Human testing of Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine to begin in September

American drug maker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it plans to begin the human testing phase of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by September 2020, with plans to make it available for emergency use in early 2021. Read the rest

Vacuum and hand dryer maker Dyson designed a new ventilator for COVID-19 patients

British inventor James Dyson announced that his company has spent the last week designing a new ventilator for COVID-19 patients and will ship 10,000 of them early next month to support the UK's National Health Service. He's also donating 5,000 more of them to international initiatives. From CNN:

Dyson said the company had designed and built an entirely new ventilator, called the "CoVent," since he received a call 10 days ago from UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.,P"This new device can be manufactured quickly, efficiently and at volume," Dyson added, saying that the new ventilator has been designed to "address the specific needs" of coronavirus patients....

"The core challenge was how to design and deliver a new, sophisticated medical product in volume and in an extremely short space of time," he added. "The race is now on to get it into production."

Read the rest

Delirium is real and a huge risk for aging patients

With unfortunate frequency, elderly patients go to the hospital for a surgery or other treatment and quickly become confused, bewildered, and sometimes agitated or totally disoriented. This is called delirium and while it apparently affects between 10 and 50 percent of patients over 65, it's only recently been studied in depth. Sharon K. Inouye, director of Harvard's Aging Brain Center, is leading the charge to understand delirium, its impact on patients' longterm cognitive faculties, and how to prevent it. From Scientific American:

[Delirium] is the phenomenon, sadly familiar to many families, of Grandpa never being quite the same after an operation...

The consequences of delirium, if it lasts more than a few days and especially if it is followed by cognitive decline, are enormous. “It’s a house of cards,” Inouye says. “Patients start getting treated with medications for agitation or disruptive behavior, and those medications lead to complications. Or they are very sedated, and that leads to complications.” Delirious patients may choke on their food or pills and die of aspiration pneumonia. They may wind up in bed for long periods and suffer fatal blood clots. Once up, they are prone to falling. It’s a downward spiral and a costly one. Delirium adds more than $183 billion a year to U.S. health care costs, outstripping congestive heart failure.

Fortunately, basic steps can be taken to prevent delirium or shorten its course, such as making sure the patient is well hydrated, has access to eyeglasses and hearing aids if he or she uses them, gets out of bed and walks as soon as possible, has adequate sleep, and is socially engaged by hospital staff and loved ones.

Read the rest

That time a smallpox outbreak hit Deadwood

'Smallpox comes to Deadwood', a clip from the swearily beloved television series DEADWOOD, via Reddit, as pointed out by Helen Kennedy.

An instructive video for our times.

[YOUTUBE] Read the rest

Play 17th-century London Death Roulette

Matt Round's Death Roulette is a game that randomly selects for you one of the many deaths recorded in 17th-century London.

In the week of July 11th, 1665 you died from Imposthume (swelling or abscess)

The use of scans of the actual records is very effective! Read up on the death searchers. Read the rest

Scientists claim 100% accurate way to tell pot from hemp: lasers

Researchers from Texas A&M say they have found a quick, cheap, and accurate way for law enforcement agents to differentiate pot and hemp – using lasers. Read the rest

New Trump budget proposes deleting current rider protecting state medical cannabis laws from federal interference

'Marijuana Moment' publisher Tom Angell tweeted today about the impact of impeached president Donald Trump's new budget on marijuana law in America. Read the rest

It's ok for dead men to donate sperm, according to medical ethics study

A new study argues that it's "ethically permissible" for dead men to "register their desire to donate their sperm after death for use by strangers." Dr. Nathan Hodson of the University of Leicester and Dr. Joshua Parker of Manchester's Wythenshawe Hospital conducted their research as a response to a shortage of sperm donors in the United Kingdom. From CNN:

"If it is morally acceptable that individuals can donate their tissues to relieve the suffering of others in 'life-enhancing transplants' for diseases, we see no reason this cannot be extended to other forms of suffering like infertility, which may or may not also be considered a disease," the study says.

The mechanics of donating, they say, are entirely feasible through either electroejaculation or surgical methods.

Sperm would be cryopreserved following collection and thawed when chosen for reproduction, the authors said...

The process would address the ongoing shortage of donor sperm in the UK, argue the authors, which has led to Britain importing commercially donated sperm to cope with demand from couples struggling to conceive.

More: "The ethical case for non-directed postmortem sperm donation" (Journal of Medical Ethics)

image: "Sperm and ovum fusing" (public domain) Read the rest

Gorilla, 3, gets treated for cataract (VIDEO)

At UC San Diego, a group of experts came together to try and preserve the eyesight of 3-year-old gorilla who lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read the rest

Chipotle CEO: If employees call in sick, a nurse might make sure they're not faking it

According to Chipotle Mexican Grill CEO Brian Niccol, when their restaurant workers call in sick, they might have to talk to a nurse to make sure they're not fibbing.

"We have nurses on call, so that if you say, 'Hey, I've been sick,' you get the call into the nurse," CEO Brian Niccol said last week. "The nurse validates that it's not a hangover — you're really sick — and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again."

Later, a Chipotle spokesperson told the New York Post that Niccol's statement wasn't entirely accurate: “You don’t have to call a nurse if you’re taking a sick day... All employees who call off sick for any reason receive paid time off.”

