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Maker doctor builds his own rural hospital equipment out of scrap

Dr Oluyombo Awojobi founded the hospital at Eruwa, Nigeria, a rural location without consistent access to electricity. Dr Awojobi is an accomplished maker, and over 27 years, he's built a variety of vital medical apparatus out of scrounged materials.

His guiding principles are that devices should be simple and easy to repair, and should not require access to off-site power to run.

He's built an operating table with a foot-pumped jack to raise and lower it, a bike-powered centrifuge, a pedal-powered suction pump made from an inner tube, a corn-cob-powered boiler made from an old propane tank, and more.

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Tremor-correcting steadicam cutlery

Liftlabs makes a $300 cutlery handle that uses stabilization technology to cancel out tremors (such as those arising from Parkinson's disease). It's based on steadicam technology, and in a clinical trial was about 70 percent effective.

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As kids' accidental ODs rise, FDA still won't mandate flow restrictors in medicine bottles


In America, more under-6 kids go to the emergency room from accidental overdose than from car-accidents -- they get hold of medicine and drink the whole bottle. Since 2007, epidemiologist Dr Daniel Budnitz has campaigned for the use of flow-restrictors in children's medicine bottles, which dramatically reduce the likelihood of an OD; manufacturers started adding restrictors to acetaminophen in 2011, but stopped there.

Flow restrictors have not been added to bottles of antihistamines, ibuprofen, and cough and cold preparations -- even where they contain the same concentration of acetaminophen as plain acetaminophen tinctures. These other medicines account for about half of all overdoses by small children.

In a long, investigative piece, Pro Publica and Consumer Reports exhaustively document the effectiveness of restrictors, the intransigence of bottom-line-focused pharmaceutical manufacturers, and the real risks of children's medicine overdoses.

An FDA mandate would solve the problem of liquid overdose at the stroke of a pen, but the FDA refuses, preferring a voluntary approach that is demonstrably not working -- and putting kids at risk. The incidence of overdose in small children is not only widespread -- it's rising. Flow-restrictors are cheap, effective low-hanging fruit. Restrictors were invented to improve dosing and reduce spills in adult medicine, and are thus of benefit to everyone, not just parents.

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Laughter is the worst medicine


A paper in the British Medical Journal reviewed the literature on harms arising from laughter and produced a wide-ranging list of laughing-related dangers, from asthma attacks to cerebral tumors. The authors concluded "Laughter is not purely beneficial. The harms it can cause are immediate and dose related, the risks being highest for Homeric (uncontrollable) laughter."

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Severed hand grafted to ankle, reattached to wrist a month later


When Xiao Wei's right hand was severed in an industrial accident, doctors at a hospital in Changde, China, grafted it to his ankle. The blood supply from his ankle kept the hand alive and viable on the seven-hour journey to a larger hospital with better facilities, where it was removed a month later from his ankle and reattached to his wrist. It's not clear whether he'll regain the use of his hand, but doctors are hopeful.

Severed hand saved after being attached to man’s ankle [Metro]

(via JWZ)

(Image: Rex)

Carjackers doomed to die in petty theft gone horribly wrong

Two days ago, a truck carrying a container of radioactive cobalt-60 (enough to make a dirty bomb) was stolen by carjackers off a highway near Tijuana. Today, authorities found the truck. The thieves probably aren't terrorists, just some guys who wanted a truck with a crane attached to it. But, at some point, they opened the container of cobalt-60 and will now almost certainly die from radiation exposure. Maggie 91

Incredibly Interesting Authors 003: Paleo Manifesto author John Durant

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John Durant is a leader of the growing ancestral health movement. Durant studied evolutionary psychology at Harvard prior to founding Paleo NYC and Barefoot Runners NYC, the largest Paleo and barefoot running groups in the world. In his new book The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health, Durant argues for an evolutionary – and revolutionary – approach to health. Blending science and culture, anthropology and philosophy, Durant distills the lessons from his adventures and shows how apply them to day-to-day life. He blogs at HunterGatherer.com.

Here's my interview with John in the third episode of my new podcast, Incredibly Interesting Authors.

Incredibly Interesting Authors: RSS | iTunes | Download this episode

Health Canada outs 40,000 medical marijuana users


Due to an "administrative error," Health Canada sent letters to 40,000 medical marijuana users whose return address was "Medical Marijuana Access Program." In so doing, they outed tens of thousands of Canadians as medical marijuana users to their postal delivery people, people with whom they share their mailboxes, and others.

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Microbes and health: The debate continues

Last week, I linked you to a piece pointing out that three New York Times op-ed pieces linking bacterial exposure (or lack thereof) to autism, celiac disease, and allergies were all written by the same guy, Moises Velasquez-Manoff. His ideas are interesting, but there's also good reason to be skeptical. If you want to get a better idea of the arguments for and against Velasquez-Manoff's thesis, I'd recommend checking out this post at the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, which links to several critical stories and to Velasquez-Manoff's response to them. Maggie 1

Dazzle-paint in public square in Alicante causes dizziness, triggers seizures


The ground in a Plaza de Pio XII, a square in Alicante, Spain has been decorated with a dazzle-paint-like pattern of high contrast wiggly white lines. It has caused seizures in some people with photosensitive epilepsy (20,000 people with epilepsy live in the region) and some elderly people have complained of dizziness while traversing the square. The square is centrally located, and some of its detractors argue that they have to cross it several times a day just to get around town. Here's some of the Google Translate text from the Diario Informacion piece by Alberola Pine:

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New York Times helps promote book poorly reviewed by New York Times

In the past year, The New York Times Sunday opinion page has run three different columns by Moises Velasquez-Manoff, a writer whose new book argues that the hygiene hypothesis — the idea that over-cleanliness can make you sick — is the one true cause behind everything from autism, to celiac disease, to allergies. While the hygiene hypothesis, itself, is perfectly plausible, Velasquez-Manoff's extension of it to cover a host of hot-button disorders and cures for said disorders is much less plausible ... something that was pointed out in a negative review of his book that ran in, yes, The New York Times. Matthew Herper explores this strange dichotomy at Forbes. Maggie 8

Pain Facial Grimace Scale: Adventure Time edition


A nursing student named Janelle asked Adventure Time character designer Matt Forsythe to interpret the "Wong-Baker Facial Grimace Scale" -- used to help kids describe how much pain they feel -- using Finn. The result is just great.

Finn Pain Scale (via Super Punch)

Promising work on diabetes vaccine

Researchers at Finland's Tampere University have identified a set of viruses they believe to be responsible for Type 1 diabetes, and they have formulated a vaccine for it that has had promising results in mice. The enterovirus in question attacks the pancreas, and is similar to the virus that causes polio. They're forming a research syndicate to raise the €700m needed for human trials.

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Interactive 3D poop models to help kids characterize their doody

Lil sez, "Some doctors decided that it would help kids describe their poop accurately if they turned the verbal Bristol Stool Scale ('type 1 as 'rabbit droppings', type 2 as 'bunch of grapes', type 3 as 'corn on cob', type 4 as 'sausage', type 5 as 'chicken nuggets', type 6 as 'porridge', and type 7 as 'gravy'.') into 3D models, complete with clear resin 'toilet water'and a porcelain toilet to display them. Because how else would the kids differentiate floaters from sinkers?"

Warning, plastic poop below.

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