Eideard

Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Pulling drinking water out of thin air

with 3 comments

In some parts of Ethiopia, finding potable water is a six-hour journey.

People in the region spend 40 billion hours a year trying to find and collect water, says a group called the Water Project. And even when they find it, the water is often not safe, collected from ponds or lakes teeming with infectious bacteria, contaminated with animal waste or other harmful substances…

The invention from Arturo Vittori, an industrial designer, and his colleague Andreas Vogler doesn’t involve complicated gadgetry or feats of engineering, but instead relies on basic elements like shape and material and the ways in which they work together.

At first glance, the 30-foot-tall, vase-shaped towers…have the look and feel of a showy art installation. But every detail, from carefully-placed curves to unique materials, has a functional purpose.

The rigid outer housing of each tower is comprised of lightweight and elastic juncus stalks, woven in a pattern that offers stability in the face of strong wind gusts while still allowing air to flow through. A mesh net made of nylon or polypropylene, which calls to mind a large Chinese lantern, hangs inside, collecting droplets of dew that form along the surface. As cold air condenses, the droplets roll down into a container at the bottom of the tower. The water in the container then passes through a tube that functions as a faucet, carrying the water to those waiting on the ground…

So how would Warka Water’s low-tech design hold up in remote sub-Saharan villages? Internal field tests have shown that one Warka Water tower can supply more than 25 gallons of water throughout the course of a day, Vittori claims. He says because the most important factor in collecting condensation is the difference in temperature between nightfall and daybreak, the towers are proving successful even in the desert, where temperatures, in that time, can differ as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The structures, made from biodegradable materials, are easy to clean and can be erected without mechanical tools in less than a week. Plus, he says, “once locals have the necessary know-how, they will be able to teach other villages and communities to build the Warka.”

It costs about $500 to set up a tower.

Not certain if Vittori’s project is set for donations, yet – but, I’d recommend checking in with the Water Project. Folks at Tekzilla and HD Nation have worked with them in the past.

About these ads

Written by Ed Campbell

April 14, 2014 at 8:00 am

America’s ten least healthy cities

leave a comment »

smoking, obesity, no exercise

There’s no doubt that great strides have been made in Americans’ health over the years. Americans smoke less, are more likely to be insured and live longer. However, significant health disparities remain across the nation, influenced by individual choices, the community and clinical care.

To determine the well-being of Americans, Gallup-Healthways surveyed hundreds of thousands of Americans in 189 metropolitan areas in the United States in 2012 and 2013. The survey recorded the physical and emotional health of the residents, as well as measuring job satisfaction and access to basic needs. The resulting Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index allows for comparisons between places and over time.

Not surprisingly, the physical health of residents was influenced by their habits. While less than 20% of Americans surveyed were smokers, more than 34% of Charleston, W.Va., residents smoked, the most in the nation. Residents also reported among the highest rates of obesity in the country…

According to Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, there is a clear relationship between poor physical health outcomes, such as obesity, and many of these habits. “When you’re talking about obesity, the big three are healthy eating, exercise, and smoking…”

AMERICA’S LEAST HEALTHY CITIES:

10. Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, Ark.

9. Spartanburg, S.C.

8. Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.

7. Clarksville, Tenn.-Ky.

6. Fort Smith, Ark.-Okla.

5. Redding, Calif.

4. Columbus, Ga.-Ala.

3. Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, Tenn.-Va.

2. Charleston, W.Va.

1. Huntington-Ashland, W.Va.-Ky.-Ohio

RTFA for the depressing details. Each metro area is rated for a physical health index, obesity, blood pressure and poverty rate. Following notes describe contributing factors – without having the courage to confront politics and ideology.

Fact is – nine of these ten unhealthiest cities are in the old [and new] Confederacy. You’re looking at the actual achievements of Tea Party and right-wing Republicans, Blue Dog Democrats and True Believers in fundamentalist religion. This is the reality they offer to Americans gullible enough, ignorant enough to vote them into power.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 13, 2014 at 2:00 pm

E-cigarettes change cells similar to those affected by tobacco

with one comment

Electronic cigarettes can change gene expression in a similar way to tobacco, according to one of the first studies to investigate the biological effects of the devices.

Presented at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting on 6 April in San Diego, California, the research looked at human bronchial cells that contained some mutations found in smokers at risk of lung cancer. The cells were immortalized, grown in culture medium that had been exposed to e-cigarette vapour and their gene expression profiled.

The researchers found that the cells grown in medium exposed to the vapour of e-cigarettes showed a similar pattern of gene expression to those grown in a medium exposed to tobacco smoke…

The changes are not identical, says study researcher Avrum Spira, who works on genomics and lung cancer at Boston University in Massachusetts. But “there are some striking similarities”, he says. The team is now evaluating whether the alterations mean that cells behave more like cancer cells in culture.