After all, it isn't too tough to feign an illness over the phone.

From CBS News:

The CEO detailed steps taken to recover the trust of customers after a slew of high-profile safety scares that battered Chipotle's brand and led Niccol's predecessor, Steve Ells, to step down in late 2017...

Chipotle handles things differently these days in its 2,500 restaurants, acccording to Niccol. "We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago," he said. "Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check."

Image: "The first Chipotle, near the campus of the University of Denver" by CW221 (CC BY-SA 3.0) Read the rest

People with half a brain. Literally.

For some children with severe epilepsy, the best treatment may be a very rare surgical procedure in which a large portion -- even half -- of the child's brain is removed or disconnected. Amazingly, many of these individuals can relearn motor, language, and cognitive skills. How? The brain reorganizes itself and builds new connections. To better understand this incredible process, and hopefully inform new interventions and rehabilitation, Caltech neuroscientists conducted brain scans on six adults "all of whom received the surgeries as children and now have relatively normal cognitive abilities." From Caltech:

"Despite missing an entire brain hemisphere, we found all the same major brain networks that you find in healthy brains with two hemispheres," says Dorit Kliemann, lead author of the new report and a postdoctoral scholar who works in the laboratory of Ralph Adolphs (PhD '93), the Bren Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology, and the director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center.

The brain scans also revealed an increased number of connections between the brain networks in the patients compared to healthy individuals. For example, the regions in the patients' brains that control the function of walking appeared to be communicating more with the regions that control talking than what is typically observed.

"It appears that the networks are collaborating more," says Kliemann. "The networks themselves do not look abnormal in these patients, but the level of connections between the networks is increased in all six patients...."

Says Kliemann, "It's truly amazing what these patients can do.

Read the rest

There is finally an approved vaccine for Ebola

The European Medicines Agency approved a vaccine for the deadly Ebola Virus Disease. The vaccine has already been administered to hundreds of thousands of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, saving countless lives during an ongoing epidemic there. From Nature:

The decision by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to allow US pharmaceutical company Merck to market its vaccine means that the product can now be stockpiled and, potentially, distributed more widely, in particular in Africa. In 2015, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance — a global health partnership that funds vaccine supplies in low-income countries — told Ebola-vaccine manufacturers that it would commit to purchasing vaccines once they had been approved by a “stringent health authority” such as the EMA...

“This is a vaccine with huge potential,” said Seth Berkley, chief executive of Gavi in Geneva, Switzerland, in a press release after the EMA decision. “It has already been used to protect more than 250,000 people in the DRC and could well make major Ebola outbreaks a thing of the past.”

Image: "Ebola virus virion" by CDC/Cynthia Goldsmith (Public Domain) Read the rest

Arizona elementary school kids rushed to ER after popping pills

Apparently a 6-year-old got ahold of someone's prescription medication and decided to experiment with her friends.

Arizona's ABC15 reports:

According to Phoenix Fire Department, four elementary school students took "what appears to be heart medication pills" on the school bus Thursday morning.

Phoenix police say a 6-year-old girl took the prescription pills from an adult family member and gave them to four other 6- and 7-year-olds while they were on the way to school.

A staff member at the school became aware of what happened, brought the kids to the nurse's office, and called 911.

Read the rest

Man's taste buds disappear

A 64-year-old man went to the doctor complaining of pain in his tongue and mouth. Upon examination, doctors found the patient's tongue to be missing taste buds. He was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, which is caused by an inability to absorb vitamin B-12, needed to make red blood cells.

The condition was reversed after weekly injections of B-12.

[via New England Journal of Medicine]

Image: National University of Singapore Read the rest

Diet and depression: what you eat impacts your mood

For years a friend has been telling my diet was hurting my general demeanor. Read the rest

Supercut of Wilford Brimley saying "Diabeetus" contrasted against other people saying "Diabetes"

Behold the master in enunciation outclass the mediocrities that surround him.

Previously in Diabeetus: Cat resembling Wilford Brimley skilled in art of playing "death by diabeetus" Read the rest

Mattel designed a Barbie doll honoring Eleni Antoniadou's accomplishments, but what are they?

Eleni Antoniadou's reported accomplishments were so impressive that Mattel designed a Barbie doll based on her as part of its International Women’s Day celebration.

But those "accomplishments" might all be nonexistent. Here's a partial list from the BBC as to suspicions raised:

Claim: She worked on the world's first artificial trachea that was successfully transplanted to a patient.

Counterclaim: She was a postgraduate student at UCL and was remotely involved with the surgery. The transplant ended with one of the biggest scandals in modern medicine, covered here by the BBC. The patient died after his body did not accept the transplant. Long after his death, Ms Antoniadou gave interviews in Greece saying how she had saved the patient's life and how the patient was living a normal life.

Claim: She has been working for a number of years as a researcher at Nasa.

Counterclaim: She attended a 10-week summer school there and took a lot of pictures around the US space agency's facilities wearing clothes with the Nasa logo. Nasa has denied she works directly for the agency, but has not excluded the possibility that she may be working as a sub-contractor.

The Telegraph is also investigating:

The NASA-ESA Outstanding Researcher Award does not appear to exist and Ms Antoniadou's name is not included in Nasa's record of its award winners.

(Via Ben Collins.) Read the rest

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