’re afraid of what might happen to them if they behave or speak a certain way. Sadly, that’s the nature of abusive relationships.

However, you don’t have to stand for all of that abuse in your home, and you can leave when you’re looking at an abusive situation. That is going to mean making a plan about where you’re going to go, especially if you have children who need to stay in school and maintain a basic routine.

One of the best things you can do if you’re worried about domestic violence is to talk with a friend or family member in your area to see if you can stay with them when you’re in trouble. You’ll need to tell them they may not get much notice because of the situation.

Once you find a place to stay when you’re in trouble you need to keep a bag packed so you can leave quickly. Make sure your bag contains clothes for work, cash and essential toiletries.

Use a Domestic Violence Program

A domestic violence intervention program isn’t something most people want to get involved in, and the person causing the violence is most likely to resist going through these sorts of programs. However, if they want to build a healthy relationship with you and the family as a whole, these programs are essential.

Tell your abuser that you won’t be seeing him or her until they’ve gone through a program for domestic violence. You’ll both be better off in the long run and your family will be much healthier.

A Folding Paper Microscope

Microscopes are important and ever-present tools in science, providing an vital, visual connection between the familiar macro-world we live in and the extraordinary underlying micro-world.

Foldscope can be described as an origami-based optical microscope that can be assembled from a flat sheet of thick printed paper that folds into shape and a lens.

It costs less than a dollar when separated parts, but can give over 2,000X magnification with sub-micron resolution (800nm), weighs less than two nickels (8.8 g), and is small enough to fit in a pocket (70 × 20 × 2 mm3). According to the inventor Manu Prakash of Stanford University, the Foldscope needs no external source of power, and can survive being dropped from a 3-story building or even being treaded on by a person. Its minimalistic nature and scalable design makes it inherently application-specific instead of its purpose being general in nature gearing towards applications in global health, field based citizen science and K12-science education.

The Foldscope is an amazing device which is useful and completely sturdy and can be used by anyone even children and costs hardly a dollar. With this microscope even the tiniest of insects and plants can be investigated and enlarged. Students belonging to all age groups can carry this device in their pocket and get involved in the field of Science from a young age.

This very light and rough device can provide a variety of imaging facilities. Foldscope removed cost barriers and provides for education in science in school and universities and the field of medicine.

By the principles of optical design along with origami, the fold scope can be made from a sheet of flat paper. The sample is kept on a microscope slide, turning the LED and can be viewed placing your eyes close to the lens, and your eyebrow should touch the paper and focusing can be done with your thumbs placed on opposite ends of the slide and moving them in unison to get better illumination stages

Foldscopes can also help in the work of healthcare and in diagnosing blood borne sickness at the basic level.
“The biggest thing we're trying to achieve is to make people interested," Manu Prakash stated. "Our objective is that every child should be able to carry a microscope in their pocket."

Last year, Prakash and his team distributed 10,000 Foldscopes to enthusiastic users willing to do a trial with them. Users submit their findings on the Foldscope site, with studies ranging from school kids looking at banana seeds to the detection of parasitic worms in human waste samples.

Prakash said "I want to make the best feasible disease-detection tool that could be almost distributed for free. The outcome of this project is a sort of use-and-throw microscopy," he said in a Stanford blog post last year.

However, Foldscope is not available at present; one would have to make their own.

Prakash's team says they are working hard to make the Foldscopes commercially available via a spinoff or startup."

Now all we need to do is wait and watch for the next developments.

Is Bariatric Surgery the Right Choice for You?

The weight loss industry is a billion dollar industry that preys on those looking for fast and easy ways to lose weight. You might spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships, workout products you use at home and diet supplements designed to help you lose weight without losing a single pound. The manufacturers of those products often claim that you can lose twice as much weight or more when you rely on those items and stick to a healthy diet, but not everyone loses weight in the same way. If you tried multiple diets and exercise programs in the past and found no success, bariatric surgery might be a good option for you.

What is Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric surgery refers to two different procedures that doctors perform on overweight patients. The first is something called a sleeve gastrectomy, which involves the doctor making a sleeve from the stomach. This limits the amount of food you can eat and helps you lose weight. The second procedure is a lap band. Doctors use a band that fits around the stomach and reduces the size of the stomach to limit your food intake.

What Happens After the Surgery?

Regardless of which surgery you opt for, the doctor will check your progress over the coming hours or days before determining if you are ready to go home. You might notice some minor swelling around your stomach, and some patients feel a little queasy or nauseous for a few days. Both procedures limit the amount of food you can eat, and most patients find that it takes some time for them to adjust to their new limitations. Though it often takes a few weeks before you notice any changes in terms of your weight, you will find that the weight begins coming off.

Are There Any Foods You Can't Eat After the Surgery?