I don’t doubt the companies making a buck from this latest tobacco “substitute” will fight to the death to protect their profits. Your death. Their profits.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 11, 2014 at 2:00 am

Addict guilty of killing infant with morphine in her breast milk

with 2 comments

A former nurse was sentenced Friday to 20 years in a South Carolina prison for killing her 6-week-old daughter with breast milk containing high levels of morphine.

Stephanie Greene, 39, of Campobello was convicted Thursday after a three-week trial. She was given 20 years for homicide by child abuse and a total of 10 years on other charges to run concurrently.

Alexis Catherine Greene died in 2010 when she was only 46 days old. A coroner found potentially fatal morphine levels in her system.

Barry Barnette, a prosecutor, said Greene has 39 charges of obtaining prescription drugs fraudulently…

During his closing statement, Barnette told jurors Greene “knew how to work the system” to obtain prescriptions. He said she did not tell the doctors who prescribed her morphine that she was nursing.

She loved her drugs more than she loved her child,” Barnette said.

Jurors deliberated for less than four hours Thursday before returning a guilty verdict. Greene was jailed immediately.

Greene’s defense attorney made what might have been a compelling plea for accidental death saying there are no documented cases of morphine in a nursing mother killing an infant – morphine being available by prescription for nursing mothers. There may be elements of truth in that defense – something any good defense lawyer knows about.

The fact remains Greene was not just relying on prescribed doses from her good old family doctor. She functioned, as far as I’ve been able to learn, like any junkie accumulating her drugs via phony prescriptions and under false pretenses. As a nurse, she knew doctors needed to know she was nursing – and didn’t say a word.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 6, 2014 at 2:00 am

Pooping in elevator lands Florida woman in a pile of trouble

with 4 comments

A Florida woman was arrested last month on the charge of “nuisance injurious to health” after she allegedly defecated in an elevator at a courthouse in Fort Pierce.

Patricia Ann Jamison was identified as the last person in the elevator at the St. Lucie County Courthouse where the feces was found…

In security camera footage from the elevator, Jamison allegedly “appears to pull her pants down and back up toward the interior elevator buttons consistent with someone using the bathroom. When the elevator arrived on the first floor the female was seen on camera fixing her pants and pulling her shirt out of her pants as if she pulled her pants up over her shirt.”

After a deputy reviewed security footage and matched it up to a woman who had signed in at the public defender’s office, the 49-year-old was identified…

The health safety charge is a misdemeanor.

She’s lucky she wasn’t charged with committing a terrorist act – in Florida.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Poop still pungent after 700 years — medieval latrine uncovered

leave a comment »

It may not be the most glamorous of archaeological finds, but the discovery of 700-year-old stinking toilets has got experts excited.

Human excrement described as being in ‘excellent condition’ has been found at the 14th century site, which features a number of special purpose-built barrel latrines.

Amazingly, the medieval faeces inside them still smell pungent, despite having had centuries to mellow.

It is not yet known whether the two toilets were attached to a house or acted as a public lavatory.

It is hoped that the excrement will give scientists a better idea of what people ate in Denmark at the time and it is now being analysed by experts…

The find is especially useful to experts as the barrels were used for a different purpose before they were transformed into toilets…Markings on the wooden barrels include the owner’s details and reveal that some of them were used to transport goods, as well as to store fish.

Archaeologists also found three barrels stacked on top of one another that are thought to have been used as a basic well…They were tied together and packed with clay to make them waterproof, while a system of pipes at the bottom of the structure was also discovered.

Excavation of the site is continuing and it is now the largest excavation in an urban area in Danish history. Odense is the country’s third largest city.

One of the study objects most sought after by archaeologists I would bump into when I lived in the Navajo Nation were coprolites. A hifalutin word for fossilized people poop. Usually in a special spot in or near an Anasazi ruin.

You can learn a lot about folks from their poop. Unless they’re too anal and uptight – and explode.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 4, 2014 at 8:00 am

Feds open Medicare to same-sex married couples

leave a comment »


Kathleen SebeliusAP Photo

The Obama administration announced on Thursday that same-sex married couples can qualify for Medicare hospital and physician benefits for the first time.

The decision, coming after a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a federal ban against same-sex marriage, allows the Social Security Administration to determine the eligibility of married gay applicants to Medicare, the federal government’s healthcare program for the elderly and the disabled…

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said the government has begun the enrollment process for some same-sex spouses while handling requests for special enrollment periods from others. CMS oversees the $635 billion Medicare program. But SSA determines eligibility.

“If you’re in, or are a surviving spouse of, a same-sex marriage, we encourage you to apply for Medicare if you think you might be eligible,” CMS said in a web posting.

