HAL is described as the "world's most advanced" Pediatric Patient Simulator. Hal simulates lifelike emotions through "dynamic facial expressions, movement and speech." Gaumard Scientific's video promises "amazed,
transient pain, crying, and more." [via @3liza]
HAL not only looks like a boy, he behaves like one. He can track a finger with his eyes, answer questions, cry for his mother and experience anaphylactic shock. He can even breathe faster and/or urinate when scared. And he has also been built in a way that allows doctors and nurses in-training to perform a myriad of tests such as taking blood pressure, checking his pulse and monitoring breathing. Trainees can also use real medical equipment such as an EKG machine or a heart or blood pressure monitor—or tools such as a scalpel or breathing tubes—to perform realistic medical procedures.
Here's HAL's ad.
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Xavier Cunningham, age 10 of Kansas City, Kansas, was climbing up to a tree house when yellow jackets attacked. Cunningham fell several feet from the ladder and impaled his head on a meat skewer. University of Kansas surgeons removed the skewer during a several hour operation. Cunningham is doing quite well and expected to be released in a few days. From Fox4KC
"He was more upset about the yellow jackets than he was about the metal piece sticking out of his face," (Cunnigham's dad Shannon) Miller said.
"It missed his brain. It missed his brain stem. It missed the nerves, everything that`s valuable in your head. It missed everything," Xavier's dad said...
"Only God could have directed things to happen in a way that would save him like this," he said. "It really was a miracle."
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The northwestern Mexican state of Guerrero’s ocean side vistas, Mayan and Zapotec heritage and mountainous terrain would make it a postcard-pretty place to be—if it weren’t for all the murder and financial destitution.
Because of the extreme poverty in the region, the state has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the nation. According to the Guardian, close to 70% of the people who call Guerrero home, live in poverty. This misery experienced on a daily basis by those living in Guerrero is compounded by an ongoing turf war between cartels and the Mexican military resulting in one of the highest murder rates per capita, in the world. The violence is so extreme that most professionals who can afford to pick up and relocate, have done so. The loss of lawyers? Meh. However, having no Doctors or other medical staff to care for a population trapped in an already untenable situation is nightmare.
Thankfully, with little fanfare, Médecins Sans Frontières is on the scene, trying to make a difference.
From The Guardian:
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Before patients are seen, the clinical team – three doctors, two psychologists and a nurse – explain that MSF is neutral, independent, free of charge and available to anyone as long as weapons are left outside.
This is the standard pep talk in the state of Guerrero, where MSF has taken over 11 primary health clinics that have closed or are limited by the security crisis in communities long neglected by the state.
In addition to regular clinics, MSF provides rapid response interventions in the aftermath of grave incidents like mass kidnappings, gun battles and massacres, which leave displaced or trapped communities in psychological turmoil.
Neurologist Steven Laureys is an expert on the mysteries of consciousness. A researcher and clinician at the Belgian National Fund of Scientific Research he's known for testing comatose patients for any hidden signs of consciousness. From Scientific American's interview with Laureys:
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So how is it possible to study something as complex as consciousness?
There are a number of ways to go about it, and the technology we have at our disposal is crucial in this regard. For example, without brain scanners we would know much, much less than we now do. We study the damaged brains of people who have at least partially lost consciousness. We examine what happens during deep sleep, when people temporarily lose consciousness. We’ve also been working with Buddhist monks because we know that meditation can trigger alterations in the brain; connections that are important in the networks involved in consciousness show changes in activity. Hypnosis and anesthesia can also teach us a great deal about consciousness. In Lige, surgeons routinely operate on patients under hypnosis ( including Queen Fabiola of Belgium). Just as under anesthesia, the connections between certain brain areas are less active under hypnosis. And finally, we are curious to understand what near-death experiences can tell us about consciousness. What does it mean that some people feel they are leaving their bodies, whereas others suddenly feel elated?
Patients are brought to Lige from all over Europe to undergo testing. How do you determine whether they are conscious?
Well, of course, the physician will say, “Squeeze my hand”—but this time while the patient is in a brain scanner.
Tuberculosis was a disease that Doc Holliday died from; in old-timey novels, it’s often called consumption: a disease that sees those afflicted with it coughing delicately into hankies and later dying peacefully in bed. The truth is, the disease doesn’t afford a peaceful death, nor is it a relic of centuries past.
In 2016, 1.6 million people died after contracting tuberculosis – a disease that causes the cells of an infected individual to burst. It can take hold of multiple sites in your body, but most often it affects the lungs. As the cells in an infected individual's lungs burst, the walls of the lungs destabilize, replacing the space where air’s supposed to go. As the victim’s lungs slowly collapse, the body believes itself to be drowning, because it is. As a result, the infected individual hacks and coughs, trying to clear the obstruction and, in the process, coughing up wee bits of flesh, blood and particles small enough to go airborne in a sneeze or cough. When someone else breathes those airborne particles in? They get infected.
