Cancer eating your ribcage? No problem! We’ll just 3D-print you a new one!

September 18, 2015
x

Pushing the boundaries

This is amazing:

A 3D-printed rib cage made of titanium has been implanted into a human for the first time, received by a man from Spain suffering from a cancerous tumor.

Surgeons at Salamanca University Hospital in Spain asked Anatomics, an Australian firm, to create the rib cage for the patient, who had part of his own removed after his cancerous tumor grew around his ribs and sternum, according to The Mirror U.K.

The design team customized the 3D rib cage using CT scans from the patient and a printer from the Australian national science agency CSIRO.

“The reason 3D printing was desired for making this implant was because it needed to be customized exactly to suit the patient,” Alex Kingsbury, additive manufacturing research leader at CSIRO said, according to The Mirror.

“No human body is the same, so therefore every implant is going to be different,” Kingsbury continued. “It would have been an incredibly complex piece to manufacture traditionally, and in fact, almost impossible.”

And yet human ingenuity once again makes the impossible possible. (Prophets of Doom for the Cult of Global Warming should take note.)

It’s been said the Internet “changed the world.” Well, 3D printing has the potential to be just as transformational in ways we haven’t even dreamed of, yet.

I wonder if this guy’s friends now call him “Terminator?”

via Jonah Goldberg

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Green Fail: windfarms contaminate the water supply?

July 18, 2015
"Epic fail"

What could go wrong?

I don’t see what the problem is; since Human activity causes global warming, shouldn’t this be condign punishment for our sins against Gaea?

Campaigners in Scotland are calling for a full, independent investigation into allegations that wind farms are contaminating water supplies across large areas of Scotland.

They have written to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Energy Secretary Amber Rudd calling for an immediate halt on all wind farm development north of the border until the government can guarantee safe drinking water for everyone.

The problem first came to light when residents living near Europe’s largest wind farm, the 215 turbine Whitelee farm in Ayrshire, began to suffer from diarrhoea and severe vomiting. Tipped off by an NHS report which mentioned that difficulties in treating the water supply may pose health risks, local resident Dr Rachel Connor, a retired clinical radiologist, started digging into the council’s water testing results.

She found that, between May 2010 and April 2013, high readings of E.coli and other coliform bacteria had been recorded. In addition, readings of the chemical trihalomethane (THM), linked to various cancers, still births and miscarriages, were way beyond safe limits.

Scottish Power, who run the wind farm, denied causing the pollution but admitted that they hadn’t warned residents that their water supplies may be contaminated.

In other words, “we couldn’t have caused this problem, but maybe we should have warned you.” Right. So we’ve gone from wind farms chopping up birds to poisoning the water supply. They’re not economically viable without public subsidy, they never meet their promised power generation or reliability, but, hey, they do give you diarrhea. And maybe kill your unborn child. All to fight catastrophic man-caused global warming, a problem that does not exist.

What on Earth are you complaining about?

Now, of course, nothing is proven yet, but I’ll wager dollars to donuts there’s more to this than the hysteria over fracking and earthquakes.

UPDATE: Welcome Instapundit readers! Thanks, Glenn!


Ebola: What is so hard about a travel ban?

October 16, 2014
Ebola virus

Ebola virus

Honestly, it seems like the most commonsense move in the world: If Ebola is rampant in West Africa, you bar incoming flights and passengers from that region until the disease is brought under control. After all, the disease was introduced into Houston Dallas by a man flying from West Africa. If he hadn’t been allowed in, there would be no people sick with Ebola in Houston Dallas, now.

But, that’s not how this White House operates. At a White House briefing yesterday after the President (finally) held a meeting on Ebola, press secretary the latest Mouth of Sauron, Josh Earnest, was asked about the possibility of imposing a travel ban. Here’s his response:

At today’s briefing, White House press secretary Josh Earnest was asked why it was still OK to allow flights from the three West African countries that comprise Ebola ground zero — Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone — if it was risky for [nurse Amber] Vinson to hop on a commercial flight from Ohio.

“There’s a multilayered screening protocol that’s in place to ensure that individuals that may have symptoms consistent with Ebola are not even able to board planes in West Africa,” Earnest said.

A travel ban “is not on the table at this point.”

“Shutting down travel to that area of the world would prevent the expeditious flow of personnel and equipment into the region, and the only way for us to stop this outbreak and to eliminate any risk from Ebola to the American public is to stop this outbreak at the source,” Earnest said.

“So we are mobilizing significant resources to make sure that supplies and personnel can get to the affected region and start meeting the needs of the affected region so that we can stop the outbreak there. And that’s why, right now, the travel ban is not on the table.”