Overdue – and welcome – whether you qualify or simply are an American who believes in civil rights.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Fundamentalist measles threat from Canada

with one comment

TrueBeliever

Health officials in Canada’s westernmost province are battling a large measles outbreak that is now threatening to spill over the border into Washington state.

As many as 330 cases of the highly contagious disease have been reported since early March in British Columbia’s lower Fraser Valley, near Vancouver, according to Paul Van Buynder, MD, chief medical officer of Fraser Health.

All but two of those cases have occurred among members of an orthodox Protestant sect that doesn’t believe in vaccination…

Four ill members of the congregation live across the U.S. border in Washington and have been isolated, but Van Buynder said Whatcom County officials now think a fifth person — not part of the church — has been infected…

The report comes as New York City health officials are reporting additional cases in an outbreak there, bringing the total to 25, including 12 children and 13 adults. Most of the children were too young to have had their measles shots and only four of the adults had a verified vaccination.

All told, the CDC said, there have been 104 cases of measles reported so far this year in the U.S., although that total did not include the Washington cases and only 23 cases in New York City. Most states had no cases but California is reporting 50.

Measles is officially eliminated in both the U.S. and Canada, but imported cases [and stupid cases] continue to cause disease.

Van Buynder said the Fraser Valley outbreak is epidemiologically linked to a large continuing epidemic among orthodox Protestants in the Netherlands that has been raging since May 2013 and had caused more than 2,600 cases by the end of February 2014.

An earlier outbreak in Canada — 42 cases in Alberta in the fall of 2013 and winter of 2014 — was also linked to the Netherlands epidemic.

The religion defense against vaccination is such crap when you consider the numbers of unvaccinated children – still too young to vaccinate – put at risk by True Believers.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

3D-printed skull implanted into woman’s head

with one comment

A 22-year-old woman has had the whole top of her skull replaced with a customized 3D-printed implant. The patient had been suffering from severe symptoms as a result of a condition that causes a thickening of the skull. It is believed that the procedure was the first of its kind.

Dr. Bon Verweij of University Medical Center Utrecht, whose team carried out the procedure, first had to familiarize himself with reconstructions and 3D printing, in particular of partial skull implants. Implants have often previously been used when part of a skull has been removed to reduce pressure on an patient’s brain. Either the removed piece of skull or an implant is used to fill the gap once the situation has improved.

Verweij says that cement implants are not always a good fit, however, and that 3D printing can now ensure that the required components are an exact fit. “This has major advantages, not only cosmetically but also because patients often have better brain function compared with the old method,” he explained…

“The thickening of the skull puts the brain under increasing pressure,” said Verwei. “Ultimately, she slowly lost her vision and started to suffer from motor coordination impairment. It was only a matter of time before other essential brain functions would have been impaired and she would have died. So intensive surgery was inevitable, but until now there was no effective treatment for such patients.”

The surgery, only just announced, was carried out three months ago and was a success. According to Verweij, the patient has fully regained her vision and has no more complaints, which has allowed her to return to work with almost no trace of any surgery. The work undertaken on the procedure means that UMC Utrecht is now is a position to carry out other similar work.

The wonders of modern medicine truly are becoming wonders. I have a few friends walking around with titanium – or old-fashioned steel – plates in their head for repairs. They’d love something like this, no doubt.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Mini hearts added to veins and used as supplemental pumps to treat circulatory problems

leave a comment »

When someone has chronic venous insufficiency, it means that because of faulty valves in their leg veins, oxygen-poor blood isn’t able to be pumped back to their heart. The George Washington University’s Dr. Narine Sarvazyan has created a possible solution, however – a beating “mini heart” that’s wrapped around the vein, to help push the blood through.

The mini heart takes the form of a cuff of rhythmically-contracting heart tissue, made by coaxing the patient’s own adult stem cells into becoming cardiac cells. When one of those cuffs is placed around a vein, its contractions aid in the unidirectional flow of blood, plus it helps keep the vein from becoming distended. Additionally, because it’s grown from the patient’s own cells, there’s little chance of rejection.

So far, the cuffs have been grown in the lab, where they’ve also been tested. Soon, however, Sarvazyan hopes to conduct animal trials, in which the cuffs are actually grown on the vein, in the body.

We are suggesting, for the first time, to use stem cells to create, rather than just repair damaged organs,” she said. “We can make a new heart outside of one’s own heart, and by placing it in the lower extremities, significantly improve venous blood flow…”

Day-dreaming about a storehouse of replacement parts. This is not only possible – but likely. Just not in my lifetime. Sigh.

Written by Ed Campbell

April 1, 2014 at 8:00 pm

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,796 other followers