It’s scary shit, but it’s also treatable shit.
To handle the symptoms that come with a case of tuberculosis, it’s necessary to take medication on a daily basis. Doing so isn’t just necessary for someone infected with tuberculosis to live a relatively normal life: given how infectious the disease is, it’s also vital for keeping everyone around them safe from contracting the illness themselves. Because of this, those undergoing treatment for TB are closely monitored by healthcare professionals, to ensure that they’re taking their pills as required. Read the rest
The EpiPen is a widely used medical device that delivers emergency medication to prevent someone with a severe allergic reaction from going into anaphylactic shock. There's a shortage of EpiPens across the United States. Parents of kids with serious allergies are worried about sending their kids back to school without one. Read the rest
Good news everyone: those superbugs we’re all so afraid of? They’re evolving to be immune to a number of those popular alcohol-based hand sanitizers we all assumed would help to keep us from getting sick. Nature’s amazing!
Seriously though, the planet is totally trying to kill us for all the shit we do to it.
From Ars Technica:
Bacteria gathered from two hospitals in Australia between 1997 and 2015 appeared to gradually get better at surviving the alcohol used in hand sanitizers, researchers found. The bacteria’s boost in booze tolerance seemed in step with the hospitals’ gradually increasing use of alcohol-based sanitizers within that same time period—an increase aimed at improving sanitation and thwarting the spread of those very bacteria. Yet the germ surveillance data as well as a series of experiments the researchers conducted in mice suggest that the effort might be backfiring and that the hooch hygiene may actually be encouraging the spread of drug-resistant pathogens.
The more the bacteria drink, the higher their resistance to alcohol becomes. They’re just like us!
The bacteria that researchers are most concerned about becoming tolerant to current booze-based sanitation products is called enterococcus faecium: it’s responsible for the majority of infections that folks pick up in a hospital environment and has already proven to be resistant to a number of antibiotics. According to this report, bacterial tolerance to alcohol-based sanitizers could undermine the way that hospitals prevent the spread of bacteria and other ugly stuff, on a world-wide basis.
Happy Hump Day. Read the rest
Mitochindrial replacement techniques, which produce "three-parent babies," promise to allow infertile couples to have babies, and even allow people with debilitating genetic disorders to have healthy babies. The largely unregulated tech is already producing babies despite the unknown long-term risks. Read the rest
When last we met the Four Thieves Vinegar collective -- a group of anarchist scientists who combine free/open chemistry with open source hardware in response to shkrelic gouging by pharma companies -- they were announcing the epipencil, a $30 DIY alternative to the Epipen, Mylan's poster-child for price-gouging and profiteering on human misery.
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In this difficult economy, it's worth doing everything you can to keep from having to visit a doctor or dentist. This gorilla gets it: Instead of booking an appointment, which would cost its troop a boatload of money, it goes on ahead and extracts its own tooth, like a furry boss. Read the rest
Andrey Suchilin has long been regarded as one of Russia’s best guitarists and the progenitor of rock and roll in his country. It's a reputation that’s made his face and name famous to one degree or another in most of Eastern Europe. Like many celebrities, Suchilin’s notoriety makes it hard for him to find a quiet spot to wind downin while at home. To have anything resembling a vacation, he’d have to leave the east for a more exotic locale, like Pittsburgh or Gran Canaria, an Island off the coast of Northwest Africa. Last May, he opted for the latter.
After getting himself some sun, Suchilin hopped on a flight from Gran Canaria that’d see him through to Amsterdam where he’d change planes and make for home. There was just one problem: Suchilin had an odor coming off him that could drop a rhino a 50 yards.
Other passengers sitting near him on his flight complained. As his bouquet began to make its way throughout the airplane cabin’s recirculated air, some passengers passed out. Others puked. The commotion being caused by the stench issuing from the guitarist was such that the plane’s cabin crew decided that for everyone’s comfort, it would be best to confine Suchilin in one of the plane’s bathrooms. But, again, recirculated air, so no dice. Eventually, the plane’s captain made the decision request emergency landing privileges in Portugal: It was the only way to get the passengers the hell away from Suchilin. Landing early also afforded Suchilin the opportunity to find out what the hell was going on with his body. Read the rest
Over five days, a 32-year-old woman in Russia took selfies to document a strange lump on her face that moved from under her left eye to above it and then later to her lip. She finally visited a physician who reported a "superficial moving oblong nodule at the left upper eyelid." Turns out, she had a particular kind of parasitic worm, Dirofilaria repens
, living under her skin. From Live Science
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Humans are "accidental" hosts — in other words, not where the worms want to end up — and once a worm gets into a human, it typically can't reproduce.
The worms are spread by mosquito bites, and human cases have been reported in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, the 2011 report said. The Russian woman said she had recently traveled to a rural area outside Moscow and was frequently bitten by mosquitoes, according to the new report (in the New England Journal of Medicine)...