There’s a word to describe Earnest’s response that begins with “bull,” but this is a family show. First, the guy from Liberia carrying the disease showed no symptoms until after arriving in Dallas Houston, thus the “multi-layered” screening process Earnest mentions probably would not have caught him. Second nurse Vinson, who had been treating the infected Liberian, had a mild fever and was allowed to fly anyway, even after reporting herself to CDC. Who’s to say similar mistakes wouldn’t be made by far less sophisticated personnel in Dakar or Monrovia?

As for interfering with needed personnel and equipment reaching the affected countries, that is utter nonsense. Any necessary planes can be given the needed clearances easily, and procedures can be put in place for quarantining crew and disinfecting equipment. What a ban would stop is a casual traveler bringing the virus back with him — just as has already happened!

This is malfeasance in office that goes beyond incompetence and verges, in my non-legal opinion, on criminal negligence. And if Chief Executive Obama won’t take the necessary executive action , then Congress should haul its collective butt back to Washington and pass legislation that does impose a ban.

Really, this shouldn’t be hard.

PS: Be sure to read the whole article. Obama’s “statement” is a marvel of bureaucratic blather, verbal “jazz hands” meant to hide the fact that he has, again, done nothing about a potential crisis.

UPDATE: Edited because I placed “patient zero” in Houston instead of Dallas. Not sure which city would be more offended.


The Ebola Crisis and Medical Intelligence

October 4, 2014

Here’s an article on an intelligence agency I’ve never heard of: the National Center for Medical Intelligence. Yes, a US Government intel agency devoted to medical threats to the US military — and, in the latest crisis, to the US itself, I’m sure. And I’ve no doubt there are at least a half-dozen development teams in Hollywood writing pitches for the “NCMI TV series” even now.

The XX Committee

There’s now no denying that West Africa’s Ebola outbreak has become a global crisis. After months of downplaying the threat, Western governments are facing the painful fact that the situation is deteriorating fast. It’s now plain to see that the world is at the precipice of something genuinely awful, with official predictions of more than a million new infections by the new year. Given that the death rate among those infected with Ebola is roughly fifty percent — and a good deal higher in underdeveloped regions like West Africa — serious concern is warranted.

Now that a Liberian visitor has brought Ebola to American shores, the assurances of officials that the situation is “under control” are being viewed skeptically by many. Our self-reporting system for preventing diseases entering the United States has failed, and investigators are reaching out to a hundred or more travelers who might have been exposed to…

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Claim: Climate change may bring more kidney stones – but the Tasian et al. paper lacks proper controls

July 11, 2014

Global warming: is there nothing it cannot do?

Watts Up With That?

kidney_stonesFrom the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia  Something that I consider to be more than a stretch, and possibly conflated junk science, especially since I’ve suffered kidney stones myself and live in a place with summer temperatures that average well over 50°F. See my comments and citations of other papers at the end.


CHOP-led research finds link between hotter days, kidney stones in US adults and children

As daily temperatures increase, so does the number of patients seeking treatment for kidney stones. In a study that may both reflect and foretell a warming planet’s impact on human health, a research team found a link between hot days and kidney stones in 60,000 patients in several U.S. cities with varying climates.

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#Obamacare: Stage-4 cancer patient loses the insurance and doctors she liked

November 4, 2013
Liar.

Liar.

Edie Sundby is a Californian suffering from stage-4 gall bladder cancer. With a predicted survival rate of just two-percent on diagnosis, that she is alive at all is something of a miracle. And her survival is a tribute not only to her own resilience and determination, not only to the skill of he doctors at UCSD, Stanford, and in Houston, but also to the insurance company that has so far shelled out over a million dollars for her care, without once questioning or denying a treatment. In the midst of the awful situation in which she finds herself, Edie is very happy with her doctors and insurance.

And, thanks to Obamacare, she can’t keep them:

But in January, United Healthcare sent me a letter announcing that they were pulling out of the individual California market. The company suggested I look to Covered California starting in October.

You would think it would be simple to find a health-exchange plan that allows me, living in San Diego, to continue to see my primary oncologist at Stanford University and my primary care doctors at the University of California, San Diego. Not so. UCSD has agreed to accept only one Covered California plan—a very restrictive Anthem EPO Plan. EPO stands for exclusive provider organization, which means the plan has a small network of doctors and facilities and no out-of-network coverage (as in a preferred-provider organization plan) except for emergencies. Stanford accepts an Anthem PPO plan but it is not available for purchase in San Diego (only Anthem HMO and EPO plans are available in San Diego).