It's important that you pay close attention to your diet after the surgery to determine what you can and cannot eat. Your doctor will likely recommend that you abstain from alcohol, and you may find that you cannot eat foods that are high in fat or sugar. Before undergoing either of these procedures, talk with trustworthy doctors like Bay Surgical Specialists to learn more about the associated risks and benefits. Bariatric surgery helped millions of patients just like you get down to a healthy weight.

Smart Stethoscope Gets FDA Stamp of Approval


The normal stethoscope now is getting a high tech upgrade known as the smart stethoscope. The only difference between the old and the new stethoscope is that it has a device attached called the Eko. A recording is set up on the smartphone, then the patient’s heart sounds are amplified and recorded and that patient’s health record is stored.

The significance of this stethoscope is that recordings can be directly sent to the cardiologist instead of physically sending the patient to the cardiologist. Thus, the patients would not have to wait to see the cardiologists to know the results.

The Eko Core, a small adapter like device, is inserted into the tubing of a regular stethoscope - between the earpiece and chest piece. Then, the heartbeats are recorded and routed to the phone through Bluetooth the audio data via Eko’s smartphone application and web portal and is sent up to the cloud, where a specialist can then listen to the audio data by pulling it down.

This device has now got the FDA approval and the announcement was made by Eko devices that their product can make regular stethoscopes into smart ones.

The CEO and Cofounder Connor Landgraf stated “This investment round and upcoming UCSF study is a momentous step towards a new age in stethoscope intelligence and cardiac monitoring”

According to 23 year old Eko Devices co founder Jason Bellet it is the first time the old and new medical tools are being combined. They can track a person’s heartbeats from childhood to maturity.

Bellet acknowledges that Eko is not the first smart stethoscope in the market, but it is definitely the first to connect to a smartphone and wirelessly transfer a heart recording. Even though most of the medical field has gone digital, this has been a slow change for the 200 year old stethoscope.

Mayo Clinic’s Dr Charanjit S Rihal says medical science has been stuck in the analog world. Even if doctors are good at examining patients they are not able to remember the patient’s heart sounds, maybe a year later.
Getting a product approved by FDA is a very costly and time consuming process. That’s why raising an investment for this was crucial. This brought Eko to the demo stage in 2014. They face some very tough questions but finally succeeded in getting the money. Eko has received funding worth $2.8 million, which is only the start of its cardiovascular innovations.

Rihal, who joined Eko as an advisor believed that if engineers could examine the sounds using algorithms then that would have real value.

Eko is conducting trials in two hospitals in San Francisco to gather heartbeat data from 200 children and 200 adults. The data collected would then be analyzed and tested to help them develop a heartbeat functionality that Eko is building. It will go through separate testing by FDA, which would take place in early 2016.
Eko CTO Tyler Crouch says they are trying to create the Shazam for heartbeats.

Alternative Treatment Methods: The Benefits of Medical Hypnosis

While the thought of hypnosis as treatment for medical conditions may seem unusual, the truth is that medical hypnosis can actual promote and protect your health. With that said, this type of hypnosis is not the “you’re getting sleepy” drivel that you’re used to seeing in movies and television shows. This is, instead, a clinical procedure that is used in conjunction with other treatment and therapies. In fact, there are several benefits to medical hypnosis, which you can learn more about by reading below:

Improve Deep Sleep

Several studies have shown that hypnosis can help improve deep sleep. In fact, the participants reported that after undergoing medical hypnosis, they slept better. In fact, some studies suggest that medical hypnosis can work just as well as sleep inducing drugs but without the side effects.

Naturally Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms

During a study conducted in 2003, 71-percent of irritable bowel syndrome sufferers who participated in the study reported to have improved symptoms after undergoing an hour-long hypnosis session once a week for 12 weeks. This shows that medical hypnosis could be an effective treatment for those patients who are tired of taking prescription pills.

Treat Hot Flashes

Women who are suffering from postmenopausal symptoms may find relief through hypnosis. A 2012 study took postmenopausal women who said they experiences at least 50 hot flashes every week and had them undergo medical hypnosis. The results showed that 74-percent of the participants said that 5 weekly hypnosis sessions reduce the amount of hot flashes they experienced.

Eases Pain

The most well-known benefit of medical hypnosis is its ability to ease pain. Several studies have been conducted and they all show that hypnosis is effective at relieving pain caused by a wide array of medical conditions, including cancer, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Calms Nerves

Another well-known benefit of hypnosis is the nerve calming properties it has. In fact, it has shown useful to relax and relieve anxieties experience before medical procedures, such as surgeries, giving birth or scans. However, more research is needed before medical hypnosis can claim to treat generalized anxiety disability, or anxiety that is related to a personality trait rather than a certain or specific event.

No matter what your preconceived notions about hypnosis are, it has proven time and time again to be a useful tool in the medical industry as well as an alternative treatment options for various issues.