The Russian woman had the worm removed and made a full recovery, the report said.
The National Institutes of Health maintain a 3D Print Exchange, a kind of miniature Thingiverse for open-licensed, 3D printable objects for teaching and practicing public health.
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Hey gang, let's talk Ebola: Everyone's favorite viral boogeyman.
Over the weekend, the AFP News Agency reported that health professionals in the Democratic Republic of Congo have uncovered five new confirmed cases of Ebola: three cases in the Bikoro area and two in Wangata. This most recent outbreak of the disease in the country’s northwest has resulted in more than 50 confirmed cases and 25 deaths. These numbers, of course, only reflect the incidents of the disease that health agencies such as the World Health Organization and Medecins Sans Frontieres and DR Congo’s healthcare system are aware of.
As such, the push to track everyone who has come into contact with the disease and take appropriate precautions continues, albeit slowly. One of the biggest hurtles in tracking and containing Ebola is that, logistically, the rural regions of DR Congo are a pain in the ass. The roads are often so pocketed with potholes that the only way to reliable traverse them is with a motorcycle—and that’s if there are any roads at all. Many of the smaller villages surrounding Bikoro are packed away by dense jungle. Additionally, cellular coverage in the country’s northwestern region comes with massive holes. This makes doing important work, such as sending field operatives into areas of infection, shipping vaccines or sending collected data back for processing extremely difficult.
According to the New York Times, because of these difficulties, researchers are having a hard time piecing together how the current strain of the virus was transmitted. This, in turn, makes vaccinating the right people in the hopes of stopping the spread of the disease an uphill battle. Read the rest
This one's for the ladies. According to Stat, Allegra is recalling 170,000 packs of their Taytulla birth control pills because the first four pills in each of the packs are placebos, instead of medicine that'll keep babies, severe cramping, and all the other things that the pills are typically prescribed for, at bay.
The sketchy packs are all from a single lot of pills that were doled out as samples to physicians. So if your doctor provided you with some free Taytulla birth control pills, you'll want to check their lot number.
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As a result of this packaging error, oral contraceptive capsules, that are taken out of sequence, may place the user at risk for contraceptive failure and unintended pregnancy. The reversing of the order may not be apparent to either new users or previous users of the product, increasing the likelihood of taking the capsules out of order. If patients have concerns regarding the possibility of an unintended pregnancy they should consult their physician.
This product is an oral contraceptive indicated for the prevention of pregnancy in women who elect to use oral contraceptives. The TAYTULLA pill pack is a 28 count blister card that has 24 "active" pink softgel capsules (with hormones) with "WC" printed on the outer shell in white to be taken for 24 days, followed by 4 maroon softgel capsules (without hormones) also imprinted with "WC" on one side to be taken for the next four days. If you are a patient in the U.S.
Last week, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s latest Ebola outbreak was confirmed to have spread to Mbandaka, a transportation hub, home to over one million people. As of the time that this post was written, 31 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the west African nation. Of those confirmed to have been afflicted, nine have died.
Oh, and three individuals confirmed to have contracted the disease, two of which who were showing significant symptoms, managed to escape quarantine and mingle with an unknown number of people.
From the Washington Post:
In a briefing in Geneva, Jean-Clement Cabrol, a doctor who had just returned from Congo, said "the patients were in the active phase of the disease, vomiting" when their families removed them from the hospital, put them on motorcycles, and took them to a religious gathering of 50 people. Ebola is contagious through bodily fluids, and both patients, who were at an acute phase of the illness, died within hours.
Those two were among the three Ebola patients who left a hospital isolation ward and reentered the general population, according to the Doctors Without Borders mission in the Congolese city of Mbandaka.
That two of the patients, at the height of their power to infect others, opted to leave the quarantine that they’d been put under reads like something monstrous. But it couldn’t be more human. In their final hours, the pair, knowing that death couldn’t have been closer, turned to the comfort of their families and their faith, hoping that it would be a balm against the unspeakable misery that they must have been in. Read the rest
Approximately 36 million people in the United States have high blood pressure and many could do with reducing their sodium intake. But how do you even monitor your intake accurately? Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have developed a flexible sensor that goes in your mouth for real-time sensing of how much salt is in those french fries you're munching. It then sends the data to your phone to alert you of your sodium intake. From IEEE Spectrum:
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W. Hong Yeo, an assistant professor of micro and nano engineering who led the research team, says it would also be possible to stick the sensor directly to the tongue or the roof of the mouth, or to laminate it onto a tooth. The soft retainer they used in this experiment was just phase one. “For the first prototype device, we wanted to offer easy handling and cleaning capability via the integration with a soft retainer,” he said.
Yeo says the biggest challenge was making the entire electronic device soft, flexible, and comfortable enough to wear in the mouth. So the team designed a chip that uses stretchable circuits mounted on an ultrathin porous membrane.