So if I go with a health-exchange plan, I must choose between Stanford and UCSD. Stanford has kept me alive—but UCSD has provided emergency and local treatment support during wretched periods of this disease, and it is where my primary-care doctors are.

As I’ve said before, with the elderly and the very ill the trust relationship between physician, insurer, and patient is crucial, if only for the psychological state of the patient. That Ms. Sundby cannot keep the relationships she values isn’t just wrong, it’s cruel.

And it is very possibly endangering her life:

For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death. Take away people’s ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that’s a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that’s the point.

This story appeared in the Wall Street Journal and has set the Internet ablaze since it first appeared last night. One would think the White House would rush to control the damage by finding some way to help Edie, maybe one of Obama’s infamous waivers.

Instead, the official Team Obama response is to attack Edie Sundby by essentially calling her a liar:

Pfeiffer is “Senior Adviser to the President for Strategy and Communications.”

Congratulations, Dan. We got the message.

RELATED: More sticker shock for people who’ve had their insurance canceled by Obamacare. Glenn Reynolds meditates on the hubris of technocrats and recommends a book Obama should have read. My blog-buddy ST has also written on this news.

PS: If you’re among those who are losing their coverage thanks to Obamacare and want a direction to aim your anger, remember one thing.


#Obamacare train wreck: thousands of elderly losing the doctors they like

October 25, 2013
"Obamacare"

“Obamacare rolls on”

Well, that’s not fair of me. Elderly, ill New Yorkers on the Medicare Advantage program actually have a choice: they can give up their doctor and take whomever their insurance will give them (whether they like that person or not); they can give up their insurance and pay for the doctor themselves; or they can try to find a plan their doctor is part of… and probably pay a lot more. Shockingly, many of these people are unhappy with their Brave New World:

The are 2.6 million elderly New Yorkers who receive Medicare, the public heath-insurance program for the elderly.

But one in three patients — nearly 900,000 — are enrolled in Advantage, Medicare HMOs run by private insurers.

Dr. Jonathan Leibowitz, who serves 30 patients under Medicare Advantage at his Brooklyn practice, said he was blindsided by UnitedHealthcare’s decision to give him the boot.

“A patient can’t see his doctor? What are they doing!” he asked.

They’re only doing what’s economically rational for the company, Doc, given the perverse incentives created by Obamacare.

And how do patients feel about this?

…Wilma Streicher, 76, was equally baffled. “Of course I want to keep Dr. Leibowitz. I don’t see why they want to push him out,” she said.

Patients of other doctors faced the same dire situation. Lung-cancer patient Jeannette Campregon, 79, received a letter from EmblemHealth saying that her internist, George Ruggiero, was terminated from her VIP High Option Medicare Advantage network.

Emblem notified her she could stay in her current plan and choose another doctor, pick a different plan to keep her doctor or call a customer-service rep for help.

“I’m going absolutely nuts,” said Campregon, who got conflicting information from three different service reps. “I don’t want to change my doctor!”

Ingrates and liars! Amanda Marcotte would demand they show a screenshot or it didn’t happen! They’re obviously under the delusion that the President said they could keep their doctor if they liked their doctor. How stupid, how…. Oh, wait:

In reality, this is no laughing matter. Anyone who’s had to deal with an elderly relative undergoing treatment knows just how important it is to the success of that treatment for that person to like and trust their doctor. More confidence, less stress, and a greater willingness to undergo what’s needed to get better. I can attest from painful personal experience how important the doctor-patient relationship is to these people, as I’m sure many of you can, too.

But now Obamacare is ripping all that up, in many cases threatening relationships built up over decades. And if it’s happening in New York, you can bet it’s happening across the nation, too.:

And here’s the devastating statistic you’ll see cited until the numbers change:

Over 500,000 individuals have seen their insurance policies cancelled in just 3 states. In all 50 states, only 476,000 applications have been “filed” in an exchange.

In short, Obamacare has caused more people to lose their health insurance than gain it so far.

Even if Obamacare were, by some miracle, repealed tomorrow, the carnage left in Obamacare’s wake is tremendous. Not just economically, vast though the disruption of the insurance markets has been, so far, but also on a very personal level, as we’ve seen in the Post article. And yet these are some of the very people Obama and his Pied Pipers claimed over and over would be helped by their new wonder-law.

What the Democrats have unleashed in their arrogance and hubris is unforgivable, and we can only hope voters make them pay a terrible price at the ballot box.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)